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tv   Newsline  LINKTV  November 18, 2013 5:00am-5:31am PST

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welcome to nhk world "newsline." i'm gene otani in tokyo. here's a look at some of the stories we're following this hour. workers at the fukushima daiichi nuclear power plant have taken the first step toward decommissioning the facility. an nhk crew reports from inside syria as government forces push back on opposition fighters in the capital damascus and elsewhere.
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skpl fiand filipinos in jap to bring back financial assistance. workers at the fukushima daiichi have started a delicate operation. they're removing fuel rods at a building at fukushima daiichi. it's the first step in what's expected to be a decades-long process to decommission the facility. tokyo electric power company workers have to remove the more than 1500 fuel rod assemblies from the reactor 4 building. the rods are currently stored in a pool. most of them are used, extremely hot and highly radioactive. the march 2011 earthquake and tsunami triggered a hydrogen explosion that damaged the reactor 4 building. workers will use a crane attached to a specially built structure to remove the rods.
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tepco officials say it will take more than a year to complete the operation. the workers will then have to remove fuel rods from three other reactor buildings. residents of fukushima have mixed feelings about the fuel rod removal. the project is a positive step in decommissioning the process, but it could also put local people at risk. a 64-year-old man who operates a dry cleaning business near the plant welcomes the move. >> translator: this is the first step in the decommissioning process. people here have high hopes that things will slowly return to normal and we can go back to our old lives. >> but some locals are expressing concern over possible safety problems with the delicate removal process. >> translator: i am worried about whether it will go smoothly because of all the debris. >> translator: what i am most anxious about is what will happen if the removal operation
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fail s in some catastrophic way? >> tepco engineers spent months preparing for this operation. nhk world's reporter shows us how crews will be carrying out the work. >> this is an image of the number 4 reactor building. the fuel assemblies sit in a pool of water that keeps them cool and prevents radioactive particles from escaping. the tank is about 20 meters above the ground level. tepco engineers want to remove the fuel as soon as possible since the building was damaged by a hydrogen explosion. officials say the building is strong enough to sustain an earthquake. equivalent to the one on march 11th. but they admit that the spent fuel needs to be moved to a more secure place. tepco workers will use a crane to lift the fuel assemblies and place them in the radiationproof
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containers. one container can hold 22 units. the work must be done under water to minimize release of radioactive particles. the workers will then lift the container out of the pool to a maximum height of 30 meters and lower them to the ground. the workers will then move the containers to a storage facility 100 meters away from the reactor building. and put the fuel assemblies back into water. the officials say one process of the removal could take one week. the company officials say the workers have conducted the operation more than 1,000 times before the accident. but there are differences between this time and previous operations. a hydrogen explosion caused debris to scatter around the building including the pool. workers had to clean them up before the operation. they have finished removing
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large pieces of debris. but nuclear experts are concerned. >> translator: there could be fragments of debris stuck between the fuel assemblies and their holding racks. that could force workers to halt the operation. it could lead to serious complications. >> another concern is the high radiation level at the site. workers can only stay inside the building for short periods of time. six teams of workers operate the crane to move the assemblies to the container. each team consists of six skilled workers. each team can only work for two hours a day. they rotate to keep the operation moving while minimizing radiation exposure. tepco officials say the entire
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decommissioning process could take up to 40 years. protecting and training enough skilled workers to push forward with this operation will be a major challenge. nhk world. government forces in syria are keeping up their fight to defend the capital and other strongholds from opposition fighters. the civil war has raged for 2 1/2 years, leaving more than 120,000 people dead and forcing more than 2 million others to flee the country. covering the story has become harder and more dangerous with every passing day. an nhk crew is now in damascus. our reporter tells us what they've seen. >> i'm standing on a balcony in the syrian capital. that is the heart of assad's regime. the city is calm and orderly.
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and there's little sign of destruction. but for two days, government forces launched air raids on rebels near damascus. and now opposition forces are firing back. last night i heard large explosions and saw black smoke rising from the outskirts of the town. we crossed into syria from lebanon. the border is controlled by forces loyal to assad. as we drove toward damascus, there was a billboard with assad's portrait and the slogan "syria is protected by god." the city is about an hour away from the border. and we had to pass eight checkpoints on the way. government forces and police are stationed to prevent rebels from entering the capital.
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the city's center is plastered with posters that celebrate the president. but all residents want is peace. >> we want to stop the blood and stop war. we don't care if the person is bashar or other person. >> reporter: the war is claiming more and more lives. i saw many new graves. some were soldiers in their 20s. assad's forces and other armed groups such as lebanon's hezbollah have been taking back towns held by opposition supporters. they appear to have the upper hand. but don't seem strong enough to control the whole area. syria's main opposition group have long insisted on assad's departure as a condition for peace talks, but the president doesn't want to compromise. neither side is backing down. and every day more civilians are dying.
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hiroshi shimazaki, nhk world, damascus. volunteers in the philippines have heard others criticize the government over and over for how it's responded to typhoon haiyan. now they're stepping in to help survivors. authorities say the storm killed nearly 4,000 people. more than 1,500 others are missing. hundreds of volunteers have been working at a distribution hub in cebu island, preparing emergency aid. they're packing up canned foods, rice and other supplies. they want to make sure they're able to meet the needs of survivors. managers at a private bus company in the capital manila are doing their part. they provided free rides on sunday for about 500 people, delivering aid to areas hit by the storm. the typhoon knocked out communications, and many have been unable to get in touch with
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their families. some are using the opportunity to try to find out what's happening. filipinos living abroad have been watching the disaster unfold day after day. about 200,000 of them live in japan. many are praying for their loved ones and working to send back help. nhk world's jun yotsumoto reports. >> reporter: these people gathered at a catholic church in a suburb of tokyo. some of them including the priest come from the hard-hit islands of leyte and samar. communication with friends and family there has been difficult. so they are finding solace in prayer. >> translator: for those of us who are still alive, our mission is to help and give support to those who are grieving and those
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who are suffering. >> reporter: this woman grew up on leyte. she and others shared their feelings with the priest. >> reporter: she came to japan 23 years ago from the town of almok. she married a japanese man. she have three children. raising a family made it hard for her to visit her hometown often. she has fond memories of her family there, even though life there wasn't easy. >> the house is there. it's not good, not nice. it's made of bamboo and wood with cement floor. that's why it's easy to wash out
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and i really miss that place. i've missed that place since i was a child. >> reporter: the typhoon ravaged ormoc. it cut communication lines. but the day after the storm, she received a text message from her younger brother. she learned her two brothers and a sister were alive. she called her brother daily to get updates. >> it's ringing. hello? hello? two kilos rice. yes, yes, yes. it's hard. your heart is pressing you hard,
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and you hear the lack of foods. >> reporter: she wants to rush back to the philippines. but she can't because her husband is in hospital being treated for cancer. she must take care of their kids. other filipinos living in japan face similar challenges. so she teamed up with some of them to cook and sell filipino food. they plan to send the money they raise to the disaster-hit areas. >> you cry, but you have to move. move on and work. in my little way, i can help them not only for my family but also for my neighbors. >> reporter: lack of food and water, the threat of disease and security concerns, filipinos in japan have spent days worrying about the situation back home.
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but all they can do is keep working to raise money and awareness to help their country recover from one of the worst disasters in its history. jun yotsumoto, nhk world, tokyo. prime minister shinzo abe has returned from a region he considers key to japan's economic recovery. he visited the southeast asian nations of cambodia and laos, rounding out a diplomatic tour he began earlier this year. as our reporter reports, abe is also strengthening relations to send a message to china. >> reporter: prime minister abe visited all ten members of the association of southeast asian nations during his first year in office. he's the first japanese prime
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minister in 13 years to travel to cambodia and laos. he met with his cambodian counterpart. they agreed to work together on economic and medical matters. abe also met with the laotian prime minister. he promised financial support to reduce poverty in laos and fund major infrastructure projects. he stressed his country will further strengthen ties with asean. >> translator: asean member nations have become a driving force behind the world's economy and are essential for japan's economic recovery. they are also an important partner in keeping asian waters free, open and stable.
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>> reporter: government sources say it's significant that the prime minister has visited all ten members of asean. china is rapidly increasing its maritime activities and military presence in regional waters. abe is sending a warning to chinese by saying all nations must follow the rule of law of maritime affairs. prime minister abe has so far visited 25 countries during his first year in office. next year he plans to visit african nations and india. but relations with china and south korea remain a matter of concern. no summit talks have been held with either country since abe came to power last december. government officials say abe plans to deal with the territorial disputes with those
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nations. mari sakomoto, nhk world, tokyo. tokyo is one city that's not short of german, french or italian cars, but the europeans say that's not enough if the two want to talk about any kind of economic cooperation including the possibility of a free trade pact. ron madison has been following the current negotiations that has been going on, ron. >> that's right, gene. japan and the european union have agreed to step up negotiations on an economic partnership. they say they're working hard on a list of tariffs to eliminate. japanese trade and industry minister met eu trade commissioner carl degoot. the two sides are holding a summit on tuesday. he said japan will keep negotiating to conclude a high-level accord. the talks began back in april. degoot said the eu hopes for progress. the eu said japan's unique
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automobile safety standards hinder smooth access to its market. it's asking that the country review them. the eu has said that it may end the talks in a year if japan's response is insufficient. all right. on to the markets now. european shares are extending gains, and they're looking like this at this time. as you can see there, paris is up by about 0.5% right now. frankfurt gaining by 0.6% while the london market is up 0.4%. investors are waiting for some key data, including germany's economic sentiment survey as well as the latest minutes of the federal reserve's october policy meeting. both of them slated for release later this week. most markets ended higher. the shanghai composite surged nearly 3%. the advance led by shares expected to benefit from economic reform policies. the hang seng climbed to its highest close since february. in singapore, the index inched higher to 3,203 with the help of
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upbeat data. the country's exports for october unexpectedly rose after eight consecutive months of decline. in terms of currencies, dollar/yen right now at 100.10. analysts say market players are adjusting their positions after the dollar approached the mid-100-yen level late last week. euro/yen right around 135.22. well, competition among some 50,000 convenience stores in japan is intensifying. 40 years ago the first convenience store in the country opened for business. the biggest and oldest of them, 7-eleven japan, marked a milestone with a ceremony on monday. he said his company grew by changing with the times. >> translator: we have to seek different ways to expand from n now. the country's birth rate is falling, and population is aging.
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>> 7-eleven japan started out in november 1973. it was the result of a tie-up between a supermarket operator in japan and 7-eleven in the u.s. the chain is planning to open 1,600 new stores in the next business year. it aims to strengthen delivery and online services. today convenience store sales totaled 1.5 times those at department stores. they have attracted customers by setting up atm machines and providing a wide range of services including things like paying electricity bills. the number of new condominiums for sale in metropolitan tokyo rose for the sixth straight month in october. sellers are rushing to beat an expected rise in the costs of building materials while mortgage rates are still low. the real estate economic institute says about 3,500 condos went on sale in tokyo and its three neighboring prefect e prefectures last month, up 21.4% from last year. the institute says an expected
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sharp drop in october sales did not materialize. that's dispute a looming sales tax hike. september was the last month in which the current tax rate would be applied for sales of new condos. the japanese government plans to raise the consumption tax to 8% from the current 5% next april. u.s. aircraft maker boeing has officially announced the start of production for its new passenger plane, the 777x. the company made the announcement at the dubai air show. they showcase which involves more than 1,000 aircraft related companies from around the world. boeing says it received a total of 259 orders for the 777x from four airlines in the middle east and europe. the orders amount to at least $95 billion. there's two versions of the jet. one is a 350-seater. another has 400. it's fuel efficient and the tips of its main wings can be folded inward when parked. a boeing executive hinted at the possibility that japanese companies will participate in the production of the planes.
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>> the japanese manufacturers have been a big part of our production at boeing. whether it be 767, 777, 787. and i would say as we look to the 777x, all of our options are open to us. >> meanwhile, airbus has received additional orders for the a380. the jet's luxurious interior has been attracting attention. all right. that is going to do it for biz tonight. i'll leave you with the markets. it's been relatively pleasant here in tokyo, but we're about to be faced with
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another cold spell. rachel ferguson from the weather team has the details. rachel. >> thank you, gene. yes, we have a very stubborn low rotating over the sea of japan right now, and it has been bringing some wet and windy weather up towards the north. as well as hokkaido has been seeing those showers. it's going to turn over to snow certainly in the upper elevations as a blast of cold air comes across from the northwest. here over the weekend, this eastern edge has been very dry and mild as well. temperatures above average. but that will change as the cooler air filters in from tuesday. the same system is affecting northeastern china and southeastern russia. you've been getting some snow. you can see another ten centimeters in the next 24 hours as well as some gusty winds which, in turn, could reduce visibility, making for some dangerous driving conditions. much of the rest of china, mongolia as well staying dry under strong high pressure. then down to the south, scattered showers across the philippines as well as indochina.
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here in vietnam, experiencing very heavy rain for the last couple of weeks. two different rounds. these additional showers could exacerbate any flooding and certainly lead to the risk of landslides and mudslides. something to bear in mind. fairly dry and lots of sunshine on tuesday. in taipei, 18. 13 in shanghai. tapering off to just 5 degrees in seoul. but again, still staying nice and bright. and then one degree for the high in ulon bator with partly cloudy skies. on into the americas, and it's really the east that we want to focus on today. some extremely strong storms ripping through the midwest on sunday. and bringing just absolute demolition in their path. well, this is the storm responsible. you can see the front is now just making its way off the atlantic coast. and by monday afternoon, it should be mostly off over the water. apart from the tail end which will still be bringing some storms to florida. but although you're getting the storms during the first half of your monday, it's not going to be as strong as it was on your
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sunday when you saw all of that destruction. across the great lakes, it's going to be windy here, but a low is moving further in towards the north and east. so coming into quebec where you could see widely about 50 millimeters of rain and towards the north it's going to be snow for you in northern quebec as well as newfoundland. in behind that storm, cold air will usher in, and there's going to be a dramatic drop in temperatures. looking at some major cities here in the northeast. 20 degrees on your monday in new york city. that will drop to just 10 on tuesday. cooling down further to 8 degrees on wednesday. d.c. also dropping ten degrees for monday into tuesday. and atlanta, you'll see a pretty cooldown just over the next couple of days. still dropping below your average for this time of year. on we go into europe. another storm system to talk about. a winter storm system at that towards the northwest. it's going to be bringing about ten centimeters of snow to northern ireland as well as scotland. up in scandinavia, you'll be seeing it here, too.
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the worst part is this is not the strongest storm you're going to see this week. by the middle of the week, by wednesday, another atlantic system comes in really bringing a blast of winter with it. temperatures dropping down to about the freezing mark. your lows dropping below that. and there will be considerable snow as well. as for the south, well, another low-pressure system rattling through the mediterranean is going to bring showers, thunderstorms and some periods of heavy rain as well for italy as well as the western balkans. and you really haven't had a good run of the weather lately. the last couple of weeks you've been having some very strong storms rolling through. so unfortunately, it looks like a similar setup for the beginning of this week. here are your temperatures in europe. and i will leave you with your extended forecast also.
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that's "newsline" for this hour. i'm gene otani in tokyo. from all of us here at nhk
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world, thanks for joining us.
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