welcome to nhk world "newsline," i'm gene otani in tokyo. here is a look at some of the stories we're following this hour. scientists are reporting a promising discovery. they found a way to produce stem cells that's faster and easier than ever before. japan's envoy to the u.n. calls for better ties in response to critical words from his chinese and south korean counterparts. and three years after the
arab spring some egyptians fear the movement has lost momentum as army leaders gain popular support. scientists from japan and the united states say they have made a potentially groundbreaking discovery using methods that are surprisingly simple. they eve come up with a faster and easier way of making stem cells. experts say their work could usher in a new era of research. nhk world's chick cara has more. >> reporter: this is what the scientists say they achieved. they say they found a way to reprogram mature cells so they return to an embryonic state and can developing into any type of issue. this is how they did it. they stretched cells from baby mice by soaking in a solution for about 30 minutes. then they cultured them. the process activated genes that keep the cells pliable enough so
they can develop into various types of cells. the scientists then put the cells into mice. they later confirmed that they developed into skin, muscle and other types of cells. the lead researcher says the findings could have a variety of applications ranging from cancer treatments to regenerative medicine. >> translator: i think human cells may also possess some sort of sur nooifl mechanism when exposed to stress. >> reporter: the team from riken was joined by researchers from u.s. institutions. they have dubbed their discovery stap. stap cells are qualities similar to those find in pluripotent stem cells or ips cells. but the researchers say their
methods for generating stap cells is simpler and quicker. they say it takes two to three weeks to generate ips cells. that compares with just one week using their method. a scientist who studied ips cells and who was not part of the study says the new method could have implications for research around the world. >> translator: the finding is revolutionary. i don't think anybody dreamed it was possible. the researchers succeeded in turning ordinary cells into pluripotent cells by just applying stress to the cell's environment. >> reporter: the researchers say their next step is to find out whether they can use their technique on human cells. already leading scientists are praising the team's work.
shared the 2012 nobel prize for his work on ips cells. he says the findings represent an important achievement that will deepen understanding of cell reprogramming. yamanaka says he's hopeful the technique can successfully be applied to stem cells. nhk world, tokyo. diplomats from china and south korea have raised some issues of mutual concern at the united nations. during a debate before the security council they criticized japanese prime minister shinzo abe's visit to yasukuni shrine last month and had strong words on the issue of so-called comfort women. japan's envoy refuted the remarks and called for improved ties among the asian neighbors. representatives from more than 50 countries spoke at the open-door debate on war and
peace. >> translator: prime minister abe's homage is a challenge to the international order applied to world war ii. >> jas cunnie honors the war dead. those include those con vithed of war crimes after world war ii. south korea spoke out about comfort women. many were forced to work in broth themes serving japanese soldiers during world war ii. >> the comfort women issue is also an important universal women's rights issue. >> japan's envoy to the remarks and explained the intention behind abe's shrine visit. >> he undermined that the purpose of his visit was to renew the pledge that japan shall never again wage war. >> yamamoto said the comfort
women issue will be resolved and said they want to work toward better relations. >> japanese prime minister abe says they will replace the exports barn with a new set of rules that allows weapons exports under controlled conditions. abe was answering a question in the upper house on wednesday about the government's plan to revise the ban. he said japan will maintain the basic philosophy of the peaceful nation on the u.n. charter when we vizing it. >> translator: the new set of rules will clarify cases in which shipments should be band. the government will devote rigorous study to defining which transfers should be allowed. thorough screening and proper controls should ensure that such exports are not used ford purposes other than those stipulated. trans shipments to third countries should also be properly controlled. >> abe said in formulating the
knew rules the government will take into consideration the historical effects of japan's export ban. the top u.s. intelligence official says his government will be able to share more intelligence with japan after the country's new state secrecy law takes effect. he said the nation is becoming an important new partner in intelligence gathering under prime minister abe's administration. national intelligence director james clapper made the remark on wednesday before the senate intelligence committee. >> they are really emerging as great intelligence partners, and this extends to the prime minister. >> the law en enacted in december is aimed at protecting state secrets. it will allow heads of ministrition to designate particularly sensitive information as special secrets. those who leak such information will be punished. the law will take effect by december of this year. clapper expressed concern over the consequences of the leaks of classified documents by former u.s. national security agency
contractor edward snowden. he said terrorists now know more about how u.s. intelligence services collect information and monitor new threats. clapper said terrorist groups have changed the way they communicate among each other. u.s. ambassador caroline kennedy and cabinet minister have agreed to work closely together to resolve the issue of japanese nationals abducted by north korea. kennedy met with feud yeah on thursday. he is in of the abductions issues. she says it's a tragedy and important matter. feud yeah gave kennedy a blue ribbon saying it symbolizing japanese's determination to resolve the situation and the ribbon represents people's anger over the inductions as well as the desire of the victim's families to get the loved ones back home. stimulus is winding down in the u.s. for more on the latest fed
decision ron madison joins us. >> that's right. the fed has decided to continue with its tapering, all eyes on how it goes about this because there's concern about the impact this will be having on other economies, in particular the emerging economies. so investors and economists around the world really watching the markets now to track the impact of the latest decision by the u.s. federal reserve. policymakers at the central bank voted to continue scaling back the monetary stimulus program. they say various factors show the u.s. economy is chugging along. the policymakers gathered over two days for their federal open market committee meeting. it was their last with ben bernanke as chairman. they decided to cut monthly purchases of treasury bonds and other assets by $10 billion to $65 billion. they say growth in exhibit activity is up in recent quarters and the pace of household spending and business investment is also growing. the policymakers decided in december to start tapering the huge stimulus program, slashing
it by $10 billion. let's get a check of the markets. global investors continue to pull money out of riskier assets such as equities. concerns about major economies are -- the lira is facing further selling. europe's benchmarks are trading lower. london down by .3%. frankfurt declining nearly half a percent. pair russ down by .4%. japan's nikkei was down 2.5%. shanghai dropped .8% ahead of the lunar holiday there. singapore's main index fell to almost a five-month low. the euro down to a two-month low against the yen. right now euro/yen is around 139.18. analysts say some market players are wary of the possibility that upcoming inflation data out of germany may come in lower than what they are expecting. this is putting a bit of pressure on the single currency.
meanwhile dollar yen is quoted at 102.30. market players are waiting for the fourth quarter gdp data due out later today. the turkish lira is extending losses against the dollar, erases all the gains made after the central bank raced the key rate to stop the lira from sliding further. analysts say the fed's latest move could prompt a risk aversed action. we got some comments on the outlook. >> translator: the further scale back of the fed's bond buying amounting to $10 billion was within market expectations. but the fed's statement didn't mention anything about the sharp declines in the currencies of emerging economies. that triggered investors' concerns. >> tom muir rah says volatility
in emerging markets could continue until investors become more confident about the strength of the u.s. xhooen economy. >> translator: the key to stopping capital flight from emerging markets is a strong recovery in the u.s. economy. some investors are concerned about the weaker-than-expected employment situation in the u.s. if they see a solid improvement in the next jobs report, market players could gain more confidence and may start to invest in riskier assets. in other news, japanese automakers say the increase in the consumption tax causes new car sales to drop by 10% this year. officials say they expect sales for 2014 to total 4.85 million
units, down more than half a million from last year and a drop of 9.8%. officials say sales will likely climb until the end of march as demand surges before the consumption tax rises from 5% to 8% on april 1st. but they expect sales to drop off after that. the officials estimate an even steeper drop in sales of many vehicles, expecting a decrease of nearly 12.5%. they say this is the result of the tax increase but also a natural drop-off from 2013. that's when many manufacturers release new models and sales of mini vehicles hit a record high. rice farmers in northern japan are promoting their produce in signing pour. they're alarmed by the free trade talks that aim to abolish tariffs on rice imports into japan under the trance pacific partnership. farm irs are promoting their brand of rice at a department store in singapore.
this group has been keen on developing overseas markets for their rice. many japanese rice farmers are afraid cheap imported rice might flood the home market if tariffs are drastically reduced under the tpp. >> i like the taste. my son likes japanese rice a lot. so we usually cook this at home. >> meanwhile the group is facing intense competition. the same brand in vietnam is sold for less than half the price of the same brand grown in japan. officials of the japanese farmers group say they will try harder to have their rice known to local consumers to survive the competition. that is going to do it for biz tonight. i'll close things out with the markets.
every morning investors turn their attention to asia. the tokyo market leads the way and markets around the world follow. >> from the decisions that could change the course of an economy. >> to the latest business trends. >> up-to-the-minute market reports. >> and analysis by specialists from around the world. >> get all the latest business nice in "insight" every day here on "newsline."
journalists working in egypt for a broadcaster that criticized the interim government are fighting for their freedom. prosecutors say they indicted 20 correspondents for the qatar tv station al jazeera accusing them of aiding terrorists. the journalists are 16 egyptians and four foreigners. prosecutors accuse them of spreading false information supporting a terrorist group and threatening national security. al jazeera has been criticizing the interim government that took power last july after the military ousted president mohamed morsi. officials ordered the arrest of correspondents who interviewed members of morsi support group, the muslim brotherhood. they say the brotherhood is a terrorist group. al jazeera's cairo offices have been closed since july. the representative says the world knows the allegations against the journalists are baseless and criticized the decision to indict them. they say it's a challenge to
free speesh and the right of journalists to report freely and people's right to know. egyptians have seen a lot of change in the three years since the arab spring. they elected their leader in the first free election in history and will once again cast their ballots later this year. army generals have endorsed their chief to run for president. he's now gaining popular support. nhk world's here roche she i'm zach ki spoke with activists who took part to see how they view. >> reporter: thousands of egyptians celebrated the third anniversary of the revolt on saturday. they held a lottery for the military general who ousted the president's first democratically elected president, mohamed morsi. things were drastically different three years ago.
antigovernment protests continued for days in tahrir square and brought down president mubarak. the anti mubarak movement was started by young people who yearned for democracy. mohammed was one of the movement leaders back then. now he feels support for the movement has dwichbd ld with time. >> after just three years i'm disappointed the situation has become like this. >> reporter: after mubarak was ousted, the muslim group was legalized and realized as the most powerful political force in the country. their supporters elected morsi in the 2012 presidential election, but soon there were mass protests against him. the army removed him from office
and installed an interim governme government. kamal says a military-led government is not what he wants and believes the democratic movement is losing popular support. he was recently invited to a televised debate and harshly criticized by others on the panel. >> reporter: then he was dealt with another blow, three of his colleagues were recently arrested and tried in court. they were sentenced to three years in prison for provoking antigovernment demonstrations.
mahmoud arafi broke away from kamal's movement last year and formed a new political group. their aim is to support a new constitution that gives more power to the military. it was supported by 98% of votes casted in a referendum this month. >> translator: what the people want is stability and order in the country. we should change our thinking to the direction that people wish f for. >> reporter: many at tahrir square on the third anniversary appear excited about the prospect of army chief, abdul assisi defending the next president. but kamal says he still remains committed achieving democracy.
>> translator: i do have mixed feelings. this is the place where we knocked down the dictatorship of mubarak. i won't give up. i will resume fighting again from this place. >> reporter: observers say the military has gained even stronger constitutional powers than before the arab spring began. they believe the crackdown against those in the military takeover will likely to continue for the time being. hiroshi shimazaki, nhk world, cai cairo. there's a tropical storm hitting parts of australia. our meteorologist robert speta has more on that. robert? >> gene this is cyclone dylan coming from the southwest moving onshore around townsville,
already seeing heavy rainfall. it's still just off the shoreline right around the reef. you can see all these outer bands, these are continuing to bring heavy rainfall to areas farther inland, still seeing gusting winds up to 140 kilometers per hour, category two sigh klein on the bureau of meteorology scale. it sounds intense but this is the equivalent of a severe tropical storm if this was in the northern hemisphere. you have the cyclone warnings in effect from card well to sand lawrence, townsville, moving just south of you puts you in the right front quadrant. these areas will get not only the highest winds but the heaviest rainfall. pretty significant flooding coming onshore here. definitely that's going to be the main threat out of this through the next 24 to 48 hours as the storm continues to progress. meanwhile, let's talk about the snowfall in the northern hemisphere. completely switching gears here,
farther off to the east just north of bucharest, you're looking at one storm falling away that brought heavy snowfall. let's take a look at this video out of romania. this is about 100 kilometers north of bucharest. you've been seeing snowfall about two days ago. one storm blew through and caused two deaths. whiteout conditions as heavy snow closed many schools on wednesday. residents being advised to stay home. up to 2.5 meters of total accumulation fell during the last several days. imagine trying to dig out of that. this is continuing to push east. improving conditions behind it. on its heels is another storm system affecting those of you in italy and the alpine regions, you could see a meter of snow in their elevations. in the lower elevations severe thunderstorms coming out of this as it continues to push towards the balkans as well. behind that, another storm
system by friday into saturday moving across the british isles. this will bring gusty winds and high waves along the seaboard here. over towards rome, gusty winds with that, temperatures getting up to 14. as you take a look towards eastern asia, they have a low pressure system moving across japan today that's been bringing showers. if you were in tokyo you probably had your umbrella ready for most of the day. but that's tapering off. cooler air filtering towards the north. we've been looking at avalanche risk in northern honshu, that is going to switch over to just snow. the risk is going to start to deteriorate. for the most part, mild temperatures dominating much of western japan, korea and towards china for the next several days and into the weekend as well. it's going torque little bit above average. the big topic, as far as the tropics in the north is this system right here, a tropical depression expected to become a
the country's central bank has started selling commemorative coins for the 2014 world cup tournament and there's no shortage of interest. the bank has produced 165,000 coins of nine different values. one is made of gold, two of silver and six of copper and nickel. the gold coin has the highest face value of ten rhee y'alls. it's selling for 1,180 reals, about $500. it depekts the world cup trophy and a ball touching the net. one of the copper nickel coins bears an image of a player making a kick. another shows the competitor trapping the ball. eager football fans are turning up to buy the coins. >> translator: i decided to buy the coins this time because there is no knowing when brazil will next host the world cup. >> bank officials say they have not yet decided how to sell the coins in other countries. that's "newsline" for this
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