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tv   Journal  KCSMMHZ  February 22, 2012 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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welcome to "newsline." it's 9:00 a.m. in tokyo. i'm catherine kobayashi. nuclear inspectors are wondering what to do next. the team made little progress in determining what tehran is doing with its nuclear program. deputy director general herman nakertz let the inspectors. they returned to vienna after spending two days in iran. >> we approached in a very constructive spirit. unfortunately, we could not get agreement on either of them, so we could not get access, we could not finalize a way forward. >> he said the agency would work out the next steps at a board meeting next month. members of the team will compile a report on their visit prior to meeting.
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analysts say the report is expected to criticize iranian leaders for not cooperating with the inspectors. the iranians did not permit the team to enter a nuclear facility. they suspect scientists may be developing nuclear weapons. they announced they are prepared to resume negotiations on their nuclear program. israeli ministers have hinted they may launch a preemptive strike on iranian facilities. the diplomats have been urging them not to. negotiators from japan and the u.s. say they are close to an agreement on exempting japan from an oil embargo on iran. the two sides have held discussions over the last month. the japanese want to continue importing iranian crude. nearly 10% of their oil comes from iran. they say sanctions would badly hurt their economy. both sides say they are now in the final stages of the talks.
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they are expected to exclude japan from the embargo on condition that it reduces its imports from iran. japan has cut oil shipments from the gulf state by an average of 11% annually over the past five years. u.s. government officials have already begun negotiating with congress on the request. >> translator: japan and the u.s. now have a deeper understanding on the embargo exemption. we hope to have the talks settled on time. >> japanese government leaders want the issue settled by the end of the month. they'll ask japanese firms to reduce imports of iranian crude if the exemption is allowed. two journalists have been killed in artillery attacks by syrian government forces in homs, central syria. the french government and human rights groups in syria say veteran american war correspondent with britain's sunday times, marie culvin were
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killed on wednesday morning. they say the two were attacked while trying to flee a bombarded house where they had been staying. culvin had reported on the suffering of the people around the world in warfare. she lost sight in her left eye in a blast in 2001 while reporting on the civil war in sri lanka. the day before her left, she filed a bbc tv report from syria saying many civilians, including infants, have been victimized there. security and military troops have continued fierce attacks on the anti-government stronghold of homs for nearly three weeks. local human rights activists say 40 civilians were killed there on tuesday alone. in argentina, a packed commuters train has crashed at the end of a platform in booun knows ares. the accident took place in the
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center of the city on wednesday morning. the train slammed into the barrier after failing to stop at the platform. the impact of the collision destroyed the front car and derailed others. police say they are investigating the cause of the accident, including possible problems with the train's braking system. the rail accident is argentina's worse since 1970, when 200 were killed in a train collision. large-scale anti-terror drills have been held in london ahead of the upcoming summer olympics. scotland yard and the organizing committee, which organized the drills on tuesday say nearly 3,000 people took part. the drills simulated an explosion in a london underground train with many passengers injured. police officers practiced
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rescuing the wounded. in july 2005, simultaneous terrorist attacks in london killed more than 50 people. the tragedy occurred shortly after the city was elected to hold the 2012 olympics. police and firefighters were later criticized, which delayed initial responses. they worked together with transport bureau officials on tuesday's drill based on the lessons of the 2005 bombings. >> 2012 olympics are encouraging everybody to travel by public transport, so it's important everybody understands everybody's role. >> the olympics will open on july 27th. a total of 22,000 police officers and security guards from private companies as well as 13,000 british troops will be mobilized for the event. u.s. president barack obama wants to lower taxes for companies in the united states. let's go to the business team for details about that.
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ai joins me now, ai, good morning. >> good morning. that's right, obama and his administration are seeking to bring down the relatively high corporate tax rate in the united states. this is also seen as a move to appeal to the business community in the countdown to the presidential election this autumn. the treasury department proposed on wednesday a reduction in the corporate tax rate to 28%. the current rate of 35% is one of the highest among industrialized countries. the effective rate for manufacturers would be capped at 25%, so that they can better compete in the global markets. the plan also includes measures to offset an expected decline in tax revenue. it aims to close loopholes for oil and gas companies and raise the rate for american firms that operate overseas. treasury secretary timothy geithner said the last time the business tax code was reformed was over 25 years ago. that was before the internet and
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cell phone and prior to the rise of china and other emerging markets. greece continues to be in the spotlight. major credit ratings agency fitch has downgraded greek government bonds following a second bailout agreement for the country, including private sector involvement. fitch announced that it lowered its rating for greece to single c. that's down two notches from ccc. the rating of single c indicates default is likely. it came after financial institutions are now likely to lose over 50% of their redemption value on their greek government bond holdings. this was part of the rescue agreement made by the euro group financial ministers earlier this week. fitch says if the measure is implemented, it will constitute a restricted default. other major ratings agencies
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also express similar views. the dow jones industrial average snapped three days of gains due to profit taking and g geopolitical concerns in the middle east. we go to ramin mellagard in the tokyo stock exchange. >> geopolitical tensions, as you mentioned there. strong focus for investors. we've seen crude oil prices gaining above $106 per barrel, highest since may last year and crude also rising. also business sentiment in europe and manufacturing in china weighing on overall sentiment, so we'll see how that plays into the opening levels. let's have a look at the nikkei and topix, you can see a little negativity in the opening levels. that goes against the grain because we've seen the nikkei
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boosted quite a bit recently by the weaker yen. it closed at its highest yesterday over six and a half months. we did see gains for major exporters and a lot of people looking where the yen is trading and expecting, perhaps, a boost in earnings when companies record next, and that would be on the back of those currency gains, which would boost their profit margins. having to look at some of the currency levels, we can see there what we're talking about there. the euro/yen at the 106 yen levels now and the dollar at the 80 yen levels. looking at the dollar yen rate, weaker by almost five yen since its peak in october last year when it was trading around 75 yen. that's going to help exporters as they calculate sales in the u.s. the euro gaining despite questions about greece's ability to go through with the latest
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austerity deal. it was trading around 97 yen in january, now it's at 106. ai? >> we'll be keeping track of oil markets, as you mention earlier, going higher recently. >> definitely. that's obviously a major focus for investors and some of the oil supply disruptions, which has caused volatility for both brent, the contract in europe, and west texas intermediate crude, which trades on nine mex and that has really been showing some volatility in a lot of the energy-related stocks as well, ai? >> ramin, let me get this straight, a weaker yen makes oil imports to japan more expensive? >> exactly. any energy products, especially oil, is going to add to some of the concerns. we already heard japanese oil companies and trading companies have to maybe reduce oil imports from iran and get a large percentage of oil there.
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so we'll keep track of all of those stocks within the oil and energy sectors, but for now, back to you. >> thanks for that. ramin mellegard from the tokyo stock exchange. south korea just opened, let's get a check on those levels. that is the latest in business for this hour. it's back to catherine now. >> thanks very much, ai. next we go to vietnam for a first in a series of special reports about the rapid economic development of central vietnam.
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>> reporter: international media often refer to vietnam as a country with a vibrant economy, but in reality, economic development has taken off primarily in the north around the capitol hanoi, where i am now, and down in the south around ho chi minh. until recently, they had been left behind the race for prosperity, but that picture is starting to change. over the next three days, we take a closer look at how vietnam is trying to bring the central provinces up to speed. now, hanoi is at the forefront of the nation's economic development. earlier, i went to take a look at how things in the capitol are changing. hanoi is experiencing a construction boom. high-rise buildings are popping up across the city.
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you can also see many huge shopping malls all over hanoi. now this is the newest shopping mall that's just opened up last december. it's the largest imporium in vietnam with a total area of 100,000. this makes this one of the hottest shopping spots in hanoi. >> translator: i bought a notebook pc and a cell phone. >> translator: i came to shop for a 43-inch tv. this mall is still new, but i come here quite often, because it has a wide variety of product. >> reporter: as the economy grows, the lifestyles of vietnamese people are also changing rapidly. per capita income and consumption are rising year after year. the ranks of the urban middle
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class are swelling, now accounting for 30% of the country. vietnam has a population of about 86 million people. it's not only a huge consumer market, but also an important source of labor, and that's why the country is attracting so much foreign investment. the average age of vietnam's population is just 27. this young and diligent workforce is a major draw for investors. the vietnamese government has set attracting foreign investment as one of its top priorities. as you can see there, vietnam's economy appears to be booming in the big cities. now, this boom is spreading to central regions that, until now, have been left behind.
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in 2006, a main road connecting central vietnam with laos and thailand was built, using aid from japan and other countries. it's known as the east/west economic corridor. there's still a lot of red tape that needs to be addressed, but even so, this direct route links vietnam with southeast asia's manufacturing hub in thailand. that gives central vietnam an economic leg up in terms of logistics compared with the north and the south. now the region is seeing more inflows of foreign investment than ever. nhk world reports. >> reporter: one of the most important cities in central vietnam. many foreign companies have their eyes on this old port town. the row of foreign capital is
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mainly directed at the tourism sector. tourists are lured by the beautiful beaches. the city's landscape is changing rapidly. this hotel opened last october. >> it's like the new hot destination. most of them enjoy staying here for a long holiday very much. >> translator: the vietnamese government is not going to miss the opportunity. i am at the international airport. it features the latest facilities. the government abandoned the old terminal, which was built before the vietnam war. it replaced it with a brand new
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building that is the gateway to central vietnam. two direct flights here from seoul every week. on this saturday night, the airport was crowded with tourists. >> i am interested in some historical things, so i chose this country to visit. >> reporter: south korea's investment isn't limited to tourism. a fast-growing firm is actively investing in urban development projects. the developer is building a town complete with shopping and residential districts as well as golf courses and an international conference hall.
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all on claimed land. the project is due to be completed in 2020. its scale is unprecedented in vietnam. >> we decide to invest in daewon. they have a great development potential, including tourism, industry, education, et cetera. >> translator: danang is heading for a bright future. we can be as big as other vietnamese metropolises and other cities of the region. >> reporter: now we're joined by bureau chief. akiko, can you tell us how successful has the government's development strategy been for central vietnam? >> progress is being made, but
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danang is also attracting foreign investment. every year the vietnam chamber of commerce published a list of vietnam's top destinations for investment and danang has been at the top for three years in a row. it scored particularly well in terms of quality of manpower, transparent access to information, and cooperation by public officials. the main charge now will be to remain at the top of the list and continue attracting investors from abroad. >> thank you so much, akiko. tomorrow on the second day of our special report, we'll discuss one of the major challenges for the development of central vietnam. that is finding high-quality manpower in the tourism industry. that's going to wrap up our bulletin for today, reporting from hanoi. in other news, north korea
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and the united states are due to hold direct talks in beijing on thursday over north korea's nuclear development. the meeting will be the first since the death of kim jong-il in december. north korea's nuclear em voi arrived in beijing on tuesday. he did not speak with reporters. u.s. special envoy glenn davies arrived wednesday. >> in the leadership in pyongyang, we'll be interested to see whether they are interested in moving forward with us, what precisely his policies are, in what direction he wants to take his country, all of these are unknowns at this stage. >> earlier nhk world outlined the expected focus of discussions at this meeting. >> i don't think there will be a major breakthrough. that's because both the united states have domestic concerns they need to address. north korea has a new leader in
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kim jong-un, whose political skills are still developing. on the other hand, president barack obama is facing an election campaign. this meeting is the first since the death of kim jong-il, so likely will reaffirm its position on its nuclear program. it won't halt its nuclear program. it's trying to boost public support for the new leader. kim jong-un is being credited with leading the nuclear testing and the firing of long-range ballistic missiles. they are also claiming the development promoted by kim jong-il is among his greatest achievements but north korea is planning stages, so the country may show a more flexible attitude in order to receive relief supplies. i think there is little chance of that happening at this stage. washington has demanded north
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korea suspend. i doubt the north will agree to that. just because the north korea's new leadership gets support by maintaining hard-line stance with negotiations with the united states. i think it will show its determination to stop north korea's uranium enrichment problem. its main concern is the north may conduct a nuclear test to seek financial aid from the international community. the u.s. wants to show north korea this style of diplomacy no longer works, so at this early stage of kim jong-un's rule, the u.s. needs to show there is no room for compromise in nuclear talks. the anti-whaling group has thrown bottled acid at a japanese research whaling ship traveling in the southern ocean. one crew member was splashed
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with the acid but was unhurt. japan's fisheries agency says activists tried to obstruct the ship by throwing bottles containing strong-smelling acid and paint. sea shepherd has been harassing the whalers since jan. they say their actions cannot be tolerated since they pose a threat to the lives of japanese crew members. it's warm out there in tokyo, but commuters are carrying their umbrellas. will it clear up? joining us with the world weather forecast, sayaka mori. >> well, catherine, rain is going to intensify over the course of this morning. thunderstorms and gusty winds are also possible, because we have an active front here, so particularly stormy along the pacific coast, including the
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tokyo area. the wet weather will expand to northern japan, but most of the precipitation will move out to sea quite quickly. in tokyo, dry conditions will come back late this afternoon. meanwhile, the same system is producing showers across southern china, and those conditions will continue into your weekend. down towards the south, some showers are popping up in southeast asia, but it's not on the severe side. temperatures are looking like this, getting up to 21 degrees in hong kong with some light showers, warming up to 25 in taipei and still warmer than average in seoul with 8 degrees and tokyo slightly cooler than average with 8 degrees. now moving on to the americas, winter storm conditions are still continuing in the northwestern corner of the u.s. and western canada, and very strong winds are blowing here. as those systems move towards the east, the southern great lakes region will start to see blowing snow conditions on
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thursday, as much as 20 centimeters of snow is possible, and then we've got another area of active weather in the southeastern corner of the u.s. lots of heavy rain and thunderstorms, and on thursday, we're expecting severe weather from the gulf coast into the ohio valley. we are talking about damaging winds, large hail, and even isolated tornados. and most of the precipitation will be rain rather than snow because we've got nice southerly winds coming in from the gulf of mexico, raising temperatures. we can see 28 degrees in houston and 19 degrees in oklahoma city. 10 degrees warmer than average in d.c. with 19, but across the west, cold air is starting to sweep in, so denver is going to see a huge drop, only 1 degree expected, which is about 10 degrees lower than what we saw on wednesday. finally, let's go over to europe. biting cold conditions have eased, however, stormy conditions are pounding much of europe.
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multiple systems are bringing wet and windy weather in northern europe. gusts could hit 100 kilometers per hour in poland on thursday and the wintery mix will move into russia in the next 24 hours. down towards the south, unstable conditions are continuing across much of the central mediterranean countries, but things will start to moderate from thursday afternoon, so that's good news. lots of teens in the west, getting up to 15 degrees in london, 12 in paris, and 10 degrees in berlin. and across the east, a couple of degrees higher than average in moscow and kiev, so mild conditions throughout europe. all right, here's your extended forecast.
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and that wraps up this edition of "newsline." i'm catherine kobayashi in tokyo. thanks for joining us.
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