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tv   Newsline  PBS  September 2, 2013 6:00am-6:31am PDT

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welcome to nhk world "newsline," i'm gene otani in tokyo. here's a look at the stories we're following at this hour. houses have lost their roofs and many residents are injured near tokyo. people are blaming a tornado. u.s. president barack obama is trying to convince congress to approve a military strike on syria, but faces opposition from lawmakers and americans weary of war.
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and we'll tell you why the price of japan's national drink is going up much to sake lovers dismay. eyewitnesses say sharp gusts of wind that overturned cars and left a swath of damaged buildings near tokyo came from a tornado. the gust began shortly after 2:00 pm on monday and left a trail of debris in the city of koshigaya. video shows what appears to be a tornado. firefighters and police say the powerful winds ripped through parts of the city and did extensive damage to nearly 90 buildings. police say at least 63 people were injured. one of them reportedly suffered a fractured skull. >> translator: bits and pieces flew in our house, i heard windows break, sound of shattering. it's okay, i was given first aid. >> one witness reported seeing something that looked
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like a tornado towering more than 300 meters high. another said the sky suddenly darkened and she saw a big black tornado in front of her. people in the nearby city of noda are reporting similar damage. firefighters say more than 150 buildings have been damaged there. the winds knocked down utility poles and overturned cars. u.s. president barack obama thinks the syrian government should be punished for what he believes was an attack using chemical weapons. obama has met groups of lawmakers. he's also phoned others to try to win their support. he's trying to persuade members of congress to approve a military strike. obama's national security team briefed members of the house of representatives. it revealed classified intelligence to bolster its argument about the need to act. many lawmakers say obama's aides evidence forces close to president bashar al assad used chemical weapons. but many wondered what u.s.
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forces would do after such an operation. the senate foreign relations committee is scheduled to hold a similar briefing on tuesday. many lawmakers, both democrats and republicans, say they are undecided about whether to support a strike. earlier in the day john kerry spoke on shows on five tv stations to seek public support. >> if we don't stand up, i can't contemplate that we would have granted impunity to a ruthless dictator to continue to gas his people. >> kerry added it would send the wrong message to iran and north korea as well. in syria, opposition leaders say government forces have renewed their attacks after a recent decrease in fighting. they say government pilots bombarded a residential area in glas damascus on sunday killing 15 people. government forces are taking
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advantage of obama's decision to seek approval from congress. syrian president assad is showing defiance in the face of u.s. military threats, but his neighbors are anxious. they fear an intervention will spread instability through the region. nhk world's sho beppu reports from lebanon's capital, beirut. >> reporter: president assad met in damascus on sunday with a group of iranian lawmakers. he reportedly told them he hopes the u.s. congress will reach a sensible decision on a possible attack. iranian television says assad repeated it was the opposition that attacked civilians with chemical weapons. he said, those who conspired against syria would soon be buried in graveyards. syrian tensions are forcing people to flee their homeland. since the start of the unrest
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2 1/2 years ago, almost 2 million people have left as refugees, and more are waiting to get out. a constant flow of cars crosses this checkpoint between syria and lebanon. many people say they lived near an airport or military installation. both possible targets of strikes. >> translator: i am fleeing because i'm scared of the attacks. >> translator: i don't want the u.s. to intervene, but i want this war to end. >> reporter: if the military action goes ahead, observers fear the assad regime and its supporters, such as lebanese, shia islam group, hezbollah, may retaliate against u.s. ally, israel. hezbollah has already sent fighters to syria to support the
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assad forces. supporters of the group were defiant during friday prayers at a mosque in southern beirut. people are being urged to join the battle against the united states. some had hung a slogan among the main street saying our determination to fight. >> translator: the u.s. is the principle culprit of terrorism. they are the ones that always start the attack. >> translator: military action doesn't achieve anything. we will keep protesting. >> reporter: iran is strengthening its rhetoric against president obama and his threat of force. in israel, the military is boosting its missile defense system. in addition to the unrest from
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the syrian civil war, the prospect of an american attack is shaking the region further. sho beppu, nhk world, beirut. syria's opposition has not been struggling alone. the government of the gulf state of qatar has been supporting their fight. in a recent interview with nhk, qatar's foreign minister harshly criticized the use of chemical weapons against civilians. the government of qatar has backed syria's opposition. in november last year it hosted the formation of the national coalition for syrian revolutionary and opposition forces. it was formerly recognized as a legitimate representative of the syrian people. foreign minister accuses the assad regime of killing innocent people, including children, with toxic gas and says he would support direct military action.
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>> no one has the facility to launch but the regime and it has been used before. it has been used before in february. we always wish to see something happen through u.n. security council, but with the reluctance of the security council and with the, unfortunately, blockage of vetoes, then i think there is another way for the international community to save and protect the syrian people. >> he also acknowledged there are foreign volunteer fighters flooding into syria to support the rebels, but he says he does not see this as a big problem. >> foreign element should not worry us unless we keep this dragging on. the sooner we get a solution, okay, the sooner this foreign element has to leave syria. prosecutors in egypt have
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ordered ousted president mohamed morsi to stand trial on charges related to murder. state-run television reports morsi and 14 senior members of the muslim brotherhood will stand trial. islamist group is morsi's power base. last december his supporters clashed with opposition demonstrators in the capital, cairo. at least seven people were killed. prosecutors argue morsi instructed his followers to silence the opposition with force. morsi held power until the beginning of july when egypt's military leaders overthrew him. his supporters staged protest after protest, demanding he be reinstated. last month security forces moved in to stop the demonstrations. more than 850 people were killed. the interim government issued a state of emergency. that allows police to arrest people without warrants. security forces have detained about 2,000 members of the muslim brotherhood, including the leader of the movement.
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japan's government is to compile a basic plan on tuesday to deal with a leak of radioactive water at the fukushima daiichi nuclear power plant. >> translator: we shouldn't leave this problem to the plant operator, tokyo electric power company. from now on the government will play an active role in dealing with the problem. previous measures tepco took were made on an ad hoc basis and we now need to take drastic steps. >> chief cabinet secretary yoshihide suga says they will do all they can, planning a comprehensive package of measures on tuesday at a meeting of its nuclear disaster task force, which includes all cabinet members. contaminated water leaked from a storage tank at the plant and some of it may have entered the ocean.
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tepco detected a radiation level of 1800 millisieverts per hour. near another tank on saturday. that much radiation can kill a person within four hours after exposure. >> the only two nuclear reactors operating in japan are shutting down for regular inspections. they will leave all the country's nuclear power generators idle for the first time in 14 months. workers with kansai electric started lowering the output of the number three reactor at the ohi plant. early tuesday, they will bring it to a stop. they will repeat the process with the number four reactor in about two weeks. they say a fault running below the plant is not active and the fault has not moved and doesn't have the possibility of moving in the future. operators of the ohi facility
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and five other plants applied for safety screening to restart the reactors. it is not clear whether the nuclear regulation authority will give the utilities the green light. violence erupted yet again in afghanistan on monday morning when a group of suicide bombers targeted a u.s. military base in the country. dhra dhirakaosal in bangkok is following this story for us. >> the taliban is claiming responsibility for the assault. the incident follows a week of escalating attacks in afghanistan as international combat troops prepare to withdraw by the end of 2014. a spokesperson for eastern afghanistan province says several militants wearing suicide vests and carrying weapons launch an attack near the border with pakistan. three taliban fighters were killed according to afghan officials. following the attack, authorities close a road conducting a key route for nato
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supply trucks. this latest incident underscores the tenuous state of security in afghanistan as they prepare to face two critical moments, the departure of the majority of foreign troops and the presidential election scheduled for next april. thailand was the world's largest rice exporter for decades, but last year it lost that status. and the government is receiving much of the blame. the prime minister promised to buy the food staple at inflated prices helped her win the election two years ago. but the scheme has put massive strain on the nation's finances. nhk world reports. >> this is a farmer in central thailand. he produces about 400 tons of rice each year. his annual income used to be $60,000 but thanks to the
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government rice buying program, it more than doubled to $120,000 per year. >> this is my bankbook. i get one million bought every four months. >> he used the windfall to completely repay a machinery loan and buy a japanese car. about 1.3 million thailand families have applied for the rice purchase scheme. the government effectively buys rice directly from farmers for about $460 a ton. 1.8 times the market rate. the program was a cornerstone of prime minister's election campaign two years ago. >> if you want to stop the price of rice from falling and protect
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your livelihood, vote for me. the people who drafted the scheme assumed losses at the point of purchase would be offset by the rising value of export sales. but other rice producing nations like vietnam and india, lowered prices and undercut thailand. last year the country lost its position as the world's largest ricexportefor the first time in 31 years. the government is saddled with a stockpile of 18 million tons of rice. nearly twice as much as a country exports in a year. by some estimates, total government losses from the program could soar to $8 billion, or about 10% of thailand's national budget. in june, a u.s. ratings agency warned thailand's credit rating is at risk. >> the government has initiated
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this key for two years. during this entire two years they have not done proper accounting of how much loss there is. >> meanwhile, consumers are growing concerned about the quality of the rice in long-term storage. >> quality checks have been strengthened. one minister went in front of the media to prove the grain were fit to eat. the government seems determined to stick with the program. >> translator: of course losses must be reduced so we've set up a council to review the purchase price, but the program is needed to keep the price of farm products high. there's no better way. >> yinluck's government says the
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rice buying policy is good for the domestic economy because it reduces income gaps between urban and rural areas. whether the government can protect the program, win back r. nhk world, bangkok. >> and that wraps up our bulletin. i'm dhra dhirakaosal in bangkok. one of japan's best-loved animation directors says he will no longer make the features for which he is known. oscar-winning filmmaker hayao miyazaki announced his retirement in a statement at the ve venice international film festival. the latest work, "the wind rises" is competing for the top prize of the golden lion. he has directed a series of hit movies that are known for bridging the world of adults and children.
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>> myazaki's 2001 production "spirited away" set an all-time box office record in japan. the movie won an academy award in the u.s. for best animated feature. ♪ "the wind rises" is his first work in five years and his 11th feature movie. the main character is based on the designer of the imperial japanese navy's zero fighter plane. he struggles to survive the 1923 great kanto earthquake and world war ii and its aftermath. he always thinks the feature-length movie he is working on at that moment will be his last. miyazaki's fans find it hard to accept that their beloved director is giving up film
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making. some of them spoke after watching "the wind rises" in venice. translator: the film is truly moving and i hope he continues to move me. i don't want him to retire. >> translator: it can't be true. he must continue his work. he is still young. he is only 72. >> miyazaki was awarded the honorary golden lion at the 2005 venice film festival for his continuing contributions to cinema. sake drinkers in japan have had it easy. for almost two decades, prices never went up. but the party is almost over. here's nhk world's kengo suzuki. >> reporter: the sake brewing company is head quarter in kobe
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and sells more sake than any other company. on october 1st, the firm is raising prices on its 140 products by 2% to 27%. other large sake brewers are doing the same, including the fourth largest firm, the ozeki corporation. after 19 years of paying the same amount of money for a drink, sake lovers are finding the news of price increase hard to swallow. >> translator: it's hard to take because i drink sake every day. >> translator: i don't want a price rise. >> reporter: these days japanese only drink a third of sake as they did in the peak year 1975. so why would sake makers want to raise prices and risk driving customers away? it's because the cost of making sake has gone up. outside the factory, a cooling
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machine operates in the hot, humid air. it's keeping the temperature of the tank inside steady to ensure fermentation takes place in a desired way. the price of electricity which powers the cooling machine rose in april. this will add $340,000 to the power bill over the fiscal year. >> translator: customers boost energy costs a great deal, both electricity and gas. >> reporter: the reason for the rise in energy prices goes back to marchf 20 after the sast, almost a of japan' nuclear plants stopped running. power companies that rely on nuclear power are suffering and have to charge more for their electricity. the sake manufacturers also blame thmarch 11th disaster for reducing the supply of the
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special rice they need to make their product. >> translator: we've done our best to keep our products as low priced as possible. but the increase was unavoidable because we have to pay more for rice and energy. >> reporter: the 2011 disaster is still affecting the lives of many japanese, even those who would like to put their cares on hold with a drink of sake. kengo suzuki, nhk world, kobe. here are the latest market figures.
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after a tornado, a tropical storm is approaching japan. for more we turn to rachel ferguson from the weather team. rachel. hi there. been very dramatic weather across japan over the last couple of days. we were just seeing there was indeed a tornado that ripped through today quite close to tokyo just to the north in fact. what's been happening is we've got a lot of very unsettled conditions across japan for the last several days, lots of thunderstorms. there's actually cold air aloft. and that's clashing with these very warm temperatures still here in koshigaya, 34 degrees, chiba 34.2. both of these areas affected by that tornado that erupted today. and around this time of year it is possible to see tornadoes even here in japan. it's not so common, but it's not completely unusual either. august, september, october, if you're going to see them, this is usual the sean for it.
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it coincides with typhoon season as well because these tropical systems the outer bands are very good at forming tornadoes. that wasn't necessarily the case this time. but it has been very unstable. and we're likely to see more hoef vi rain with the approach of a new tropical system, but last week you'll remember there was that sysm kong-rey that moved through. thatystem merge with front over japan. it bught a lot of heavy rain in the last three days. look at some of these totals. up to 400 millimeters in just a three-day period down towards the west of japan. but in central locations as well more than 200 millimeters across a fairly wide area. well, unfortunately, no good news to come. we still have that stalled out front line across much of japan and yet another tropical system. this is torachi and it's going to be bringing yet another dose of strong winds and heavy rain and really supplying a lot of moisture to this front. we actually haveome video out of okinawa to show you what is
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going on right now with this new system approaching. it's just off the nthwest coast of okinawa this evening. 83 millimeters of rain has fallen in the past three hours. so it's very intense short-time rainfall. and the wind gusts have picd up to 90 kilometers an hour. all right. so, as we head into tuesday, we're going to be seeing these conditions transferring towards kyushu. northeast, 15 kilometers an hour, that's where the system is moving. the winds are still sustained just over 70 kilometers an hour with gusts over 100. now, we're likely to see a little bit of intensification as it approaches. certainly the seas are going to start to get very rough indeed. maybe about five meters we're talking about for kyushu. and the rain, look at this, all the orange you see spreading up that coast, 200 millimeters in addition to those totals that we were just looking at. so it will be very, very high concern for flooding as well as those intense winds. on into europe, the northeast is where you're going to be seeing the thunderstorms today and on
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into tuesday. you can even see large hail and potential for short-time heavy rain here. about 30 millimeters in the space of an hour isn't out of the question. pretty dry and clear, high pressure across the southeast as well as out towards the west. there looks like there's a new system coming into northern british isles, but at the moment it stays very warm down towards the southwest, madrid and lisbon both into the 30s there, 35 in lisbon indeed. little cooler in central portions of the continent, but that is going to change. we've got improving temperatures in portions of france into belgium and in germany as well 19 rising up to the mid-20s by wednesday. here's your extended forecast.
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that's "newsline" for this hour. i'm gene otani in tokyo. from all of us here atd -- at
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nhk world, thanks for joining us.
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♪ ♪ two and a half years after the tohoku earthquake, many traces of the damage can still be seen in the coastal areas of miyagi prefecture. diego laje is a freelance journalist from argentina. based in hong kong, he works on a show for an american network. he came to see the area after the earthquake.


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