hello there welcome to "newsline." it's tuesday, september 24th. i'm catherine kobayashi in tokyo. world leaders are set to discuss a range of international crises as they meet in new york for the united nations general assembly. it could end up being one of their most meaningful gatherings in decades.
the civil war in syria will be at the top of the agenda. leaders from 193 member states are scheduled to attend when the annual general debate opens later on tuesday. they're expected to focus on the use of chemical weapons in syria. many believe government forces used poison gas last month to kill hundreds of civilians in a suburb of damascus. u.s. president barack obama wanted to bypass the u.n., and carry out punitive strikes on the regime of syrian president bashar al assad. now he's expected to call for a united response. the syrians entered a strategic alliance with iran and many are waiting to hear what rowan hassanny will say. the security council is set to discussion a resolution urging the syrian government to scrap its stockpile. japanese prime minister shinzo abe is scheduled to speak on thursday. he's expected to announce additional aid to syrians who've been displaced by the fighting.
chemical weapons aren't the only threat to stability in syria. militants affiliated with al qaeda are exploiting the turmoil and attacking both government and opposition forces. islamic militants and opposition free syrian army both want to overthroat the assad government but don't agree on what should replace it. >> the militants are mainly foreigners. they're expanding their control of areas in northern and eastern syria near the borders with turkey and iraq. last week extremists took control of the northern city that had been held since last year by the free syrian army. the european union's top diplomat says the stalled negotiations on iran's nuclear pro-gram are set to resume. foreign policy chief catherine
ashton says iran's foreign minister will meet this week with counterparts from six major powers. ashton met with iran yes, sir jarif on the sidelines of the u.n. general assembly. >> we talked about a number of important issues, but focused on the nuclear issue. we had a good and constructive discussion. >> ashton said zarif will sit down on thursday with delegates from the five permanent u.n. security council members and germany. she said zarif also agreed to join negotiations with the six powers next month in geneva. zarif told iran's state-run media that he and ashton made a good start. negotiations with the major powers broke down in april. but iran has a new government under president hassan rowhani. and he suggested he is willing to resolve the nuclear issue. time now for the latest in business news, apple executives
are putting up their feet after a weekend without much rest. they sold a record number of iphones on opening weekend. aye uchida joins us now. what's so special about these new models? >> well, it could be the way they were sold, catherine. more operators carried them, and also more -- in more countries, that is. let me give you all the details as catherine said, executives at apple say they've achieved a new sales record with the latest models of their iphone. they say they sold more than 9 million handsets in the first three days after their launch. the iphone 5s and the cheaper iphone 5c went on sale in nine countries last week. officials at apple say the three-day sales figure was 4 million units higher than for the previous model released last year. sales increased partly because japan's largest mobile phone carrier began handling the iphone. another reason is that the new
models were launched in china at the same time as in japan and the u.s. previously people in china had to wait several months after new iphone models were launched in other markets. now, apple is aiming to regain market share from its rivals handsets using the android operating system developed by google, account for nearly 80% of the global market. meanwhile, the pioneer of smartphones has agreed to sell itself. canada's blackberry will be bought by a group led by an investment firm. the deal will take the company private. blackberry announced on monday that it will be bought by canada based fairfax financial holdings group for $4.7 billion. the group currently holds about 10% of blackberry shares. the final purchase price will be decided after november. blackberry had a nearly 20% share in the global smartphone market back in 2009. but its market shares dropped to less than 3% in recent years.
last week the company announced it will cut 4500 employees, or about 40% of its workforce. time for a check on the markets. u.s. stocks ended lower monday. the dow jones industrial average shed a third of a percent to end up 15,401, continuing their drop from friday. the negative performance was due to jitters over the u.s. economy, as well as continued uncertainty over budget negotiations in congress. well let's now head ear to ee line lee. markets in japan have some catching up to do after being closed for a holiday monday. how are things looking at the moment. >> good morning, ai. let's take a look at the opening levels for tuesday, september 24th. the nikkei is lower by 0.5%, at 14,668 points, after ending last week up more than 2%. but the yen's strength seems to be hurting market sentiment at the moment.
and the broader topix is down about 0.7%. china's manufacturing activity rose to a reading of 51.2 in september, according to hsbc and that's the highest level in six months. and that also sent the shanghai composite up more than 1% for a one-week high on monday. so today we'll see if this is able to help with share prices of china-related companies here in japan, such ooze komatsu. we may also want to keep track of japanese component suppliers to apple after the u.s. tech giant released upbeat sales figures for the latest iphones as you mentioned, ai. and now moving on to currencies. the yen is stronger against the dollar and euro. dollar yen is now at 98.80 to 85. the dollar fell in new york as comments from some federal reserve officials prompted
expectations that the fed will maintain its bond buying program for some time. and for now, investors are looking to a string of economic data such as the case shiller home sales today, durable goods on wednesday and gdp on thursday. euro yen at the bottom of the screen, now at 133.38 to 43 yen. the common currency is lower after the european central bank president mario draghi said the central bank is ready to offer more long-term loans if needed. the euro also remains under pressure amid uncertainty over the political situation in germany. chancellor angela merkel needs to find a coalition party after sunday's elections. so there's a lot of catching up to do this morning. and i'll be back later with more updates. back to you, ai. >> sounds good eileen. thanks a lot for that updeet. eileen lee from the tokyo stock exchange. well, a negative start for tokyo
markets. let's see how other markets in the asia pacific are opening this tuesday. people who suffer from a degenerative motor disease lose the ability to control their arms, their legs, their face. patients with als as the disease is known, also lose their ability to speak. but therapists at a tokyo
hospital developed a device that speaks for patients who can't. so people who've lost their speech have found a way to keep their voice. this man suffers from amny owe troughic lateral sclerosis or als. it causes all his muscles to degenerate. eventually als patients lose their speech. before that they can record all the alphabet sounds and their favorite expressions. an occupational therapist came up with the idea of the speech software. he edits the sounds, and adjusts the recorded voice until patients are happy with it. >> translator: if we can create a close enough likeness of the voice, others will say, ah, it
really is that person. >> the voice software has given this patient's family emotional strength during his illness. as his als progressed he had trouble breathing. in april, a respirator was inserted into his throat. as a result, he lost the ability to speak. but before the medical procedure, he had recorded his voice. he wanted to be able to thank his family for shouldering the burden. >> you're welcome.
>> he also wanted to take care of some unfinished business with his son, jun. for four years, jun studied hard to become a hairstylist and his father had opposed the studies thinking jun would give up along the way. but jun pressed ahead and muto lost his voice before he could congratulate his son. >> translator: jun, come here for a second. >> it was jun's day off, and the first time father and son had spoken in a long while.
>> translator: i'll do my best. thank you, dad. >> did it sound like dad? >> it really did. >> translator: being able to hear his voice made me twice as happy. i hope i can show him that i'm working even harder at my job. i'll do my best. >> across japan, new technology gives back what disease has taken away. a patient's ability to say what needs to be said to loved ones.
security forces in kenya say they've taken control of a mall in nairobi at the center of a hostage crisis. they're searching the complex to see if any gunmen are still inside. militants believed to be members of the islamist group al shabaab stormed the mall over the weekend then holed up inside. they killed 62 people and wounded more than 170. wealthy kenyans and foreigners had packed into the mall on saturday when the shooting began. the militants killed at least 15 people from outside kenya. those victims came from nine countries, including britain, canada, and india.
security forces swept into the mall on sunday to rescue the hostages and try to end the standoff. interior ministry officials said three militants had been killed and troops had gained control of the complex. >> we have done search of the building, and we can confirm that the hostages, almost all of them, have been evacuated. >> members of al shabaab from neighboring somalia claimed responsibility for the attack. kenyan forces have intervened in fighting in their country, and the militants have long threatened to retaliate. an egyptian court has banned all activities by the muslim brotherhood and ordered the government to seize its assets. the court ruled on a lawsuit filed by a leftist party asking to dissolve the group led by deposed president mohamed morsi. the ruling states the brotherhood has carried out illegal acts under the guise of
islamic activity. the group's leaders have criticized the ruling and say it was politically motivated. military authorities have labeled the brotherhood a terrorist organization. they've been cracking down on the group since ousting morsi in july. authorities detained its leaders and many of its members. egypt's draft constitution has a provision to ban religious organizations from setting up political wings. the muslim brotherhood's political division is expected to be outlawed. there are reports a chinese politician who fell from grace has appealed a life sentence against him. reuters and other news agency says bo xilai wants to have his sentence for corruption overturned. on sunday, the court found bo guilty of accepting bribes, embezzlement, and abuse of power. he had risen to power as a mayor and as a member of the communist party's politburo and he had been tipped to go even higher. bo still enjoys strong support among members of the public, and
within the party. party leaders have responded to complaints from chinese citizens by cracking down on corruption. they're thought to have a hand in sentencing former senior party members. legal experts say the high court is unlikely to overturn bo's sentence. japan has one of the highest suicide rates in the world. around 30,000 people take their own lives each year. for one irishman in japan, that statistic became personal when a friend killed herself. so he decided to take action. >> i dream of a war, a war on suicide. but i don't even know who is the enemy. >> saving 10,000 people from suicide each year reducing the
total number of deaths by a third, that is the goal and the message of an award-winning documentary that delves into the deep-seated problem of suicide in japan, drawing on interviews with almost 100 people. the film is the work of renee duignan, an economist from ireland who lived in japan for 16 years. filming in tokyo and other parts of the country he spent three years and about $30,000 of his own money making the documentary. his decision to make the film came after a neighbor committed suicide five years ago. >> she was trying to reach out to me for help and quite frankly i ignored her. it left me with a huge sense of regret that i should have done more. that i should have taken the time to listen. >> reporter: as he worked on the project, duignan began to realize just how many japanese are struggling with a sense of
alienation. just like his neighbor had been. no one to talk to and no one aware of her pain. >> duignan released the film last year and since he uploaded it to youtube in march, it's been viewed more than 200,000 times in six months. people around japan have posted messages. >> it made me think a lot.
>> finding out that i'm not the only one is a great relief. >> reporter: in making the film, duignan worked closely with a nonprofit group that provides suicide prevention services in japan. the lifeline for suicide prevention has a nationwide network staffed by volunteers who work around the clock. last year, they took 750,000 phone calls, far more than they were equipped to handle. duignan believes that a lot more could be done that would help reduce the number of suicides. >> that's why lifelines are so busy you can't get through. so this is a simple thing. it's a recommendation but it's something that we can all do. take the time to listen. friends, family members, coworkers. it's a start.
>> reporter: recently duignan was invited to speak at a meting organized by t.e.l., the english language branch of the lifeline. he believes the first step toward preventing suicide is to create a society in which people feel able to discuss their problems openly. >> one message i always get across in japan is that, you know, there's a lot of people want to talk but there's very few people who want to listen. i don't think we should look at suicide as a taboo issue. we have to get beyond that. we've got to talk about it and we have to talk about the causes of suicide. and that is one of the key solutions to solving the problem. >> reporter: every hour in japan, more than three people take their lives. duignan says he'll continue to work and bring his message to all the people he can.
>> people in northeastern japan have been marking the autumn equinox by visiting the graves of loved ones lost in the 2011 disaster. the equinox is a national holiday in japan and a traditional day of mourning. the coastal city in iwate prefecture was devastated by the tsunami. people gathered at a graveyard in the city center to pay their respects. they laid flowers and incense in front of the headstones. >> translator: i lost many friends in the disaster and i came here today to pray for them. >> translator: my niece died so young. i want to show her a reconstructed city as soon as possible. >> 414 ofunato residents died in the disaster. another 79 are still missing.
thousands of residents are still waiting to go home. vast tracts of land are still waiting to be restored. and more than half of fishing ports on the pacific coast must be rebuilt. people in northeastern japan still face challenges following the 2011 disaster. but step by step they're moving forward. see their stories every wednesday on "the road ahead" right here on "newsline." it is time now for a check on the weather. people in some areas of southern china are dealing with severe flooding. meteorologist mori gives us the latest in world weather. >> yes, catherine, on sunday evening typhoon usagi made landfall in guangdong province. seven forms have hit china so far this year but usagi was the strongest. to see how severe the situation was, take a look at this video.
flooding and gale force winds triggered by typhoon usagi have left more than 20 people dead. it made landfall as a typhoon in southern china on sunday evening. fallen trees smashed vehicles. power suroads and railways weref cities. about 230,000 residents we the good news about the system is that it has weakened to a lot of moisture to cause heavy rain fall for guangxi provinces and surrounding areas up to 100 millimeter is likely for the next 24 hours. but starting wednesday, conditions will certainly be looking up. if you look at a bigger picture a line of thunder showers extending from the area up to northeastern china. thunderstorms and heavy rain likely in some places including seoul but back behind the system and ahead of the system looking dry. but a pacific side of japan will see cloudier conditions and rainfall starting on wednesday because of the approaching
tropical disturbance. this is now a severe tropical storm packing winds of 108 kilometers per hour near the center of the storm. it could approach the islands tomorrow and the asa islands into thursday as a severe tropical storm. waves could get as high as eight meters in some places. but the good news is that it's not going to make landfall in mainland japan. temperatures are as follows, 23 in seoul. 22 in beijing. and very chilly in ulan bator, only 11 degrees for the high, and only minus 2 degrees for the low. right in the american continent looking dry across the east but there's a lot going on across the northwest. thundershowers are happening across the central plains and central canada, but this one is going to be diminishing as we go in to tuesday. more of the concern is going to be the northwest. a strong low combined with very cool air is moving into the northwest. triggering lowering temperatures
and also wet and windy conditions. and this one is dumping quite heavy snow fall in the northern rockies on wednesday and thursday. wintersome conditions are likely. temperatures are as follows. very chilly for this time of year in vancouver. as well as seattle. warm in los angeles at 28 degrees for you. and pleasant in washington, d.c. as well as new york city on tuesday. finally, in europe, gorgeous weather for the western continent and the british isles but swirling clouds can be found across the east. sudden burst of showers and thunderstorms and hail possible in some places and temperatures are going to be very low as you can see, moscow, only 8 degrees for the high. and that could go down to only 4 degrees as we go into thursday and october-like weather in kiev, only 11 for the high on tuesday but summer is still hang being on in madrid. the high could be 32 degrees. here's your extended forecast.
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> ifill: gunfire, explosions and billowing thick, black smoke at a mall in kenya's capital marked the third day of a standoff between government troops and al-qaeda-linked terrorists. good evening. i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff in new york tonight, where i just spoke with former president bill clinton, in a wide-ranging conversation about kenya, a possible diplomatic opening from iran, and more.