welcome back to "newsline." i'm yuko aotani in tokyo. kofi annan is warning syria could descend into full civil war. the joint envoy for the u.n. and the arab league predict serious consequences if u.n. observers fail in their mission to stabilize the country. >> i believe that the u.n. supervision mission is possibly the only remaining chance to
stabilize the country. >> annan briefed members of the u.n. security council via video link from geneva. he said the observers have had a calming effect in fighting between syrian government and opposition forces. still, he said, troops continue to violate the cease-fire. he said the levels of violence and abuse are unacceptable. u.n. observers moved in last month to monitor the situation. annan said he expects it will improve after all 300 observers are deployed by the end of this month. u.s. media say a cia double agent foiled a plot to bomb an airliner. the informant reportedly infiltrated the terrorist group and volunteered for the suicide mission. the u.s. government said monday there had been a plot last month to bomb an airliner. the terrorist plans to use a new type of explosive that can pass through metal detectors. the media say the attack was planned by yemeni terrorist
group al qaeda in the, a rabbian peninsula. theyay the cia planted an operative inside the group. the agent volunteered as a suicide bomber to obtain details of the plot and pass them to u.s. intelligence. the cia reportedly vere vealed the plot after ensuring the safety of the agent and his family. the media say the double agent also helped locate a senior member of the al qaeda affiliate. the cia killed him in a drone attack on sunday. the terrorist was accused of involvement in the deadly 2000 bombing of the destroyer "uss cole" in a yemeni port. greeks could soon find themselves participating in something they just went through, a national election. they voted for members of parliament on sunday. but leading parties are having difficulty finding partners to form a ruling coalition. the parties in the ruling coalition new democracy lost their combined majority after
voters rejected the austerity measures. new democracy won the most seats, but its leader has failed to persuade other parties to join the coalition. opposition groups are against the government's approach to obtaining an international bailout through spending cuts and tax increases. alexis siprus leads the other group. they've only been able to get a minority party on board and it's uncertain whether other parties will join them. the leaders will be given an opportunity. if they, too, fail, voters will head back to the polls next month. british prime minister david cameron says his government will stick to its austerity promises but he also promises to work harder to promote growth. cameron's conservative party and deputy prime minister nick clegg's liberal democrats suffered heavy losses last week in local elections.
cameron and clegg made a rare joint press conference on tuesday at a southern factory in england. >> we can't let up on the difficult decisions we've made to cut public spending and to get our deficit and our debt under control. i know it's hard. i know it's difficult. but when you've got a debt problem, the one thing you mustn't do is keep adding endlessly to that debt. >> they promise to help people who want to start businesses. britain and other countries in europe are struggling to recover from the eurozone credit crisis, but the fall of the governments in france and greece this week will be a warning to other leaders pushing for austerity. i'm here at a flower garden north of tokyo. these flowers are in full bloom. i'll tell you what they are and why so many people are attracted to them later in the program.
kim jong-un told north koreans to come back to their land. he told the rulers of the working party to make better use of land and underground resources. kim said officials involved in land management should develop it to benefit a thriving socialist nation. that was the pfls his latest father. he urged them to create new land overwaterways. the country should build more hoise and reinforce railroads. and he called for scientific and technological exchange with other countries. political analysts say kim is making another attempt to demonstrate his leadership by managing the economy and trying to ease food shortages. foreign correspondents say chinese officials are trying to censor journalists. the chinese expelled an american reporter working for the english language service of al jazeera. makoto oda has more from
beijing. >> reporter: they said that chinese authorities refused to renew her visa. al jazeera says it's on its payroll because the authorities also refuse to issue a visa for her replacement. chow is a u.s. citizen who had been reporting from china for al jazeera's english channel since 2007. she has covered social problems including what goes on at facilities that temporarily detain people who try to push reititions with the government. they have denounced the incident. it said that this is the most extreme example of recent pattern of china's government using visas to censor and intimidate chinese from abroad. in 1998, china expelled a japanese journalist.
the foreign minister told a news conference that journalists must abide by chinese rules and regulations while covering stories in the country. in beijing they said china is tightening control of the foreign media ahead of the communist party convention. a new leadership will be established at the meeting. makoto oda, nhk world, beijing. several months have passed since thailand was crippled by its worst flooding in decades. the government's poor response to the crisis has only added to the suffering. inadequate relief has prompted ngos to step in and help the victims. here's a report fr the highly devastated area of ayataya. >> reporter: insufficient government aid is causing flood victims to continue to live among the wreckage.
her house is unsanitary. most of her belongings are damaged and covered in grime. she has no source of income and is living on the rations of food, water and other necessities. rust sins on the walls show that the home was submerged under two meters of water for months. >> translator: it's been a really big struggle. we lost everything. we couldn't save anything. we didn't know what to do. >> reporter: last year's floods destroyed at least 170,000 homes in thailand. many residents watched the deluge wash away all their belongings leaving behind a trail of devastation. but there's hope. she's one of the hundreds of people who are getting a new
home for free thanks to the efforts of charitable groups. the goal is to rebuild over 900 homes in 8 provinces affected by the floods. so far 106 have been completed. i'm here at the construction site where the homes are being built for the flood victims. each home is built at least two meters above the ground as a flood preventative measure. the walls are made of a special material. they are known for being water resistant and easy to install. unlike traditional homes in the area, these houses have indoor plumbing so residents have access to bathrooms in case of emergency. experts fear another major flood will hit thailand this year.
heavier than usual rain is forecast from may to october. ngos are working around the clock to prevent a repeat of the natural disaster. >> translator: the strategy we're using to prepare is to compile a fund that can be used for first response. we're already gearing up just in case. one example is we plan to provide tents as temporary shelters. >> reporter: she feels grateful for her new house. others who have yet to receive help continue to worry. the public is urging the government to implement preventative measures as soon as possible. more and more signs are showing up that underscore the struggles of people who live near the fukushima daiichi plant. the signs read closed for
business. people are leaving the area one after another. shops are closing down. so some people in fukushima city are trying a new strategy to revive their economy. nhk world yutaka ono has the story. >> reporter: japanese are no strangers to match-making parties. but not many have seen one as big as this. men and women gathered at this restaurant in fukushima city and at more than 70 other spots across town. none of them had ever met before. and they had other worries, too. >> translator: many people are uncomfortable or skeptical about being in fukushima fearing the effects of radiation. i wanted to wipe out their fears. >> reporter: fukushima city is
about 60 kilometers away from the fukushima daiichi. it's outside the government's evacuation zone. still, city officials have detected elevated levels of radiation in some places. and more and more residents are leaving town. >> when i walk around, i fear that there are fewer young people in the city. it will be great if many people could get together to make fukushima vibrant again. >> reporter: shopkeepers aren't seeing the customers they used to. masato manages a commercial building with dozens of shops. three of them have gone out of business over the last year. he decided he had to do something. his solution, match making on a grand scale. at first, most restaurant owners
were skeptical. they didn't think that anyone in fukushima would participate in such an event. he visited them one by one to win them over. >> translator: i hope that we can work together to get people to come to fukushima. >> reporter: the day of the event arrived. and more than 2300 people lined up. hundreds came from outside the area. shuzo grew up in amiya town within ten kilometers of the fukushima daiichi. he was forced to move away after the accident. now he lives in a town not far from fukushima city. his friends are scattered all over the place. he hadn't seen so many people in one place since the accident.
he wanted to meet some new friends and not just women. >> translator: over the past year, i've been busy taking care of myself. people around me were so keen to make things better in fukushima. i couldn't have come this far without their help. so now i want to contribute to those efforts. >> reporter: men pay $80 to get in. women pay 50. and they can go to any restaurant they like. eat and drink as much as they want. and if they're lucky, maybe even find a match. he says the success of the event encouraged him to organize another. and perhaps another after that.
>> translator: everyone will come back gradually. and when they do, i want them to find this city lively. i think it's our duty to make that happen. >> reporter: fukuchi said it helped businesses around the city. restaurants for sure, but shops, salons and hotels, too. he says together residents can rebuild their home on the hope of finding love. >> itaka ono has returned to the city several times over the year. how does this help the local economy? >> matchmaking parties are not new. japanese have tried to get young
people together at parties for decades. they first put on large-scale events like the one we just saw in 2004. they've become increasingly popular in the last few years. masato fukuchi was the first to organize one in the three prefectures hit hardest by the disaster. the event doesn't just benefit the restaurants. many stop in at shops. many participant goes to beauty salons before the party. many stay overnight in hotels. so the whole city benefits. people in other towns andthroug about this event. now they're following suit. >> so why do so many people come from outside fukushima prefecture? >> most of the people i talked to said they came to support the city. but they also came just to have a good time. people around here have heard lots of plans about how best to rebuild. we've reported on many of those initiatives over the last year.
fukuchi says they need to come up with some new ideas to keep people from outside interested in their struggle. his idea of a match-making party is one of them. >> thank you. yutaka yano. people non jamman's northeast are focused on overcoming the challenges of the 2011 disaster. but it won't be easy. they have to rebuild homes, businesses, entire communities. we'll show you their struggles and their successes on "the road ahead" every wednesday at 1:00 p.m. japan time here on "newsline." japanese lawyers are taking a political powerbroker back to court. former democratic party leader ichiro ozau waugh was acquitted last month in a funding scandal, but lawyers appointed as prosecutors have decided to appeal to a higher court. ozawa has been a rival to japanese prime minister yoshihiko noda and noda is
planning to raise the consumption tax from 5% to 10%. something ozawa has complained about. and this appeal could limit his ability to challenge the prime minister. now, if you thought springtime in japan revolved only around cherry blossoms, think again. last month the small pink flowers were in full bloom. now another flower is taking center stage. rina joins us. what's that behind you? >> reporter: well, hey, yuko. what you see behind me are wisteria flowers. they areinative to japan. i'm here at a flower garden about 100 kilometers north of tokyo. this place is known to have a variety of flowers, including wisterias. just take a look. you name it, they've got it. wisterias are actually an invasive species but staff have monitored and pruned more than 300 trees to have them on
display for the public. this year visitors get special treat. they are in for a treat. they get to see purple and white wisterias in full ploom at the same time. but the biggest crowd pleaser of the park is this. the giant wisteria tunnel. >> translator: looks like i came at the perfect time. i'm so happy. >> translator: it's so refreshing looking at these flowers makes me so relaxed. >> translator: what a view from down here. it's like a purple curtain. >> reporter: these wisteria trees are 145 years old. the branches have grown more than 30 meters from the trunks in all directions. and the vines fall from the wired ceiling. some of them are as long as 180 centimeters. some of the branches have reached the middle of this wired structure to create this giant perg la.
it spans more than 2,000 square meters, bigger than four basketball courts, making it one of the largest giant wisteria displays in the world. these plants were actually raised in a nearby farming facility and scientists had said that transplanting trees that are older than 100 years was impossible. but in 1997, the first certified female arborist in japan was able to successfully transplant these wisterias to the flower park. >> translator: people who come see our wisterias say, wow, they're beautiful. it's great. i think those people leave here with a sense of joy and happiness. my hope is that these giant wisterias live for a thousand years, grow beautiful flowers and continue to be loved by
visito visitors. >> reporter: in the evenings, visitors also get to take pleasure in another kind of show. the park will have a special illumination display for this wisteria tunnel until may 8th. whether it's the impressive daytime display or the evening illumination, the beauty of these japanese wisterias attract thousands of visitors. the flowers are only in full bloom for about ten days out of the year, and can be enjoyed through the weekend. many people say they've scheduled their yearly trips around wisteria blooming season, and that they become repeat visitors to the park. i'm rina nakano, nhk world. >> thanks very much there. i'm afraid here in tokyo, the skies look pretty gray. let's turn to sayaka mori. >> heavy rain starting to move
into central japan. as much as 30 millimeters of rain is expected in a span of a one hour in the konto area and heavy rain should continue into tonight. not only heavy rain but also thunderstorms, large hail, damaging winds and even tornadoes are possible across central and western japan today because we have very cold air in the upper atmosphere. that is creating very unstable conditions. there is a risk of tornadoes across central and western japan. frequent thunder and lightning, strong cold gusts, large thick dark clouds, also fast-moving rotating clouds. when you see any of these signs, go inside and stay away from the windows because gusts could break them. so very severe conditions are expected. central japan will continue to see the threat of severe weather into tomorrow. meanwhile, high pressure sysm is keeping things dry across most of the northern half of china as well as the korean peninsula.
lots of sunshine. down towards the south, the peak of heavy rain is over across southern china and the southern islands of japan. but moderate rain should remain for the next couple of days. down towards the philippines, remaining very unstable, especially wet in mendinao so do watch out for flash flooding. moving over to the americas, a slow moving pressure system is still producing thundershowers along the eastern and southern coast of the u.s., although parts of texas and louisiana should get drier by tonight. heavy rain will continue in parts of new mexico, southern texas and the northern portion of mexico for the next couple of days, which is not necessarily bad news because this area has been dealing with extremely dry conditions. on wednesday, there is a risk of severe weather along the southeast coast. tornadoes are not out of the question, but for the rest of the u.s., staying mostly dry. lots of sunshine for you. temperatures will be riding to 28 degrees in los angeles.
in denver, it's been on the cold side but we'll be warming up to 25 degrees on your wednesday. 24 degrees expected in oklahoma city. and out towards the east, looking at a seasonal 23 in new york. the same goes for washington, d.c. finally, let's go over to europe. a couple of high pressure systems are bringing dry conditions across most of the southern half of the continent and central europe. but a couple ofow pressure systems are creating unstable weather to the west. this low pressure system producing mountain snow and coastal rain will be moving towards finland and there's another low pressure system starting to produce heavy rain in the southern uk. heavy rain should be moving into northern france as well as the low countries in thursday. out towards the east, heavy thundershowers in western russia and scattered rain in the eastern portion of the balkan peninsula will continue throughout the day. let's take a look at temperatures then. despite the rain, temperatures will be on the warmer side in moscow with a high of 22
and our top story once again -- kofi annan is warning syria could descend into full civil war. the joint envoy for the u.n. and the arab league predict serious consequences if u.n. observers fail in their mission to stabilize the country. >> i believe that the u.n. supervision mission is possibly the only remaining chance to stabilize the country. >> annan briefed members of the u.n. security council via video link from geneva. he said the observers have had a calming effect in fighting between syrian government and opposition forces. still, he said, troops continue to violate the cease-fire. he said the levels of violence and abuse are unacceptable. u.n. observers moved in last month to monitor the situation. annan said he expects it will improve after all 300 observers are deployed by the end of this month. that's it for now but we'll be back with more news at the top of the hour. and we'd like to leave you with