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tv   Newsline  PBS  May 4, 2011 7:00pm-7:30pm PDT

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your local independent public tv station. also to say thank you we'll include a dvd copy of one of the many kcsm produced documentaries. hello, and welcome to nhk "newsline." a team of workers am enter the number one reactor building at the fukushima daiichi nuclear power plant on thursday for the first time since march 11. the first step in a plan to safely cool down the reactor. the workers will set up a
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purifier. this is being done ahead of work to restore the cooling functions in the reactor. earlier, tepco disclosed plans to restore the cooling system by circulating water in the reactors' containment vessel. however, the company faces many challenges before the work to set up the system can begin. they include whether the purifier will be able to filter the air to a level that will allow workers to remain inside for extended periods. even if workers manage to enter, radiation levels may remain high near where a water circulating system is to be installed. the workers may need to clean the pipes with water and contain radiation with lead sheets. they may also have to change some damaged pipes and valves. also to circulate water inside the containment vessel, the water must reach the height of the fuel rods. but if pressure within the vessel is eased too much, another hydrogen explosion may occur. tepco says the announced plan is the most promising, even though there are still many problems
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much the company says it wants to restore the cooling system at the number one reactor by settling the issues one by one. japanese's prime minister says his government will determine early next year whether evacuees who live around the fukushima daiichi plant will be able to return home. he visited a facility near tokyo on wednesday where residents are taking shelter. the town is located in the 20-kilometer no entry zone around fukushima daiichi. kan also said that the fukushima plant is expected to be brought under a certain level of control early next year in tepco's plan works. tepco announced in april it plans to reduce the radiation in
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three months. in six to nine months, they plan to control the release of radioactive materials and cool down the reactors. the president of tepco again has apologized to communities affected by the nuclear power plant accident in fukushima. they visited the headquarters in iwake city. more than 90% of the town's residents have already evacuated voluntarily. the remaining residents are being asked to prepare to make a possible emergency evacuation. in reply, the mayor demanded that adequate compensation for
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evacuees be provided. >> on the same say shimizu met the head of other plants. the government has told residents in other parts to evacuate by the end of this month. >> shimizu visited a facility where residents have taken shelter. south korea has conducted its first ever major drill at a nuclear power facility. the exercise was prompted by the
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crisis at japan's fukushima daiichi plant and comes as concerns about nuclear power plants are growing among south koreans. the drill on wednesday took place in the east coast county of uljin, site of a large nuclear power plant. the exercise simulated a scenario in which a major earthquake and tsunami hit the plant and severely damaged a reactor. officials practiced putting out a fire in the reactor, rescuing injured people, and gaging radiation levels in the surrounding area. local residents also took part in mock evacuations to higher ground. following the accident in japan, some south koreans have been calling for the suspension of older reactors that are about to expire. but the government says it will stick to its policy of further promoting nuclear power generation in the country. south korea has 21 plants in operation. the finance ministers from the association of southeast asian nations plus three have
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agreed that the japanese economy will soon return to a coverage after the disaster. finance ministers from japan, china, and south korea joined the discussions in hanoi, vietnam, on wednesday. japan's finance minister noda briefed the participants on the passage of the first supplementary budget on monday aimeda the rebuilding the regions hit hard. he also noted that some countries imposed restrictions on food from japan in the aftermath of the accident at the fukushima daiichi nuclear power plant. he called on the countries to respond calmly and base their actions on scientific evidence. a joint statement released at the end of the meeting highlighted the risks the march 11 disaster may have on the asian economy. but indonesia's finance minister who chaired the talks told reporters that the participants unanimously agreed that the
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japanese economy will soon return to a full-fledged recovery path, despite the disaster. a sendoff ceremony for thai doctors and nurses headed for disaster hit fukushima prefecture was held in bangkok on wednesday. japan's ambassador to thailand told those attending the ceremony at the japanese ambassador's residence that he believes the medical team will bring hope to the survivors. the two doctors and two nurses will work with staff from the fukushima medical university. they'll begin next monday. the doctors are pediatricians and experts in infectious disease. they have trained in japanese medical institutions. >> translator: i feel very honored and thankful for this opportunity. >> the government has temporarily eased restrictions on foreign doctors so they can provide medical services in the
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quake-stricken areas without a japanese license. israel and jordan sent medical teams in march and april. thailand is the third such country. as global competition heats up, elementary schools in japan have started mandatory english education for children. the government says that improving japanese people's language skills is vital for the country. here's our report on how a new generation rises to the challenge. >> reporter: employees at this major online sales company are attending an extraordinary meeting. the president has come to announce the company's new guidelines. >> all employees need to be able to communicate in english. >> reporter: under japan's education policy, students undergo six years of english
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language education at the high school level. but the community and the government says the program is failing. they may be right. are you learning english in school? where did you learn how to speak english? >> no, no, no. >> no. >> reporter: are you learning english in school right now? >> no. . >> reporter: sir, do you speak english? ma'am, do you speak english? many blame their poor english on an education program that concentrates on reading and writing rather than on speaking. >> we have many famous explorers. >> reporter: this private preschool may be proving the government's point. to learn english, you're better off starting young and focusing on conversation. that's the reasoning behind the country's new english language education policy. >> many sailing expeditions down africa's west coast.
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>> reporter: history and sciences are taught in english to kids as young as 1, and they are sucking up like a sponge. >> where's your nose? >> nose. >> how many noses do we have? >> reporter: hello. good morning. do you like speaking english? >> yes. >> reporter: yes? and why do you like speaking english? >> it is easy. easier than japanese. >> reporter: it's easier than japanese? >> yes. >> the young children have a special aptitude for learning a foreign language. and this aptitude declines as they grow older. why should you waste this critical opportunity for
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learning a foreign language? >> reporter: the monthly tuition of $1,000 is not a deterrent to these eager parents. as long as their children get an edge. but there may be a downside to early foreign language education. this 10-year-old returned to japan after living in london for four years. his mother is concerned about her son's ability to express himself in japanese. she believes the lack of exposure to his mother tongue is affecting his linguistic development. >> japanese skill is a bit hard all times. >> reporter: he could barely write a simple sentence. so his mother is sending him to private japanese lessons after school. >> i think that it is hard. but now it's easy.
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>> translator: if his mother tongue lacks a firm basis, that will also limit the development of his english skills. it's tough, but we'll cram to learn both japanese and english. >> reporter: meanwhile, back at the online sales company, employees are realizing that their careers may very well hinge on their ability to speak english. the message is clear. japanese businesses want to catch up and survive. and the government is backing them by making english compulsery from the fifth grade. on the new york foreign exchange market, the yen rose to the 80 yen level against the dollar on wednesday. the yen at one point rose as high as 80.44 yen against the dollar, the first time the yen has surged to this level since the group of seven economies carried out a coordinated
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intervention one week after the march 11 earthquake and tsunami in japan. concerns over the u.s. economy rose after a worse than expected employment situation and the pessimistic economic outlook among nonmanufacturers. market sources say dollar selling also intensified after a senior u.s. federal reserve board official said the fed needs to maintain its easy money policy to support the struggling economy. here are the rest of the market figures.
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security authorities in pakistan say that they are questioning members of osama bin laden's family who are now in their custody. a team of u.s. navy commandos killed bin laden on monday after raiding his hideout in the town of abbottabad, 50 miles north of the capital islamabad. security sources say they took his family and some others into custody when they found them in the compound after the raid with their hands tied. sources say osama bin laden's wife is being treated at a military hospital in the town along with three pakistani women who are looking after her. security authorities say they are trying to obtain information from the four women about bin laden's activities in pakistan. they say his wife is still too upset to answer any questions,
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but her caregivers are responding calmly. north korea has confirmed it is detaining two japanese men on charges related to drug smuggling and currency counterfeiting. media in japan reported in april that three japanese were detained in the north korean city of rason in mid march and that one was later released. on wednesday, the korean central news agency reported the case for the first time. it said the two had committed serious crimes that broke north korean and international laws. it added they would have to face legal responsibility. a source close to the men revealed that someone who said he was a north korean official phoned japan to demand money for their release. the japanese foreign ministry is contacting north korean authorities to find out why the two men were detained and what their current status is. there is good news for poor swimmers. a new type of swimwear has been developed to give them a boost in the water.
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it's based on state of the art technology that has made a name for itself among world class swimmers. >> reporter: this man has trouble swimming more than 15 meters. but when he wears this newly developed swimsuit, he has no problem. >> translator: when you wear the rubber suit, you feel like you have an inner tube around your waist. when your body is parallel to the water's surface, you can swim much faster. you also feel more secure, as if you're being supported. >> reporter: yamamoto corporation, a japanese rubber maker, developed the material. one of their biggest hit products is used to make high speed swimwear. the firm raked in over $10 million the first year it started selling material to italian swimwear maker arena.
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in the 2009 world swimming championships held in rome, competitors wearing the suits won in 18 of the 40 singles events. this caused a real buzz about the suit and raised questions about its impact in competitions. the following year, the international swimming federation imposed a ban on these new suits in competitions because of controversy around how they affected athlete performance. sales of the swimwear material instantly dropped by half. >> the ban came after a rush of world records. the rubber swimwear was likened to speeding. it was a huge shock. >> reporter: the company's ceo wondered if there were any other way to put the high performance material to good use. he sought the advice of
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professor koji from a sport college. the professor, an athlete himself, had worn the suit and thought its high buoyancy might help those who struggle with swimming. what separates competent swimmers from poor ones is their posture in the water. a good swimmer can keep their body horizontal. on the other hand, a poor swimmer drags the lower part of the body, causing resistance. the professor thought the swimwear could help lift the lower body. >>. >> translator: if you swim with your lower body at an angle, it's like swimming with a bucket. but when a certain level of buoyancy is added, you can easily keep a good horizontal position, just like top athletes. >> reporter: the rubber company
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succeeded in adding more foam to the material by increasing the amount of a special agent. the number of bubbles per square millimeter in this cross-section stands at 530. this new material can make a swimmer 500 grams to 1.5 kilograms lighter in the water the difference between the newly developed swimsuit and conventional fiber based ones becomes obvious when both are placed in water. an experiment by the professor shows that the rubber suit gradually improves the swimmer's posture. even after the swimmer switches to conventional wear, they can maintain good posture and swim longer than before.
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>> you can improve much faster when you learn to swim while maintaining a horizontal position. it would be great if this helps people enjoy swimming more. >> reporter: through a joint venture, the firm and the college are developing swimwear not just for less skilled swimmers but for those with physical disabilities as well. hello. time now for your weather update. we're taking a look at eastern asia first of all. we have a low pressure system moving across northeastern china. this is going to be bringing plenty of showers. most of it is going to be light showers, but a couple of thunderstorms to watch out for. parts of mongolia also will be seeing some heavy snow. now over the next couple of days, a system will make its way eastward into the korean peninsula southeast into russia
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turning things quite wet and cloudy in the coming days. meanwhile, southern chiepal be contending with more showers picking up that moisture off the south china sea. this has been an ongoing story, so flooding risks will be pretty high out here. as for the philippines, we have a tropical low showing signs of developing here. heavy rain expected in the coming days across central and southern portions, accompanied by strong winds. as well that system not in a hurry to go anywhere. it will be really dampening the region over the coming days. temperatures look like this. 37 in manila today. 26 in taipei. warming up to 31. it will be chilly in tokyo at 15 degrees. let's take a closer look at japan. it will be mostly dry here with of course exception of some showers down in the islands. sunny spells and mild conditions expected out towards the west, but looking cloudy and chilly across central and northern portions contending with the strong northeasterly winds.
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15 degrees in sendai today. 11 degrees in sapora. temperatures on the cool side. only 10 degrees and cloudy in miyako. friday, staying dry but again fairly chilly. from sendai towards mito as well, dry conditions. we could will see light showers forming later on. and again temperatures remain on the cool side. now we take a look at europe, where weather conditions remain very unstable down in the eastern mediterranean. here this low pressure system not abating at all. some hefty showers and quite strong thunderstorms especially down in turkey. and on the other side of the continent, you can see this big and potent low pressure system coming this from the atlantic. and the weather conditions really deteriorating in ireland and the northern u.k. today. look for some high winds and heavy showers. now what about central europe?
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it does look mostly dry here, but it has been very wintry and chilly. heavy snow in southwestern poland. and another round of snow here today. here are some pictures coming in from southwestern poland taken on wednesday. you can see traffic coming to a standstill here, and trees even toppling due to all that heavy wet snow. so causing lots of traffic problems in the area. and, again, it's going to be rather chilly. heavy snow in some areas. 2 degrees in berlin to start off the day. 1 in warsaw. 4 degrees in vienna, and not warming up much at all during the day. 15 degrees in berlin. out towards the west, very pleasant. summer like, in fact. 22 degrees in paris. and that will continue into the weekend. here's the extended forecast now.
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here are the stories making news at this hour. a team of workers will enter the number one reactor building at the fukushima daiichi nuclear power plant on thursday for the first time since the march 11 earthquake and tsunami. it is the first step in a plan to safely cool down the reactor. the workers will set up a purifier to filter the radioactive air in the building. this is being done ahead of the plan to restore the cooling system. the company faces many challenges before the work to set up the system can begin. they include whether the purifier will be able to filter the air to a level that will
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allow workers to remain inside for extended periods. even if workers manage to enter, radiation levels may remain high near where a water circulating system is to be installed. the workers may need to clean the pipes with water and contain radiation with lead sheets. they may also to circulate water inside the containment vessel, the water must reach the height of the fuel rods. but if pressure within the vessel is eased too much, another hydrogen explosion may occur. tepco says the plan is the most promising, even though there are still many problems. the company says it wants to restore the cooling system at the number one reactor by settling the issues one by one. the finance ministers from the association of southeast asian nations plus three have agreed that the japanese economy will soon return to a recovery track following the march 11 disaster.
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finance ministers from japan, china, and south korea joined the discussions in hanoi, vietnam, on wednesday. japan's finance minister briefed participants on the passage of the first supplementary budget on monday for the regions that had heavy damage. he also addressed the fact that some countries had rejected food from japan. and called on those countries to respond calmly and base their reactions on scientific evidence. a joint statement at the end of the meeting highlighted the risks that the march 11 disaster may have on the asian economy. but indonesia's finance minister who claired the talks told reporters that the participants agreed that the japanese economy will soon return to a full-fledged recovery path, despite the disaster. that is all we have this hour on
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"newsline." thanks for staying with us on nhk world.
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