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tv   Newsline  WHUT  April 24, 2012 7:30am-8:00am EDT

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reactor checkups. nuclear overseers want to operators to reassess their plants against the risk of a stronger earthquake. the people who watch over japan's nuclear plants say opererors could be surprised by the strength of some earthquakes. so the nuclear and industrial safety agency wants them to re-examine how resistant their buildings are to tremors. they say the risk of a quake has increased since the march 11th disaster. agency members want reassessments of one plant in northern japan, two in central japan and one in the west. the experts say the risks have increased. shifting simultaneously.
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they say such movements would cause an earthquake stronger than the levels for which current standards were set. managers at hokkaido electric power company say such a scenario would have little effect on their plant in hokkaido. they say buildings would hold up to the tremors. the results could force changes to resistance standards and their schedule for restarting idled plants. the governor of fukushima will ask the international atomic energy agency to open an office in the prefect purp he wants the agency to help with the consequences of the nuclear accident. he will make the request this summer when he visits iaea headquarters in vienna. the international nuclear watchdog has sent specialists to fukushima since the disaster. he wants continued help with disaster response and decontamination. he will also discuss a conference in fukushima during his visit. the iaea and the japanese
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government will host the meetings in december. a shinkansen bullet train operator plans to strengthen its early detection system to slow trains more quickly in the event of a strong earthquake. central japan railway company says the measure will help prevent trains from derailing. the company says it will upgrade its system to enable the bullet trains to apply emergency brakes up to two seconds faster. the upgraded system will take into account a possible inland quake just below train lines. it will enable operators to directly stop the trains earlier. the company's current anti-quake system is mainly designed to respond to powerful quakes offshore. officials expect the improved network to perform better in the event that a powerful earthquake that strikes far from shinkansen lines which could possibly set off other tremors closer to high-speed tracks. central japan railway plans to upgrade seismometers installed
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along its tracks. the upgrade will start next month, and it will cost about $4.4 million. one of the more colorful events of the washington calendar is the annual cherry blossom festival. this year was a special occasion. 100 years since japan sent cherry trees to the u.s. capital as a symbol of friendship between the two countries. thanks to a group from fukushima, the anniversary had a strong back beat loud and hopeful. yoko has more. >> reporter: the blossom have fallen, but the festival has just reached its climax. a magnificent parade down constitution avenue. one float gets a specially loud cheer. a group of young people who came all the way from fukushima. they are here to give a performance of traditional japanese drumming.
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>> we have a young group from japan made up of students from all grades. >> reporter: this is the yamakiya district, the troupe's hometown. residents were evacuated after the nuclear accident. all the drummers continue to live in temporary housing. but the disaster hasn't stopped them from drumming. they have carried on performing to help lift the spirits of the local people as they are trying to rebuild their lives. they received an invitation to perform at the cherry blossom festival. two people who used to teach english in the town, they asked the companies and organizations who sponsor the visit as a way to encourage the people. >> they were so wonderful to us so we wanted to do something for
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them to raise their spirits. >> reporter: 23-year-old genki is the leader of the group. some members were nervous about performing in america and to encourage them and remember why they were here. >> translator: we want to convey the power of our music to people in america through our drums. those drums were bringing people together. the troupe was introduced to a group of young americans. they spoke about how the disaster had affected their lives and expressed their gratitude for all the support from abroad. >> translator: we received a lot of support after the disaster. now we want to give back the energy and smiles through our performance. time to show the energy in a way that only taiko can. ♪
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for over an ur, they put their hearts and souls into their performance. >> it was great to see folks that came here all the way from japan. considering all the difficult year that it's been, it's a real symbol of hope for the future. >> i think the energy they put out is probably reflective of the energy that they are putting in to rebuild. >> translator: it was a very powerful performance. we were all caught in the moment. we were able to convey the feelings from fukushima and at the same time could sense the empathy of the american people. >> reporter: the drums beat out a strong message. fukushima will never give up and will always look ahead to a brighter future. yuko chiba, nhk world,
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washington. now u.n. secretary-general ban ki-moon says he's heading to myanmar on sunday. he's set to meet opposition leader aung san suu kyi for the first time. >> myanmar is only at the beginning of its transition. many challenges lie ahead. many concerns have yet to be addressed. yet i am convinced that we have an unprecedented opportunity to help the country advance toward a better future. >> ban said president thien seng invited him to make his third visit as u.n. chief. he's to meet with president and with aung san suu kyi. ban said he hopes to work with both of them to explore ways in which the u.n. can promote democratic change. the u.s. military is moving ahead with plans to boost its presence in the asia-pacific. the "uss -- has docked out of nagasaki. it will serve as a landing pad
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for a new and controversial aircraft. here's a close-up look. >> reporter: it's 250 meters long. can carry thousand crew members, plus an additional 1900 -- u.s. navy personnel had a ceremony monday to mark the arrival in japan. >> thank you sasabo city and japanese self-defense force. >> reporter: navy spokespeople say upgrades to this vessel has made it the most capable ship of its class. the ship has been on water since the 1990s. they relied on it during the iraq war. they'll also use it to help ryth relief efforts following the 2004 indian tsunami.
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but here in japan, it will mainly be used as a carrier for the new helicopter. the deck has been reinforced. but that hasn't put an end to questions. some say it just isn't safe. it suffered a series of crashes during its development. the latest happened earlier this month. two american marines died. it is due to be deployed in october at the u.s. futenma air station in okinawa. the base is in a densely populated area. residents living nearby have been protesting its arrival. u.s. navy leaders didn't walk much about the osprey today. they instead focused on talking up their updated ship which will be used to deploy marine forces during times of conflict. >> we have the most capable
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platform for the defense of japan and to provide stability in the region. >> reporter: that's a new focus for the united states government. strengthen the american presence in the asia-pacific. in china, people have used the power of the internet to help turn the wheels of justice. micro bloggers who question the decision to hand a woman the death sentence tookheir concerns online. the case even caught the attention of china's premier. in a victory for the woman's supporters, the supreme court overturned her sentence. nhk world's okatani reports from shanghai. >> reporter: death row inmate wu wen is at the center of this uproar. before her arrest, the 30-year-old businesswoman had been expanding her business.
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she was investing in a string of beauty parlors and hotels. from 2005 to 2007, she borrowed heavily from business acquaintances. altogether, she owed $120 million. she only paid back half the amount. police arrested her and charged her with a crime called fraudulent fund-raising. the offense is unique to china. the country's law defines the crime as using a fictitious story to swindle money from the public. unlike other kinds of fraud, the maximum punishment is death. the chinese law was enacted to keep order in the financial system. she pleaded not guilty. at the first trial, the court sentenced her to death. she appealed to a higher court.
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in january, her appeal was rejected. her father has been appealing for his daughter's acquittal for four years. >> translator: my daughter is wise and hard working. she never cheats people. she couldn't repay the money. that was a mistake. but not a crime. >> reporter: when the upper court rejected his daughter's appeal, wu's father almost gave up hope, but new developments may yet save her life. the issue is spreading across the internet like a brush fire. a message board and microblogs, chinese are criticizing the verdict. now prominent lawyer has stepped in to the fray. he once served as a key member
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of a lawyer's association he wrote an open letter to china's highest court and posted it on the web. he pointed out that the decision against wu is misguided. >> translator: this case is not just about wu ying on death row. if what she did is a crime, citizens can't start a business in china. >> reporter: as a sign of how important this issue has become, the premier answered the question about it at a news conference.
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>> reporter: amid growing pressure from the public, china's supreme court overturned the verdict on friday. it ordered a retrial saving wu from execution. for the first time in china's history, public opinion has overturned a death sentence. >> and we're joined from shanghai. how did the supreme court come to this decision? >> the supreme court has not disclosed really why it's ordered the retrial. in a statement, it almost fully confirms the high court's acknowledgment of the crime by wu ying and sets severe punishment is needed. however, the supreme court said it decided to send the case back after judging the crime does not warrant the death penalty.
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the supreme court faced a dilemma, executing wu ying would have invited the public backlash. but the court could not have maintained its authority if it had acquitted wu by accepting her argument. so it apparently made a compromise. wu has avoided the death penalty, but it may be difficult to win an acquittal. >> why do so many chinese citizens care about what happened in this case? >> yes, one reason is that people thought wu could have been anyone. most banks in china are government owned, and lending system for the private sector, it's still underdeveloped. so most people who want to start businesses in china borrow money from acquaintances. wu's death ruling created a sense of crisis among the public that anyone who fails in his or
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her business could be executed because of an outdated law. another reason is people have doubts about the judiciary system itself. independents of the judiciary cannot be maintained under china's one party rule and courts and police are often swayed by influential local communist party leaders. due to the recent growth in popularity of the chinese microblogging website, such skepticism has grown to such a point that it could influence the supreme court's decision. but the court's order of retrial is not enough to dispel people's doubts. >> that was ryutu okutani. the entire cabinet of the netherlands is set to resign over a political crisis
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concerning austerity measures. the dutch prime minister offered his coalition government's resignation to the queen on monday. after his political partnership with the ultra right freedom party collapsed over budget cuts. the freedom party is led by the anti-eu and anti-immigration politician. it has been supporting the government for the past 18 months. the netherlands has strongly supported fiscal discipline among eu countries. it's feared the country's political turmoil will affect efforts to deal with europe's debt problems. he's expected to call snap general elections on tuesday. the vote is expected to be held as soon as late june. executives at elpita memory will rebuild their business. they were japan's sole manufacturer of memory chips. they plan to choose a business
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partner. they went bankrupt in february after losing its competitiveness on the back of the record high yen. three foreign groups have announced they are ready to step in with help. their leading u.s. semiconductor maker micron technology, a consortium of u.s. and chinese investment funds and major south korean chipmaker. japan's electronicsmaker toshiba is planning to join sk heinicks in the bidding. they plan to decide on who they'll work with in may. managers at facebook say they'll list their shares on nasdaq. the initial public offering for shares in the social networking giant is expected to be one of the largest ever by an i.t. firm. facebook executives outlined their plans in a document submitted to the u.s. securities and exchange commission. company spokesperson said they would go public but many investors have wondered whether they would list on nasdaq or on
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the new york stock exchange. nasdaq is a technology focused exchange that hosts i.t. giants including apple and google. facebook's spokespersons have not announced the date of their ipo but sources say it will be the end of may. the firm's total market value is expected to be more than $100 billion. facebook now has more than 900 million users. the executives are shoring up the business before they go public. they'll spend $550 million to buy aol patents from microsoft. microsoft is acquiring more than 900 patents from aol. microsoft executives have agreed to sell the bulk of them to facebook. lawyers at facebook are apparently hoping to head off potential lawsuits over intellectual property. yahoo! is suing the firm for alleged patent infringement. facebook spokespersons say the deal is a significant step in protecting their interests over the long term.
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and here's a look at some other news stories we're following this hour. sudan's military has renewed its attacks against south sudan as violence escalates between the two african nations over a disputed oil-producie ining bor region. sudanese forces launched a wave of attacks on markets and other places in south sudan's border towns on monday killing at least two people and injuring nine others. violence between the two countries began earlier this month when troops from south sudan took control of some oil fields. sudan's president al bashir told his military he would not negotiate with south sudan and that the only exchanges with the south would be with guns and bullets. a spokesperson for iran's government says the country's oil ministry and state-run oil
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company were the targ aft cyberattack. the spokesperson says the computer virus did not cause any major damage to important data. another computer virus hit iran's nuclear facilities two years ago. it reportedly disrupted some of the centrifuges for uranium enrichment. and the world is getting its first look at the doping laboratory for this year's london olympics. organizers will use the state of the art equipment to test athletes for band substances during the olympic and paralympic games. it will operate 24 hours a day and can handle a record number of samples, more than 6,000. it's a very warm day here in tokyo. time now to check the world weather forecast with rachel ferguson. >> hi there. yes, we're sbeeg 22 degrees outside the door here in tokyo. it's going to be improved even by a few more degrees, maybe even 25 in the next couple of hours for the daytime high. however, as we head on into
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wednesday, there will be a change in this clear weather which is dominating much of the country. rain showers are coming. and i say showers. it's actually going to be quite heavy in some places accompanied by strong gusts which could also pick those waves up at the coast. this is the system in question. moving through eastern china right now. it's going to head across the korean peninsula and then into japan wednesday afternoon. bringing another spring storm. it's already dumping a lot of heavy rain across eastern china today. everywhere in the region between 50 and 100 millimeters in the space of 24 hours. looking pretty clear down towards the south. staying very hot in indochina. as we head now into north america, a slow-moving storm system is bringing more snow across the northeast. now we're talking about west virginia up through new york state and into southeastern parts of ontario there. you could see another 30 centimeters of snow in some places into the next 24 hours. towards the east of the system, there's some warmer air coming
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in. that will turn to a mixture of rain and snow through much of new england. and then heavy rain for the canadian maritimes. accompanied as you can gather from this graphic by some very strong winds. now things are looking very settled across the rest of the continent. there are some showers moving along the u.s./canada border. the system coming in. also pop-up thunderstorms today. partly because of the surge of warmth reaching right up into central canada. the jet streams moving quite far north staying cooler out towards the east. this will change, though, as we head into wednesday. sagging down as the jet stream sags down to allow cooler air to come into the west and we'll even see some significant, late season snowfall for the sierra nevada. all right. temperatures today, though, 30 degrees for the high in denver. 28 in oklahoma city. and it's likely to stay very warm just in that arc we showed you a second ago. seattle, 18 degrees. that will come down.
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20 degrees in winnipeg and very chilly in toronto. just 7 degrees for the high on your tuesday. all right. as we head on into europe, things looking wet and wild towards the west. a low-pressure system sitting over france is bringing some heavy rain across the alps as well. and then thunderstorms down across the mediterranean here. now that's going to start to break up as it pushes east. already there is another low getting ready to take its place. so not really going to see much of a change in the conditions over the next couple of days. out towards the east, though, high pressure will be building in and allowing things to stay clear, calm and very warm. take a look at some of these daytime highs for your tuesday. we're looking the upper teens for moscow as well as warsaw. kiev, 20 degrees. you can add a couple of figures on to these digits. we'll be seeing mid-summer-like temperatures across much of the east. athens up to about 27 by thursday. it will stay, though, chilly and wet out towards the west. here's your extended forecast.
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and our top story once again -- the people who oversee nuclear plants across japan want operate tors reassess how resistant their plants tor earthquakes. they say the risk of a major tremor has increased since the march 11th disaster.
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the nuclear and industrial safety agency wants check-ups of one plant in northern japan, two in central japan and one in the west. agency experts say the risk has increased to more than five kill meters apart shifting simultaneously. they say such shifts could cause an earthquake stronger than the levels for which current standards were set. managers at hokkaido electric power company say such a scenario would have a little effect on their plant in hokkaido. they say buildings would hold up to the tremors. the utilities have agreed to re-examine their plants. the results could force changes to resistance standards and the schedule for restarting idled plants. and that's all for now on this edition of "newsline." i'm yuko aotani in tokyo. thank you very much for joining us.
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