i'm yuko aotani in tokyo. the greek prime minister watched his country get knocked around on the road to financial reform. now, samaras is asking for directio directions. he held his first talks since taking office with the leaders. the european lender and european central bank, and the international monetary fund. he is trying to persuade them to cut greece some slack. samaras met with the delegation in athens. few details have emerged.
the participants are believed to have discuss aid greek request to ease austerity measures. in exchange for a bailout from the eu and imf. samaras and his cabinet want to push back the deadline for the cuts by two years. the finance minister said the parliamentary elections in may and june delayed the implementation of fiscal reforms. there is still a lot of work to do. some insist the government must do more to carry out the reforms. the european central bank will further cut its benchmark interest rate to ease concerns about the debt crisis and boost its sagging economy. policymakers at the bank's board meeting in frankfurt agreed to cut the key interest rate from 1% to a record low of 0.75%. in particular tensions in some euro sovereign debt markets
and their impact on credit conditions and high unemployment are expected to weigh on the underlying growth momentum. pointing out at a recent press conference that steeroeri concerns remain about the future of the euro zone economy. china's central bank cut its key interest rate for a second straight month. the peoples bank of chon said benchmark lending rate will be lowered to 6%. the deposit rate cut to 3%. the new rates will become effective during the day. china's economic outlook is becoming uncertain because of sluggish exports to european countries as a result of the region's debt crisis. europe is china's biggest trading partner. china's consumption also remains low. the central bank's move aims to support the country's economy and secure jobs with stronger monetary easing. the u.s. filed a complaint about
china with the world trade organization on thursday. the u.s. is claiming that china has imposed anti-dumping duties on american car imports. the chinese trariffs are on auts and affect 92,000 cars and sport utility vehicle a year. $3 billion worth of u.s. exports to china. china has been iing tariffs and says the auto undindustry i subs didz subsidized. they have 60 days to resolve the dispute. after that the u.s. can ask a wto panel to deal with the matter. the trade complaint came as president barack obama hit the campaign trail in ohio. analysts say the obama administration is backing the car industry. ahead of the november presidential election. >> just this morning my
administration took a new action to hold china accountable for unfair trade practices that harm american automakers. americans and america workers build better products than anybody else, so as long as we're competing on a fair playing field, instead of an unfair playing field we'll do just fine. >> meanwhile, apple is being sued again by chinese firms over patent and trademark violations. several chinese media reported that a shanghai based firm sued the u.s. information technology firm. the case is about an alleged patent infringement on internet chat system. the chinese firm claims that a patent on a voice recognition function has been violated. patent awarded six years ago. the lawsuit filed with shanghai court last month. meanwhile apple faces a lawsuit by a different chinese company for allegedly infringing on a trademark. 79,000 in damages are being
sought. snow leopard is the name of an apple operating system and the chinese firm claims it owns the trademark for the chinese translation of snow leopard. apple has just settled a dispute with a chinese firm over ownership of the ipad name and agreed to pay $60 million. the foreign minister dismissed suggestions that russian leaders are considering offering political asylum to syrian president bashar al-assad. angela merkel brought up the issue last month to vladamir putin. he said representatives at a conference at the meeting in geneva made the suggestion. russia has no such plans. fro >> translator: this idea is an ria's people in foreign policy or lack of understanding of the factual side of what is going on and if what russia's position is.
>> russian diplomats have said repeat lead they will not intervene in syria's internal affairs. they insist their counterparts should focus instead on getting representatives of the government and the opposition to the same table. russian leaders say they plan to invite delegates from the opposition to moscow for the next round of international talks on syria. the world futbol body, fifa approved of head scarves in competitions. members of the fifa rule making panel reverse aid decision five years ago and concluded the head scarf poses no safety concerns. iran's female football team was banned from the match for the olympics because, players refused to remove their head scarves. it promm it welcomed the rule change, saying it would broaden their opportunities. some religious leaders maintain that women's participation in
sports runs against islamic principles. the u.n. security council extended a peacekeeping mission in south sudan. thousand of people have been displaced by fighting across the border with northern neighbor sudan. council members unanimously adopted a resolution to extend the mission until next july. south sudan gained independence from sudan last year after decades of civil war. >> we appreciate the continued interest and focus on our country in these particularly important early stage of its development. >> about 5,700 u.n. peacekeepers are stationed in south sudan. members of the japan self-defense forces are among
those wearing the blue helmets worn by u.n. peace keepers. they're building infrastructure in the capital. nhk reports. >> reporter: since arriving in january, the personnel have been dedicated to build the base. they have taken measures so the base can survive the heavy rainy season and extreme heat. with the building almost complete, 330 japanese troops are now focusing on the peacekeeping tasks. they have 30 construction machines. their mission includes clearing land and building sudan housing for refugees. >> translator: south sudan is the world's newest country. so i know that our operations
are attracting worldwide attention. >> reporter: but away from the capital, the situation remains unstable. south sudan renewed attacks against sudan over the disputed oil producing region. in may, the u.n. secretary council unanimously adopted the resolution adding the two countries to adopt the issue. south sudan's information minister benjamin is encouraging japanese peacekeepers to keep helping the people of his country. >> the south sudan is 100% secure. as i said, the forces that are here has never been any incidents.
>> reporter: the future here may be uncertain, but japanese peacekeepers continue their work with international groups and energy officials to meet the needs of the south sudanese. >> that was nhk world's toru nakai reporting from sudan. new york-based human rights is among the international groups monitoring the situation. the japan director says abuse is widespread. >> the situation in south sudan stays abysmal. for example, cyclical intercommunal violence has continued. for example, the very severe intercommunal violence. this is one of the phenomena we are very concerned. i think one of the reasons is the government of south sudan
hasn't held they are abusers to account. there was lots of fighting in south sudan for the past years. those responsible for those killings and rioting are not brought to justice. the legal system of south sudan remains at the very infant stage and a lot of training for police and prosecutors and judges and also a security force is needed so their response does not violate human rights. >> when a trio of chinese astronauts soared into space on june 16th, the world took note. two days later, they docked their craft with a prototype
space lab and the country drew closer to the goal of making its space industry the world's leader. no other countries besides the united states and russia have ever performed this docking feat. with the docking, china had take in a huge step toward building a fully operating space station. we now look into why the country is taking this path and where it could lead. >> china stakes its national prestige on this space program. the country started its manned space project in earnest 20 years ago. >> after the cold war the president at the time announced the space project.
he wanted to create a military deterrent and increase support for the ruling communist party. in 2003, the chinese launched a manned spacecraft they built themselves. in 2008, a chinese astronaut walked in space for the first time. the space project was gaining traction. and the latest space capsule with two male colleagues. she is a former air force pilot and the nation's first female astronaut. fro >> translator: i want to enjoy beautiful views of earth and return with records of what i experienced. >> yu and her colleagues returned to earth on june 29th.
to assess china's progress in space we spoke with the japan airspace exploration agency. >> docking in space require highly advanced technology. the spacecraft needed to approach the module at the same speed and in the same direction while orbiting the earth at the speed of 8 kilometers per second or, 100 times as fast as a train. i think china comes first following the united states and russia in the global ranking for space development. in times of manned space activities. >> for more on china's space program we are joined by our reporter in beijing. >> the aim j makers in the chinese government have made the first female astronaut a
national star. they portray her as a country girl turned goddess in the heavens in a space capsule. the story was crafted to boost national pride. >> translator: china is more powerful now. i am proud of my country from the bottom of my heart. >> i hope china's space industry will advance even further. awe bought n >> but not everyone is on board with that sentiment. many criticize the hefty investninves t n n't -- investment in space development. reasons for the opposition include the growing income gap, and social problems, and widespread corruption. some nations are also concerned about the space program.
they are suspicious of china's military for playing such a big role in the project. they worry the military could use it for its own purposes. and other factors about this concern, for example, the origins of the space facility that launched the latest spacecraft. theenter in the gobi desert was originally built to test launch missiles. the army still controls it. also, the military effectively screen astronauts and train them. the armed forces also develop rockets. in may, officials at the u.s. defense department made its position clear in its annual report on china's military. the u.s. officials state that china is using the space program as a pretext to gain military
superiority. in response, china's government painted a different picture. >> translator: the primary purpose of china's manned spacecraft project is the peaceful use of oughter space and the happiness of man kind. we have no intention of overtaking or competing with any nation. >> reporter: china aims to gain equal footing with countries working in outer space. china's advances in space affect its relations with other countries and its position at home. we will just have to keep a watchful eye. makoto oda, nhk world, beijing.
diplomats from the philippines are trying to strengthen their claims to the territory in the south china sea. they are protesting a decision to place certain groups of islands under a new municipality. they are concerned about three groups of islands, reefs and shalz. shales. several nations are caught up in territory disputes. foreign ministry officials say the japanese claim violates philippines sovereignty. in april, both countries were locked in a standoff that involved several patrol ships near disputed shoal. the facility will be toed to test several types of seafood. people in japan's northeast are focusing 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, 1:00 p.m., japan time. here on "newsline." people popping into convenience stores in japan are finding things they never found before. they can still buy soft drink or gum or a pack of cigarettes. they are finding the things they need to make dinner as well. those kinds of changes help the people at lawson hit record operating profits last year. and they are up in the latest quarter by more than 8% to nearly 14 billion yen or $175 million. >> reporter: the 'round-the-clock convenience store is part of the landscape of every japanese neighborhood. the stores are usually small, about 100 square meters, but they offer about 3,000 items ranging from food like sushi and
sandwiches to underwear. their main customers used to be young men, but the number of such shoppers has been falling every year due to the japanese aging population. chain operators began looking for ways to stop the slowdown. lawson decided to expand its range of vegetables. the chain used to offer only a few kinds of produce, but now stocks over 40 items. the strategy worked. vegetables brought in more customers, especially women. prices are kept low. most items on the shelf cost little more than $1. female shoppers used to account for only 30% of lawson's customers. but the ratio has increased to 45% thanks to the better selection of vegetables and
other fresh produce. >> translator: i come here almost every day. cut vegetables are very useful for small families like mine. >> translator: it's cheap. i can get almost everything i need at once. very handy. >> reporter: lawson has attracted female customers who used to buy fresh food only at supermarkets. customers picking up vegetables also end up buying meat, tofu and other ingredients. a lawson executive says shoppers who buy produce spend 2.5 times more than the average customer and is nearly twice as likely to come back. >> translator: customers can save shopping time thanks to the small size of the stores. busy working women are our main target market. >> reporter: these are radishes that are sold in convenience
stores and this farm itself is run by the convenience store. lawson was japan's first convenience store to venture into farming. its aim was to avoid running out of stock and being hit by surging vegetable prices due to weather or other factors. this farmer is entering production data. all the data goes to lawson's head office. the company also tracks sales from each store and adjusts production plans depending on trends. the aim of the system is to eliminate waste. the vegetables have their own distribution channels. they operate 24 hours so vegetables can arrive in stores fresh any time of day. as they strive to satisfy their
new female customers, convenience stores are giving a fresh spin to their greatest strengths, convenience. reporting for nhk world. it seems that people around the world are experiencing extreme weather these days. rachel ferguson has the details. >> we are looking for more heavy rain to hit japan into the weekend. a very active front line bringing torrential downpours all week. and it is not over just yet. at the moment, the heavy rain is focussed on the korean peninsula. some places picking up 300 millimeters of rain in a 24-hour period. well the peak of the rain should be over here by this afternoon. but heading into saturday, the low pressure moving along the front is moving into japan. that will spell thunderstorms and heavy rain in places that really do not need it.
kushu earlier this week, experienced flooding downpours, landslides as well. unfortunately more rain coming into kushu. let's take a look at the rainfall forecast into saturday morning. 250 millimeters of rain, plus, possible -- down here, you are seeing in the red. not just, of course, the heavy rain, but also thunderstorms and the potential for tornados. so, very serious situations as we head into the weekend. the region will be staying dry. let's go to north america, talk about more storms and more potential for flooding. today we will be seeing the storms moving along the northern tier of the continent heading up through the great lakes and toward canada. down here is going to be monsoonal rain. we really do need to see some rain here because of that ongoing fire risk over the last several weeks. but, some of the rain could be heavy enough to cause flooding. particularly up in the colorado, into sunday. you are going to see some very heavy rain.
let's talk about the heat then. that its the other major story that has been ongoing. the heat wave persisting across much of the eastern and central parts of the united states. here are your figures friday. 41 degrees in st. louis. not good. into saturday. 42 degrees. not going to be alleviating over the week end. chicago, however, 36 degrees. should come down to around the 30 degree mark into saturday. storms are going to be moving through. bringing the rain and cooling things down a little bit for you. further towards the mid-atlantic. d.c., 38 today. going to be a hot weekend. but by monday, temperatures here and up in new york city as well. should have moderated to seasonal averages. all right, let's go to europe finally. not much change here. wet, stormy. out towards central and western locations. then there is the divide. other side of the jet stream. moves up here into towards the northeast. and it is going to be hot. let any just show you what is going on. these storms rattling through, the low country in toward the
alpine region. some of those could be on the nasty side. we have seen some large hail from some of the storms moving through. and heavy rain hitting the british isles. out towards the east though it sta stays very hot. we have red warnings in place in parts of southeastern poland as well as in hungary. out towards the west it look is a lot cooler. that its certainly good news for athletes taking part in the wimbledon semifinal. the men's semifinal today. and then the finals into the weekend. 21 degrees. 20. back up to 21 sunday. the temperature shouldn't be causing a problem. there may be an occasional shower. have to take that roof over. but conditions don't look too shabby for the rest of the tournament. and i'll leave you now with your extended forecast.