"newsline." i'm gene otani in tokyo. here's a look at some of the stories we're following this hour. a powerful typhoon has hit japan, weaving a path of destruction up and down the pacific coast. iranian officials in international talks say they won't stop their nuclear development program, but they will negotiate on key features. lawmakers in the u.s. senate are making a last-ditch effort
to avert a debt default as a major rating agency has warned of a possible downgrade of the country's credit rating. a powerful storm has churned past japan's pacific coast, bringing with it heavy rains and strong winds. typhoon wipha killed at least 17 people, almost all of them on an island south of tokyo. damage on oshima is widespread, and dozens of residents are missing. nhk world's mitsuko nishikawa reports. >> reporter: typhoon wipha left a trail of destruction on izu oshima, one that stretches on and on. the island's residents have never seen this much rain. more than 800 millimeters fell in 24 hours. that's more than double the average rainfall for october, and the heaviest downpour on record. it was too much for some areas to absorb.
>> translator: that hillside over there collapsed. the area behind that house is completely gone. >> reporter: wipha remained powerful in the tokyo metropolitan area too. it knocked down trees and cut power to thousands of homes. residents woke up to howling winds and driving rain. many found transportation disrupted just as they were heading to work. >> translator: the shinkansen bullet train was delayed, and the local line was also delayed, so i was late for work. >> translator: i had to cancel my business meeting this morning. >> reporter: the typhoon caused disruption throughout the region.
airlines canceled more than 500 flights. rail companies reduced bullet trains and local train services. subway operators scaled back their schedules. by the afternoon, things were back to normal on many lines, and the storm weakened as it headed north. now those who felt its wrath are cleaning up. the full scale of the damage is not yet known. rescuers are looking for the missing. officials with the japan meteorological agency are warning people to be cautious. they say more landslides are possible. mitsuko nishikawa, nhk world, tokyo. the typhoon is being blamed for the sinking of a cargo ship off neighboring south korea. 19 died, two others are missing. spokespersons for south korea's coast guard say the vessel was
anchored off of the city of pohong. it smashed against a sea wall and sank. 19 chinese and vietnamese crew members were on the panamanian-registered vessel. coast guard crews and patrol ships and planes rushed to the site, but rough weather conditions, rather, slowed their rescue effort. they were able to save eight crew members once winds subsided. fwke e forecasters said waves created dangerous conditions at the time of the accident. of the accident. delegates from iran and six world powers have sat down for their second day of talks on the country's nuclear program. a senior iranian representative has suggested his delegation is ready to give some ground on tehran's uranium enrichment program. >> the enrichment itself cannot be compromised.
it's for a right of iran and for the iranian people to have an enrichment program, but the level of it, the scope of it is something that we can negotiate. >> the deputy foreign minister spoke to nhk before wednesday's meeting in geneva. he said the proposal the iranians presented a day earlier spells out a step-by-step approach for each side. he called it realistic and well balanced. he argued a breakthrough is possible if the six powers take it seriously. western negotiators include eu foreign policy chief katherine ashton and envoys from the u.s., britain, france, russia, china, and germany. they praised the iranian proposal, but no details have been released. the western powers believe iranian scientists are getting closer to enriching uranium to weapons grade. leaders in tehran said their nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, and they want u.s.-led economic sanctions eased.
the british foreign secretary william hailing hague has welcomed dip the maic efforts. he spoke to reporters after meeting with the foreign minister. heying did not rule out a lifting of sanctions on iran, but he said he wants to see real actions from the country. >> any decisions about sanctions must be related to decisions on actual developments, positive developments in the way that iran pursues its nuclear program. >> hague urged iran to seize this opportunity to make negotiations a success. lawmakers in washington are striving to quickly break the fiscal impasse as the thursday deadline for raising the u.s. borrowing limit draws closer. democratic and republican leaders in the senate continue talks on a funding deal through tuesday evening. a spokesperson for senate majority leader harry reid said he was optimistic about the chance for a swift agreement.
the compromised plan would allow the u.s. to continue borrowing until early february. the senate leaders are also working on a way to resolve the partial shutdown of the federal government. they proposed a budget that would cover funding through mid-january. the plan also calls for setting up a panel to discuss plans for u.s. fiscal health, in response to a republican demand. the sen lat leaders are hoping to put the proposal to a vote during the session scheduled to resume at noon on wednesday, but any bill approved by the senate would need approval from the republican-led house of representatives. it is uncertain whether the chamber will accept the bill. some house republicans are sticking to their demand that president barack obama should roll back his health care reforms. analysts at credit rating agency fitch warn they may lower their assessment of u.s. government bonds. they say government debt could lose their aaa rating.
the analysts put rating watch negative which means there is a high chance of a downgrade. fitch said the negotiations over raising the debt ceiling risk undermining investor confidence. they say the indecision is casting doubt on the dollar's role as the key global reserve currency. the analysts believe the debt ceiling will be raised soon, but they say political brinksmanship and reduced flexibility in financing could reduce the risk of default. two years ago standard & poor's became the first agency to lower the ratings. that shook up financial markets and caused share prices to fluctuate. government officials in beijing are concerned about the fiscal stalemate in washington. china is the largest holder of u.s. debt. nhk's akihiro morita has more. >> reporter: a symposium on international finance took place last week in washington.
participants focused on the u.s. fiscal situation as a threat to the global economy. the governor of china's central bank attended the symposium. he addressed jason farmer, the top economic adviser at the white house. >> the emerging market facing some difficulty. adding this budget and that limit uncertainty would be a hurdle for the recovery and for the future development of the economy. >> reporter: china holds u.s. treasuries worth over $1.2 trillion. it's the largest foreign holder of u.s. debt. it surpassed japan in september of 2008. and chinese officials have been pushing the u.s. counterparts to take necessary steps behind closed doors.
>> translator: china has serious concerns about the fiscal problems in the united states. we need u.s. leaders to secure the safety of chinese investments in treasuries. we've already strongly urged them to take action. >> reporter: this professor of chinese studies at the johns hopkins university says there could be political implications if the u.s. can't fix its finances. >> it's my impression that china has not exerted any open influence or tried to exert open influence on u.s. political behavior. nonetheless, intelligent politicians of course realize that china has this position. and that gives china an enormous amount of de facto power. >> reporter: people in china will be watching to see if u.s.
president benigno aquino visited to find survivors. it struck bohol country on thursday morning. seismic activity was recorded over a large area and it triggered landslides and destroyed buildings. the national disaster agency says at least 144 people are dead and 291 are injured. around 30,000 people have evacuated to schools, parks, and open areas. local police and military personnel are continuing rescue and relief operations, but ongoing aftershocks closed roads and damaged bridges, hampering their work. president aquino visited the area to pledge government support. >> there are sufficient funds available. there are sufficient items, goods, materials for all of those who are evacuated.
>> reporter: the president warned there would be stiff penalties for those who attempt to exploit the disaster. the philippine government has declared a state of calamity in both bohol ask cebu imposing a freeze on prices. a u.n.-backed tribunal in cambodian hearing statements in two khmer rouge leaders. it comes two years after the trial that claimed 1.7 million lives. they're calling if justice as the defendants are on trial for the worst crimes against humanity in southeast asia's modern history, but the clock is ticking as the defendants are elderly. the closing statements began on wednesday covering allegations that the regime forcibly moved city dwellers to farming villages. the first statements came from the lawyers for civil parties representing victims in the trial.
statements from the prosecution and defense are schedule through the end of october. >> this is a milestone because it's the last step before we reach a verdict in this trial. >> reporter: the accused are the architect of the regime's ideology and the head of state. the khmer rouge seized the capital phnom penh in 1975 after fighting a pro-american regime. the regime later implemented extreme reforms to the country's social systems, prosecuting urban dwellers and intellectuals. legal experts say the two defendants are likely to receive verdicts around the middle of 2014. cambodia has no death penalty. >> translator: i want the court to sentence these two leaders to life in prison because so many were killed under that regime. >> translator: i appeal to the
khmer rouge court to find justice for the people, and i hope they arrive at the proper outcome. >> reporter: the former foreign minister sari, one of the four top leaders accused in the trial died in march. the tribunal also declared his wife unfit for trial as she was diagnosed with dementia. meanwhile, the tribunal is facing a budget shortage. court employees went on strike in september demanding unpaid salaries. the trial is covering massive amounts of evidence and testimony so separate hearings are being held for each charge. it is uncertain when the hearings on genocide will begin. one year has passed since islamic extremists shot the pakistani teenager malala yousafzai following her fight for girls' education. her supporters were disappointed
when the 16-year-old activist didn't win this year's nobel peace prize, but her bravery still offers great encouragement to women in her home country. nhk world's masaki suda has more on girls' education in pakistan. >> reporter: these girls are singing the song for malala. it expresses their reverence for malala yousufzai and her campaign for the right to education. this village in punjab province is home to about 1,000 people. a girls school opened here just last year and today around 120 students ages 3 to 17 are enrolled. this is the school with the portrait of malala. in this school, girls are learning the basic of how to read and write.
bibi is a teacher here. after she finished studies at a graduate school in pakistan, she began privately tutoring local girls. last year she opened this school with financial support from local ngo. >> translator: i saw malala on tv and learned she's risking her life for education. if a young girl like her can promote opportunities for education, why can't i do the same in my own village? >> reporter: but people in rural areas don't believe in education for girls. they see nothing wrong in girls doing housework rather than going to school. shazia visits homes and tries to talk parents into sending their daughters to school. on this day, she visits the home of a girl who stopped attending
classes after she entered the seventh grade. she's been busy doing housework since then. >> reporter: the girl still hasn't returned to school. but shazia has persuaded other parents. in all, she has got 50 girls into school, and she's happy to get even one more girl into school. parents are gradually bending to her persistence and drive. >> translator: my dream is to have girls from poor families and those who are forbidden to go out receive education. this is my mission, and i have to accomplish it. >> reporter: but islamic militants are standing in the
way. they are particularly active in northwestern pakistan where malala's hometown is located. over 100 bombing attacks have targeted girls' schools in the past two years. a bomb went off at the gate of this school last month. about 20 girls were injured as they were on their way home from classes. the school has reopened, but many of the students are still recovering from their injuries. asia farouk received multiple injuries and is staying home while her wounds heal. these are the clothes she was wearing at the time of the blast. they are badly bloodstained with
holes apparently caused by flying shrapnel. >> translator: i still feel pain in my thighs, armpit, and neck. i'm scared a bomb blast may occur again. i would be killed if that happens. >> reporter: but fear won't stop her from returning to school. ayesha says she wants to go back as soon as her injuries have healed. she wants to focus on her studies so she can become a doctor. >> translator: if everyone continues to study like malala, then our region will make progress. >> reporter: the threat of islamic militant attacks is still lurking over the movement for girls' education. many girls are taking risks by going to school. and malala offers them a glimmer of hope. masaki suda, nhk world, islamabad.
and that wraps up our bulletin. i'm dhra dhirakaosal in bangkok. emerging chick powers still struggling with poverty. emboldened citizens still demanding democracy, the threat of violence, the push for peace, the shadow of conflict. get news and insight on south and southeast asia every week day live from bangkok only on nhk world "newsline." the japanese government is urging the private sector to help make the country more tourist friendly ahead of the 2020 olympics and paralympics in tokyo. more than 300 people took part in a meeting organized by the tourism agency. they were related to the travel, hotel, and transport industries. the agency commissioner said the public and private sectors should take the olympics as a golden opportunity to cooperate.
>> translator: we believe we need to make efforts step by step to make our country more friendly to foreign visitors. >> officials from the agency and transport ministry called for support in providing multilingual sign boards at tourist and transport facilities. they also asked to set up more information centers for foreign tourists and zones that allow visitors free access to wi-fi. the agency hopes that tokyo's successful bid to host the olympics will enable japan to reach a goal of attracting 20 million foreign visitors annually. >> officials at samsung electronics have introduced a wearable computer to the japanese market. competitors making similar devices are set to launch their own products to win their share of consumers. ♪ samsung officials unveiled their smartwatch on wednesday in tokyo. users can make phone calls from it through a wireless connection to their smartphone.
they can also check for email and access smartphone apps. the it features a camera embedded in the strap. its already made debut overseas, but consumers in japan can buy it from thursday. samsung officials are rushing to corner the market on wearable computers. other major i.t. firms are also joining the race. sony is planning to launch a new version of a similar product to be worn on the wrist while google has developed digital eyewear. typhoon wipha has moved north of japan. meteorologist robert speta is here with the latest in weather. robert? >> we are continuing to track the storm system. it is racing off toward the north and already off to the northeast of hokkaido, moving about 90 kilometers per hour. so just one very fast storm system, but it already has brought widespread impacts still bringing about a 90 kilometer-per-hour winds and you will see 50 millimeters of
rainfall. farther to the south, this is where we saw the bulk of the severe weather earlier on today there in oshima upwards of 824 millimeters was recorded. that is really where you are seeing the devastation coming out of here. that island just to the south of tokyo into the sagami bay and all of the mud slides and everything occurring with this just because of that intense, heavy rainfall. winds gusting up to 166 kilometers per hour was also reported here in chiba prefecture, but this is what i want to talk about. take a look at the north into hokkaido, 15 centimeters of snowfall currently on the ground. the key thing about this location is that this is upwards about 36 days earlier than normal for this amount of snowfall. a little bit higher farther inland, but you typically snowfall in the higher elevations, but this is extremely earlier. i want to show you what it looks like farther inland where the heavy snowfall is taking place, but at that one location, just a little fact about that since it is so early and actually record
breaking. in the earliest snowfall since the record began in 1892 all, but ushered in by the cold air wrapped around behind wipha here and the residents were caught off guard by this very intense and heavy snowfall. it's not just here in japan we're seeing this be onning toner snow, though. i also want to show you what's going on in tibet where 116 touristses have been rescued from a base camp from a tourist attraction. tourists included about 25 overseas citizens. more than 40 rescuers and heavy machinery was required to clear the way after the snowfall surpassed about 15 centimeters of accumulations. so a lot of the white stuff coming down out here and both of these locations where you just saw these videos are not related directly at all, but they are both being fuelled by this high pressure and the cold air spilling in from the north.
that video off to the west and you will still be seeing 12 to 15 centimeters of snowfall occurring here. this is just indicating that we are getting closer and closer to winter, but tropical season is not over by any means because now we have the newest tropical storm. tropical storm francisco here over guam. tropical storm watches are already in effect for the mariana islands and this is expected to track off toward the northwest. now not saying it's going to be impacting japan quite yet, but a lot of the models in the long range here are indicating by early next week it's either going to be coming very close to the coastline or moving right along the pacific coast of japan. so something to continue to keep a very close eye on going into next week. as far as the temperatures, though, beijing, 19. seoul getting to 18 and sunny skies in the forecast. quickly, i do want to talk about what's going on in europe. severe weather across the balkan peninsula. we have cold air behind it and