♪ hello there. welcome to "newsline." it's tuesday, march 3rd. i'm catherine kobayashi in tokyo. iraqi government leaders have mobilized tanks and troops into battle. they've launched a major offensive to try to retake the city of tikrit. and they say they're determined to drive the islamic state group out of their strongholds. thousands of soldiers and militia volunteers are trying to enter tikrit from different locations. they're being backed by air strikes. the northern city has been held by insurgents since june. the advance of government forces has been slowed by ambushes and suicide bombings. tikrit is strategically
important, lying between baghdad and mosul, the militants' largest stronghold. tsunami muslims make up most of the population. many residents felt oppressed under the previous shia-dominated government and have come to support the sunni-dominated group. prime minister hader al abadi has called on sunni residents to lay down their arms and break away from the group. the militants posted a video on monday showing they will killing four tikrit residents. they claim the four were in secret contact with government forces. cairo has been hit by a car bomb that exploded in front of a courthouse. police believe islamic extremists are responsible. reuters reports that two people were killed and nine wounded. authorities say police officers are among the casualties. the blast occurred at the country's judicial center which has busy shopping streets nearby. local media say one islamist group has claimed responsibility. egyptian officials are facing an increasingly unstable security situation.
last week a series of bombings targeted five locations near the capital. in the country's sinai peninsula, extremists pledging loyalty to the islamic state group have repeatedly attacked police and military facilities. top officials from the u.s. and russia are trading words over the situation in eastern ukraine. they're in disagreement about whether pro-russian separatists are observing a cease-fire deal with government troops. on sunday a separatist leader said his forces had withdrawn all their heavy weapons from the front lines. russian foreign minister sergei lavrov backed that view. he said there has been tangible progress with the cease-fire. but u.s. secretary of state john kerry expressed his concerns. he said separatists haven't given details about where the weapons are. and he said monitors from the organization for security and
cooperation in europe have not been allowed to do their work. >> i reiterated the urgency of russia's leaders and the separatists that they back implementing the full measure of the commitments under the minsk agreements and to implement them everywhere. >> kerry said he warned lavrov that russia will face more sanctions if the cease-fire breaks down. japan's prime minister says he'll try to help facilitate a peaceful solution to the crisis. shinzo abe met with ukraine's foreign minister paf lowe clinkin in tokyo. the two spoke about the continuing clashes between government forces and pro-russian separatists. abe said all parties must comply with the cease-fire agreement that is in place. and he stressed the sovereignty and territorial integrity of ukraine must be respected. clinkin expressed his appreciation for japan's support.
he pledged efforts to promote reform. he also said he'll work to further develop ties with his counterparts in tokyo. in an interview with nhk climkin urged russian leaders to use their influence to make the truce hold. >> we need russia on board because all gangs, military gangs and criminal gangs in donetsk and luhansk are fully controlled by russia. >> u.n. officials estimate more than 6,000 people have died since the fighting began last april. the people at japan's biggest delivery firm are set to expand their services to another asian market. ai uchida joins us now with more on that story. ai. >> catherine, people at japanese firms, they look across japan and they only see a country that -- a market that's only going to get smaller. so they're exploring opportunities to expand overseas, and they see a promising market in one of asia's fastest-growing
economies. executives at 40 logistics firms have already set up shop in vietnam. they're keen to take advantage of a free trade zone that's due to launch across southeast asia at the end of the year. now, those at delivery firm yamato holdings have joined them. executives announced in hanoi that yamato asia has set up a vietnamese subsidiary with capital of more than $3 million. they say the firm will provide the transport services into and out of the country as well as logistical services for local businesses. they hope to use vietnam as a hub for their distribution network in southeast asia. >> translator: we hope this local subsidiary will come to play an important role in our business strategy for asia. >> rival firms nippon express and sagawa express have already
set up operations in vietnam. they expect it will become a major center for manufacturing when the asean economic community launches in december. people who make smartphones are seeing sales tail off in developed countries. so they're loading their handsets up with high-tech features to draw in new customers. they've gathered in the spanish city of barcelona to show off their innovations at the world's biggest mobile phone fair. representatives from nearly 2,000 firms are taking part in the four-day mobile world congress. people from south korean manufacturer samsung wowed the crowds with the presentation of their latest products. they showed off handsets that have more powerful cameras and charge much faster than before. people from china's fao-w aechlt introduced a wristband phone that lets users talk to people hands-free. they've enjoyed rapid growth due to strong sales of their low-cost models but now they're focusing on the high-tech corner
of the market. representatives from sony are going in the opposite direction. they're featuring more affordable smartphones in a bid to expand their customer base. and the people at japanese firm fujitsu exhibited phones that use iris recognition for user identification. prime minister abe says the people who work in japan's service industry hold the key to economic growth. he says he'll encourage them to be more innovative by offering tax breaks. abe gave a speech at an event hosted by a think tank. he said people who work in areas such as retail hospitality, and transport account for 70% of gdp and jobs. but he said productivity isn't as high as it is in service industries in some other countries. >> translator: enhancing productivity in the service industry is key to the country's economic growth. >> abe urged businesses to invest more in technology that will improve their efficiency.
he said he wants to promote japan's service industry around the world and he'll work on policies to help retailers, restaurants, and hospitals offer services in a range of languages. well the prime minister's policies have already had a visible effect on stocks here in japan. abenomics have helped boost the benchmark index to levels investors haven't seen since april 2000. today the nikkei is approaching the key level of 19,000. right now the nikkei is up by a tenth of a percent from yesterday's close at 18,850. it opened higher following the strong gains on wall street. the dow jones industrial average hit another all-time high and the nasdaq closed above 5,000 for the first time in 15 years. analysts say a weaker yen coupled with stronger corporate profit drove up the index, but some investors are taking profits from recent gains. in currencies the dollar's gone above 120 yen for the first time
in half a month on rising hopes for the american economy. the dollar's also keeping its strength against the euro but is trading in a tight range. right now the single currency's at 1.11 against the dollar. in other markets across the asia pacific australian stocks opened higher on the possibility for a second rate cut that may be decided today. the kospi over in south korea is also higher, up by just about a tenth of a percent. i'll keep track of trading for you throughout the day. i'll leave you with a check on other markets. ♪ ♪
chinese leaders say they're planning a series of major events to mark the end of world war ii. they'll hold a military parade through the streets of beijing. they say it's to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the victory in the country's war against japan and world fascism. officials with the foreign ministry announced on monday president xi jinping will take part. they say they'll invite dignitaries from major countries that participated in the battle. they're also ask representatives from asian nations and the u.n. to attend. but they haven't given specific event dates yet. a spokesperson says the occasion is to memorialize history, honor those killed, cherish peace, and open up to the future. analysts suggest china also has other motives. they say the country wants to boost national morale and
influence the japanese government's views on historical issues. top diplomats from the united states, japan, and other countries have condemned north korea for human rights violations. u.s. secretary of state john kerry spoke at a u.n. human rights council meeting which began monday. >> kim jong-un executes those who disagree with him, purging his country of anyone he knows or imagines to be disloyal. for decades, the government has subjugated its citizens, starving them, torturing them, incarcerating them or worse. >> president, mr. high commissioner -- >> delegates from britain and other nations joined in criticizing the north's human rights record. representative ito said japan and the european union will submit a resolution to the council about the issue. he said part of the proposal will establish an organization to investigate north korean human rights violations. the north's representative countered that all such
arguments are based on lies and fabricated information. >> the u.s. is so desperate in confrontation with the dprk that it now clings to my kind of vicious human rights -- and even does not hesitate to collect false information from liars. >> north korea faces increasing mounting pressure from the u.n. body. last year, a resolution was approved to punish north korea for crimes against humanity. also a measure calling for the north to go before the international court of justice. american leaders are stepping up their protection to fight off cyber attacks. they've seen more and more critical data and infrastructure come under threat. and now they're calling on private companies to work together to stop hackers. more from nhk world's alex wortman. [ applause ] >> there's only one way to defend america from these cyber
threats, and that is through government and industry working together, sharing appropriate information. yes, we can. [cheers and applause] >> reporter: president obama called on private company leaders to proactively report to the government on damages inflicted by cyberattacks. most businesses have held back reporting because of the privacy concerns of their clients, but the proliferation of attacks on the private section has increased fivefold since 2009. this has sparked a sense of urgency within the u.s. government. specialists are now beginning to recognize the importance of sharing information. representatives for computer security firms that protect
corporations' networks get together in washington regularly to discuss the issues. they exchange the latest data on malicious software used for cyberattacks and develop technologies to remove them. brian bartholomew was at the conference. his company monitors its clients' networks 24 hours a day to prevent cyberattacks. last year, ten firms, including his, joined in a first of its kind experiment to cooperate to counter cyberattacks. he says this type of coordination is vital in order to counter hacker groups, such as one called axiom. >> this group in particular is extremely sophisticated. they're very good at what they do. this group was so widespread, and they had such a far reach, that we're still actually
trying -- we're finding new victims every day almost. >> reporter: axiom is a mysterious hacker group thought to be based in china that has exceedingly advanced technologies. there have been nine types of identified malicious software apparently developed by axiom. their software slips through the security firms' defenses and penetrates the networks. there are limits in the countermeasures each company has when dealing with this independently. things such as confidential information and trade secrets are often stolen. bartholomew's company began to see the strength they could draw by cooperating with one another. and started jointly developing counter measure software. as a result, they were able to prevent damages in 43,000 cases. >> we got together and said, you know, what if we combined forces here and shared information between us. we could really put a dent in this group.
>> reporter: the obama administration recognizes the cyber threats facing country will only continue to increase. leaders believe it is essential to put in place the proper mechanisms now to deal with this growing challenge in the future. alex wortman, nhk world, washington. people in dozens of japanese cities are thrilled to hear that they'll host rugby world cup games in 2019. the sport's governing body announced the match locations at a meeting in dublin. it marks the first time the tournament will be held in asia. >> one of the venues is hanozono rugby stadium higashi osaka, osaka prefecture. [cheers and applause] >> hanozono rugby stadium was
built in 1929 as the first rugby-dedicated venue in japan. generations of young rugby players have striven to play here for the all-japan high school championship. the tournament will have a total of 48 matches played in 12 cities across the country. among these kamaishi city is located in the area devastated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. a kamaishi team won the rugby national championship seven years in a row during the 1970s and '80s. but economic hardships in the area have brought down the team's fortunes. in the wake of the disaster four years ago, residents and city officials have taken to rugby as a pillar of their reconstruction efforts. people have pinned their hopes on hosting a global event.
>> translator: it will give kamaishi a bright future. >> translator: i want to play on the world stage. >> a local club team is making a bid for the nation's top league with support from residents. city officials plan to build a new 15,000 capacity stadium. it will be on a lot where schools once stood before the tsunami. one of the largest festive parades in southeast asia lit up singapore over the weekend with the country marking half a century since independence. this year's chinge parade was a celebration of the country's colorful traditions. nhk's mark ho reports. >> reporter: it was the most diverse celebration singaporeians have seen. over 10,000 performers in the largest ever parade. this festival coincides with the 50th year of singapore's independence. special efforts have been made
to showcase the multicultural society. locals of chinese, malay, and indian descent and guests from overseas formed 160 parade teams. the first official parade was held in 1973. eight years after independence with 1,500 chinese residents celebrating the lunar new year. lin ha yok has been organizing the parade since its inception. ethnic tensions flared in the years before and after independence. lin encouraged malays and indians to join the parade in a show of social harmony. >> translator: eventually we convinced the other races and groups. singapore singapore's multicultural. so the parade should be too.
>> reporter: ooh-shu is the name of this team chinese, malay, indian and foreign teammates practice traditional martial arts. the members range in age from 5 to 70. >> translator: i hope we can pass it on from generation to generation. >> reporter: the day of the parade lim is busy confirming the team's schedules and safety. a birthday cake for singapore feeds the general mood of celebration. overseas teams too are in high spirits. a group from rwanda wearing lion-like outfits performs a traditional dance. the japanese team dances around a float embellished with the letters sg-50.
when it's wushu's turn 1,000 people from different generations and ethnic groups all dance to the same rhythm. >> we should all be together as one culture, share our culture, be happy and share the diversity p the more the diversity the better. >> i'm proud to be part of the chingay parade as 50 years of the independence of singapore. hope all the best for singapore. >> reporter: for lim this year's anniversary parade has been very special. >> translator: we want to bring everyone together harmoniously to make this into a huge parade and to provide everybody with a sense of fulfillment and joy by participating. >> reporter: half a century has passed since singapore became an
independent nation beginning a remarkable transformation into one of the world's most successful economies. society still has its problems but most people regardless of age or ethnicity have many reasons to celebrate. mark ho nhk world, singapore. it is time now for a check of the weather. people in northern india are dealing with heavy rain and snow. the downpours have flooded homes and farmland. mai shoji joins us with the latest. >> reporter: residents in northern areas of india are dealing with severe floods. we have some pictures coming up to show you the situation. this is what if looks like. heavy rainfall in northern and central india the past several days has caused problems in the region and disrupted everyday life. the showers inundated wheat feemds leaving many crops ready for harvest devastated. three people including two children were killed in punjab after the heavy rainfall caused a roof to collapse.
and in the mountains in the north the same snow brought snowfall to the tourist zone of -- tourist town of shimla on monday. as beautiful as it looks, local residents are facing trouble here as heavy rain and snow have forced roads to close, cutting off parts of pradesh. much of the states in northern india including the eastern areas-r still seeing some showers and a little bit of that snowfall. we're likely to see about ten centimeters of snow across the himalayas including southern tibet. but as you can see, the system will be weakening. so we're not going to be seeing that much rainfall. so the recovery process is cooperative -- the weather is cooperative with the recovery efforts. a little bit toward the east though, we have some thunderstorm warnings but it's on a low level. and as you can see, that's clearing off too. now, further toward the east we have a disturbance in southern china that's bringing sma rainfall across the area. and that's pulling into the western areas of japan.
quush yue has kyushu has been seeing the heavy rainfall and that's pulling into much of japan including tokyo as well. the system over toward the korean peninsula is now bringing 20 centimeters of snowfall to the northern areas of the korean peninsula. and snow will also cover much of northern japan. the rain will be coming in in tokyo starting the evening hours today. and as for the forecast, looking at some clearing skies on tuesday. a very short break break because we have another round of snowfall on wednesday and then blizzard conditions will be coming back for you on thursday. so the visibility will be near zero again. tokyo, though a jump from 10 degrees to 18 degrees on wednesday. little bit of a fall again on the latter half of the week. beijing will be on a warming trend, but shanghai on the other hand 14 degrees down to just 7 degrees on your wednesday. now a quick look here in the americas. the new england states are going to be expecting another round of winter storms. we're actually looking at some
ridge of this high pressure system pulling in that moisture. so freezing rain will be in store for you in the lower great lakes region. and then heavy snow again across much of the great lakes. out toward the four corners this is an area where we may see about 120 centimeters of snowfall, especially in the higher elevations and around colorado the gusts will be about 90 kilometers per hour. certainly going to be making it for treacherous driving conditions. down toward the south in houston we're looking at some thunderstorms. and then again in denver a little bit on the chilly side. minus 5 with snow in the forecast. and in the big states such as -- cities such as washington, d.c. and new york looking at some snow and wintry precipitation. again, hopefully that's not going to be disrupting too many transportation. i'll leave you now for your extended forecast. ♪
we have one more story to share with you before we go. musicians playing japanese instruments performed a concerto with the seattle symphony orchestra. the musical piece was composed to encourage the restoration effort in japan's disaster-hit northeast. japanese koto and shakuhachi bamboo flute players took part in the u.s. premiere of japanese composer yugo kano's "revive."
♪ the koto is a 13-stringed instrument. the player is from the fukushima prefecture, part of the region devastated by the earthquake and tsunami in 2011. the traditional instruments provided an exotic flavor for the more than 2,000 concertgoers. ♪ [ applause ] a member of the audience said he and his daughter were moved to tears. >> you know you just -- you realize this idea that you know no matter what we face sometimes that the human spirit prevails. yeah very powerful. >> that's all for this edition of "newsline." i'm catherine kobayashi in tokyo. thanks for staying with us.
special tribute. record breaker -- meet a daredevil german athlete and his unicycle. and calendar cat -- how designer , karl lagerfeld and his pet help out a german carmaker. while hundreds of thousands flocked to angouleme in france recently for one of the world's leading comics festivals. it began over 4 decades ago and awards some of the most prestigious prizes in cartooning. this year's festival was dedicated to the cartoonists of the charlie hebdo magazine murdered earlier this year in