welcome to "newsline." it is tuesday march 1st. i'm catherine kobayashi in tokyo. al shabaab has claimed responsibility for a deadly attack in somalia. its members set off two bombs at busy locations. they killed more than 20 people, and injured more than 40. the explosions happened northwest of the capital mogadishu. a car bomb exploded outside a restaurant. it was followed by a suicide bomb nearby. the militant group also claimed responsibility for a friday attack near the presidential office in mogadishu. at least 14 people were killed. somali troops and african union
peacekeepers have been conducting operations against al shabaab across the country. egypt's president has addressed the japanese diet. he stressed the need for the two countries to work together in the fight against terrorism. the first egyptian president to speak before japan's lower house. he acknowledged japan's efforts to stop attacks by the islamic state militant group and other extremists around the world. he said it is important to address terrorism in a comprehensive manner and not only through the use of military and security forces. he said international cooperation is needed in order to fight terrorists by economic and social means. he also called for more japanese investment in egypt, which is facing rising prices and unemployment. prime minister shinzo abe has pledged economic aid to help egypt in its nation-building efforts. the commitment came in a joint statement issued after abe met
egyptian president sisi at his office in tokyo. the statement said the aid to egypt from the japanese government and companies will amount to more than $17 billion. the assistance is meant to help egypt on its path to democracy. the japanese government will also provide loans totaling about $475 million. the money will go towards furthering the lek tris system in cairo, and expansion of an international airport and other projects in egypt. washington and seoul have been in discussions over the deployment of an advanced missile defense system to offset pyongyang's growing threat. but china's chief envoy on north korean affairs has once again reaffirmed beijing's opposition to the move. wu met south korea's foreign minister in seoul. he explained china's stance on
the terminal high-altitude area defense system, and he said he hopes the u.s. and south korea will take beijing's concerns into account. but a south korean defense ministry spokesperson stressed that seoul and washington will continue talks on the deployment. he said it would protect people from the growing threat of north korea's nuclear programs and missiles. wu and jun also discussed a u.n. security council draft resolution to tighten sanctions against north korea. the sanctions are in response to the country's recent nuclear test and rocket launch. pyongyang is denouncing the u.s. over the move. north korea's state-run news agency has repeated the claim that what the country launched last month was a satellite carrying rocket. it says the u.n. security council draft resolution submitted by the u.s. is representative of a hostile policy, and a grave challenge to the country. and it says if the u.s. tries to
deprive north korea of its lawful rights, pyongyang has no choice but to respond accordingly. the draft contained what may be the strongest measures yet against north korea, including a ban on exporting aviation fuel to the country. u.n. security council members are expected to vote on the resolution soon. prime minister shinzo abe says he will continue to seek support from officials of the southern japanese prefecture of okinawa for an early relocation of a u.s. base. abe made the remarks at a diet committee meeting. he was responding to criticism from an opposition lawmaker over court battles between the central and okinawa governments on the relocation plan. >> translator: the only way to remove the danger posed by the base in futenma by maintaining the deterrence by the u.s. military is to relocate it. this staps has been unchanged. >> the central government wants to move the air station in the
densely populated area to a coastal district within the prefecture. the governor of okinawa said no new military facilities should be built in his prefecture. he wants the base moved out of okinawa all together. now take a look at the business headlines. people who study japan are reading through the latest batch of economic data. they're finding out about people's spending habits and the country's job situation. ai uchida joins us from our business desk with the latest. ai, how is it looking? >> catherine, it is a mixed picture today. there are more jobs for job seekers than there have been in decades, but people's incomes are going down. and that means they have to be careful about what they buy. so let's start with household spending. japanese shoppers were frugal in january, marking the fifth straight month of decline. officials at the internal affairs ministry say spending by all households with two or more members fell 3.1% in yen terms
from a year ago. on average, households spent about $2,500 a month. meanwhile, the average monthly income for workers' households stood at $3,800, that was down 1.3% in real terms from the previous year. and the ministry officials say the unemployment rate in january was 3.2%. that's an improvement of 0.1 point from the previous month. officials at the labor ministry say the ratio to job offers to people looking for work was 1.28. that means there were 128 job openings, for every 100 job seekers. that's the highest level in about 24 years. household spending came in weaker than market expectations. the jobless rate was better than what analysts had predicted. still, tokyo stock prices opened lower following these mixed data. the nikkei average is trading lower at the moment. down by just about a .10%.
a stronger yen is weighing on export related shares. let's take a look at currencies. weaker than expected consumer price data for the eurozone triggered selling of the euro. many think the central bank may take additional easing measures at next week's policy meeting. it dipped to the lowest level in near three years against the yen. currently at the lower 122 yen level. the dollar is also lower against the yen, dragged down by weak economic data over in the u.s. that pair is at the lower to mid 112 yen levels. let's look at other markets across the asia-pacific region. australia's benchmark index is now in positive territory, up .5% ahead of the outcome of their central bank meeting. seoul is closed for a holiday. many college students in
japan will be graduating in spring next year, are already busy preparing for the job hunting season. the japan business federation has set march 1st as the start of recruiting activities for its member firms. companies across japan are holding employment fairs starting today. managers at an employment services firm say many large companies remain eager to hire new workers. they say this year will see another seller's market. but one manager expressed concern. firms can start interviewing candidates on june 1st. that's two months earlier than last year. >> translator: these seniors will effectively only have three months to learn about employers before they start having interviews. >> he says that might not give students enough time to get a clear understanding of their prospective positions before the final screening process. self-driving car technology
is becoming one of the most competitive markets for developers. a japanese joint venture has begun holding demonstrations for a driverless taxi service on public roads in kanagawa prefecture near tokyo. the i.t. company dna established the venture with the goal of starting a self-driving taxi service. during the trial run, people requested driverless taxis on smartphones, tablets or laptops. a self-driving car picked them up and took them to a nearby supermarket. the vehicles are equipped with sensors and cameras. it has automated steering and braking functions. during the test runs, though, drivers were onboard to control the car in case of emergency. >> translator: it was a comfortable ride. >> translator: i hope that in the future the service will help people in rural areas without access to public transport.
>> the company says it's aiming to launch a commercial service in the year 2020. despite having one of the world's lowest fertility rates, south korea's maternity market is a $200 billion industry. and it's growing by more than 20% a year. nhk world's kim shanje reports on the latest trends. >> reporter: these pregnant women are practicing for the big day with ballet. these classes are run by a ballet studio. raising the legs high helps ease swelling. the instructor says stretching the pelvis makes for a smoother birth. dancing to classical music is a way to relax. the classes are so popular, that 500 women have applied for just 15 places.
>> translator: sometimes i feel depressed, but moving while looking at myself in the mirror gives me a boost and makes me feel happy. >> reporter: pregnancy no longer has to be a challenge. more and more maternity stores are hoping women embrace the bump and fit their tummies into the latest trends. one online maternity store is selling dresses on moms-to-be. some of the outfits are designed to show off the bump. these dresses are for taking maternity photos. such photos are very popular. this company has a dedicated studio for maternity pictures. buying a dress, and going to a
professional cameraman. this woman is expecting her second child. >> translator: you need a bit of courage to wear them. so it was a bit challenging. but having my picture taken in such cute dresses is like getting a big present. >> reporter: this is not a suite at a luxury hotel, it's a facility for post-delivery care. women typically stay for two to four weeks. these services are popular in south korea. the facilities are growing increasingly luxurious. the staff here provide around-the-clock care for newborn babies, along with massages, cosmetic treatments, and other services. rooms cost about $250 a night. the price of a stay in a high-end hotel. but it is almost fully booked
for three months. this woman has been given a tour about two months before the big day. >> translator: popular facilities are always fully booked. so it's best to make a reservation. >> reporter: the facility has attracted attention outside the country. six branches have opened in china since 2011, and there are plans to go worldwide. >> translator: we want to export south korea's post-delivery care to many countries. we hope to some day expand our business in asia, and to europe and america. >> reporter: pregnancy and childbirth are increasingly seen in south korea as something to be enjoyed. that trend is helping to liven up the maternity market. nhk world, seoul. that's the latest in
business news. tokyo markets down this morning. i'll leave you with a check on markets. march 11th, 2011, an earthquake strikes japan, setting off a catastrophic chain reaction. towering tsunami waves devastate the northeast coast, and a nuclear plant is sent spiraling out of control. five years on, survivors are rebuilding their lives, and learning lessons from the tragedy. but there's still a long way to
go. journey from disaster, stories of resilience and remembrance, right here on "newsline." researchers in japan are offering up a brighter future for fruit growers. they're experimenting with ways to keep insects away without using chemicals. and it comes with the flip of a switch. here's that story. >> reporter: insects are released into a chamber. inside, are two male siblings, one lit by a fluorescent light, one with a red l.e.d. light. most of the insects gather under the fluorescent light. the bugs don't like red light. a finding that has raised hopes for a new form of pest control. suzuki could suddenly use some help in this area. >> translator: there are lots of
larvae, and adult insects, too. >> reporter: suzuki has been trying to get rid of a type of insect called melon thrips. they damage the leads and affect the flavor of the fruit. they also turn white. suzuki can't get a good price for discolored fruit. so he sprays the melons with insecticides at least ten times before the harvest. but they have a very fast life cycle. only one month. its succeeding generation grows more immune to the pest side. this agricultural research center has been looking for a way to ditch the chemicals. insects are usually drawn to light and that was the researchers' first strategy.
they experimented to see which of six colors would lure the most bugs. and that's when they noticed something. the insects stayed away from the red light. >> translator: there were almost no studies about bugs avoiding certain lights. we got interesting results and changed the direction of our research. >> reporter: after three months under the red lights, the plants showed a 75% reduction in the number of insects. ishikawa is now trying to find out why bugs don't like red light. whatever the reason, the farmers will be happy for a pesticide-free solution. it could open up more markets to japanese melons. >> translator: each country sets different limits on pesticide residue.
some are very strict. spraying with pesticide even one less time gives us an advantage in international sales. >> reporter: the researchers aim to have the technology in widespread use within five years. nhk world, iwata. indonesia is boosting funding to villages to counterterrorism. the country has been trying to crack down on radicals following a january terror attack in jakarta. >> translator: terrorism and radicalism are tied to poverty. if this project works, we believe it will reduce the potential for rad cammism here. this is what we think. and at the same time, it will help to improve people's lives
and reduce inequality. >> the government has been -- or has more than doubled its budget for the villages to more than $3.5 billion. authorities estimate that more than 500 indonesian citizens have joined the group islamic state. they are now investigating a local cell that's claiming responsibility for the january attack. thailand is one of the world's largest rice exporters, but many of its rice paddies are dry amid the worst drought in 20 years. the government wants farmers to plant some alternative crops. nhk world looks at the potential impact of the drought at home and abroad. >> reporter: in western thailand, the country's largest. the level has fallen to just 9% usable water. >> translator: we must prioritize water for daily
usage. so there's not enough for agriculture. >> reporter: the area downstream is full of rice fields. rice growing is a major industry here in central thailand. the paddies are normally filled with water around this time, but severe drought has prevented this farmer from planting. the farmers here normally harvest twice a year. but there's no water for a second crop this year. agricultural damage from the drought is estimated at around $1.8 billion nationwide. thailand is the world's second largest rice exporter, and a supplier to developing countries in asia and africa. the u.n. food and agriculture organization have supply concerns. >> when we get sudden spikes,
that's the big problem, because then people panic, and start to hoard. so for people who have to buy their rice on market, this is a serious problem. >> reporter: thai government officials are encouraging farmers, worried about their incomes, to consider alternative crops like soybeans or peanuts, which require less water. >> translator: farmers can cultivate other things if they can't plant rice. the government will do its utmost to support such efforts. >> reporter: some farmers question whether those efforts will put food on their tables. this man planted his rice field with peanuts. but he's worried because he has never grown peanuts before. >> translator: i need money every day to buy food and other
necessities, but i have no income, and i don't know what to do. >> reporter: thai farmers are facing great challenges amid the worst drought in a generation. many of them don't know what to do next, and are seriously concerned about their future. nhk world, bangkok. the city of paris is still trying to recover nearly four months after deadly terrorist attacks. during a visit to tokyo, the mayor of paris called on japanese visitors to come back. >> translator: if people look on france with benevolence, things will improve. >> officials in paris say the number of foreign tourists plummeted after the attacks. they say the drop in japanese visitors was especially steep, falling by more than 20%
compared to before the attacks. thousands of residents in southern peru have lost their homes due to severe flooding. heavy rains have been pounding the region for the past several weeks. we go to meteorologist robert speta now for the latest. >> yes. what we have been seeing out here is basically this weather pattern which has been sitting absolutely in place with the trough of low pressure, extending from peru, extending down to the southeast there in the southern areas of brazil. this is where you have been getting hit extra hard. the main reason for this is because it is the rainy season. you have the moisture coming in from the el nino. i want to show you video, incredible video coming out of areas of central and southern peru. this parking lot which has just been turned right into a river from these torrential rainfall. the road right there coming down the hillside, absolutely horrible. actually, about 30,000 people have been impacted by the most recent floods the past week, and 3,000 people have been left
homeless. thousands of hectares of crops have been damaged because of the heavy rains, which have been continuing to occur. the video gives you a sense of what has been going on out here. unfortunately this is not going anywhere anytime soon. you still see the satellite picture. we have the trough of low pressure which is continuing to linger. you're still looking at rain showers across this area. el nino, which has not waned yet, this is still very strong, continues to pump in that moisture. just making for a very unstable atmosphere. back towards the north, though, i want to mention severe weather in north america. the good news with this, if there is good news, is the fact that it is moving very fast. but we are going to be looking at strong thunderstorms over the next several days. there's an area of low pressure developing here into the northern plains. and that is going to sweep down here towards the south, dragging that cold air behind it. but remember, it is march out here, and that means we have that springtime weather starting to set up. that warm air starting to flow in from the gulf of mexico and
that is going to set up those strong thunderstorms in the lower mississippi river valley, even extending back to the east. damaging winds, but there is also going to be some tornado threat in this as well as it pulls off here. in the cold sector of this storm, in the northern areas, heavy snowfall in parts of ontario, even into western and upstate new york. you could see about 20 to 30 centimeters of total accumulation as this develops and pulls off to the northeast of the behind it, temperatures cooling down. temperatures will continue to drop by wednesday into thursday. chicago, just 1 there. you have some snowfall in your forecast on tuesday. let's move now here to japan and talk about this severe winter storm which has been continuing to impact this area. hundreds of flights have been canceled. numerous schools as well. off toward hokkaido, in fact, graduation day for a lot of students. that's likely going to be postponed from tuesday over to wednesday, maybe thursday when weather starts to calm down. look at some of these reports here.
60 centimeters of total snowfall in a 24-hour period. now combine it with this, nearly 150 kilometer per hour winds in the southeastern areas of the island. typhoon strength 126, by the way. that puts it in perspective. even in the south we're seeing foul weather, especially along the sea of japan coastline. that's where you're still seeing the snowfall today. some locations 35 to 40 centimeters is still possible. we might see a meter of snowfall for a few of you when this is all said and done over the course of several days. upwards of 144 kilometer per hour wind gusts is continuing to be a possibility. really this is going to be an ongoing situation. there is good news if you're in tokyo, though, sunny skies expected. mountains stopping all that moisture from getting off to the east. temperatures warming up, spring-like by the time friday rolls around. i'll leave you now with your extended outlook.
carlos: here we go. thanks for tuning in. you are in for a treat. we have a wonderful show for you today. so sit down and get comfortable. euro max highlights has just begun. back to the roots. white house hopeful donald trump and his german ancestors. flying high. venice's carnival queen takes to the skies. haunted house featuring a spooky castle in northern england. did you know that u.s. presidential candidate hopeful and reality tv star donald trump has german roots? his grandfather lived in germany before emigrating to the united at