welcome to nhk world "newsline." a massive winter storm is hammering communities all along the northeastern coast of the united states. heavy snowfall has forced airlines to ground more than 2,000 planes. the governors of new york and new jersey have declared a state of emergency. new york mayor bill de blasio called on people to stay indoors. he took office on wednesday, and the storm is considered one of his first tests.
u.s. forecasters say roughly 30 centimeters of snow is expected to fall overnight into friday in the northeast. the system has already barrelled through parts of the midwest. it dumped more than 40 centimeters of snow in some places in illinois, disrupting traffic and other services. most of the cancelled flights are domestic routes in and out of chicago and new york. further cancellations are expected. some railway service linking boston and washington, d.c. has been put on hold. u.s. federal law enforcement agents have launched an investigation into a new year's day arson attack on the chinese consulate general in san francisco. consulate officials are calling the fire a despicable act. security video from a nearby building shows that someone walked up to the main entrance at 9:30 p.m. after that, the flames started burning.
then the individual got into a van nearby. u.s. state department spokesperson marie harf quoted fire and police officials by saying an unknown male set two gas canisters alight in front of the consulate. >> we take this incident very seriously, and the bureau of diplomatic security is working with the fbi and local authorities to investigate and apprehend the perpetrators. >> investigators call it a violent crime because severe damage and posed a threat to residents nearby. they have urged u.s. authorities to provide protection for their personnel and bring those responsible to justice as soon as possible. u.s. secretary of state john kerry says israeli and palestinian leaders are going to need to make some tough choices. he's trying to get them to agree on a framework for a peace deal.
kerry met in jerusalem with benjamin netanyahu. the israelis and palestinians got back to the bargaining table in july last year. kerry is making his tenth trip to the region to help craft a final deal. >> we have always known that achieving peace is a long and complicated process. it's a tough road. but this is not mission impossible. >> kerry is urging both sides to narrow their differences on a framework for an agreement. the framework would address core issues such as the border of a future palestinian state, the status of jerusalem. kerry is expected to stay in the region for several days. he also plans to meet with palestinian president mack mud abas. the prime minister of india says he will hand over the country's top job after the next general election. sing has been in power for the
past decade. his congress party is currently struggling in the polls and was trounced in recent state elections. >> our party did not do well in these elections, but we welcome the extent of participation, and we will deflect on what it tells us for the future. >> the next ruling coalition will choose a new prime minister after general elections in may. sing said in his rare news conference in ten years that ray hul gandhi is the candidate. a bus has tumbled into a gorge in western india. at least 27 passengers were killed. police say the bus collided with a truck near mumbai, then plunged down a 120-meter gorge. road accidents are common in
india. more than 130,000 people are killed in accidents across the country every year. a car bomb has exploded in a neighborhood of the lebanese capital beirut. at least five people were killed, more than 70 wounded. the attack underscored the deep divide between shia and sunni muslims. the bomb went off in a commercial and residential district controlled by the shia militant group hezbollah. it tore the front off buildings and left wreckage smoldering in the street. hezbollah cordoned off nearby roads. >> translator: i'm really worried about the security situation in lebanon. i'm not sure if i can go back home from the office every day. >> no one has claimed responsibility, but the attack came less than a week after a car bomb killed a former finance minister who was sunni. the civil war in neighboring syria has fuelled situations in
lebanon. many sunnis support the syrian opposition. the earthquake and tsunami that ravaged northeastern japan in march 2011 killed more than 18,000 people. giant waves have pummelled the region many times in the distant past, as well, and residents have tried to leave records of these events. now, some researchers believe the old accounts can help prevent future disasters. nhk world reports. >> reporter: an amateur historian, she explores areas in northeastern japan, focusing on geograph geographical names. she says many locations have links to past disasters. this area is called oginazawa. the name means big ship stream. it's almost three kilometers
inla inland. >> translator: this place is so deep in the mountains that i never believed a ship or a tsunami could reach this far, but on march 11th, the tsunami did reach here, so i realized that the legend was probably true. >> reporter: tazai says place names may hold messages from people living in the area centuries ago. she asks locals about these tales. >> translator: i feel very strongly that place names are important. the locals have suffered from tsunamis for many generations. i think these names reflect their experiences. >> reporter: it's not only amateur historians that are setting the path for clues to dangers in the future. researchers at a national
university are digging into the archives to help them prepare for disasters. last year, toe hoe cue university established the national research institute of disaster science. historian akawa is the director. he studied old documents to see how people dealt with past disasters. the tsunami two years ago inundated the sendai plane. a superimposed map of the flooded areas over one of the 17th century. he found that the 2011 tsunami didn't effect the old main road and nearby villages. he says this knowledge could have helped lessen the damage from the disaster. >> translator: it's possible that the highway and towns were built in places that people felt were safe based on their experience with the many tsunamis that had hit the area.
>> reporter: he collaborates with other researchers specializing in the science of tsunamis. they are now looking at one that struck in 1611. researchers had assumed the tsunami was caused by an earthquake with a magnitude of 8.1, but hirakawa and his team made new findings. they now believe the quake had a magnitude of 8.5. if such a massive quake did occur 500 years ago, tsunamis might hit the region more often than previously thought. hirakawa presents the results of the research in lectures. he hopes to have more opportunities to exchange views with other researchers. >> translator: if amateur historians dig deeper into the history of disasters in their area and present their research
locally, i think our society can develop greater resistance to these catastrophic events. >> reporter: local residents have left a legacy of their experiences. by uncovering these stories, tazai and hirakawa believe they can offer life saving wisdom to future generations. terui, nhk world. investors saw markets in the u.s. get off to a sluggish start to 2014. stocks in new york dropped sharply on thursday, the first trading day of the year. the dow jones industrial average fell 135 points from its close on december 31st, ending the day
at 16,441. a dip in u.s. crude oil. the dow rose 26.5% in 2013. that's the highest rate of increase since 1995. the key index kept hitting record highs, even after the federal reserve decided to scale back monetary easing. improvements in jobs and housing will further boost u.s. markets this year, but some investors remain cautious ahead of the midterm elections in november. italian auto maker fiat has struck a deal to gain full control of chrysler group. once finalized, it will create the world's seventh largest automaker. f fiat deal is worth more than $4 billion. fiat began funding chrysler in an attempt to help the company emerge from bankruptcy in 2009.
the ceo of fiat and chrysler says the unified ownership structure will be able to fully execute the vision of creating a global automaker. indian women are breaking with tradition. they are finding jobs in workplaces traditionally dominated by men, but challenges remain, even for women are skilled, acceptance in the workrce may be some time coming. nhk world kyoko fujita reports. >> reporter: students at this job training institute near new delhi learn how to assemble electronic parts. the government is promoting women in the manufacturing industry. it's a sector that economists predict will grow. there are around 9,000 schools like this across india. more and more women are knocking on their doors. they want the better jobs that qualifications can bring.
>> translator: i want to be independent with knowledge. >> translator: electrical assembly can be done by anyone. it's easy. >> reporter: some women find opportunities at foreign firms. they are considered less gender conscious than indian companies. operators on this assembly line are all female trainees. they can acquire skills, earn money, and get a diploma for their profession. this japanese auto bike maker provides training to its female workers. the government commissioned the company to establish such a program in 2012. about 170 women study assembly techniques. if they can acquire high level skills over three years, they have the chance to become regular employees.
>> translator: women are often good with details, so they are well suited to assemble and test components. >> reporter: despite such efforts, the employment rate of indian women remains less than half that of men. while the number of women with education and skills is rising, many people still believe a woman's place is in the home. 19-year-old enrolled in a vocational training course to get a full-time job. she lives in new delhi with her parents and two brothers. her father is a tailor, but on his monthly income of $130, the family barely gets by. she wants a job so she can contribute to the household budget and her brothers' schooling.
but the situation is not easy. she often meets with friends to swap job information. they are also looking for permanent employment, but many positions are temporary. >> translator: last year was nice, i even got transport expenses. >> translator: why did you quit? >> translator: it was only a one-month contract. >> translator: only one month? >> reporter: another reason she wants a stable income is that she has a dream. she wants to attend medical school. >> translator: i want to be a doctor, especially a heart surgeon. >> reporter: juhi's mother supports her daughter's ambition. she, herself, had no choice but to become a housewife. >> translator: i don't want juhi to live like women of my
generation. i wish her a better life. >> we get jobs on our qualifications, and it depends on your qualification you have. we have to improve our qualification. it doesn't matter you are a girl or a boy. >> reporter: indian society is at a crossroads. with the economy expanding, letting open the doors to women with enthusiasm may bring the country another dimension of growth. kyoko fujita, nhk world. every morning, investors turn their attention to asia. the tokyo market leads the way. and markets around the world follow. >> from the decisions that could change the course of an economy. >> to the latest business trends. >> up to the minute market reports. >> and analysis by specialists from around the world. >> get all the latest business news and insight every day here on "newsline."
donald keene has been a leading figure in the study of japan's literature for the past 70 years. his love affair with the country began when he came across a book on classical japanese literature in a new york book store. keene has since devoted his life to japan's culture. a museum and research center dedicated to his work opened last december in niigata prefecture. nhk reports. >> reporter: the donald keene center is more than just a museum of his life and works, it's also intended as a center for studying the field of japanese literature. the main hall holds an exhibit on nine individuals who played pivotal roles on keene's development. visitors can also see his library, which was brought over
from new york and reconstructed. to promote the study of japanese literature, keene has do nighted 2,500 books, records, and artifacts to be housed in the room. for over 50 years, keene was a professor in columbia university in new york, inspiring students with a passion in his field. over a period of 25 years, he wrote his 18-volume work, a history of japanese literature. it's now used around the world as a key textbook in the field. >> first of all, congratulations on the opening of the keene center. >> thank you. >> what was it like for you? >> well, it was rather weird, particularly, because one of my study in new york was taking entirely the furniture, the rugs, on the wall, so i have this strange feeling of being in the present and the past, and the one thing they couldn't send from new york was the hudson
river. >> now, thanks to your classes and all your books, i think many foreign students, it's become much easier to study japanese literature. >> especially at universities where there were no person to teach japanese, nobody who was particularly interested in japane japanese. suddenly, there was a book they could get a good idea of what japanese literature was like over 1,500 years of its existence. >> reporter: keene's understanding of japan extends beyond literature. he's particularly enthusiastic about the japanese art of the puppet theater. he organized a performance so those attending his lecture
firsthand could experience the drama. thanks to keene's efforts, there's been a growth of interest in this traditional art form. he helped revive a legendary drama that was lost and had not been performed for over 300 years. >> translator: i now have a greater understanding of it, and now i want to see performances more often. >> not only literature, but you've also studied a lot about japanese performing arts. is that different from western plays? >> eventually, the difference would be that in a western play, there is not the traditional things. the opera's done in modern dress, or rigaletto being done in a gambling joint in las vegas, and the japanese wouldn't do that. you can't imagine a kabuki play when everybody dressed in jeans,
short sleeves, and just talked in an ordinary voice and not in a kabuki voice. no, you go to kabuki because you want a certain kind of theater. the poetry, the movements, by the general atmosphere created move you and makes something unforgettable. >> reporter: impaled by his deep affinity for japanese literature and culture, keene continues to study and write to further spread their understanding around the world. yuko aotani, nhk world. many japanese love to dig into a bowl of natto, or fermented soybeans, but usually visitors have trouble getting used to its gooey appearance and smell some find unappetizing, but natto seems to be catching
on in france. nhk world has the story. >> reporter: at a supermarket in northern france. customers are tasting natto. although french people are familiar with japanese food, they don't very often come across natto. >> translator: it is sticky, but it looks like it's good for your health. i'll buy some. >> reporter: the supermarket didn't import it from japan, a frenchman made it in france. a package cost about $5. sales have doubled over the past year, as more french people demand healthier food.
he lives in the province region of southern france. it's here that he makes natto. he set up a small factory at his home. he makes natto by hand. the only soybeans he uses are organically grown. he discovered natto 40 years ago when he taught french in tokyo. at first he was taken aback by the sight and smell, but gradually, the unique taste won him over. he started eating the food every day. 17 years ago, he returned to japan because he wanted to learn how to make his own natto. he chose the prefecture where most natto is made.
>> translator: it was really complicated. it took me a lot of time. actually, to master the cooking, everything. >> reporter: he sold the food mostly to japanese living in france, but the number of french buyers has been going up. he likes to experiment. now he's trying out ground natto, which is less sticky and easier to eat. he invites friends for a taste. he spreads the natto paste on bread, then adds tomatoes, salmon, and radishes. voila, a new kind. >> translator: when i saw the natto, i didn't like the way it looked, but when i tasted it, i
thought it was delicious. it goes well with bread. >> translator: my dream is introducing natto to the people of france. some day, i want to be called the king of natto. >> reporter: he says he hopes the french will come to consider natto as part of their own cuisine and see whether his dream ferments. nhk world, france. and now here's the weather forecast.
sword makers in central japan have performed in a new year's ritual to pray for worker safety. 15 men in traditional white costumes and head gear participated in the ceremony. the area has been a saber and cutlery production center for more than 700 years. the craftsmen lit a fire and heated the steel in a furnace, which was more than 1,000 degrees celcius. >> translator: it was amazing how the sparks flew upwards. >> translator: it's my first time to see this. i was overwhelmed.
>> we had to the central african republic where violence is raging on. we joined to talk about his trip to the country on the edge of civil war. and also who made the most money last year? the richest people of 2013. but first, we head to the mideast where peace talks continue for a second day this friday. the u.s. secretary of state john kerry says his is -- needs with his israeli counterpart outdoor lieberman. secure aing to