blossoms. japan is full of fascinating nature and culture. we hope you will come see for yourself. hello there. welcome to "newsline." it's thursday march 12th. i'm catherine kobayashi in tokyo. first an update on ukraine. the united states imposed sanctions on pro-russian separatists and announces more non-lethal aid for the ukrainian government government. the u.s. also accuses russian-backed rebels of breaking a cease-fire agreement. the announcement issued by the u.s. government says the united states has frozen assets of eight pro-russian separatists and a russian organization recruiting fighters. three officials including a close aide to former ukrainian president viktor yanukovych who fled to russia have been added to the list of targets for asset
freezing. the sanctions also target a russian bank that began operating in crimea after russia annexed it. u.s. firms are barred from doing business with the bank. for the ukrainian government the united states says it will provide an additional $75 million in assistance that includes unmanned surveillance drones and communications equipment. officials from the u.s. government say the ukrainian military will receive up to 230 armored vehicles. reports say vice president joe biden conveyed u.s. decision on the new aid to ukrainian president petro poroshenko in a telephone call on wednesday. the united states says pro-russian separatists attacked the transport hub of debaltseve and the industrial city of mariupol in eastern ukraine in a breach of the cease-fire accord agreed in february. meanwhile, assistant secretary of state for european and eurasian affairs victoria newland said her country estimates between 400 and 500
russians have died in the cliblth. nuland was giving testimony on ukraine at a senate foreign relations equipment hearing on tuesday. she stressed that what is needed is a complete cease-fire and a full pullback of all weapons from the area. iraqi forces are close to making their biest gain yet in their fight against islamic state militants. troops have entered tikrit and say they have captured wide areas of the northern part of the city. iraqi forces have been conducting a huge operation to retake the saddam hussein's birthplace, which has been controlled by the militants since june of last year. soldiers launched an offensive north of the city on wednesday and gained control of the area after fierce fighting. footage taken from tikrit shows iraqi soldiers being welcomed by residents after militants fled the area. government forces are attempting to surround the militants in central tikrit by advancing into the city from the east and south.
they say islamic militants tried to stop their advance by destroying the bridge over the tigris river which runs east of the city. the operation is the largest counteroffensive so far by the iraqi government. they plan to move against the islamic state group's biggest stronghold mosul in the north after retaking tikrit. a summit between japan, china and south korea has been proposed in a bid to improve relations. senior diplomats say the meeting between the three countries will be discussed later this month. japan's deputy foreign minister shinsuke sugiyama met with his chinese counterpart liu chingmin and south korea's yu do su. foreign minister and summit meetings between the neighbor's counts have been suspended for the past three years. the countries are preparing to hold a trilateral foreign ministerial meeting next weekend
in seoul. japanese government officials see foreign investment as a key part of their growth strategy. they're taking steps they hope will make overseas investors more bullish on japan. nhk world's ai uchida joins us now from the business desk. so ai tell us what is the plan here? >> well catherine, just a bit of background. ever since prime minister shinzo abe has taken office direct foreign investment actually has been increasing. here is the thing. the people in his administration want it to increase even more. and to go along with that they want officials to play a more active role in encouraging people from other countries to invest in japan. to go along with all that they see improving infrastructure as important too. abe talked about the strategy at a meeting of the council on economic and fiscal policy. >> translator: foreign investment in japan has been on the rise as the country is becoming more attractive to foreign investors. we hope to further promote that trend. >> direct foreign investment in japan last year was about $8.4
billion billion. that's three times what it was in 2013. members of the cabinet and experts will meet as early as next week to discuss how to increase the amount of overseas money invested in the japanese economy. they aim to draw up a package of measures to achieve that goal. they're look at setting up a system where senior officials consult with foreign corporate investors. the package will also likely urge improvements to local airports to make them better able to handle small private planes. officials at japan's agriculture ministry plan to lower their sights when seth a target for the country's ability to feed itself. it would be the first time they've done that. japan currently targets a calorie-based food self-sufficiency rate of 50% by fiscal 2020. the actual level in fiscal 2013 was 39%. so some people want what they say is a more realistic goal.
ministry officials now plan to include a target of achieving a 45% rate for fiscal 2025 in the new ten-year basic agriculture policy. they plan tone courage young people to take up farming and boost consumption of domestic farm products. time for a check on markets now. u.s. stock prices ended lower again after showing this year's biggest drop on tuesday. both the dow jones industrial average and the tech-heavy nasdaq closed lower by just about 0.2%. some investors are already taking a wait and see stance ahead of next week's federal reserve policy meeting. to see how markets here are reacting ramin mellegard joins us from the tokyo stock exchange. good morning ramin. how are markets starting the day? >> very good morning to you, ai. a quick recap on u.s. stocks. investors seem to be really concerned been only the stronger dollar but the prospects of rising interest rates, which is why we saw the u.s. stocks trading lower. however, the nikkei and topix
really look to be shrugging off any of that negativeness. so let's have a look at the opening levels here. 18,836. up 2/3 of a percent for the nikkei. and yesterday also the nikkei shrugged off the weakness on wall street and actually rose. domestic data also on machinery orders and corporate goods prices provided the positives. and we're seeing a continuation of that. right now the nikkei up over 100 points. in fact, an analyst i spoke to says with strong corporate profits, a current account surplus, robust exports and cheap oil prospects for japan look pretty solid going forward. now, further buying may also come on nikkei futures ahead of the expiry of march contracts on friday. so we're seeing the momentum building up. also the weaker yen against the dollar should help a lost exporters. ai. >> ramin, how is the european central bank's quantitative easing measures affecting currency and bond markets this morning? >> let's kick off with bond markets first because after the
ecb began buying bonds from monday many investors really buying european government bonds such as german bund yields fell to an all-time low of 0.2%. the yields on french italian, and spanish bonds also hitting record lows. this is really keeping the euro lower against major currency exposing 12-year lows against the dollar and that since march 2013. also against the yen, the single currency is at the lowest level in a year and seven months. dollar-yen also stuck in a bit of a tight range. u.s. retail sales and industrial production across euro zone economies later today may give further indication for the single currency. and of course a lot of analysts still looking at the dollar against a basket of currencies and how that's going to trade. but for now that's all for me. back to you. >> sounds good. we'll talk to you in a few hours. ramin mellegard from the tokyo stock exchange. i'll be back next hour with more
headlines. neex a check here's a check on other markets. ♪ ♪ four years ago crews at fukushima daiichi in japan were racing to keep the nuclear plant from spiraling out of control following the earthquake and tsunami. today that sense of urgency has dissipated but the situation remains serious. workers are juggling a host of
problems as they try to decommission the facility. and given the risks involved health concerns and other worries weigh heavily on their minds. 51-year-old mitts heero maedo has been working for more than 20 years as an electrical contractor at fukushima daiichi plant. ma ma ma mayeda supervised about 30 workers at fukushima daiichi and took pride in his contribution to the plant. >> translator: i felt we were helping japan. we were generating electricity and supporting the country. >> reporter: when the nuclear accident occurred maeda rushed to the plant. he worked on rescoring external power, which was crucial in cooling the reactors and asserting an even bigger disaster.
maeda manages his staff from this office. working in the aftermath of the disaster, he was exposed to the maximum permissible amount of radiation. health and safety restrictions prevent him from working at daiichi until next year. >> someone had to restore power at the daiichi plant. i just acted because it was my duty. >> every day about 7,000 workers helped decommission the reactors. in heavy protective clothing they carry out such tasks as collecting and storing contaminated water. however, the decommissioning work is expected to take up to 40 years to complete. keeping stress levels down and morale up is proving difficult. maeda says a change of mood has
definitely come over his staff. one worker is finishing his shift. this man began working at the plant before the accident occurred. he heard that many workers don't talk about their jobs, even to their family members. >> translator: my relatives don't like it. i don't mind if people say your work must be difficult, but some are really shocked and ask if i'm really free of raid radiation. >> reporter: maeda says it's getting harder to find skilled workers. his company now has 1/3 the number of experienced staff it had before the accident. he says the situation is urgent. >> if it it carries on like this we'll go out of business. >> four years after the not d.
decontamination of the plant continues. but it's hard to predict when maeda's hometown of mayia will be habitable again. >> translator: this is my field. they say it's being decontaminated but residents are being accused of returning home. >> maeda's helping decommission the reactor out of a sense of duty to his hometown but he sometimes loses his faith in the future. and is starting to doubt whether it's a good idea to continue his business. >> we need to figure out how to pass on this responsibility to the next generation. otherwise, i can't see a clear future for the power plant. >> reporter: reducing the risk of radiation and improving the working environment is important. but these efforts are not enough to secure workers in the long term. those on the front lines also need to have motivation and
hope. >> the accident at fukushima daiichi contaminated a number of communities surrounding the plant. fear of radiation forced people to leave in a hurry. in some cases they never went back. but what they left behind tells a story of a chilling period in this country's history. a story one museum curator has tried to reconstruct piece by piece. nhk world's jun yotsumoto reports. >> reporter: a road sign mangled by the power of the sea. a poster for a festival that never took place. a clock froze nen time marking the moment the earthquake struck. all of these items come from evacuated towns around fukushima daiichi. for nearly a year mitsuro takahashi and his small team have been trying to preserve reminders of japan's 2011
disaster. they've collected more than 100 items from the evacuation zone. >> translator: it reads the name of the village the tsunami destroyed. >> reporter: this decanter is the first object takahashi brought back. finding it helped him understand his team's mission. >> translator: the idea came to me that this could be the only physical evidence that shows people did indeed live here. >> reporter: we followed takahashi and his team when they visited the restricted area in december. they went to a community hall that was used as an evacuation shelter shortly after the disaster. >> translator: you really see the whole picture here how quickly people had to leave without having time to clean up. >> reporter: the residents were fleeing the radiation from fukushima daiichi.
the invisible threat is still a concern. takahashi and his team need to check the level of radiation for each item. only the ones that meet safety standards can be taken back to the museum. these newspapers from fukushima are okay. they carried details of disaster and were supposed to go out to readers on march 12th. but they sat abandoned in fujio hayashi's shop. so i was always thinking that records of what happened must be passed down to future generations.
last month takahashi's team took 40 of the items on display. even though the items are inanimate visitors can feel their stories. >> i used to walk and jog in this neighborhood. it might sound like an exaggeration but a dream about this place. so in that sense i'm thankful mementos such as these have been preserved. >> reporter: even visitors from outside fukushima are impressed by the collection. >> translator: i feel these items directly convey how these people's lives were suddenly disconnected and how cruel their situation was. >> translator: some people may say these objects are part of a negative legacy. but it won't stay negative if we learn lessons and start working to build a better world. i'll be happy if the objects
help lead to us a positive future. >> reporter: takahashi and his team want that too. so they'll continue to collect the objects, hoping to tell stories of an and its painful aftermath. jun yotsumoto, nhk world, fukushima. people around the world offered tributes and prayers for japan as it marked the anniversary of the 2011 disaster. indonesians understand all too well what this country has been through. the 2004 indian ocean tsunami wiped out coastal areas there. but a lone tree that survived kept hopes alive and it helped connect people in these asian nations. nhk world's yusuke otah has that story. >> reporter: this is banda aceh in western indonesia. through all the hardships one thing kept people going. this coastal area was hit by the
tsunami, and everything was swept away in 2004, but only this tree survived. this 25-meter sea oak tree survived the disaster. it is still standing here 11 years after the tsunami watching over the people. the 2004 indian ocean tsunami claimed the lives of more than 60,000 people in banda aceh alone. this photo was taken in banda aceh immediately after the disaster. the lone sea oak tree remains standing on the coastline in the midst of the devastation gave people the courage to go on. sakura narukaya is one of those who found consolation in the tree. the tsunami swept away not only
her house but also her 6-year-old granddaughter. >> translator: every time i looked at the shi oak tree, it taught me never to give up. >> reporter: sakura was able to reopen the hotel she owned and pick up the pieces of her life. then she heard the heart-rending news that another tsunami had struck northeastern japan. she learned about a lone pine tree that survived in iwate prefecture might be dying. she wanted to donate a s hichlt oak tree from banda aceh to the city. >> translator: i really wanted to help the people there, as we
shared a similar hardships. sacra got the idea from replanting of sea oaks in banda aceh. local people were replanting sea oaks to replace those they had lost. in some coastal areas, the trees were starting to grow back. one year after the tsunami struck northeastern japan, sakura visited japan to donate some young sea oaks to the city. city representatives expressed their deep appreciation and hoped that people in both cities would move on with reconstruction work. to mark the fourth anniversary of the disaster in japan, sakura and her friends paid silent respect to the victims in front of the sea oak. >> translator: our hearts are
always with the people of rikuzentakata and the rest of tohoku. i hope people in japan will keep their hopes up, and never give up, just like the sea oak tree in banda aceh. >> reporter: the surviving sea oak helps unite people in indonesia and japan. now prayers from banda aceh are reaching the hearts of people in japan. yusuke ota, nhk world, banda aceh. it is time now for a check of the weather with our people living along the coastlines of australia and other islands across the western pacific are feeling the effects of powerful storms. meteorologist robert speta tells us what's happening. >> yes, let's get right into this. we have numerous storms to take about out here. four in the western and south pacific, and even over there towards the indian ocean as well. plus we have a separate system in the south atlantic.
but we'll talk a little more on that later on. take a look at the satellite imagery. i have to get off the screen so you can see all of this. we have bobby off toward the north. several cyclones toward the south. let's first talk about this one here, which is currently impacting the marshall islands, tropical storm warnings and watches are in effect. if you are in guam or you have plans to go to guam this weekend, you have to be getting ready for this one. it looks like it's moving ahead as a severe tropical storm bringing some rather hot winds and heavy rainfall as well. moving to the southern hemisphere, cyclone pam is out here. this is moving across the island of vanuatu. this is when the sun came out. this is a very large storm. as far as all these cyclones this is definitely the biggest and most powerful. a very big wind field wrapping. you can see the eye is continuing to develop, indicating the strengthening of this storm. right now continuing to
intensify up to a category 4 cyclone. that's on the fiji scale. winds of 167 gusting to 204 kilometers per hour. continuing to track down here toward the south. the big thing with this is it is edging farther to the west. you could be seeing winds gusting over 200 kilometers per hour, as this does push by. then we're talking about the rainfall and the high seas. so it's a threat of low-lying storm surge flooding, but a lot of rain piling up on these islands. moving farther to the west, remember, this is very active. we have cyclone nathan here. the big issue with nathan, it's not making landfall, but it's lingering right near the queensland coastline. what that means, there's a threat of flooding. the other side of the continent as well pefwe have cyclone olin coming ashore. the big issue is i think there would be flooding in western australia, and as i mentioned, over 300 to possibly 400 millimeters could occur around
the cooktown area if you're in northern portions of queensland. so a lot happening in the tropics. we are going to continue to talk about this throughout the next several days. then as we move into the americas, we have this area of low pressure spinning up into southern portions of texas, pumping in that moisture into the gulf of mexico, bringing some heavy rainfall. that's on top of what's been occurring across the mississippi river valley. there's flash flood watches and warnings in effect for this time. we'll continue to track towards the northeast, though. temperatures look like this. houston with a high of 21. atlanta at 19. new york you'll be seeing some warming trend here in the next couple days as well. a 9 there for your high. and los angeles, look at that 28. actually record-breaking temperatures over the coming weekend expected out there for you. and then let's wrap things up here into east asia. we have this area of low pressure over northern japan. it's been bringing that rough weather. well, the good news is that it's tapering off by saturday, sunday we could still see flurries, but for the most part seeing --
steves: the dramatic rock of cashel is one of ireland's most evocative sites. this was the seat of ancient irish kings for seven centuries. st. patrick baptized king aengus here in about 450 a.d. in around 1100 an irish king gave cashel to the church, and it grew to become the ecclesiastical capital of all ireland. 800 years ago, this monastic community was just a chapel and a round tower standing high on this bluff. it looked out then as it does today over the plain of tipperary, called
to you from pakistan's capitol islamabad. we look at the comic series that has enjoyed decades of popularity. what makes it so popular? should girls be allowed education? no. >> should boys be allowed education? >> yes. >> "gogi" is a popular cartoon in pakistan. using humor it raises questions about the country's