glad you can join us for nhk "newsline." i'm ross mihara in tokyo. people across japan are celebrating a countryman's safe return to earth. kimiya yui is among three men who came become from the international space station. a russian soyuz capsule brought them down in kazakhstan. >> the japanese space agency says yui is in good physical condition. yui had a number of responsibilities while on board the iss. perhaps the most memorable was managing to catch hold of an unmanned cargo craft in august.
nhk world's shunsuke ide reports. >> reporter: kimiya yui played a key role in helping japan's cargo ship dock with the iss. the cargo vessel was loaded with food, equipment and other supplies for the astronauts. his skillful operation of the robotic arm ensured the delivery was a success. >> we successfully captured the vehicle. looks like a golden treasure box. >> reporter: assisting yui from mission control in houston, texas, was fellow japanese astronaut koichi wakata. it was the first time japanese astronauts had worked together on earth and in space to dock a spacecraft. >> translator: he has a great sense of reading situations using skills acquired during his career as test pilot for japan's self-defense air force. he also showed great ability in
operating systems. >> reporter: another task yui undertook with great relish was to become one of the first people ever to taste lettuce growing in space. >> that's awesome. >> tastes good? >> yeah. kind of like arugula. >> reporter: yui shared the many moments of his life on board the iss by tweeting almost every day. he also sent back some amazing photographs of earth. they are serving as inspiration for children in japan and around the world who hope to follow in his footsteps. >> reporter: yui's 141 days on board the iss were successful on a number of levels. not only was his stay closely followed by millions of people
on earth, it also sparked imaginations of children throughout japan and allowed them to dream of doing the impossible. shunsuke ide, nhk world. as the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, a lot of eyes have been on china this week. its problems with pollution couldn't have been more obvious as the beijing region was smothered by severe smog. the red alert it had issued is over, but authorities say the situation in and around the capital may get worse again this weekend. earlier miki yamamota spoke to our reporter, naoki makita, in beijing. >> naoki, the chinese government has been showing the world its efforts to tackle air pollution, so why is the situation actually getting worse? >> well, winter has arrived here, and that means an increase in the use of coal for heat.
that only adds to the pollution already in the air from car emissions and industrial smoke. nearly 70% of the country's electricity comes from the fossil fuel. president xi jinping's administration has taken measures to reduce coal power generation. it has shut down older, less efficient factories that consume large amounts of coal. they are also cracking down on the common practice of clearing fields for crops by burning them. but these efforts can backfire. the measure drops down coal prices, and that in turn led small companies and low-income households to start using more. i spoke to an environmental expert on these measures. he says they are part of xi jinping's new strategy and will likely continue. >> translator: the chinese government has announced its
policy of slowing down economic growth in order to reduce emissions of air pollutants. if we wait until the situation gets worse to impose strict regulations, then the costs would be greater. >> negotiations at the climate conference in paris are now in their final stages. what's china's position there? >> the chinese government maintains that it will fulfill what it calls its responsibility as a major country. it has set its own target of reducing co2 emissions by around 2030. on the other hand, it has said only industrialized countries should be obliged to meet their reduction targets. there are also different opinions on who should be helping developing nations. some advanced nations say emerging economies like china should be chipping in. the country's climate change
representative says china is open to helping them, but it doesn't want to be forced to do so. >> translator: developing countries can, on a voluntary basis, contribute to other developing countries in order to enhance their efforts against climate change. >> china's government describes air pollution and global warming as pressing issues and has threatened swift action to combat them, but countries around the world are watching to see whether that will happen. french foreign minister laurent fabius exclusively told nhk that delegates from around the world will seal an agreement on saturday on a new international framework to combat climate change. nhk world's takafumi terui has more. >> reporter: the chair of the conference, french foreign minister laurent fabius, has told nhk world that delegates are getting closer to a deal.
fabius was speaking after another night of tough negotiations on the wording of the final agreement. >> the atmosphere is positive. things are moving forward. now i have to consult with a different group and, therefore, i will make my proposal on saturday morning, and the decision must be taken saturday at noon. >> reporter: this is the first time fabius publicly announces that an agreement is about to be reached by all member parties. what he told nhk world is that the international community is entering a new era where every nation recognizes the need to tackle global warming. and for the first time ever, all countries, whether rich or poor, participate in a framework to reduce carbon emissions. takafumi terui, nhk world, paris. ministers from countries around the world are trying to come to an agreement on a new framework to replace the kyoto protocol beyond 2020.
the latest draft they are discussing would require all nations to submit reduction targets for greenhouse gas emissions every five years and then adopt measures to work toward those goals. but it would not make meeting the targets an obligation. it also states the purpose of the agreement is to hold the global average temperature increase to well below two degrees celsius from pre-industrial levels. and it urges all countries to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees celsius. sources close to the negotiations say that during the all-night session there were no major objections to those proposals. but differences remain between developed and developing nations over the question of financial assistance to help developing countries combat climate change. a key focus of the discussions. developing countries want industrialized nations to ensure the provision of funds and an increase in the amount of
assistance from the current $100 billion a year, but developed countries are reluctant to commit to an increase. communities across asia are reeling after three fires killed at least 18 people, many of them children. patchari raksawong in bangkok is following the developments. >> a newborn baby in india has died after his ambulance became engulfed in flames. the infant was on its way to the hospital in the western state of maharashtra. officials say the vehicle caught fire after a cylinder exploded. firefighters rushed to the site but were too late to save the baby. >> translator: a doctor and a nurse were in the vehicle with the baby. the driver got in as well. there was a spark in the oxygen cylinder, and then it exploded. within 10 to 15 seconds, the ambulance was in flames. the nurse and the doctor jumped out, but the baby was still inside.
at least nine people have died in the philippine's capital of manila after a blaze tore through a slum. officials say the fire broke out in damayang lagi town shortly after midnight. it is the third fire in the city slums in as many weeks. last month more than 10,000 families were left without shelter after an inferno destroyed their makeshift homes. and in pakistan a mother and her seven children died when flames engulfed their hut in southern sindh province. the family had lit a fire to keep warm. many of pakistan's poor live in shanty houses without proper heating. this week, another diplomatic spat between thailand and the u.s. highlighted growing rifts in their relations. thai police said they are investigating remarks by the u.s. ambassador about a law banning defamation of the thai monarchy. nhk world's shoko matsumoto has more.
>> reporter: a civic group supporting thailand's military led interim government rallied in front of the u.s. embassy in bangkok last month. the protesters are loyal to the royal family. they vented their anger at the american government. the protests were a response to comments by u.s. ambassador glyn davies over a thai law known as lis majesty. >> we're also concerned about the lengthy and unprecedented prison sentences handed down by thai military courts against civilians for violating the state law. >> reporter: under thai criminal law, anyone who insults the royal family faces up to 15 years in prison. so far this year, police have detained 46 people for using social media to post comments allegedly critical of the monarchy or other crimes. a man who repeatedly defamed the monarchy was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
the u.s. ambassador expressed concern over the situation. groups loyal to the monarchy reacted sharply to davies' remarks. some people even started a campaign to boycott american products. >> translator: the u.s. is trying to interfere in thailand's domestic affairs. the u.s. is trampling on thai tradition and history. >> reporter: relations between thailand and the u.s. have soured following the military coup in may last year. the u.s. has called on thailand's military-led government to hold elections soon and return the country to civilian rule. but the interim government has delayed elections to 2017, and it said there is no prospect yet of drawing up a constitution that is necessary to hold a ballot. following the coup, military exercises between thai and u.s.
forces have been scaled down. china, meanwhile, is strengthening ties with thailand. the air forces of the two nations conducted their first ever joint drill last month. chinese planes took off from a base that u.s. forces had used during the vietnam war. the thai government is now considering turning to china to buy a submarine. regarded as the most strategic item in any military's arsenal. ambassador davies referred indirectly to a tug-of-war between the u.s. and china over thailand. >> i don't worry about thailand's relationship with beijing. i don't really spend any time saying to washington, here's how we get thailand back, because we haven't lost thailand. >> reporter: the latest development suggests thailand is starting to realize that it's easier to deal with china than the u.s.
that is because china does not always criticize other countries for lacking the principles of democracy. thailand has long practiced a balanced diplomacy when dealing with major powers, but if its leaders forge closer military ties to china, that could bring changes to the regional status quo. shoko matsumoto, nhk world, bangkok. >> and in a sign of just how strongly people in thailand feel about their monarchy, tens of thousands of cyclists have raced through bangkok to pay tribute to king bhumibol adulyadej. the event called "bike for dad" took place almost a week after the monarch's 88th birthday. participants dressed up in yellow, the color of the king. bangkok is notorious for traffic jams, but authorities closed off dozens of streets to ensure the cyclists could pass through. the world's longest serving monarch has reigned for nearly seven decades, but there are now worries about his health. the high-profile event was broadcast live on national television. and that wraps up our bulletin.
i'm patchari raksawong in bangkok. after weeks of waiting, the winners of this year's nobel prizes have received their awards. they gathered for a special ceremony in stockholm. among the winners are two japanese scientists. nhk world's kurando tago has the story. ♪ >> reporter: the ceremony was full of royal flourishes. the prize winners entered and awaited to be given their awards by swedish king karl gustav. takaaki kajita won the physics award for proving neutrinos have mass. his research has opened a window to further understanding the
cosmos. canadian arthur mcdonald also shared the award. satoshi omura and ireland's william campbell shared the physiology or medicine prize. omura's research focused on finding cures for parasitic diseases that are estimated to affect one-third of the global population. they are common in africa and south asia. following the award ceremony, a royal banquet for the winners was held. laureates entered the room with members of sweden's royal family and others. >> ladies and gentlemen, honor the great donor alfred nobel.
>> omura and kajita looked much more relaxed at the banquet than they were during the award ceremony. they sat amongst the royal family talking and laughing. omura looked excited when he returned to his hotel after the big night. >> translator: it was a wonderful experience, and i enjoyed everything. i attended a banquet for the first time. >> translator: now it finally came home to me that i was awarded the nobel prize. i was relieved that the events ended without any problems. >> reporter: the two japanese nobel winners are encouraging young japanese people to aim high and work hard. they hope their success will inspire the next generations. kurando tago, nhk world. discussing whether to send north
korea's human rights record to the international criminal court, but its members are divided. they are addressing the issue for the first time in a year. nine countries had voted in favor of holding the discussion while china and russia objected. u.n. human rights chief zeid ra'ad al hussein said serious human rights violations continue in north korea. u.s. ambassador to the u.n. samantha power introduced two north korean defectors at the meeting.untry's leaders being that they will be judged for them. power urged the security council to refer the issue to the international criminal court. japanese ambassador motohide yoshikawa said the investigation into the fate of japanese nationals abducted by the north has made no progress in a year and a half. >> translator: this issue must
be resolved without delay. japan strongly demands that the dprk return all abductees as soon as possible through an expeditious investigation. >> china's deputy envoy wang min said the council is not the place to address the issue of human rights. following the meeting, u.s. ambassador power expressed hope that the u.s. and japan can join the international community to speak out against human rights abuses in north korea. samantha power gave nhk an exclusive interview on thursday. >> it sends a signal to the north koreans and to the whole world that this isn't just a human rights crisis. this is a threat to peace and security for as long as this regime is torturing and brutalizing its people in this manner. it's inherently destabilizing and inherently risky for all of us. >> power said china is advocating the idea that the international community should
not intervene in the internal affairs of a sovereign state. she also said china doesn't want to be the target of criticism. the german air force joined the u.s.-led coalition fighting the islamic state militant group. it deployed aircraft and troops to a turkish air base. their mission is to monitor islamic militants in iraq and syria. the german military sent two reconnaissance planes, an aerial refueling jet and transport aircraft with 40 troop on board to the base on thursday. they plan to send more reconnaissance aircraft to turkey at a later date. the military already pledged to send a frigate to support the french aircraft carrier "charles de gaulle" in the eastern mediterranean. germany made the decision following the paris attacks in november. the german military has been reluctant to send troops into active combat since the end of world war ii, but it has joined international missions in the
past in places such as the balkans and afghanistan. syrian opposition parties and insurgent groups have gathered in saudi arabia's capital riyadh. they agreed to set up a framework to pursue peace talks with the government of president bashar al assad. more than 100 people took part in a closed two-day meeting. they included the western-backed syrian national coalition and the free syrian army. the plan is to form a team of more than 30 members to hold peace negotiations with the assad administration. participants also decided to seek the resignations of assad and his close aides before any possible transition of power. last month the united nations along with western and middle eastern countries renewed their push for peace talks. they have set a target date of january 1st to get syrian opposition groups and the assad government to the table. the united states called the latest agreement a critical first step.
>> we welcome the positive outcome of the gathering of the syrian opposition in riyadh today including reaching a consensus on principles for a pluralistic and democratic syria and how to advance a political settlement to end the conflict in jair. >> foreign ministers involved in the syrian peace negotiations will meet in new york next week. americans appear more troubled by terrorism than they have been in years. an opinion poll suggests more than 40% believe an attack in the u.s. is likely in the next few months. americans answered questions from the "new york times" and cbs news. 44% say they think a terrorist attack in their country is very likely in the next few months. the only time more respondents gave that answer in a similar survey was just after the 9/11 attacks in 2001. americans also stated what they think is the most important problem facing their country. 14% said terrorism.
that's up from 2% last month. people took part in the opinion poll in the wake of a shooting rampage that left 14 people dead in california. authorities said they were investigating that attack as an act of terrorism. the bank of japan will release its quarterly tankan business sentiment survey on monday. the survey covers more than 10,000 companies. we are hearing from economists at private research firms that the results will probably show a slight decline. they believe the prolonged slowdown in china and other emerging economies has darkened sentiment, especially among exporters. the index is calculated by subtracting the percentage of respondents who are pessimistic from the percentage of optimistic ones. forecasts from the 15 research institutes range from plus 9 to plus 14 points for large manufacturers. the index was plus 12 in the
previous surveys. three of the institutes predict improvement. one no change, and 11 a decline. economists at all but two of the institutes expect sentiment to decline for large non-manufacturers. they cite sluggish consumer spending despite a shopping spree by a record number of tourists from overseas. japan's economic growth has been weak for the past six months, and the government is taking no chances. the finance minister has unveiled a $29 billion draft supplementary budget for the current fiscal year. taro aso pledged total spending of about 3.5 trillion yen. about a third of that will be spent to promote the government's pet project, getting all citizens actively engaged to boost the economy. the money includes a one-time allowance to low-income elderly citizens. other key items include measures to help make japan's food and forestry products more competitive.
money will also be set aside to support regions hit by heavy rains in september and the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. japanese authorities have been imposing strict regulations on the use of drones after a series of accidents, but some businesses see the small unmanned aircraft with potential benefits. that includes a leading security company which has launched a drone that tracks suspicious activities. secom has started using its eye in the sky to keep watch on people and vehicles that break into properties. after ground-based sensors detect intruders, the drone takes off. its camera captures images of faces or license plates. it transmits the images, triggering an emergency call and the deployment of security guards. pictures can be taken in rain or at night. the drone can swoop in about five meters away from an intruder and can even chase them.
>> if i were to be molested, harassed or even raped, i would prefer to confide in another woman then another man. we see how important that is to india. welcome to global 3000. training for the night -- how india's police wants to better protect women. airborne -- how drones contribute to wildlife conservation in georgia. and, how can i help you? the booming call center business in the philippines. ♪