♪ welcome to nhk "newsline," it's wednesday, december 21st, 10:00 a.m., i'm catherine kobayashi in tokyo. a huge explosion has ripped through a fireworks market in mexico. there are reports that 27 people have died and dozens more are injured. the blast occurred at an open air market north of mexico city, sending people fleeing and plumes of smoke high into the air. firefighters and rescue workers are now combing through the rubble and ashes. details of the cause are not yet known, but the same market was ungulfed by fire in 2005. many in mexico celebrate christmas with fireworks. it's a major industry there.
the evacuation of the syrian city of aleppo could be completed on wednesday. the international committee of the red cross says about 25,000 people have already left. civilians trapped in battle areas are evacuating, and insurgents are withdrawing after the opposition forlss agreed to given up the remains areas under their control. the syrian observatory for human rights said the number of people waiting to evacuate had dropped to around 3,000 as of tuesday afternoon. russia foreign minister sergey lavrov and his turkish counterpart expressed hope that the evacuation of aleppo will be completed as early as wednesday. president bashar al assad's forces have regained control of most of the city. they're expected to step up their offensives gons other insurgent strongholds. russian and turkish officials have launched a joint probe into monday's assassination of the russian
ambassador to turkey. he is believed to have been targeted in revenge for the large number of syrian casualties in the syrian city of aleppo. about 20 investigators arrived in ankara on tuesday. local media report that authorities are questioning the assailant's family. the ambassador was shot from behind by a member of turkey's riot policings while delivering a speech at an art gallery in ankara. the turkish government identified the assailant as mevlut mert altintas. police shot and killed him. he shouted slogans urging people not to forget aleppo and syria. he said everyone associated with the oppression must pay a price. the incident followed the siege of aleppo by syrian government troops, supported by russian air strikes. the islamic state group says one of its militants carried out monday's deadly attack on a berlin christmas market.
german investigators say they are still hunting for the person or people behind it. they've released the only suspect over lack of evidence. 12 people died and 45 were injured when a truck driver plowed through the crowded market. the militant group claimed responsibility on its amaq website. it says the attacker responded to calls to target citizens of the coalition fighting the group. that claim came soon after german police released a pakistani refugee arrested as a suspect. german authorities had been warning there could be attacks on public places during the holiday season and they're urging people to stay vigilant. >> translator: i use a crowded subway everyday. i'm afraid that another incident may occur because people can bring explosives into the subway very easily. >> translator: i'm very disappointed. the only thing i can do is pay attention to what's going on around me while walking.
>> german chancellor angela merkel visited the side of the -- site of the attack. she said she believed it was an act of terrorism. and added those responsible would be punished as harshly as the law allows. police in switzerland are investigating a shooting at a mosque in zurich. they say three people were injured in monday's attack and the gunman took his own life. police have identified the attacker as a 24-year-old swiss man. about 15 immigrants from africa were inside the mosque at the time. local media quoted witnesses saying the gunman shouted "get out of switzerland." the shooting occurred amid anti- muslim sentiment in the country. the u.n. human rights chief has urged the philippine judicial authorities to investigate their president for
murder, following rodrigo du duterte's claim that he has personally killed people. duterte said in a speech last week, that when he was the mayor of davao city, he would go looking for criminals and kill them to set an example for police officers. he served three terms as mayor from 1988. u.n. high commissioner for human rights released a statement through his spokesperson on tuesday. >> translator: it should be unthinkable for any functioning judicial system not to launch judicial proceedings when someone has openedly admitted to being a killer. >> he pointed out if duterte encouraged others to follow his example, he may also have committed incitement to violence. he stressed the judicial authorities should be independent and investigate duterte's claim, to show that all people are equal under the law. more than 2,000 people have been killed by police officers in the crackdown on illegal drugs since duterte took office in june.
moscow says a plan to create an economic zone on a chain of contested islands is being suspended. it's known as the korel islands in russia. four of them are claimed by japan. russia's deputy prime minister also serves as presidential envoy to the far east. he said he'll put the brakes on the project. his country was set to start as early as this year to offer tax breaks and invite businesses to the area. he now says the project might hamper japan-russia negotiations on joint economic activities on the four islands. russian president vladimir putin and shinzo abe have begun talks to developing them. they had agreed that the economic activities would not challenge each other's stances on a peace treaty. but tough norkegotiations are expected as their positions are
wide apart over the sovereignty of the islands. japan maintains the islands were illegally occupied after world war ii. moscow says they became part of russian territory as a result of the war. the territorial dispute has prevented the two countries from signing a peace treaty. japanese prime minister abe says one of his priorities is to improve conditions at the workplace. he and members of his administration say they're taking a step toward that goal with a draft guideline for what's known as equal pay for equal work. >> in japan, people could have a pretty big difference in wage and benefits depending on their employment status. actually, nearly 40% of the workforce here is made up of people here known as non-regular employees. those, for example, on short-term contracts. they're the ones who are often paid less than their colleagues who are regular workers. the guidelines show that the
government wants employers to narrow that gap. >> translator: the guidelines are aimed at eradicating unreasonable differences in wages and other benefits. they have been drawn up taking japan's traditional labor practices into account. >> the guidelines recognize that an employee's experience, performance and seniority do affect their wages but that there shouldn't be unreasonable differences between regular and non-regular workers in their basic pay. the guidelines also say that non-regular workers must in principle, be entitled to pay raises and regular bonuses. the guidelines also say the non-regular workers should be entitled to the same allowances, such as overtime pay and commuting fees that regular workers get. the government plans to keep working on legal changes so they can put the guidelines into practice. >> let's get a check on markets now. tokyo share prices opened hire
as the dow jones industrial average posted another record closing eye. a weaker yen also supporting investor sentiment. it declined against the dollar following the bank of japan dlfr's comments on the recent falls in the japanese currency. the nikkei is currently trading higher at 19,576. that is a gain of .4. financial shares are higher, and export-related ones are also rising on the weaker yen. let's take a look at currencies. the dollar rose against the yen to the 118 yen level overnight, and as you can see, again this morning. that's as the boj governor said that the yen's current value should not come as a surprise. the euro is recovering after it dipped following the killing of russia's ambassador in turkey and the deadly truck incident in berlin. now in the upper dollar three cent level. markets in the asia pacific, we are seeing gains elsewhere as
well. seoul's kospi up a quarter percent. in australia, trading higher by more than half a percent. china markets will open in just under half an hour. a struggling japanese electronics makers could soon get a big injection of public money. japan display stands to receive about $640 million from a state-backed fund that provides financial aid in growth fields. japan display is the top innovation corporation of japan. officials plan to invest about $637 million in the company by acquiring bonds convertible to stock. japan display's three main banks are expected to resume talk over providing loans of about $509 million once the decision comes through. the company makes liquid crystal displays.
it was formed in 2012 through a merger of hitachi, toshiba, and sony. the company has been struggling to compete against overseas manufacturers. it plans to turn itself around by investing in organic displays, used in smartphones. well, regional railroads in japan are working to get business back on track. that's because fewer commuters are using their trains as the population ages. so operators are offering something different, sight-seeing trains for leisure trips. >> reporter: sightseeing trains are making their way across japan. there are now more than 100 different types. >> we'll have good memories. >> reporter: many offer special services, like meals made with local ingredients prepared by top ranked chefs. and popular viewpoints, the train stops or slows down for a photo session.
this railway company located in western japan operates a number of sight-seeing trains. they debuted three years ago. they tour the eastern regions, best known for shrines and cultivated pearls. on average, 90% of the seats are booked. the fare is about $10 more than regular express trains. spacious seating helps passengers relax. dining cars offers meals and -- local beef and sweets. >> translator: it's luxurious and i feel happy. >> translator: it's totally different from the regular express train.
it's like riding first class on an airplane. >> reporter: they launched the trains to attract new business. compared to two decades ago, it's passenger numbers have slumped nearly 30%. >> translator: we have to make up for the loss of passengers. we hope to secure a profit by bringing in new customers, particularly tourists. >> reporter: to attract more riders, the company has started designing trains with different generations in mind. this one is family friendly. each of the three cars has a play area for children. the railway encourages riders to stop at attractions along the way. so local communities also benefit from the trains. >> translator: i would visit again if there were more trains like this one. >> reporter: in september, service began on the blue
symphony. this train is geared toward older tourists. there's even a bar for a relaxing drink. >> translator: each region has its own original specialties. so i'm sure we can create all kinds of sight-seeing trains. if they draw people's interest, then we'll see increased demand for railway travel. >> reporter: sight-seeing trains still account for just a small portion of their total revenue, but executives say with additional refinements, they could be just the ticket for the bottom line. >> that's it is latest in business for this hour. here's a check on markets. ♪ ♪
♪ ♪ automakers in china have been enjoying steady growth in recent years. this in large part to government tax incentives. but as such stimulus measures become less generous, firms in the world's largest auto market are doing all they can to streamline manufacturing. nhk looks at the race to stay competitive. >> reporter: domestic auto makers have been spending big in china, rolling out newly designed models with advanced
technology. trying to grab market share from their well-known overseas rivals. >> translator: if there is no big difference in quality, customers will certainly choose cheaper chinese brands. >> reporter: firms are countering their chinese rivals by increasing efficiency in order to lower prices. a leading japanese brand has brought over its best manufacturing system, used at key plants around the world. one of the system's aims is reducing overstock. factories build vehicles based on customer orders, with different makes and colors grouped together. conveyors with components for each vehicle move along the lines at the same speed. the height of an assembly unit can even be changed, giving each
worker the utmost efficiency. >> translator: to win in the chinese market, we have to keep our production process on the cutting edge. >> reporter: the factory managers also pass on their advanced know-how to suppliers. the managers meet with the suppliers, monitoring their progress on a regular [ speaking foreign language ] >> reporter: the firms have set up a cost reduction arrangement that could benefit the local company. half of the cost savings go to product price cuts and the other half goes to supplier profits. >> translator: thanks to the arrangement, our skill level and business operations have significantly improved. >> reporter: there can be a down side, however.
giving a boost to supplier efficiency could also help rival brands that use the same company but managers are willing to take the risk. >> translator: we think it's vital to establish a win-win trust-based relationship with local businesses. nurturing the chinese market will allow our brand's presence to stay strong. >> reporter: analysts predict next year china's old market will face a downturn. domestic and foreign firms are gearing up for a price war. takashi imura, nhk world. ♪ ♪ one of the staple dishes of
winter in japan is the hot pot. each area of japan has its own type. in the past, people have tended to stick with traditional recipes, but people have been getting creative with how it looks and their creations are a feast for the eyes. >> reporter: at a restaurant in tokyo, a popular dish is served. it's a hotpot, but with a big difference. the ingredients are all on skewers. the wooden signs are inscribed with the name of the ingredient. is effect is not just appetizing, it's eye catching. there are vegetables, meat, mushrooms and eggs. for the customers the first priority is to snap the dish and post their pictures to their social media site. >> translator: it looks so good.
i already got some likes. >> reporter: in fact, this restaurant specializes in back -- yakitori, chicken grilled on skewers. this winter, the staff decided to create a dish that would have a stronger visual appeal. so for the first time, they put their skewers in a nabe hotpot. the soup stock has a tomato base. when each ingredient is cooked it can be dipped into the thick molten cheese. >> translator: up to now, we focused on making sure everything is delicious. but this dish encourages customers to take photos and spread the word on social media. it's a good way to attract new customers. there's a name for this new type of dish, photogenic nabe. this winter, many restaurants are coming up with original creations. they're going all out to make the biggest impact. this hot pot is made by wrapping strips of meat around
vegetables. it stands almost 30 centimeters high. this one is topped with a meringue like a fluffy cloud. this new trend is now spreading from restaurant to major supermarkets. every winter, this store sets aside an area in its food section for hot pot soups and ingredients. this year, for the first time, it has decided to try a new promotional approach. photogenic nabe. it caught on as a way to boost its sales of nabe ingredients. it has also encouraged customers to submit their own photos. in one month, more than 150 photos came in including many that are totally original. >> translator: we've been surprised to get so many reactions and the recipes from customers. there's incredible ideas coming from people.
>> reporter: homemakers have been quick to pick up on the trend. this woman posts photos of her latest creations on social media almost every day. >> translator: i love to hear "i've never heard of this" or "it looks so good." >> reporter: she always aims to give her dishes a look that's a bit kawaii, or cute. here she's rolling up thin strips of carrot and pork. >> translator: i'm making little roses. >> reporter: she invites friends over for the unveiling of her latest creation. >> ooh! >> reporter: she's turned the hot pot ingredients into an edible rose garden. a little creativity has transformed the standard nabe into one with special visual appeal. >> translator: i want to use my imagination to come up with new kinds of nabe.
>> reporter: they look eye-catching and they taste great. the growing boom for photogenic nabe hot pots looks set to stay for a while. >> a lot of love going into those pots. looks appetizing, but people across japan might be skipping the steaming hot meals today. temperatures are continuing to climb, and it's feeling a lot like spring. robert speta joins us with what to expect up ahead. >> yes, actually, temperatures continuing to rise across much of japan today. and definitely feeling very spring-like out there. some of the reasons for this, we have high pressure overhead. clear skies really dominating, so the sun is getting out today. we have a low coming in from the west. and with that, you have that southerly transport of winds coming into western japan at first and eventually towards tokyo. so temperatures might even put into the low 20s into tokyo as we head into thursday. but it's not going to be sunny
and beautiful. we have that low coming in, and that brings with it the instability. first, some scattered showers across the korean peninsula on wednesday, maybe snow back towards north korea. and then over towards kyushu, could see up to 150 millimeters of total rainfall before it shifts off to the east. this is not just for the lower elevations, but even the higher elevations could be seeing some rain. so feeling very not winter-like out there for a lot of people. nagano up to 13, and turns back to snow by saturday. tokyo up to 19, but it could be in the 20s for some of you out there, and then dropping down to about 12. definitely getting back to winter instead of spring-like. kind of ironic it feels spring-like out there today. i do remember that today is the shortest day of the year. and on the astronomical scale, this is the official start of winter today in the northern hemisphere, and the official start in the southern hemisphere
of summer. due to the low angle of the sun in the sky, it's the shortest day of the year. and it also sets up a pretty nice view. we have a view from western tokyo on monday, low angle in the sky, you could see this, diamond fuji. absolutely beautiful. it's when the sun sets up just over the crater of fuji there and it looks kinda like a diamond on top of a ring, absolutely gorgeous sight for people that got to view that. now, if we pull back the picture, that cold air and the low angle of the sun is causing problems in northeastern china. that's keeping things stable up there into beijing and the problem is, we have a widespread haze and still the red alerts issued, school was closed on wednesday. especially kinder gearten and elementary schools across the city. scattered showers into shanghai and over towards taipei as well. let's take a look across to europe, where we have several areas we're watching.
first i want to mention the area that's getting decent weather today, albeit cold, that's eastern europe. high pressure sufficieitting he keeping it settled. if you look back towards the west, we have this low moving through the mediterranean, and that's making for some rather unsettled conditions out there. the strongest possibly towards italy and extending up into the alps and then separately, always remember the tighter the pressure gradient, the higher the winds. if you just look at this, this gives you a clear idea what i'm talking about here, about 80, 90 kilometers per hour. sustained winds, over in scotland, maybe snow. london is going to stay rain-free, though. 11 for your high, but showers on your wednesday. all right, here's your extended outlook. ♪ ♪
reyes: a mass migration away from war and violence. more than a million people have fled to europe, a crisis that has burdened its borders, but some have found solace in south america. i'm elaine reyes in washington, d.c., and this is "americas now." syrian refugees head to south america with the expectation of building a new life after running away from a conflict zone. [man shouting in native language] man: maybe brazil is just a station for another movement-- man: yes. man: or maybe i will stay here in brazil. i don't know. but in brazil, i can't survive. i don't know. man: you can't? man: no, because i--there is no job. reyes: brazil opens the door to thousands of syrians, but life in the promised land is not easy either. man: the moment when you decided to leave... reyes: correspondent gerry hadden reports from sao paulo. gerry: how are you? yeah, good.