hello and welcome back to "newsline" i'm shery ahn. let's get started with the head lines. investigators searching for the missing malaysian airliner may have detected possible black box pings in what they call the most encouraging sign yet. the world's largest general election has kicked off in india. more than 800 million voters are heading to the polls over the coming weeks. and demonstrators favoring closer ties with russia storm government buildings in eastern
ukraine, as a deeply divided nation struggles to stay together. tuesday will mark one month since a malaysia airlines flight mh370 dropped off civilian radar. now officials at the joint agency coordination center in australia say they may have picked up a crucial hint on the whereabouts of the missing plane. nhk world's tomb oako kamata has the details. >> reporter: multinational teams looking for the missing flight are narrowing down their search area under the indian ocean off the west of australia. a joint agency coordination center official said on monday that an australian naval vessel detected what are known as pinger returns in the northern part of the search area west of australia. >> clearly, this is a most promising lead. and probably in the search so far it's the -- it's probably
the best information that we have had. >> reporter: the agency says the ship picked up a return signal from the two black box devices twice. the first time contact lasted for 2 hours and 20 minutes. the second, for 13 minutes. official added that they will need several more days to confirm the information. the search effort is focused on finding mh370's flight and voice recorders, known together as the black box. its recovery is likely the best chance of finding out what went wrong on board the plane. the recorder's u.s. maker said search teams need to be within two kilometers to pick up signals from the black box. they also say its batteries should last around 30 days. aviation experts say recovering the black box will be difficult, as the ocean in the current search area is over 4.5
kilometers deep. in 2011, the french government salvaged the black box from an air france jet, two years after it went down in the atlantic in four kilometers of water. recovery crews used submersibles and other deep sea devices to pick up the box. however, the voice recorder can hold only two hours of cockpit conversation, it may not reveal what happened on mh370. malaysian government officials say the jet may have been hijacked or destroyed in a suicide attack. they're also investigating the crew and passengers. looking into a range of scenarios, including mental issues on the flight deck, and possible insurance claims. they're also looking at the possibility of an accident, such as a fire, or a technical failure. search officials say the area
they're looking at is now much smaller than before. but they say they need to carefully assess the data, and continue to search for wreckage. tomoko kamata, nhk world. indians have begun casting ballots in the world's biggest general election. with more than 800 million eligible to vote. voters may shun the ruling national congress party due to poor economic performance. some observers predict the poll will result in the country's first change of government in a decade. voting began on monday in the country's northeastern region. and will carry on for five weeks. the nine phases of the voting process will encompass 543 electoral districts. voters in the state of assam formed a long line outside a polling station to cast their ballots using electronic voting machines. pre-election polls suggest the
ruling party faces a tough race because of the sluggish economy, soaring prices, and a series of corruption scandals. >> translator: i want a corruption-free administration that can curb price increases. >> the congress party campaign is being led by rahul gandhi, son of influential nehru gandhi political dynasty. prime minister manmohan singh is not running in the election, making gandhi the likeliest choice for premier if his party wins. the largest opposition force has put modi forward as its candidate for prime minister. he's known for spurring economic growth as chief minister of the western state of gujarat. recent polls suggest his party may make a strong showing in the election. voting will end on may 12th. and ballots will be counted on the 16th.
the outcome of the election could take asia's third largest economy in a new direction. nhk's former delhi correspondent explains. >> this time around we could see a change of government in india. the latest opinion polls suggest the main opposition djp and its allies will win more seats than they did in 2009 election, and we have many more seats than the ruling coalition. the national congress party could lose two-thirds of its current seats. bjp's modi has implemented economic reforms that helped the state achieve the fastest growth in the country. modi says he'll push for deregulation, and economic revitalizati revitalization. many indians blame congress party leaders for corruption and
scandals. some reports suggest bribery has cost the economy $4 billion to $12 billion over the past decade. voters also hold congress for the economic slowdown and criticize the party for handing out benefits to lower income groups, its main support base. young voters will play a key role as they become critical of social problems such as high unemployment, and widening income gap. >> i'm expecting there to be a little bit more independent and not going by corruption and all. we don't have that much ability on our society you know. >> my aspiration is to see india lined up the economic chart and economy has to be very strong. in today's time, a lot of sectors are not performing to the best of their ability.
>> half of india's population is 25 years old or younger. this demographic has become more politically aware over the past five years thanks to rising education levels. as a result we have the big impact on this shift from emerging country to a more developed nation. india achieved growth at one point in 2010 but growth has stayed below 5% for the past seven quarters. the u.s. decision to taper monetary easing and slow progress on economic deregulation are making investors pull their money out of india. and high inflation is making life harder for some people. indian leaders must create jobs, and adopt domestic industries. india is often compared to an elephant such as in information technology, and the
pharmaceutical business represents the trunk. the next government has to make full use of the country's huge population and the markets. this election could decide whether india can become a major player on the world stage, economically and politically. >> now the acting president of ukraine has canceled a foreign trip to deal with trouble at home. pro-russia demonstrators have stormed government buildings in the east. it's the latest development in an ongoing political crisis that has polarized the country. nhk world's craig dale brings us up to speed. >> reporter: pro-russia protesters pushed against a wall of riot police, and soon they seized a government building. similar scenes played out in other eastern ukrainian cities where many residents feel closer to their neighbor.
>> translator: if there's no help from russia, unemployment will rise, and we will soon fall in to poverty. >> reporter: the political upheaval has stretched on for months now. pro-european demonstrators forced president viktor yanukovych out of office for favoring ties with russia. then, people in crimea voted to join the russian federation, and president vladimir putin quickly moved to annex the ukrainian republic. it's been messy, and so as volunteers clean up the remains of the standoff in kiev, some people are hoping for a fresh start. the campaign to choose a successor for yanukovych is now under way. polls suggest billionaire petro poroshenko is the favorite among 23 candidates in next month's presidential election. >> my country urgently need modernization.
in this fear of social life, in this fear of security. >> reporter: poroshenko told reuters he wants ukraine to join the european union. so does one of his competitors former prime minister yulia tymoshenko the leader of the right wing freedom party is also a candidate, oleg tanibak wants to create a government that can privilege russia. whoever becomes the next president will inherit a nation deeply divided over whether ukraine should build stronger bonds with russia or europe. >> translator: we won't let the presidential election take place. it's illegal. >> reporter: government officials plan to bring in monitors and boost security so when voters go to the polls on may 25th the election will be free and fair. craig dale, nhk world. let's now turn to business
with ron madison. well, analysts hoping for good news on the japanese economy might be disappointed by the latest cabinet office data. the nation's key economic index fell in february for the first time in eight months. the cabinet office says the coincident index for february stood at 113.4. that's down 1.8 points from the previous month. the figure has data from economic indices including those on employment and production. officials are blaming heavy snow for a fall in output of sales of automobiles. shipments of boilers and turbines for power plants also fell after a huge increase the previous month. now in terms of the leading index which forecasts the state of the economy in the coming months, it also fell 4.6 points. the outlook on sales for small and midsize companies worsened on the back of concerns about the consumption tax hike which, of course, kicked in this month. officials say declines in demand have affected the index for housing, and other sectors, following a pretax hike surge.
let's get a check of the markets. investors struggling to find the next direction after digesting friday's key u.s. jobs report. the figures were largely in line with market consensus. here's how major bourses in the region are finishing out this monday. technology shares really beaten down in tokyo and hong kong. that tracked a sharp fall on friday on the tech heavy nasdaq on wall street. the nikkei, in fact, gave up 1.7%. it finished out the day at 14,808. the yen's advance hurt overall sentiment. major tech shares like panasonic face pretty strong selling. and in hong kong the hang seng index shedding 0.6%, 22,377. market heavy wet tenset holdings posted a sharp loss. the drop in the chinese internet giant dragged down the index. meanwhile jakarta is higher today ahead of the country's general election on wednesday. the benchmark has closed up 1.3%, 4,921. now investors put their money back in to the indonesian market
on hopes that a change in the country's political landscape will help to stimulate the economy. japanese and u.s. trade negotiators are trying to iron out some of their differences. they've been struggling to reach a deal in the talks on the transpacific partnership but they have to bridge gaps on farm products. deputy chief negotiator and acting deputy u.s. trade representative wendy cutler are meeting in tokyo. they're trying to resolve differences over tariffs for beef and park. the americans are insisting that the japanese cut sharifs sharply. japanese prime minister shinzo abe will host u.s. president barack obama at a summit later on this month in tokyo. and negotiators on both sides want to reach some kind of agreement before that. japanese economic revitalization minister akira amari will meet on wednesday with u.s. trade representative michael froman. executives at major japanese businesses have seen demand pick up and earnings improve so they're preparing to take on some new workers. managers at several leading electronics companies will bring in more college and high school
graduates a year from now. panasonic will hire 700 new graduates. double this year's figure. and sharp will triple the number of new hires to 300. nissan and honda will each hire about 600 new employees. that would be a 10% increase. mazda will double the number of new workers. steelmakers are also set to add more employees. so are companies in the retail and financial sectors. >> translator: many firms put a squeeze on hiring after the 2008 global financial crisis. now they need to reverse course and hire more people to keep business running smoothly. >> he says managers at big companies aren't the only ones offering more jobs. those at smaller firms plan to hire more workers, as well. german compact cars have long been popular with japanese drivers. leading german automakers hope a new breed of eco-friendly cars will also be a hit. the people at bmw have just
launched an electric car here in japan. they say the carbon fiber makes the body lighter, and motorists can cruise nearly 230 kilometers on a single charge. porsche dealers are promoting a plug-in hybrid car. it has a gasoline engine, as well as an electric motor that drivers can recharge at home. and later this year the people at volkswagen plan to release a compact electric car. but automakers hoping to sell these vehicles in japan face some challenges. there are few charging stations, and there's higher prices for eco-friendly cars, as well. that's even though the japanese government gives subsidies to people who buy them. owners of small japanese businesses have found a way to corner markets at some larger firms may not find attractive. they've been selected to be part of a government program for niche firms. and some have found success abroad, and are hoping to revitalize the manufacturing industry at home. nhk world reports. >> reporter: this is popular in
japan. one company has automated the process of skewering pieces of chicken, and acquired a 90% market share in the world. with 12 employees, it makes skewering machines for all kinds of food. the company president believes his firm has been able to corner the market, because of his technological expertise. this machine specifically designed to work for the skewers. it was developed for customers who wanted the machine to skewer meat in a wavy pattern. a lot of work went in to the design of the meat trays.
as the meat gets pressed down they form a sort of wave, then the machine skewers the meat just like chefs do. the company is trying to further expand its market share by applying its technology for other kinds of food. visiting on this day was an official of a firm that makes sweet rice samplings. these dumplings are quite soft. it's not easy to skewer them without messing up their shape. during the final test the client made a request. he wanted to make sure the dumplings remained nice and round. the company quickly responded to the request.
such swift responses helped the firm win orders from 20 countries. >> translator: we listen to what our clients are saying. we want them to use our machines with love and care. >> reporter: some firms consider it important to protect their technologies and survive global competition. employing 60 workers, his company makes reclining chairs. usually those chairs are adjustable in 14 settings. the firm developed chairs with 42 settings, and acquired a patent. the technology is now used for making sofas, and the company expanded overseas. the maker is taking measures
against counterfeits overseas. an employee is in a constant lookout for copycat products in china. when such threats are found the firm acts right away. if the counterfeiting continues, even after warning, it files a lawsuit based on its international patent. >> translator: i think it's important to take rigorous steps and ensure our future, even if the cost is high. >> reporter: to compete on the global stage, japanese niche firms are going all-out to grab market share. they are also taking a range of steps to safeguard their technologies. keigo nagano, nhk world. >> okay. that is going to wrap it up for biz this hour. let's check in on the markets.
and we're seeing severe weather in southern parts of the united states. our meteorologist robert speta joins us now. robert, what should people there watch out for? >> shery, right now it definitely is the damaging winds. we've already seen several reports of tornadoes. one of them there in central portions of mississippi causing some significant damage to a few
homes out here. and the storm system has already brought that rough weather back here towards the west across texas. this past weekend. it's continuing to roll off towards the northeast. if you are in the southeastern u.s. all the way from mississippi, alabama, over there towards the carolinas, you definitely want to be ready for these severe thunderstorms. it's not just the hail, and the damaging winds, which have already been occurring and definitely there's a high risk of that, but also these tornado watches are still in place. that's going to continue to work its way off towards the east in the next 24 hours. so here's your monday outlook here. severe thunderstorms there. even in parts of northern portions of florida. you can see these storms move in. but it's not just that severe weather threat which is with this cold front pushing through. you have all that warm air ahead of it. we'll get to that in a second. but also the low is moving farther off toward the north and that's going to bring widespread rainfall, even snow into parts of quebec extending towards new england, as this storm system does continue to push off. the big thing, like i said, though, is that warm air pushing in ahead of this. you are going to be seeing gradual warming trend across the
deep south over towards the eastern seaboard. behind it cooler air in place. winnipeg just a high of 6. you have that temperature difference, that's creating those severe thunderstorms. take a look at los angeles, as well. 30 degrees there for your high on your monday. talking about these temperature differences. it's not just north america that's dealing with it, and dealing with severe weather that it is causing. also over here towards europe we're seeing some thunderstorms erupt. first i do want to talk about a cutoff low which has even brought some reports of funnel clouds in to greece. this is going to continue to linger here. you're looking at thunderstorms through the next 24 to 48 hours as it tapers off and gradually moves towards the east. but back here towards the west, this is the big changer through the coming days. because much of europe right now, you are seeing above average temperatures. but once this cold front comes through, it's going to usher in the unseasonably cooler air, and widespread areas from across the low countries, even parts of the british isles, off there towards belgium, you are looking at the threat of some severe thunderstorms. even a tornado or two cannot be ruled out with this one. and also, the damaging winds
pushing through. so if you have flight plans out of london, paris, berlin, watch out with this one. this could cause some delays or even cancellations out there at the airports. right now, though, temperatures are above average. warsaw with a high of 18. kiev at 13 and moscow getting up there almost pushing about 10 degrees. let's see what's going on over towards the philippines. i do want to quickly talk about tropical storm paepah. all the convection is farther off towards the west. you see where the center of circulation is. that's indicating a weak storm system. rain now 65, gusts up to 95 kilometers per hour. if you are in the southern philippines, it's the rain. this is going to your irin the risk of heavy rainfall and the threat of flooding across eastern parts of mindanao through midweek. we want to continue to keep an eye on this. let's take a look on what's going on in japan. decent weather. show you some video out of saitama. this rings back to february when we saw this very heavy snowfall.
snowstorms hit the tokyo area, that caused damage to a few of these cherry trees out there. and it snapped a lot of the branches. well, some concerted effort to help save the trees from residents and visitors. well, it's allowing for these blooms to come out. very plentiful out here. so some good news with that. a lot of people still enjoying it. and through the next 24 to 48 hours for middle week, decent weather is going to be in place. high pressure is sitting out here across japan. it's pumping in warmer air, and take a look at your temperatures. they are on the rise. here's the extended forecast.
now, teachers at the elementary school in northeastern japan are welcoming new students. about 60 students, parents, and local residents took part in the ceremony. >> translator: let's start new school life together at the school. >> translator: i'm worried about radiation levels but i'm happy to attend an entrance ceremony at a school in a place where i grew up. and as a parent, i'm thrilled to see happy looks on children's faces. >> school officials say the number of students dropped by one-third after the nuclear accident. some students moved to other schools near where they now live. 60% of the school students will spend about an hour traveling to school by bus, as their families continue to live outside the miyakoji district. and that's all for this hour on "newsline." i'm shery ahn. thank you for watching. gg99ññwc
>> you are watching "france 24." let's take a look at the headlines this hour. to markommemoration is the 20th anniversary of the genocide in rwanda but the official mourning has been overshadowed in renewed claims france was complicit in the killings. a tearful oscar pistorius takes to the stand for the first time in his murder trial in south africa. he apologizes to the mother of his girlfriend reeva steenkamp. he admitted to shooting her dead last year but he said he missed to -- mistook her for an intruder. the biggest election in the world gets underway. some of india's 814