she's been a close friend of president park geun-hye for 40 years. conspired with former presidential aide to pressure companies to donate large sums of money to two foundations. the presidential office was indirectly involved in setting up the organizations. prosecutors detained aung late wednesday night. park appointed kim byong-jojoon over the scandal. kim told a news conference on thursday afternoon it's possible park will be investigated. the south korean constitution does not allow a authorities to press criminal charges against a sitting president. the only exception is for rebellion. earlier james tengan talked with nhk's senior correspondent. he's been covering the korean
peninsula for years. >> kengo, how are they reporting it in south korea? >> well, every news program in the country seems totally occupied by this scandal. the press coverage is heating up. some are saying they used to pass through the president office without being checked. choi lost one shoe during the scuffle at the prosecutor's office. other papers reported the shoes were made in italy and cost about $600. people there think the privilege is special and extends beyond their reach. they suspect she's getting rich unlawfully and was treated too well by president park. so they are feeling angry and resentful. >> the prosecutors are expanding
their probe. even officials at the presidential office are being targeted. what are the prosecutors looking for? >> yes, there are two points of interest. one is whether choi was improperly involved in the political policy making process. she may have used her knowledge about contents in the leaked confidential state papers. and the other is a corruption case. whether choi used her close friendship with president park to extend herself to two foundations. choi is suspected of siphoning funds from two organizations. this includes real estate investments and fees for her daughter's horse riding school. prosecutors seem to be focuses on her corruption case first. >> okay. park is suspected of illegally sharing classified documents with choi.
is there any possibility that park will step down or be asked to do so. >> yes, there has never ban president who stepped down before their time ended. at least seeince 1987. and presidents in south korea can avoid crimiminal charges whe they are in office. president park has just 16 months left. lawmakers in the ruling and opposition parties are now distancing themselves from her. they've discussed how to gain public support without relying on her administration. now some say park should give away some of her authority and yield it to the prime minister and the cabinet members. in that case, park could stay in office by she'll likely lose her grip on power for the rest of her tell.
hong kong's legislature has seen more turmoil. scuffles erupted on wednesday after two pro-independence lawmakers were forced out of the chamber. last month the man and woman displayed a flag with the words "hong g kong is not china" at a swearing in ceremony. the court asked to disqualify the pair. which acts as hong kong's constitution. the legislative council president banned t their attendance pending the court rulging but the two members entered the chamber anyway only to be ejected. >> i'm not from beijing, so i don't know what they are thinking about. but destroyed the one country two system. >> the pair tried to take part in a session being held in another room prompting security guards to prevent their entry.
four guards were injured in the scuffles that followed. the disturbance happened a day before a court hearing. later in the day, a top chinese government o official in hong kg said any the comments soliciting the independence must be punished in accordance with the law. chinese president xi jingping has ordered to practice stricter discipline in his campaign against corruption. xi laid down the law at a meeting last month. state run xinhua news agency reported xi's remarks att the central committee. the party released two documents. one on the norms of political life and on intraparty supervision. she said they were overcome by political ambititions and resosd to conspiracies. he cited scheming by prominent
figures. zhou was a member of the committee but was jailed for life on corruption charges. xi ordered senior officials never to betray the party. the meeting confirmed that the party leadership will resolutely protect its authority. the kenyan government says it's. pulling out 1,000 troops from the peace keeping mission in south sudan. the move came after ban ki-moon fired operations there for failing to protect civilians. the kenyan government has issued a statement opposing ban's decision. it says ban is trying to place the blame on one official while the mission suffers from fundamental structural and systemic dysfunctionalty. the statement said they will no longer engage in peace
negotiations. a spokesperson for ban said on tuesday that an independent panel had criticized the mission. it said the mission's response was inadequate when forces opened f fire on u.n.n. housing refugees in the capital of juba. at least 73 people were killed during three days off attacks. the spokespersoson says ban wil review the operation so as to protect people. south sudan gained independent from the capital is now relatively stable. at least 18 people have drowned after a boat packed with migrant workers sank off an indonesian island. more than 40 are still missing. the boat was carrying about 100
indonesians. the boat sank on wednesday in rough seas and heavy rain. search efforts are continuing. so far 39 people have been rescued. the boat was taking indonesian workers home from malaysia. >> many indonesian workers go to malaysia because wages there are higher. indonesian police suspect the operators of the vessel violated safety regulations. poorly enforced safety
regulations mean fatal accidents are common. at least two people have been killed in bombings and shootings in southern thailand. five others including civilians were injured. the attacks took place at ten locations in patani province and two near the malaysian border. armed men attacked a car dealership and a military facility. a gas station was hit by an apparent bomb blast. several islamic militant groups seeking independence have been carrying out terror attacks in thailand. the military and police have been stepping up security since they uncovered a bombing plot last month. it apparently involved one of the groups. people in thailand continue to mourn their late king. but despite the country's reputation as a magnet for tourists and global investors, there's now a growing sense of
uncertainty. nhk world explains. >> reporter: stabilizing the economy is the thai government's top priority. >> translator: we ask you not to let the stock market, trade, investment, and all other economic activities slow down. we ask you to try to put economic stability first. >> reporter: there are about 4500 japanese companies in thailand. there was concern about the possible impact. but the day after, most of them were operating normamally. >> translator: japanese corporations are operating as usual. our understanding is there hasn't been any problem. >> reporter: every international institution operating in thailand remained open. so, too, did the stock market. the key index has risenen more than 6% on the idea that the
kingng's passising would havave limited the economic impact. >> translator: we are clearer prospects for the future. investors are regaining confidence in the stock market. >> reporter: but there are worries about thehe tourist industry. which accounts for about 10% of the country's gdp. the ancient city attracts 9.2 million tourists a year. this temple used to be full of tourists. but the number of visitors have sharply declined since the passing away of the king. this hotel says the cancellation rate for reservations is about 10%. but it's expected to rise. >> translator: several have been canceled due to the mourning
period. >> reporter: scheduled in november its usually packed with international and domestic tourists. but the government has announced a year of national mourning. so organizers have been asked to tone down the event this year. >> translator: religious events can be conducted as usual, but we must refrain from conducting events that are designed as entertainment. >> reporter: private consumption is also expected to suffer. department stores are already getting fewer customers especially for luxury goods. >> translator: the possible impact on consumption must be monitored carefully. restaurants and other business related services may be affected.
>> reporter: concern for its prospects runs deep. nhk world, bangkok. it's decision time for america. two divisive presidential candidates have been fighting a bitter battle for the white house. >> she should not be allowed to run. >> he's denigrating, he's talking down our democracy. >> the winner sets the course for the next four years impacting nations around the world including here in asia. u.s. election 2016 on nhk "newsline." the u.s. presidential race has become much closer following the fbi's recent reopening of its investigation into democratic candidate hillary clinton's use of a private e-mail server. the election is now less than a week away. trump's campaign gained momentum following the agency's announcement. >> i have great respect for the
fbi for righting this wrong. the american people fully understand her corruption and we hope all justice will finally be served. >> according to real clear politics which averages most major opinion polls, clinton still has a lead ovever trump a of wednesday at 47% to 45%. u. presint bark obama critized the f in an inteiew o o tuesdada i i do t think tha theres a a nonormhat when there are investigationswewe don opepera on innuendo, on incompletion, on leaks. >> he adddded thatt when clinto e-ilil scaal was invesgated last time the conclion of the fbi was that she had made se miakes but tt tre was nothin prosecutle. otherain focus is o wheth
the docratic party can regain control of houses of congress. at stake are 34 of the 100 senate seats and all 435 seats in the house of representatives. republicans currently control both chambers. but the democrats could secure a majority in the senate if they win more than five additional seats. democrats are also expected to make gains in the house of representatives. some republicans are distancing themselves from presidential candidate donald trump out of concern that his controversial remarks could hurt their campaigns. policy makers at the u.s. central bank are keeping key interest rates unchanged ahead of next week's presidential election. rate is now expected to rise in december. fed officials met for two days.
they say economic growth has picked up from its modest pace in the first half of the year. fed officials also say inflation has increased somewhat. they say there's a stronger case for raising the federal funds rate. but they say capital investment remains soft and they'll keep a close eye on employment and inflation. analysts say uncertainty over the economic policy of the next president made the fed decide to stay the course. they said the central bank will likely increase rates in december. u.s. gdp grew as an annualized 2.9% in the july to september quarter. farmers in japan endured a tough autumn as heavy rain and a lack of sunlight hurt their crops. a tokyo central wholesale market on tuesday, prices for cucumbers and carrots were more than double what they were a year ago. the rising price is taking a
bite out of school budgets. one says they will have to close their school cafeterias for two days in december and january. they'll ask students to either eat at home or bring a packed lunch. >> translator: it's sad because i might not be able to have lunch with my friends. >> translator: i'm busy in the morning, so school lunches are helpful. this will be a problem. >> farmers in central japanan s heavy rainfall and a lack of sunlight in september meant some crops were much smaller than usual and others succumb to diseasase. >> translator: it rained a lot. since we've been a farmer we've only had that kind of weather once before. >> the agriculture ministry says shipments of most vegetables should improve and prices should level off this month. but the price of carrots and potatoes are likely to remain high for the resest of the yeye. prproducers of those vegetables are concentrated in areas hit by
typhoons. japan is known as the land of cute mascots. many businesses depend on them to endear themselves to customers. we'll take a look at a company that creates custom designs with just the right amount of cute. >> reporter: this business provides rental wi-fi routers to customers arriving at haneda airport. they've introduced two time traveling ninja characters. and these foreign visitors find them irresistible. >> ninja wi-fi. >> many people are fascinated because of mangas, i guess. >> translator: people can tell right away that these images are japanese. it's a distinctive look that other countries can't copy. >> reporter: but these characters didn't really travel through a rift in time. they were created by a company in shizuoka. the company provides designs to
businesses that want t transform their brand and reach a larger audience. it matches imas uploaded by artists to client's products and target markets. customers can review these images and choose what they like. each design costs about $2,000. >> traranslator: many firms are having difficulty reaching new markets and customers. characters like these can really help them expand their customer base. >> reporter: some of the characters this company has created are already making a big splash. this aquarium on awashima island
he did -- had declined. it's made after the sea slugs found in the area. >> translator: it's cute. >> translator: it even has the antenna eyes. >> reporter: like the slug that inspired it, there are both male and female traits. and that led to more than 10,000 posts on social media in a single day. so the aquarium decided to expand the social network to include a sister and a childhood friend. and as her story expanded, so did the number of visitors. >> translator: i believe people got caught up in the idea that one figure could be both male and female. actually, that'ss not the resul we were aiming for but now we feel that the sea slug was the right choice. >> reporter: as more affordable designs make it easier for smaller firms to get into the character game, the cuteness boom is likely to continue for a long time to come.
people visiting one of the town's worst hit by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami can now get a high-tech glimpse of the immediate aftermath. they can don virtual reality goggles for a look at the devastation. the curators say they want to keep the memory of a the disaster alive. they've installed virtual reality headsets that let visitors place themselves right in the scene. onee i image shows the ruins of elementary school. another shows localing painting a sign to not give up. >> translator: i could see the whole town, 360 degrees. it really made it feel real.
>> translator: a flat picture won't simulate the feeling of being there. but people using this virtual reality headset can feel like they're right there. >> more than 3,000 people from ishinomaki died in the disaster. more than 400 others are still missing. people in tokyo had lovely weather today, but those in northern japan are dealing with a winter storm. our meteorologist sayaka mori joins us now with the details. sayaka? >> yes, people in northern japan are continuing excessive heavy snowfall as well as blustery conditions. a snowstorm is affecting the area. now, we are looking at more snowfall in the next several days. over the past 24 hours, 20 centimeters of snowfall has fallen and we had a quite low
morning low aof m of minus 7.3. another low pressure system is pulling away from hokkaido. but more snow expected into your friday even in the lower elevations. furtheher down towards the sout including tokyo, it's going to stay dry for the next three days. that's good news and temperatures are going to be quite warmer compared to average for this time of year. now, tokyo will see the high with 17 degrees on friday with beautiful sunny weather once again. and temperatures could go up to the 20 degree mark on both saturday as well as sunday. that's not the case for hokkaido. it should be around 10 degrees this time of year. but the high will be 4 degrees on friday and snow will likely fall once again during the weekend. now, our colleague jonathan is visiting sapporo right now. and we are looking at beautiful fall foliage. yeah. very beautiful picture. thank you, jonathan.
likely peak across tokyo late november in the area as well as kyoto. so let's look forward to the colorful season. now, further down towards the south, deadly floods occurred in the central portions of vietnam earlier this week. itit's the time of year wn the northeastt flow starts to cause heavy rainllll and thahat led t riouss flooding as wee go into the next several dadays, more heaeavy rain is expect f for thehe souththern h of the country. and there is a tropical depression right here. thee system willl likely head t the south of vietnam. we have e two more tropical disturbances i want to mention. this one will likely move up towards the north. this one is more of a problem. this is mary. it is a minimal tropical storm at the moment. it's packing wind of 65 kilometers per hour.. ththe system will likely stay he inside sunday. and after that it could makake s wayy towards the west. andd will likely affect the philippines next week..
november is thee typhoon season for the philippines. in the past,, several november storms killed hundreds or thousands of people. we'll keep you p posted on the storm. now let's go to north america. we saw some heavy rainfall and also hail in the area from the southern plains into the great lakes region. there is a significant low pressure system and also front. the systemm will likely make i waway towards the south and eas. temperatures are cooling down back behind it. but ahead of the system, temperatures are expected to be on the warmer side. for example, washington, d.c., your high's going to be 27 degrees. 23 degrees in new york city on your thursday. but it looks like cold weather will likely come back soon. for example, washington, d.c. 27 on thursday, down to 15 degrees on your friday. new york city down to 12 degrees on your friday. so what a change in store for you. that's it for me now. up next is your three-day forecast.