hello there, welcome to "newsline." here are some of the stories we are figure this hour. japanese leaders are down to the wire trying to free two nationals believe to be held by islamic state. they have been given a 72-hour deadline to play a ransom. that they think expires in about three hours. the mother of kenji goto is pleading to islamic state to
free her son and says he is not their enemy. saudi arabia state-run television says king abdullah has died. he became head of the oil-rich country in 2005 and over the years, further strengthened ties with the united states. japanese government leaders are watching the clock to free two nationals believed to be held by islamic state wind down. they've been working the phones and reaching out to the international community for help. the militants are demanding that a ransom of $200 million be paid within 72 hours. prime minister shinzo abe spoke with tony abbott in australia and david cameron in britain. abe asked for their assistance in gathering information and help freeing the two men. abbott promised to do his best to facilitate the release of the hostages. cameron promised to stand by japan and offer any possible assistance. video posted online shows kenji
goto and haruna yukawa kneeling on the ground. a purported islamic state member threatens to kill them if the demand is not met. officials in tokyo assume the deadline is around 2:50 p.m. japan time on friday. the japanese government had just promised the equivalent amount of aid to countries in the middle east. prime minister abe says the financial assistant is for nonmilitary purposes, including support for displaced people and refugees. a japanese foreign ministry official said on thursday they are seeing small signs of progress. they've been getting some direct and indirect responses from who they believe are the militants. and another government representative says the situation isn't completely stalled but is not getting better either. japanese officials are on the ground in amman, jordan as part of task force trying to
bring the two men home. they've been contacting religious leaders and other groups who might be able to approach the militants. a jordanian expert on the movement of extremists says the japanese government has turned to him for advice. he's been asked about who should act as a mediator. >> they are working seriously to release the hostages whatsoever that will cost them. we can talk about the topic, but i think they are looking for a third-party and mediators. they are searching for some schoolers and some activists. it's said islamic state members enter the risk of arrest if they enter jordan. it says it's likely the mediator would be found in syria or iraq. >> if japanese reach a direct contact with them or through a
mediator i think the two japanese hostages will not be killed. >> he suggested the turkish government might be able to help. he says they have been been to secure the release of 49 people, including diplomats, through negotiations with the militant group. >> it is complicated matter but i do believe they can, if they seek, they can reach to correct and direct contact. but the problem, as you know is the short time. nhk has been in communication with an islamic state representative concerning the two japanese hostages. messages were exchanged and a conversation took place by internet phone earlier on friday morning japan time. the representative said a statement would soon be released. during the conversation, the spokesperson criticized japan. he said japanese people who
fight the militant group are infidels. nhk asked about negotiations with government officials for the release of the two japanese captives. [ speaking foreign language ] >> the representative refused to provide a specific answer and implied a statement was forthcoming. the 72-hour deadline for the hostage negotiation is fast approaching. the mother of one of the two captives has made a plea for her son's release. juneco ishido is the mother of freelance journalist kenji goto. >> translator: over the last three days, i've been grieving and confused.
kenji was a very tender and warm hearted child. he was very kind to other children, so i think he decided to go to help his friend, leaving behind his wife and newborn baby. >> she said her son always expressed his desire to save children in war zones and took a neutral position in his reporting. >> translator: kenji always fights for justice. if he is released, i'm sure that he will contribute to creating a better world for children around the world and their future. i would like to say to all the people of islamic state that kenji is not your enemy.
please, release him. >> she also pleaded with the japanese government to save her son's life. joining us now is the editor in chief of nhk world. this was the first news conference anyone close to the hostages has held. >> that's right. >> what other points did she say? >> she said that kenji had told his wife before he left syria that he would have to save a japanese friend of his in syria. and we presume that is the other hostage, yukawa. another point is that kengey is not an enemy of people with islamic faith. she pleaded for kenji's relief and that she could sacrifice her life. her life she says is nothing if people can create a better
and more beautiful world, if he could come back safe and sound, she said she would make sure that kenji would work for peace and that she would do anything to deepen understandings between people around the world. >> you've known kenji for a very long time, about 20 years. he's a seasoned journalist. what kind of journalist is he? >> he is -- mainly he's been covering wars in conflict zones, in disaster-stricken zones, but he's not interested in waups or military affairs. he was always focusing on children and ordinary people who were suffering from violence from difficult situations. he went to middle east, iraq, and syria very, very often. and as you look at this report this was the last report he did
for us. we aired it on the same day as we left for syria this time. but he was always focusing more of the, kind of like refugee situation, or how people children ordinary people are suffering and he's been asking one question lately why people get killed in wars. why? why? he wanted to save lives. very often he said of children who were suffering in war zones. and he is a man of integrity and humanity. and i hope that he would come back safe and sound. >> miki ebara, editor in chief of nhk world, thank you very much.
saudi arabia state run television said the country's king has died. he was about 90 years old. king abdullah took power in 2005 after his father died. he led the country that plays a key role in the middle east. saudi arabia was the birth place of islam and has the world's largest oil output. he was known as a power ally of the united states. following the 9/11 terror attacks, he led the crackdown against terrorism in his country. most of the people involved in the attacks were saudi nationals. king abdullah also supported the rebellion in syria against bashar al assad. he also encouraged improvements to women's social status. he appointed 30 women to the nation's top advisory council. the state-run television said in an announcement that he has been
succeeded by his brother king solomon. analysts say that he will continue king abdullah's policy concerning crude oil and diplomacy. the u.s. president has issued a statement saying that abdomen took bold steps in advancing the arab peace initiative, an endeavor that will outlive him as an endearing contribution to the search for peace in the region. the statement also says as a leader king abdullah was always candid and had the courage of his convictions. time for a check on business news. president of the european central bank has decided to give the region's economy a jump-start. we are joined now from the business desk with those details. >> central bankers in europe have been having trouble getting prices to rise and getting the economy back on a growth track.
and then oil prices they plummeted. eurozone countries import a lot of crude and that increased the threat of deflation. so european central bank president mario draghi has decided to launch quantitative easing. he says the bank will buy government bonds and other assets from eurozone's member nations. he unveiled the plans after members discussed monetary policy for the euro. the bank plans to buy six billion dollars worth of assets every month, about $68 billion, and it includes investment grade bonds. it will start in march and continue to the end of march 2016. >> these factors should strengthen demand increase capacity utilization and support money and credit growth and thereby contribute to a return of inflation rates towards 2%. >> it is the first time ecb policy makers have gone down the
road of quantitative easing. their counterparts in japan and the u.s. have taken similar steps. ecb officials want to revive the eurozone economy. they will have to decide how many government bonds to buy from which countries. they also decided to keep the ecb key interest rate at 0.05%, which is an all-time low. most european leaders support draghi's decision. nhk world's tim west has more from daf os, switzerland. >> the european central bank has launched a bond-buying program in response to increasing concerns about deflation in the euro zone. german leaders had opposed the measure, saying quantitative easing could amount to direct financial assistance for countries experiencing financial crisis. but ecb president mario draghi defied the opposition after the consumer price index in the eurozone dropped below zero, a sign the economy is on the verge to falling into deflation. he said the ecb is responsible
for stabilizing prices in the zone. as draghi unveiled the measure, political and business leaders from europe gathered in the swiss resorts of daf os for the world economic forum. experts and political leaders applauded draghi's decision. >> this is an important edition to the tool kit that includes structure reforms, investment instruments, and more integration. all of these things together will boost growth in europe including, of course the monetary stimulus that we're getting today. >> i think these decisions help our business help the industry in general. help in particular our own business and it's certainly good decision in their effort to avoid deflation. >> but the outlook for the region's economy is increasingly uncertain. greece will hold elections on sunday. the results of which could determine whether the country leaves the eurozone. this is one factor behind the turmoil in the financial
markets. europe's economy has also begun feeling the impact of an economic slowdown in russia. quantitative easing policies are unexplored terrain for the ecb. will draghi be able to navigate through these rough waters and prevent the economy sliding into deflation? one thing is for certain, his ability will be put to the test. and now let's check on markets for this friday morning. investors took a positive view of the steps taken by the ecb. now all the details of the main moves for us. what did you see this morning? >> thank you very much. yes, indeed, investors here pretty much following suit from european markets as well as u.s. markets. and that's after the ecb announced its plans to buy 60 billion euros worth of bonds every month. so let's see exactly where the morning session wrapped up. the nikkei at 17,473 and the
broader topix up 3/4 of a percent. the risk meant there was a rush back into stocks and key exporters gained as the dollar rose against the yen. so i was tracking a couple of the blue chip sector shares, just to name a few of the worldwide popular names there. but also we were tracking steel makers as well as energy related shares as the price of crude jumps 1.7% during u.s. trading hours. so showa, one of the biggest gainers. manufacturing data out of china during the morning session, and that was also seen as a positive. hsbc flash pmi data coming out. nidek shares were met with selling despite upgrading its forecast for the fiscal year
down.7%. >> the dollar yen and the euroyureuro a big focus. the euro/yen marked a three-month low after mario draghi announced the new bond-buying measures. let's have a quick look at asian indexes as well. and following the manufacturing data out of china, the shanghai composite is trading higher as are the other key indexes. australia's index there up 1 .2%. so pretty positive so far. we'll see how it progresses. that's all for me. back to you. >> thanks a lot for that update. officials at japan's labor ministry plan to get tougher on discrimination against working women who are pregnant or have small children. the officials say they will instruct labor bureaus across the country to tighten their oversight. this kind of discrimination has emerged as a social problem.
but the practice known in japan known as maternity harassment is hard to prove in many cases. the move comes after the supreme court ruled last year that demotion on grounds of pregnancy or childbirth is unlawful and void in principle. the law governing equal employment opportunities bans dismissal and other unfair treatment of women for these reasons. ministry officials aim to ensure employers comply with this law. officials at japan's transport ministerry are planning to launch a system they hope will cut down on traffic accidents and reduce car insurance premiums. the idea is to collect and analyze huge amounts of automobile-related data. officials on a ministry panel say the system will collect information such as people's driving habits, as well as repair and accident records. they want the ministry to work with car dealers to collect and manage the data. officials at japanese parts maker nidek reported good
earnings results and are expected to boost wages of their employees. needek ceo says sales were more than $6.. net profit nearly $490 million. both are record highs. he says its overseas businesses especially motors for automobiles grew significantly. the weaker yen also pushed up earnings. the officials revised upwards the current forecast, the second time they've done. they now forecast sales of $8.4 billion and a net profit of $631 million. both would be record highs. he says it's the responsibility of management to share the firm's gains with its employees. he said the company will raise the pay of all workers based on their performance. managers in the financial sector are making moves to raise
wages too. die eachy life may increase wages starting in april. the source says the firm has already presented its plan to union leaders, the second straight hike for their sales force. company officials reported strong results. they hope higher wages and better working conditions will attract working in the increasingly tight labor market. over in another financial firm nomura securities have said they will increase salaries. that's the latest in business for this hour. i'll leave you with a check on markets.
the water level of lake baikal, one of russia's world heritage sites is dropping to a serious degree. the russian government is considering issuing a state of emergency in neighboring regions. the lake is extremely clear and rich in wildlife. it's the world's largest fresh water lake by volume. but it's now at the lowest point
in 60 years due to lack of rain and other reasons. experts believe early next month its depth will fall below the minimum permissible level set by the russian government. they predict the water level will continue to drop at least until april. natural resources and environment minister said on wednesday that he's considering declaring a state of emergency in the republic in two provinces. local people depend on the lake's water, using it for hydroelectric power generation and for drinking. the declining water level could impact the lives of about 70,000 people. authorities plan to study the possibility of reducing hydroelectric use of the lake water. people in south central europe are dealing with severe weather conditions. we have the latest in world weather. >> a low pressure system
bringing instability across south central europe including italy where severe flooding has been reported. also a water spout reported in malta. similar conditions will be prevailing across the similar locations with excess ef rainfall and strong gusts reaching up to about 130 kilometers per hour for example in croatia, and that will be combined with more snowfall. tornadoes are also going to be a potential anywhere underneath this orange-colored area. talking about the snowfall that's going to be about 20 centimeters of additional snowfall and that is likely to add up to about 40 centimeter accumulation, especially in and around croatia, that combined with strong gusts will bring blizzard conditions and poor visibility. gusty around norway we're expecting about 80 kilometers per hour gufts there. and cold weather warnings in place across the british isles.
do watch out for icy road conditions. across here in the americas again, another disturbance in and around texas and the deep south. a low pressure system which is pretty potent, it's been bringing hefty rainfall about 50 millimeters in a 24 hour span. and maybe even 55 millimeters, enough to cause rivers to burst banks. also the snowfall will not be stopping. it will be dispersing as we progress through the day, but about 20 centimeters of additional snowfall will be likely in the heaviest spots. also winter weather in d.c. and the gusts will reach about 110 kilometers per hour enough to down power lines and trees. across california summer-like temperatures persisting. 26 degrees for you on friday and that's likely to be on a warming trend. even at 28 degrees on your sunday. but these warm or hot
temperatures are going to be combined with very gusty conditions. so the critical level of fire danger still is in place for you. do watch out for your flammable items. across eastern continental asia a pressure system over china and the korean peninsula. some of it will be stagnateing hair conditions. hazy weather in beijing on friday morning. i do want to take your attention towards taipei your low is just 7 degrees. that's really chilly for those residents out in taiwan. now across here in japan, this low pressure system is still bringing very gusty conditions. it was a very heavy rain-maker before yesterday. we had a january record with 92 millimeters. now it's become a blizzard-maker in eastern hokidea with gusts up to 126. as for the weekend, we're
looking at clear skies across tokyo. still the blizzard-like in nem uro for our friday but the snow is not too bad when we get this magnificent view in yama gata prefect prefecture. some pictures there from northern japan. it contributes to a famous site known as the ice monsters. snow lovers are getting an upclose and personal view of these natural sculptures. i'll leave you now for your extended forecast. ♪
good evening from los angeles. i'm tavis smiley. tonight a conversation with emmy winning golden globe nominated and oscar nominee actor benedict cumberbatch starring in the imitation game" which tells the story of computer scientist alan turing a key figuring in cracking germany's enigma code which helped the allies win the second world war. a conversation with benedict cumberbatch coming up right now.á ♪