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News out of English Newspaper

Posted by Junichi Kawagoe on 02.2011 News Out of English Newspaper   0 comments   0 trackback


Snow falls along Japan's Pacific coast

Posted by Junichi Kawagoe on 11.2011 News Out of English Newspaper   0 comments   0 trackback
Snow falls along Japan's Pacific coast

A wide area of Japan's Pacific coast is being hit by snow brought on by a low pressure system.

The Meteorological Agency says up to 10 centimeters of snow had fallen in parts of western Japan as of 11 AM on Friday. Tokyo has also been blanketed with a light covering of snow that will continue to fall through the day.

The agency says the low pressure system is expected to move east and that snow will continue to fall into Saturday in western and eastern Japan.
Fri, 11 Feb 2011 10:25:00 +0900(JST)
(JST: UTC+9hrs.)

What do you do when you like one of your kids more than the others?

Posted by Junichi Kawagoe on 08.2011 News Out of English Newspaper   0 comments   0 trackback
 Quoted out of Shine from Yahoo

What do you do when you like one of your kids more than the others?

Of course we all strive to treat our kids equally. And it goes without saying that we love them. But what do you do when you like one of them more than the other?

One mom wrote in to the Dear Prudence column at Slate recently, confessing that she prefers her mellow 2-year-old son to her demanding 4-year-old daughter.

"My daughter has a bright, inquisitive mind and a big personality," she writes. "She loves to dance and sing and be the center of attention. She is funny and sassy and spirited. She is also as stubborn as a mule, has a hair-trigger temper, and throws screaming tantrums." Her toddler son, on the other hand, she describes as "sweet and more mellow."

She's a stay-at-home mom, she says, and her feelings of guilt and shame are obvious. She signs her letter "Feeling Like a Bad Mother."

But does she really have anything to feel guilty about?

As a mom and step mom to five kids, I think she's facing something that many women find all-too-familiar―the idea that loving someone unconditionally is the same as liking them all the time. I'll admit it here: I love my kids, the two I birthed as well as the three I married. But do I always like everything each of them says or does? Of course not. (And the flip side of that: They love me, but do they always like me? I doubt it.)

When you're a step parent, though, several common step-parenting myths make it more difficult to admit that your relationship with the kids in your household may be stressing you out―and it's the stress, not the kids, that's causing your feelings to become strained. "Our common belief that 'If she's nice and a good person those kids will warm right up to her; if they dislike her it's because she's doing something wrong or she's cold and mean' really takes a toll on women's self-esteem," says JoAnne Pedro-Carroll, author of "Putting Children First." "So [step moms] bend over backwards trying to win the approval or the step kids or adult step kids. And become increasingly discouraged, even resentful."

It happens with bio- and adoptive moms, too, and "Feeling Like a Bad Mother" even mentions it in her cry for help: "By the end of the day I'm resentful and grumpy about her demands and constant, rapid-fire questions." Resentment can make you feel like your kid, rather than his or her behavior, is what you really don't like.

Another thing to keep in mind: Since each child is different, your relationship with each of your children may be different. Having a positive experience with one child (like a cuddly, not-yet-terrible 2-year-old) can make a negative experience with another (like a high-energy, tantrum-prone pre-schooler) seem that much worse―and you feel guilty about it.

"Sometimes, one step child will really embrace a step mom and shower her with love, affection, and trust," points out step-mom coach Healther Hetchler, the founder of CafeSmom.com. "It makes the discrepancy with the other child, who really may be having more of a typical step mom-stepchild relationship, more prominent. … If one has a really good relationship with you and one doesn't, it can make the other seem wrong." And that can happen with bio- and adoptive parents as well.

As Dear Prudence points out in her reply to "Feeling Like a Bad Mother," loving your children equally doesn't mean you are able to treat each of your children in exactly the same way. "Instead, make your goal to treat each fairly, which acknowledges their differences," she suggests.

Find yourself disliking your kid? Three things to consider:

1. What you dislike is your child's behavior, not your child.
 Also: Let's face it, we parents aren't always angels. We're not likable all the time, either.

2. You aren't necessarily going to like each of your children in the same way.
 They're people, after all, each with his or her own charms and foibles. But you probably can find something to like -- something different -- about each of them.

3. Each age comes with its own hurdles. The early years are intense and stressful in many ways, because kids need so much of our attention and are so very helpless when they're tiny. Adolescence has its own set of challenges, for kids and for parents. And the years in between? Mean girlsbullyinghomework struggles,crazy schedulesjuggling your career and your family―it can all take a toll. What you like (or dislike) about your child will probably change as they (and you) grow.

The World's Happiest Countries

Posted by Junichi Kawagoe on 27.2011 News Out of English Newspaper   0 comments   0 trackback
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Best Places

The World's Happiest Countries

Christopher Helman01.19.11, 12:00 PM EST

Most of the nations atop our list are democratic, business-friendly and boast strong social safety nets.

Think about it for a minute: What does happiness mean to you?

For most, being happy starts with having enough money to do what you want and buy what you want. A nice home, food, clothes, car, leisure. All within reason.

But happiness is much more than money. It's being healthy, free from pain, being able to take care of yourself. It's having good times with friends and family.

In Pictures: The World's Happiest Countries

Furthermore, happiness means being able to speak what's on your mind without fear, to worship the God of your choosing, and to feel safe and secure in your own home.

Happiness means having opportunity--to get an education, to be an entrepreneur. What's more satisfying than having a big idea and turning it into a thriving business, knowing all the way that the harder you work, the more reward you can expect?

With this in mind, five years ago researchers at the Legatum Institute, a London-based nonpartisan think tank, set out to rank the happiest countries in the world. But because "happy" carries too much of a touchy-feely connotation, they call it "prosperity."

Legatum recently completed its 2010 Prosperity Index, which ranks 110 countries, covering 90% of the world's population.

To build its index Legatum gathers data from 12 sources the Gallup polling group, the Heritage Foundation and the World Economic Forum. Each country is ranked on 89 variables sorted into eight subsections: economy, entrepreneurship, governance, education, health, safety, personal freedom and social capital.

The core conceit: Prosperity is complex; achieving it relies on a confluence of factors that build on each other in a virtuous circle.

Oveseas M&A spree

Posted by Junichi Kawagoe on 31.2010 News Out of English Newspaper   0 comments   0 trackback

Oveseas M&A spree

Japanese firms this year engaged in the most mergers and acquisitions of overseas firms in 10 years, as a way to deal with shrinking domestic markets.

The research firm Thomson Reuters says Japanese companies engaged in a total of 513 overseas corporate acquisitions and investments this year, up 46 percent from last year.

Japanese corporations are engaging in vigorous M&A activity in Asia, where rapid growth is expected. The number of Japanese investments and corporate acquisitions in China hit 70 cases, 2.7 times the figure a year earlier. There were 25 cases in India, 1.9 times higher than last year, and 20 cases in Singapore, 3.3 times last year's figure.

Separately, 116 investments and corporate acquisitions were recorded in the Untied States, up 38 percent.

The report says a stronger yen against the US dollar gave Japanese firms financial advantages when investing in overseas businesses.

It says not only large corporations, but mid-size Japanese companies as well are accelerating their overseas mergers and acquisitions. Sluggish growth at home is expected to further boost such activity.

Thu, 30 Dec 2010 11:50:00 +0900(JST)
(JST: UTC+9hrs.)

Kan cruises to victory in DPJ election

Posted by Junichi Kawagoe on 15.2010 News Out of English Newspaper   0 comments   0 trackback
Cited from Japan Times:

Ozawa comes up short but top post may still await party bigwig

Staff writers

After a fierce two-week campaign, Prime Minister Naoto Kan on Tuesday defeated Democratic Party of Japan bigwig Ichiro Ozawa in the ruling party's presidential election, securing his post and avoiding yet another leadership change.

Kan and Ozawa basically split the votes cast by DPJ lawmakers, but Kan pulled away with overwhelming support from general party members and regional assembly members. He received 721 points to Ozawa's 491 in the party's voting system.

Kan campaigned on greater fiscal austerity, job creation and a possible consumption tax hike, while Ozawa called for aggressive government spending. Attention is now focused on whether Kan can hold the party together and preserve his political clout to implement his election pledges.

Many party members still fear Ozawa and his followers could split the party and destabilize the government.

"As my senior, Mr. Ozawa has taught me many things. Now that the election is over, there will be no sides, as I have promised," Kan said after the election in a call for party unity.

"I am ready to do my best to build a united party where all DPJ members can work up to their full potential."

Later in the day, Kan praised Ozawa for his knowledge of policy affairs but stressed that he has not made any personnel decisions.

"I have no preconceived ideas for now" on who he will tap for key party or Cabinet posts, Kan said. "I would like to think about it after I meet with former party leaders as early as tomorrow."

Under party regulations, Kan is to serve as DPJ president, and effectively prime minister, until September 2012 when he will face another presidential election.

Kan won the race with strong support from rank-and-file party members, who didn't want to see yet another new national leader, but 200 of the DPJ's 411 Diet members still voted for Ozawa, apparently believing he be a stronger leader.

The disparity was most evident in the votes allocated to general party supporters, with 249 of 300 points in this bloc going to Kan.

Ozawa also failed to win the support of regional assembly members, who awarded 60 out of a total of 100 points to Kan.

Ozawa again lost out to Kan in the area where the DPJ kingpin expected to overshadow the prime minister ― among Diet lawmakers, who with two points each accounted for the majority of points in the contest.

Of the 406 valid votes and 812 points allocated to this bloc, Kan won the support of 206 lawmakers, good for 412 points, while Ozawa received votes from 200 lawmakers.

With the election over, focus now shifts to how Kan will reshuffle the Cabinet and party leadership ― and to whether he will give Ozawa an important government or party role.

Kan hinted during the campaign he might grant Ozawa a key party post related to election affairs.

Speaking to reporters following the election, former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, who supported Ozawa, said he was willing to cooperate to achieve party unity and hinted that he expected Kan to grant Ozawa an important post.

"The two shook hands firmly, and I'd like to interpret the meaning of that handshake in my own terms," he said.

Veteran lawmaker Kozo Watanabe also stressed party unity, saying it is important to "forget who won and concentrate on placing the right people in the right jobs."

But former Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka warned that Kan has a difficult job ahead.

"I have a feeling Japan will continue sinking unless Mr. Kan is firm in steering the nation to avoid mistakes," she said.

Kan remains in charge of a nation suffering from a sagging economy and numerous other worrisome issues, including a high yen.

During the campaign, Kan emphasized the need to create more jobs to revive the economy. He has also called for further debate on tax reforms, including a potential consumption tax hike to cover ballooning social security costs.

His platform also stressed the need to pursue clean and open politics by banning corporate donations and cutting the number of Diet lawmakers.

But with the DPJ lacking a majority in the Upper House and facing a divided Diet, passing legislation will be difficult without cooperation from the opposition.

The election took place at a large hall in the Prince Park Tower Tokyo Hotel in Minato Ward.

Before lawmakers began casting their votes, Kan and Ozawa each delivered a final 15-minute speech.

"I wanted to inform the public that I believe it will be too late if we don't change our political system right now," Ozawa said.

2010 Japanese summer officially hottest on record

Posted by Junichi Kawagoe on 04.2010 News Out of English Newspaper   0 comments   0 trackback
  • September 3rd, 2010 1:21 am ET
The 2010 Japanese summer was the hottest since 1898, according to Japan Meteorological Agency.
Photo: (image/JMA news release)

The Japan Meteorological Agency announced that 2010 average summer temperatures across the country were the hottest on their over 100 year long record.

According to a September 1st JMA press release, the average temperature during the three month period of June to August was 1.64°C higher than a 30-year average for the same period. While June and July were hotter than normal, at +1.24°C and +1.42°C respectively, August temperatures pushed the record to the top of the books with an average of +2.25°C. Tracking began in 1898; the previous hottest summer was in 1994, when temperatures were 1.36°C above the average.

The regions that saw the greatest deviation from the average were concentrated towards the northeast  part of the nation and along the Sea of Japan.

The JMA stated that reasons for the soaring temperatures included a lack of cooling from the Sea of Okhotsk, westerlies near Japan concentrating further north and a covering of high pressure systems from the Pacific Ocean, as well as lingering effects from El Nino. The Agency added that it is believed this year’s weather also shows the effects of greenhouse gases and global warming.

The unusual summer has remained consistently in the Japanese news, due both to broken temperature records and to heat-related trouble.

Read more news from Japan by the Japan Headlines Examiner

Household power consumption hits record in July

Posted by Junichi Kawagoe on 20.2010 News Out of English Newspaper   0 comments   0 trackback

Household power consumption hits record in July

Electricity consumption in Japanese households hit a record high for July, as the hot weather pushed up demand for air conditioning.

Japan's Federation of Electric Power Companies says 10 power companies across the country sold 22.582 billion kilowatt-hours to households last month. The amount is up 6.1 percent from a year earlier, and the largest-ever for the month since the survey began in 1972.

The rise is attributed to scorching spells of heat mainly in eastern Japan, with daytime highs exceeding 35 degrees Celsius.

The federation says household power consumption in August is also expected to reach a record high because the hot days are continuing.

2010/08/19 15:51(JST)
(JST: UTC+9hrs.)

蚊をひきつける7つの理由 7 Reasons mosquitoes love you

Posted by Junichi Kawagoe on 17.2010 News Out of English Newspaper   0 comments   0 trackback
蚊をひきつける7つの理由 7 Reasons mosquitoes love you

Cited from: http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/health/7-reasons-mosquitoes-love-you-2177889/

You’re not crazy – you might be a magnet for these annoying insects. Stop scratching and read these seven common reasons they just can’t get enough of you.

1. You always wear dark colors. Mosquitoes evolved to hunt for mammals, whose hides and fur are typically dark, says entomologist Grayson Brown, PhD. During field experiments, Brown’s lab workers wear white―a less attractive shade.

13 strange quirks about your body

2. You spritz on floral fragrance. Mosquitoes also feed on flower nectar for energy to fly and sting. Smell too much like a rose and they’ll mistake you for one.

Smells that boost your health

3. You unwind with beer. A recent French study found that beer drinkers attracted 63% more mosquitoes than water sippers. The alcohol affects breath and body odor; more research is needed on other types of alcohol, like wine and cocktails.

16 unexpected things that can make you smell

4. You’re pregnant. Mothers-to-be are twice as attractive as their nonpregnant counterparts, according to researchers. Women in late stages of pregnancy will exhale at a volume of 21% more, attracting the carbon dioxide– and moisture-loving mosquitoes. They also tend to have slightly higher body temperatures, which may help mosquitoes to detect them more easily.

12 ways to lower blood pressure naturally

5. You love a good bird bath. Even small amounts of standing water―like the overflow in a flowerpot or a puddle from the rain―can attract mosquitoes. To cut down on unwelcome backyard visitors, get rid of unnecessary water, change bird bath water at least once a week, cut grass regularly, and keep swimming pools covered when you’re not using them.

8 scary healthy risks in your own backyard

6. You’re a night owl. Mosquitoes are most active during evenings, nighttime, and dawn, when they tend to go “hunting” for their next meal. Eat your nighttime snack inside to avoid becoming one yourself.

6 clues you’re sleep deprived

7. You’re working up a sweat. Scientists at Yale University have found that mosquitoes can pick up a chemical in human sweat. It can also make your repellent wear off faster, so be sure to reapply.

Sex has an important role in brain development

Posted by Junichi Kawagoe on 17.2010 News Out of English Newspaper   0 comments   0 trackback
Sex has an important role in brain development

Cited from: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0002553

Jarid1c, an X-linked gene coding for a histone demethylase, plays an important role in brain development and function. Notably, JARID1C mutations cause mental retardation and increased aggression in humans. These phenotypes are consistent with the expression patterns we have identified in mouse brain where Jarid1c mRNA was detected in hippocampus, hypothalamus, and cerebellum. Jarid1c expression and associated active histone marks at its 5′end are high in P19 neurons, indicating that JARID1C demethylase plays an important role in differentiated neuronal cells. We found that XX mice expressed Jarid1c more highly than XY mice, independent of their gonadal types (testes versus ovaries). This increased expression in XX mice is consistent with Jarid1c escape from X inactivation and is not compensated by expression from the Y-linked paralogue Jarid1d, which is expressed at a very low level compared to the X paralogue in P19 cells. Our observations suggest that sex-specific expression of Jarid1c may contribute to sex differences in brain function.

Half of new recruits reluctant to work overseas

Posted by Junichi Kawagoe on 04.2010 News Out of English Newspaper   0 comments   0 trackback
2010/08/03 07:43(JST)
(JST: UTC+9hrs.)
Cited: http://www.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/03_03.html

Half of new recruits reluctant to work overseas

A survey shows that nearly half of this year's new recruits at Japanese companies are reluctant to work overseas.

The SANNO Institute of Management conducted the online nationwide survey in June. 400 new employees responded.

49 percent of the respondents said they were unwilling to work abroad.

The figure is up almost 13 percentage points from the previous survey 3 years ago and is the highest since the first survey a decade ago.

When asked the reasons for their reluctance, 56 percent, the largest group, cited the high risks of overseas assignments. 54 percent said they are not confident about their abilities. 44 percent said they find foreign countries unattractive.

The institute says it is worrying that a growing number of new recruits do not want to work overseas amid the ongoing corporate globalization.

It adds that it is vital for companies to promote overseas assignments by explaining their foreign strategies more clearly and having young employees work abroad, even for short periods.

2010/08/03 07:43(JST)
(JST: UTC+9hrs.)

Rainy season begins in Kyushu

Posted by Junichi Kawagoe on 12.2010 News Out of English Newspaper   0 comments   0 trackback
Japan's Meteorological Agency has announced that the rainy season has started in the southernmost region of Kyushu.

It says "Tsuyu" started in the southern part of the region 2 weeks later than usual and in the northern half 1 week later than usual. The rainy season in the region usually continues into July.

The Okinawa and Amami region, which lie further south, are now in the midst of the rainy season which began on May 6th.

2010/06/12 16:35(JST)
(JST: UTC+9hrs.)

Today's 英字新聞 翻訳、解説 Vol. 37

Citted Japan Times

Posted by Junichi Kawagoe on 12.2010 News Out of English Newspaper   0 comments   0 trackback
Kan targets tax reform to repair economy
Stressing the need for tax reform to restore the country's battered finances, Prime Minister Naoto Kan vows during his first policy speech to the Diet that he will exert strong political leadership to overcome Japan's economic struggles.
[MORE] ->


Kamei resigns over postal reform bill
Shizuka Kamei quits as financial services minister because the Diet session won't be extended to act on his controversial pet bill to scale back the postal system privatization, but his Kokumin Shinto (People's New Party) will remain in the Democratic Party of Japan-led ruling coalition.
[MORE] ->

From Japan Times

Posted by Junichi Kawagoe on 11.2010 News Out of English Newspaper   0 comments   0 trackback
Disease imperils Miyazaki meat
Foot-and-mouth spreads to Miyakonojo, Miyazaki Prefecture, Japan's biggest livestock center, with three cows testing positive for the highly contagious disease.
[MORE] ->


Suddenly popular again, DPJ favors July 11 poll
The Democratic Party of Japan is more inclined to have an Upper House election in early July without extending the current Diet session, as many media polls have shown strong public support for Prime Minister Naoto Kan's new Cabinet, lawmakers say.
[MORE] ->

From Japan Times

Posted by Junichi Kawagoe on 11.2010 News Out of English Newspaper   0 comments   0 trackback
Kan Cabinet garners 62% support rate

Public support for new Prime Minister Naoto Kan's Cabinet hits 61.5 percent, compared with the 19.1 percent the administration of his predecessor, Yukio Hatoyama, suffered before its resignation, a poll shows.
[MORE] ->


Renho beats drum against waste

Renho, the new state minister in charge of government revitalization, reiterates her intention to trim waste in special account budgets, saying some aspects of the spending technique call for a thorough investigation by her team.
[MORE] ->

Rare "Supertaskers" Can Juggle Driving, Cell Phones

Posted by Junichi Kawagoe on 05.2010 News Out of English Newspaper   0 comments   0 trackback

A helicopter pilot prepares for take-off.

Is this a "supertasker"? A Canadian Coast Guard pilot prepares for take-off.

Photograph by Pete Ryan, National Geographic Stock

Rachel Kaufman

for National Geographic News

Published April 2, 2010

People with superhuman powers walk among us—or at least drive among us, scientists say.

Numerous studies have shown that the vast majority of people can't drive well while distracted, such as when talking on a cell phone. (See "Young Cell Phone Users Drive Like Elderly, Study Says.")

A new study supports those findings, but it also uncovered a rare group of people who perform as well or better when multitasking.

About 1 in 40 people are "supertaskers," the study found. The discovery may open the door to a slew of new research into how the brain handles multiple streams of information.

(Related: "Feeling No Pain: New Form of Rare Gene Disorder Decoded.")

The existence of supertaskers "does seem to violate traditional cognitive theory," which says that the human brain can actively pay attention to just one task at a time, said study co-author Jason Watson, a University of Utah psychologist.

For the new study, Watson and colleagues tested 200 people in a driving simulator, first without any distractions, then while solving math problems and memorizing words spoken over a cell phone.

Most people got worse at driving and at the given tasks when trying to do both at once. But five of the volunteers had no problems driving while talking, and a couple even did better at the math problems.

Supertaskers Were Predicted

"The fact that there could be supertaskers isn't new to me," said David Meyer, a cognitive scientist and professor of psychology at the University of Michigan who wasn't involved in the new study. (Related: "Beyond the Brain" in National Geographic magazine.)

In 1995 Meyer and colleagues published a paper suggesting that the brain should be able to process information in parallel—the same way a computer can run multiple programs at the same time.

The team wrote at the time that the assertion that gray matter can't ever multitask efficiently seems "implausible."

Meyer's lab also conducted studies in the '90s showing that, under certain conditions, some test subjects achieved equally fast response times when multitasking and single-tasking.

(Related: "Naps Clear Brain's Inbox, Improve Learning.")

Not Everyone Can Be Super

Study co-author Watson next wants to study supertaskers to figure out how they think and what else they might be good at.

He's planning to study fighter pilots' brains, based on the idea that supertaskers might self-select into jobs that require extraordinary multitasking ability.

His team is also considering studying chefs, orchestra conductors, and even TV producers. (Related: "Making Music Boosts Brain's Language Skills.")

But Watson and Meyer both caution against using any study results as a justification for driving while talking on the phone. After all, the studies were all conducted under simplified lab conditions, Meyer said, which don't encompass the many additional challenges of driving in real life.

"If and when multitasking may be difficult or easy—and by how much—all depends on the tasks that are involved and the strategies that people use to cope with them," Meyer said.

Watson added that people definitely shouldn't "self diagnose" themselves as supertaskers and take any risks behind the wheel.

"Many people believe they are the exception to the rule," he said. "However, the odds are against them."

The supertaskers study will be published later this year in the journal Psychonomic Bulletin and Review.

Iraq gunmen kill at least 25 in attack on Sunni village

Posted by Junichi Kawagoe on 04.2010 News Out of English Newspaper   0 comments   0 trackback
BBC News
Iraqi gunmen disguised as soldiers kill at least 25 people, believed to be al-Qaeda opponents, in a Sunni village, police say.

Iraqi gunmen have killed 25 people believed to be linked to Sunni militias opposing al-Qaeda, police say.

Five women were among those killed, as the gunmen in army uniforms pulled the victims out of their houses in a village south of Baghdad on Saturday.

The victims were reported to have been tied up before being shot in the head.

Sunni militias turned against al-Qaeda and its militant allies two years ago in what was a key turning point in the campaign to quell the Iraqi insurgency.

Baghdad security spokesman Maj Gen Qassim al-Moussawi said police found seven survivors handcuffed in the same area.

"Also we confiscated the vehicle which was used in this attack," he said.

Local resident Muhammad Mubarak described what happened as "a tragedy".

"A group wearing National Guard uniforms and carrying night vision equipment stormed the homes of the victims and took them to their front gardens," he said.

"Then they handcuffed them with plastic tape and shot them in the head with guns fitted with silencers."

Mohammad al-Askari, of the defence ministry, said 24 people had been arrested from another Sunni village nearby with links to al-Qaeda.

"According to our investigation the perpetrators came from a village around 500m away.

"They are from the same tribe. They were around 25 armed men, wearing military uniform.

"One of them could say a few words in English to give the impression that this was a joint Iraqi-American patrol.

"They had with them a list of names, they knocked at the door, called out a name, then took the man or the woman who came out to a grove and killed them."

He added: "Our investigation has shown that they came from a village loyal to al-Qaeda network."

Insurgent stronghold

The village of Sufiya where the attack happened lies in a mainly Sunni area that used to be an insurgent stronghold.

In the past two years there have been many attacks aimed at punishing or intimidating Sunnis, but this is one of the bloodiest for some time, says the BBC's Jim Muir in Baghdad.

It shows that al-Qaeda or its allies are still in business, though much less effective than in the past, he adds, and there is no evidence they are regaining hearts and minds within the Sunni community.

The Sunni militias that lent their support to the government are known as Awakening Councils, or the Sons of Iraq.

US authorities set up the militias, paying, arming and training their members before Iraqi authorities took control of them in late 2008.

New photos of Japanese Red Army fugitives released

Posted by Junichi Kawagoe on 03.2010 News Out of English Newspaper   0 comments   0 trackback

Japanese police have released new photos of fugitives belonging to an extremist group, the Japanese Red Army. The 3 fugitives were involved in a series of terrorist attacks both in Japan and abroad in the 1970s and 80s.

The release of the photos comes as police tighten security in the lead-up to the summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Yokohama in the autumn.

The photos show Junzo Okudaira, Norio Sasaki and Ayako Daidoji, all members of the Japanese Red Army.

Okudaira is on an international wanted list in connection with the seizure of the French embassy in The Hague in 1974 and other incidents.

Sasaki is also on an international wanted list for his involvement in the 1977 hijacking of a Japan Airlines jetliner flying over India, among other charges.

Fresh warrants were issued on the 2 men in 2004 for obtaining passports using fake identity in 1998 after sneaking back into Japan.

Daidoji is suspected of being involved in a series of bomb attacks targeting leading Japanese corporations in 1974.

Police believe the 3 are still engaged in illegal activities, moving between Japan and other countries. They decided to make public the previously undisclosed photos in an effort to step up their hunt for the fugitives ahead of the APEC summit.

2010/04/02 10:28(JST)
(JST: UTC+9hrs.)

Tsuneoka lost contact after visiting Taliban area

Posted by Junichi Kawagoe on 03.2010 News Out of English Newspaper   0 comments   0 trackback

Twitter and blog messages believed to be those of missing Japanese journalist Kosuke Tsuneoka show he arrived in the Afghan capital of Kabul on March 18th and interviewed members of the Taliban.

He was in the eastern city of Jalalabad for 4 days from March 24th before returning to Kabul and entering a Taliban controlled area on Wednesday.

In the last Twitter message posted around 03:00 UTC on Thursday, Tsuneoka appears to say he has visited an area "fully liberated" by the Taliban and has just arrived at a location with wireless coverage.

Tsuneoka had worked as a reporter with a commercial broadcasting station in Nagasaki, Japan, until 1998 before turning freelance. He covered global conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Chechnya, as well as the activities of Islamic militants.

He wrote magazine articles and also gave talks about the suffering of ordinary people caught in armed conflicts.

This is not the first time Tsuneoka has gone missing. He fell out of contact in 2001 after heading for Chechnya from Georgia. 5 months later he was taken into protective custody by Japanese embassy personnel in Georgia.

2010/04/02 19:24(JST)
(JST: UTC+9hrs.)

Japanese journalist missing in Afghanistan

Posted by Junichi Kawagoe on 03.2010 News Out of English Newspaper   0 comments   0 trackback
A Japanese freelance journalist is missing in Afghanistan and may have been kidnapped.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano told reporters on Friday that he's aware that the journalist has been kidnapped in Afghanistan, but refrained from giving more details due to humanitarian and other reasons.

Government officials say an acquaintance of the journalist, Kosuke Tsuneoka, told Japan's Foreign Ministry that he has been missing in Afghanistan.

Tsuneoka is thought to have been gathering news about the Taliban after entering the country in mid-March.

Japan's government is trying to gather information through its embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Amid continued terror attacks by Talban insurgents, the Foreign Ministry has been advising Japanese nationals to leave Afghanistan or delay travel to the country.

2010/04/02 18:44(JST)
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Scientists hail ‘Big Bang’ experiment

Posted by Junichi Kawagoe on 02.2010 News Out of English Newspaper   0 comments   0 trackback
Financial Times
By Andrew Jack

Published: March 30 2010 13:07 | Last updated: March 30 2010 19:04

Scientists trying to the crack the fundamental laws of physics on Tuesday said they had recreated in miniature the conditions just after the start of the universe, without bringing the world to an end.

In a groundbreaking moment, researchers operating the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva combined two opposing beams of sub-atomic particles travelling at almost the speed of light as they attempted to simulate events in the fraction of a second after the “Big Bang”, the most widely accepted theory.

After several false starts early on Tuesday, scientists just before 1pm local time brought together the two proton beams that had been running in alternate directions in the collider’s 27km loop in a vacuum at minus 271°C. The resulting heat was equivalent to 100,000 times that generated by the sun.

The success triggered rounds of applause and cheers from the scientists and journalists gathered in the circular control room, while allaying concerns that the experiment would create a black hole and destroy the universe.

Sixteen months after glitches brought the collider’s first effort to a halt, the breakthrough sparked worldwide interest, sharply slowing down a live webcast – and briefly outranking the singer Ricky Martin, who declared his homosexuality on Twitter during the day – as the collider recruited 100,000 Twitter followers.

Rolf Heuer, director-general of Cern, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics where the collider project is based, said: “It’s a great day to be a particle physicist. A lot of people have waited a long time for this moment, but their patience and dedication is starting to pay dividends.”

Large Hadron Collider
Sixteen months after glitches brought the collider’s first effort to a halt, the breakthrough sparked worldwide interest, sharply slowing down a live webcast and recruiting 100,000 Twitter followers

The breakthrough heralds the beginning of a new era in efforts to try to understand profound scientific questions, including whether the sub-atomic particles – quarks – inside the protons and neutrons can be freed; and why these latter particles weigh some 100 times more than the quarks of which they are composed.

The protons in the LHC, which requires 100 megawatts of power to operate, collided at more than 7 tera – or trillion – electronvolts (TeV), a measure of energy given to an electron as it accelerates through a potential of one volt. This was more than triple the levels of previous experiments.

Nearly three decades after the project was first discussed, and 15 years after construction of the SFr6.5bn collider began, the breakthrough signals the start of at least 18 months of experiments at the current energy levels, and still longer periods of analysis using “the Grid”, a vast international network of computers that will process 15m gigabytes of data a year. A paper released by Cern earlier this month concluded that “there can be little doubt that black hole production at the [Large Hadron Collider] would be an unacceptable and irresponsible risk”.

But officials were quick to argue on Tuesday that neutron stars showed these conditions would be safely reproduced in the collider.

“We are not doing anything that nature has not done before,” said a spokeswoman. “Nature shows us by the existence of neutron stars that we will not recreate black holes.”

Experiments with the Large Hadron Collider began in September 2008 but had to be halted after a fault damaged the magnets in the equipment.

The original objective was to reach 14 TeV, but in order to avoid a repetition of these problems, researchers will operate the collider at half that level for 18 months before a technical shut down and analysis. An attempt to reach the maximum level is only likely to take place in two or three years’ time.

Cern said it would know by Wednesday the number of internet users who visited its website on Tuesday to follow the project. The previous experiment in 2008 attracted 100m users.

Once they have “rediscovered” sub-atomic particles which have already been observed in the so-called Standard Model, the four separate experiments associated with the collider will start seeking the Higgs boson, a hypothetical elementary particle – sometimes dubbed God’s Particle – which has been postulated as a means of resolving inconsistencies in current theoretical physics to help explain the origin of mass.

Filipino nurse officially joins Tochigi hospital

Posted by Junichi Kawagoe on 02.2010 News Out of English Newspaper   0 comments   0 trackback
A nurse from the Philippines has been officially assigned to a hospital in Ashikaga City, north of Tokyo, after passing Japan's nursing qualification exam.

In March, 34-year-old Lalin Ever Gammed became one of the first foreign nurses to pass the test, after she came to Japan under the Economic Partnership Agreement between Japan and the Philippines.

She received a letter of appointment from the head of Ashikaga Red Cross Hospital in Tochigi Prefecture on Thursday, and will work at the emergency ward, as per her own request.

Lalin said she's very pleased, and believes working in the emergency ward will also help improve her Japanese language proficiency.

She had been preparing for the national exam since January last year while working as an assistant nurse at the same hospital.

Foreign nurses working under the EPA must pass the national exam within 3 years in order to continue working in Japan.

2010/04/01 19:14(JST)
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FY '09 car sales up for 1st time in 7 years

Posted by Junichi Kawagoe on 02.2010 News Out of English Newspaper   0 comments   0 trackback
New vehicle sales in Japan in the last fiscal year which ended in March grew by 10 percent from the previous year, marking the first increase in 7 years.

The Japan Automobile Dealers Association says domestic sales for fiscal 2009 increased by 10 percent from fiscal 2008 to 3.182-million units, the first sales increase since fiscal 2002. The figure did not include mini-vehicles with engine displacements of up to 660cc.

The association says the figure reflected a rebound from fiscal 2008, which marked the lowest sales figure in 38 years, following the global financial crisis.

It says the favorable trend came on the back of government tax breaks and subsidies for the purchase of fuel-efficient and eco-friendly vehicles.

Honda Motor's sales increased by 28.8 percent, Mitsubishi saw a 20.4 percent rise, Toyota marked 15.3 percent up and Nissan 4.7 percent.

But the industry says, with the government subsidies set to expire in September, auto sales are likely to be stalled around 3-million units and may decline again in fiscal 2010.

Domestic sales of mini-vehicles in fiscal 2009 fell 6.1 percent from the year earlier to 1.69-million units, marking the 3rd consecutive year of decline.

2010/04/01 20:13(JST)
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Unsolved shooting of NPA chief blamed on Aum

Posted by Junichi Kawagoe on 01.2010 News Out of English Newspaper   0 comments   0 trackback
Japan Times Top News
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20100331a2.html Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Police released a report Tuesday blaming Aum Shinrikyo for the 1995 attempted assassination of the nation's top police officer, announcing unsubstantiated "findings" in the unsolved crime whose statute of limitations expired at midnight Monday.

"We have recognized that it was an organized, premeditated terror attack conducted by Aum Shinrikyo members under the will of death-row inmate Chizuo Matsumoto," said the report on the shooting of then National Police Agency chief Takaji Kunimatsu.

Police, however, didn't identify the cult shooter. Shortly after the attack, an Aum member on the police force confessed and was investigated, but charges against him and other cultists were never brought.

Matsumoto, more commonly known as Shoko Asahara, has been on death row for masterminding Aum's major crimes, including the 1995 sarin attack on the Tokyo subway system that left 13 dead and some 6,300 injured.

Goro Aoki, head of the public security department of the Metropolitan Police Department, said Tuesday that police were unable to build a case against any cultists due to lack of evidence but nonetheless concluded Aum was to blame.

The police turned their case over to prosecutors Tuesday without specifying any suspects in the shooting of Kunimatsu, who was seriously wounded outside his Tokyo home on March 30, 1995.

The police plan to post the results of the investigation on their Web site for 30 days starting Wednesday.

The rare announcement was met with criticism from experts and those involved in the case.

"I was surprised by the announcement," Kunimatsu said, adding he realized a decision had to be made in the case. "The investigation failed, as there was not enough evidence to pursue criminal charges."

Aoki repeatedly voiced regret at a press conference, but claimed, "there was no prejudice or prejudgment" of the case when asked if police had investigated solely on the assumption that Aum was behind the attack.

Explaining why the results of an investigation that failed to lead to criminal charges were released, Aoki said, "We thought we needed to give an explanation to the people, and it would serve the public interest."

Aum has renamed itself Aleph.

Moscow Attack a Test for Putin and His Record Against Terror

Posted by Junichi Kawagoe on 31.2010 News Out of English Newspaper   0 comments   0 trackback
New York Times

Published: March 29, 2010

MOSCOW ― The brazen suicide bombings in the center of Moscow confronted Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin with a grave challenge to his record of curbing terrorism, and raised the possibility that he would respond as he had in the past, by significantly tightening control over the government.

The explosions Monday, set off by female suicide bombers in two landmark subway stations, killed at least 38 people and wounded scores of others, touching off fears that the Muslim insurgency in southern Russia, including Chechnya, was once again being brought to the country’s heart.

The attacks during the morning rush hour seemed all but designed to taunt the security services, which have been championed by Mr. Putin in the decade since he took power in Russia. The first one occurred at the Lubyanka subway station, next to the headquarters of the Federal Security Service, also known as the F.S.B., the successor agency to the Soviet-era K.G.B. that was led by Mr. Putin in the late 1990s.

Mr. Putin, the former president and still Russia’s paramount leader, has built his reputation in part on his success in bottling up the Muslim insurgency in southern Russia and preventing major terrorist attacks in the country’s population centers in recent years. If the bombings on Monday herald a renewed campaign by insurgents in major cities, then that legacy may be tarnished.

The attacks could also throw into doubt the policies of Mr. Putin’s protégé, President Dmitri A. Medvedev, who has spoken in favor of liberalizing the government, increasing political pluralism and dealing with terrorism by addressing the root causes of the insurgency.

While Mr. Medvedev has not yet put in place many major changes, Mr. Putin has generally allowed him to pursue his course. More terrorism, though, could cause Mr. Putin to shove Mr. Medvedev aside and move the security-oriented circle of advisers around Mr. Putin to the forefront.

“Putin said, ‘One thing that I definitely accomplished was this,’ and he didn’t,” said Pavel K. Baev, a Russian who is a professor at the International Peace Research Institute in Oslo.

“My feeling is this is not an isolated attack, that we will see more,” Mr. Baev said. “If we are facing a situation where there is a chain of attacks, that would undercut every attempt to soften, liberalize, open up, and increase the demand for tougher measures.”

Mr. Putin on Monday limited his comments largely to vows to destroy the terrorists who organized the attacks, who have not been identified, but who the Russian authorities said they suspect came from Chechnya or neighboring regions in the Caucasus Mountains. But when he last faced a spate of such violence, in 2004, he reacted with a sweeping reorganization of the government that he said would unite the country against terrorism, but also concentrated power in the Kremlin.

He pushed through laws that eliminated the direct election of regional governors, turning them into presidential appointees, and made it all but impossible for political independents to be elected to the federal Parliament. He also increased the strength of the security services.

Boris I. Makarenko, chairman of the Center for Political Technologies in Moscow, a research organization, cautioned that it was too soon to speculate whether Mr. Putin might feel the need to clamp down. Mr. Makarenko said he believed that Mr. Putin’s reputation had not suffered badly because of terrorist attacks early in his tenure as president.

But Mr. Makarenko noted that the bombings in the Moscow subway came as Russia’s financial problems had been agitating the government. Protests have broken out in some major cities, and the opposition, while still relatively weak, has been gaining some support.

“The public has become more skeptical about the government in general in recent months, due to the government’s limited ability to tackle the effects of the economic crisis, to the inefficiency and misbehavior of the police, and other issues,” he said. “These terrorist attacks might be another piece in the efforts of those who want to go after the government.”

The subway system in Moscow is one of the world’s most extensive and well managed, and the bombings on Monday spread anxiety that is unlikely to dissipate for some time. For many people here, the day’s events recalled the tense times in the early part of the last decade when the city, including the subway, was hit with several terrorist attacks.

While the Muslim insurgency has not subsided in recent years, major attacks outside the Caucasus region had been unusual, and in April 2009, the Kremlin even announced what it described as the end of special counterterrorism operations in Chechnya.

But in November 2009, terrorists bombed a luxury passenger train that was traveling in a rural area from Moscow to St. Petersburg, killing 26 people. Last month, a Chechen rebel leader, Doku Umarov, threatened in an interview on a Web site to organize terror acts in Russian population centers.

“If Russians think that the war is happening only on television, somewhere far off in the Caucasus, and it will not touch them, then we are going to show them that this war will return to their homes,” he said.

Mr. Medvedev, who took office in 2008, has called for a somewhat different tack on the insurgency, saying that the government should aggressively hunt down the terrorists, but also focus on the poverty and government malfeasance that he contended nurtured extremism.

Last June, Mr. Medvedev visited the region and gave an unusual speech in which he seemed to offer an implicit rebuff to the uncompromising Putin strategy.

“It is no secret to anyone here that these problems in the North Caucasus, and in the south of our country in general, are systemic,” Mr. Medvedev said. “By saying that, I am referring to the low living standards, high unemployment and massive, horrifyingly widespread corruption.”

Mr. Medvedev also appointed a new leader of Ingushetia, a Muslim region, who echoed his belief that hard-line measures would only stir a backlash.

On Monday, though, some senior members of Mr. Putin’s party, United Russia, were already suggesting that the government needed to adopt a stern new plan to combat terrorism.

Vladimir A. Vasilyev, chairman of the security committee in Parliament, lashed out at law-enforcement authorities, saying that they should be punished for allowing the attack.

“I am convinced that all those who failed to carry out their duty will bear responsibility,” he said, adding that current laws were “ineffective.”

For his part, Mr. Medvedev voiced only a determination to catch those behind the attacks. “We will continue our counterterrorist operations with unflinching resolve until we have defeated this scourge,” he said.

Reporting was contributed by Ellen Barry, Andrew E. Kramer, Michael Schwirtz and Yulia Taranova.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: March 31, 2010

A map on Tuesday with the continuation of an article about the Moscow subway station bombings misidentified two subway lines. The line that crosses the Moscow River and passes the Lenin Library is Serpukhovsko-Timiryazevskaya, not Zamoskvoretskaya. The line that crosses the Moscow River and passes Red Square is Zamoskvoretskaya, not Lyublinskaya.

Over 900 pollen-free cedar trees set for planting

Posted by Junichi Kawagoe on 29.2010 News Out of English Newspaper   0 comments   0 trackback

More than 900 pollen-free cedar trees will be planted in Ibaraki prefecture, northeast of Tokyo, to help curb pollen allergies.

The Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute says it has succeeded in quickly mass-producing the seedlings of pollen-free cedars from tree tissues, instead of growing seeds.

The local branch of the Kanto Regional Forest Office says the largest-ever volume of non-pollinating trees will be grown at a state-owned forest in April.

Officials say data from the trial project will be used to help develop a fast-growing variety less vulnerable to environmental changes.

The forestry office in Ibaraki says if the trial project proves successful, it will consider planting more pollen-free trees in the prefecture to replace pollen producing trees.

Many people suffer from pollen allergies caused by cedar trees in the spring. Efforts are underway throughout Japan to develop pollen-free or less-pollinating cedar trees.

2010/03/28 09:08(JST)
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Philippine congressional election campaign starts

Posted by Junichi Kawagoe on 27.2010 News Out of English Newspaper   0 comments   0 trackback
Election campaigning for the Philippine Congress began on Friday ahead of voting on May 10.

Candidates include President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, whose term of office ends in June, and Imelda Marcos, the widow of former president Ferdinand Marcos. Arroyo is not eligible for another term as president.

Marcos opened her campaign in her hometown in northern Luzon Island. The 80-year-old served in the lower house for one term from 1995 and is seen as a strong candidate with firm backing in her constituency.

Boxing world champion Manny Pacquiao is also running. His quest to become a politician is drawing voters' interest.

This year's congressional election is being held alongside the presidential election. Presidential candidates began campaigning in February, with the focus being the record of the 9-year Arroyo administration.

Attention is now focused on how the balance of forces will change in Congress, in which Arroyo supporters currently hold a majority.

2010/03/27 06:06(JST)
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Ministers hit posts savings ceiling hike

Posted by Junichi Kawagoe on 27.2010 News Out of English Newspaper   0 comments   0 trackback
Kamei's plan riles colleagues in the Cabinet
Kyodo News Friday, March 26, 2010

Discord in the Cabinet over increasing the deposit cap for Japan Post's banking unit grew bitter Thursday as national policy minister Yoshito Sengoku called for reconsidering a plan put forward by postal reform minister Shizuka Kamei.

Kamei, who also serves as financial services minister, indicated he has no intention of accepting any changes in the main thrust of his plan, which includes sharp hikes in ceilings on deposits at Japan Post Bank Co. and life insurance coverage at Japan Post Insurance Co.

"The plan has been fixed," he said.

But at the same time, Kamei hinted at the possibility that some revisions will be made, saying he is ready to listen to opinions of many people whether they are Cabinet members or not.

Sengoku called for a reconsideration of the ceiling hikes, saying "it's a matter that involves the Cabinet as a whole. Open discussions should be carried out on Japan Post Bank and Japan Post Insurance."

Sengoku expressed his concern that the Japan Post group would garner funds from depositors to the disadvantage of private-sector banks.

"The economy may shrink unless a mechanism is created to funnel funds to private-sector companies and industries," he said.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano hinted at his reluctance to modify the plan because it has been agreed on between Kamei and internal affairs and communications minister Kazuhiro Haraguchi.

But he also said later he was ordered by Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama to coordinate the different opinions that exist within the Cabinet.

Kamei's plan effectively maintains the government's grip on the postal financial system and thus dilutes the full privatization previous administrations put in place.

It quickly drew fire from other Cabinet ministers as well as private-sector financial firms, prompting Hatoyama to suggest later Wednesday the plan may be revised.

With the barrage of criticism from Cabinet ministers Thursday, the plan has become a new problem for the Hatoyama administration, which hopes to adopt a postal reform bill for submission to the Diet next month.

The plan seeks to raise the postal savings ceiling from \10 million per person to \20 million and the life insurance coverage ceiling from \13 million to \25 million.

Kamei wants the government to retain more than one-third of its shares in Japan Post Holdings Co., with the holding company keeping stakes in its banking and insurance units.

Motohisa Furukawa, senior vice minister for economic and fiscal policy, said whether the postal savings ceiling hike is advisable should be reconsidered.

Unknown human ancestor found in Siberia

Posted by Junichi Kawagoe on 26.2010 News Out of English Newspaper   0 comments   0 trackback
An international research team has identified what is believed to be an unknown human species from a bone fossil found in Russia's Siberia region.

The fossil of a finger was discovered in a cave in the Altai Mountains in southern Siberia 2 years ago. It is believed to be between 30,000 to 48,000 years old.

Scientists from Germany and Britain sequenced DNA from the mitochondria and found that the sequence belonged to an unknown human species.

The fossil doesn't shed light on what this human race looked like, but the team suggests the species diverged about a million years ago from the line that gave rise to early modern humans.

The team says the discovery indicates that multiple human races, including modern humans, the newly found ones and Neanderthals may have co-existed at a certain era.

The findings have been posted in the online edition of the British magazine Nature.

2010/03/25 08:15(JST)
(JST: UTC+9hrs.)

Return of the barista-in-chief

Posted by Junichi Kawagoe on 26.2010 News Out of English Newspaper   0 comments   0 trackback
Sitting in his spacious but modestly furnished office at Starbucks’ headquarters on an industrial lot south of Seattle, Howard Schultz claims he is nothing more than a purveyor of high-quality coffee beans. “What I really am is a merchant,” he says, flashing a smile. “I have a sense of what people want.”

“Merchant” is rather a modest job description for the 56-year-old New York native, who returned to a day-to-day role as chief executive two years ago to revive the fortunes of the company he nurtured from infancy into a global brand. Some see Mr Schultz as a visionary leader, rallying a despondent workforce against the mediocrity that had gained a foothold in the company.

One thing it is impossible to deny is his passion for the company. Asked why he came back as chief executive, he replies: “The reason is love ... I love this company. I love its 180,000 people. I feel a responsibility to them and to the shareholder base.”


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