Why Half a Million Young Japanese Can’t Face School or Work

Nagisa Hirai was an active kid who liked playing soccer with the kids. That early joy dissipated on her very first day at primary school when she ended up being scared after being not able to discover her class.

Over time, she ended up being a “hikikomori,” a Japanese term utilized to explain the over half a million youths in the nation who remain at house and avoid interaction with individuals outside their household. She would suffer stress and anxiety attacks over anything unknown– even forgetting things for school might trigger her to stress. She ended up being progressively uneasy going to school, pressing her stringent moms and dads to require her to participate in.

Nagisa Hirai.
Photographer: Maiko Takahashi/Bloomberg

The 30-year-old now states shes recuperating, however there are still days when she cant drag herself from bed for her part-time task at a university.

While the hikikomori problem isn’t really brand-new, Prime Minister Shinzo Abes now prepares to activate them as part of a more comprehensive drive to strengthen the aging labor force. The premier has actually promised to stop the population from falling listed below 100 million from the existing 127 million, and have all members of society make an active contribution to the worlds third-biggest economy.

There is no single cause for the phenomenon. Hikikomori can originate from elements such as bullying at school or work, or pressure from moms and dads or other relative to be successful in entryway evaluations or task interviews.

Weight Loss

In Hirais case, she terrified both was of individuals and felt bad about not having the ability to go to school. She ended up being anorexic throughout her time at a part-time high school as she had a hard time to discover a service– her weight dropping to around 30 kgs (66 pounds).

“I might reduce my feelings by limiting my cravings,” Hirai states. While it permitted her to head out and satisfy individuals, she was never ever able to go to classes and left when her schoolmates finished.

Hirai got assistance from Shure University, a not-for-profit that offers pressure-free area for individuals like her who wish to continue their education. Shes now been living by herself for almost 10 years and states that although shes improving she still gets tense around some individuals.

“Im scared of shutting myself off once again from society,” she states of her profession strategies. “Whats more crucial to me is the type of individuals Im with instead of exactly what I wish to do. My moms and dads are currently old and Im just a junior high graduate. Im constantly nervous about how I can live my life.”

Negative Perceptions

Kageki Asakura, a member of the Shure University, states an absence of self regard is a reason that many individuals end up being hikikomori. Unfavorable understandings towards those who leave of society make the scenario even worse, he states.

In a federal government study released in 2014 of youths in 7 nations consisting of Japan, the United States and South Korea, Japanese were ranked least expensive in regards to self fulfillment. Just 7.5 percent stated they were material.

About 541,000 individuals aged in between 15 and 39– or 1.6 percent of the population because age– were approximated to be hikikomori in a Cabinet Office report released in September. The federal government specifies them as individuals who have actually remained at house and prevented interaction with non-family members for a minimum of 6 months.

As society ages, hikikomori are likewise aging. About 53 percent of them in the western prefecture of Shimane were aged 40 or older, with the figure at 44 percent in northern Japans Yamagata. When their aging moms and dads pass away, this in turn raises concerns about how the older drop outs will support themselves.

Economic Impact

Appropriate policies such as monetary help and therapy might assist change hikikomori into members of the manpower, states Eriko Ito, a specialist at Nomura Research Institute in Tokyo. This would enhance general financial output along with help in reducing costs on social well-being.

“We need to alter our considering supporting then,” Ito states. “Its a financial investment, not an expense.”

Each well-being recipient developed into a taxpayer would include in between 78 million yen ($702,000) and 98 million yen to the countries financial resources over their life time, inning accordance with estimations based upon the current readily available information from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.

The federal governments strategy is to support hikikomori and other youths with problems by making them more “independent.” It has actually established therapy centers nationwide, and has assistance employees going to those unwilling to leave house.

But connecting might show challenging. More than 65 percent of the hikikomori surveyed stated they werent crazy about these services as they were worried about not having the ability to interact or unwilling to have other individuals observe them.

“Abes labor policy is putting pressure on hikikomori,” the NPOs Asakura states. “Abe desires them to be fantastic and attain excellent outcomes. Why cant they simply pursue joy rather?”

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com//news/articles/2016-11-27/why-half-a-million-young-japanese-can-t-face-school-or-work

Japan Probes Report of State-Backed Cyber Attack on Military

Japan is examining a report that a top-level cyber attack in September– perhaps including a state star– might have taken info from an internal military computer system network.

Officials at Japans Ministry of Defense and Ground Self-Defense Force stated they were examining a Kyodo News report on the attack. They asked not to be called due to ministry and military policy.

The hackers didnt leave an in-depth path and the degree of the damage is uncertain, Kyodo stated, mentioning ministry sources. The news company stated the hackers benefited from that computer systems at Japans National Defense Academy and National Defense Medical College are linked both to a university network and to an internal network connecting military bases.

The report likewise mentioned senior military authorities as stating the attack was deemed a crisis, and personnel at the ministry and the Self-Defense Forces were briefly prohibited from linking to the Internet after the occurrence emerged in September.

The reported attack came two-and-a-half years after the SDF established their own cyber defense system.

In 2011, a cyber attack on military specialist Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. was thought to have actually targeted defense innovation, inning accordance with the Nikkei paper. Japans area company, JAXA, likewise suffered cyber attacks in 2013, and a marine officer was founded guilty in 2008 over the unapproved sharing of details associated to the Aegis rocket defense system.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com//news/articles/2016-11-28/japan-probes-report-of-state-backed-cyber-attack-on-military

Worlds Biggest Pension Fund Finds a New Best Friend in Trump

One of the worlds most conservative financiers has actually discovered a not likely brand-new ally in among its most flamboyant political leaders: Donald Trump.

The non-traditional president-elects triumph is assisting Japans huge pension fund in 2 essential methods. Its sending out stock markets rising, both at house and overseas, which is great news for the mostly passive equity financier. Second, its stimulated a tumble in the yen, which increases the worth of its abroad financial investments. After the $1.2 trillion Government Pension Investment Fund reported its very first gain in 4 quarters, experts are wagering the Trump aspect implies theres more great news to come.

The Trump market will be a tailwind for Abenomics in the near term, stated Kazuhiko Ogata, the Tokyo-based chief Japan financial expert at Credit Agricole SA. And GPIF will be the greatest recipient amongst Japanese financiers.

While the majority of experts were worried a Trump success would injure equities and reinforce the yen, the opposite has actually held true. Japans benchmark Topix index travelled into a booming market recently and has actually increased for 11 straight days. The 4.6 percent downturn on Nov. 9 now appears a far-off memory. The yen, on the other hand, is moving towards its greatest month-to-month drop versus the dollar because 2009.

GPIF published a 2.4 trillion yen ($21 billion) financial investment gain in the 3 months ended Sept. 30, after more than 15 trillion yen in losses in the previous 3 quarters. Those losses eliminated all financial investment returns considering that the fund revamped its method in 2014 by cutting and increasing shares financial obligation. It held more than 40 percent of properties in stocks, and nearly 80 percent of those financial investments were passive at the end of March.

Read more: Worlds Biggest Comeback Breathes Life Into Japans Equity Bulls

Tokyo stocks are gaining double benefits from Trump, as the weaker yen enhances the revenues outlook for the countries exporters. The Topix is the fifth-best entertainer given that Nov. 9 amongst 94 main equity indexes tracked by Bloomberg.

Global Rally

But theyre not the only ones. More than $640 billion has actually been contributed to the worth of international stocks considering that Nov. 10, when lots of markets worldwide began to get on bets Trump would let loose financial stimulus and stimulate inflation, which has actually enhanced the dollar and deteriorated the yen. The S&P 500 Index closed Wednesday at a record high in New York.

Bonds have actually toppled for the very same factors, with around $1.3 trillion rubbed out the worth of an index of worldwide financial obligation over the exact same duration. Japans benchmark 10-year sovereign yield touched a nine-month high of 0.045 percent on Friday, rising from as low as minus 0.085 percent on Nov. 9.

GPIFs go back to earnings is a welcome reprieve after critics in the house berated it for taking on too much danger and putting the general publics retirement cost savings in jeopardy.

Also see: A QuickTake on Japans huge pension fund

The funds purchases of stocks are a gamble, opposition legislator Yuichiro Tamaki stated in an interview in September, after a nearly 20 percent drop in Japans Topix index in the very first half of the year was followed by a 7.3 percent one-day plunge after Britains shock vote to leave the European Union. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stated that month that short-term losses aren’t an issue for the nations pension financial resources.

Feeling Vindicated

Id envision GPIF is feeling practically vindicated, stated Andrew Clarke, Hong Kong-based director of trading at Mirabaud Asia Ltd. It needs to be meticulously positive about Trump.

Still, optimism about Trump is preceding his policies, and some financiers are questioning the length of time the advantages for Japan– and GPIF– can last. Trump has currently stated hell withdraw the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact on his very first day in workplace. The TPP is viewed as an essential policy for Abes federal government.

It looks helpful for GPIF in the meantime, stated Naoki Fujiwara, primary fund supervisor at Shinkin Asset Management Co. in Tokyo. Whether the market can continue like this is arguable.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com//news/articles/2016-11-27/world-s-biggest-pension-fund-finds-a-new-best-friend-in-trump

Manga and the art of the mass-market masterpiece

Manga and the art of the mass-market masterpiece

As the British Museum opens the biggest exhibition of the comic-book artform outside Japan, graphic novelist Fumio Obata celebrates its enduring appeal

Manga is basically pulp fiction. Its cheap entertainment, easy to produce, mostly drawn in black and white and usually serialised in magazines. Its become hugely popular in the past few decades and has expanded into all different genres of storytelling you can find political manga in newspapers, for example but mainly it is aimed at young people.

Scholars of manga say it has its roots in painted handscrolls from the 12th century. Thats probably true, but manga as we know it today is closely tied to mass production. When Japan modernised itself in the late 19th century, western-style journalism came in, along with faster printing technology, which fuelled the explosion of manga in the mid-20th century.

Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms by Fumiyo Kno, 2003-4 Photograph: handout/HANDOUT

Even today, speed is important. Manga artists are given very little time to produce pages the deadlines are ridiculous so they have to work extremely fast. Popular artists will have their own studio with a team of people drawing for them. The quality is high but the aesthetic of manga has become standardised. Because of the sheer pressure to produce, artists dont have the time to explore their style. Maybe its because I left Japan at 16 and was educated in British art schools, but all the artwork in manga looks very similar to me now.

As a kid growing up in Tokyo, I was a typical manga fan. As far back as I remember, I was reading comics. It was my first encounter with visual art. Manga was everywhere. Youd go to the supermarket with your mum and youd pick up a comic or youd watch anime the animated version of manga on TV. I was constantly reading manga and I still have an affection for it. Its like a song you grew up with thats become etched in your memory.

One series that had a huge impact on me as a teenager was Akira by Katsuhiro Otomo. When I was 13 or 14, I watched the feature-length animation film and was completely blown away by it and through that I started reading Otomos original stories. Guys in their 40s, like me, are called the Akira generation.

Akira, the 1988 anime adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomos manga of the same name. Photograph: Allstar Picture Library

Before I left Japan, I wanted to be a manga artist. I was practising all the time. But then I came to the UK, where access to manga was very limited, and I moved on. I discovered music and other artforms and went to art school. I started reading manga again later on, but not as much as I would like.

When I look at my own work, I see the influence of manga. Once I saw it as a curse, but now I accept it, because in the end its just about telling a story. I can see the influence of manga in the way I draw faces, in how I compose a panel, in the positioning of people within a frame. In my opinion, manga is very cinematic and three-dimensional. When people compose panels, its like theyre aware of where the cameras are positioned, whereas illustration in the west is more like a play, with fewer close-ups and the camera at eye level.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

Carlos Ghosn and Nissan have been indicted in Japan – Trending Stuff

Carlos Ghosn and Nissan have been indicted in Japan – Trending Stuff

Hong Kong (CNN Business)Carlos Ghosn and Nissan, the Japanese automaker he saved from collapse, were indicted Monday on allegations of financial misconduct, deepening a crisis that already brought down one of the global car industry’s most iconic figures.

Ghosn’s sudden downfall began when he was arrested in Tokyo last month. He has since been ousted as chairman of Nissan (NSANY) and Mitsubishi Motors (MMTOF) and temporarily replaced as head of France’s Renault (RNSDF).

Former Nissan director Greg Kelly, who was arrested in Tokyo at the same time as Ghosn, was also indicted Monday, prosecutors said.

The two men are alleged to have collaborated to under-report Ghosn’s income in Nissan’s securities filings by about 5 billion yen ($44 million) over a five-year period ending in March 2015, according to prosecutors. The maximum punishment in Japan for filing a false financial statement is up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to 10 million yen ($89,000).

“Nissan takes this situation extremely seriously,” the company said in a statement. “Making false disclosures in annual securities reports greatly harms the integrity of Nissan’s public disclosures in the securities markets, and the company expresses its deepest regret.”

It added that it “will continue its efforts to strengthen its governance and compliance, including making accurate disclosures of corporate information.”

Shares in Nissan dropped nearly 3% in Tokyo.

Ghosn’s downfall has strained the global autos alliance between Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi Motors.

Renault, which has appointed an acting chief executive but kept Ghosn in his positions of CEO and chairman, said it has not been provided with evidence of wrongdoing.

“We have no specific comment to make on the indictment and at this stage we still haven’t received any evidence in relation to the investigation,” a spokeswoman said.

The French automaker’s stock shed 1.7% in Paris.

More allegations

Prosecutors said Monday that they are also arresting Ghosn and Kelly again as they investigate additional allegations that the two menunder-reported Ghosn’s income by more than 4.2 billion yen ($38 million) between 2015 and 2017.

Ghosn and Kelly have not yet responded publicly to the allegations. Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported Monday that Ghosn is denying the charge against him.

The two menhave already been in detention for three weeks.

By rearresting them, the prosecutors will be able to detain them for questioning for even longer. After an arrest, they can hold a suspect for 72 hours without charging them with a crime. They can extend that by as much as 20 days with court approval.

The prosecutors’ decision to go ahead and indict Ghosn and Kellyis an ominous development for the two men.More than 99% of people charged with a crime in Japan are eventually convicted, according to experts.

Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/

Categories CNN

Asia’s meth boom – Trending Stuff

Asia’s meth boom – Trending Stuff

Hong Kong (CNN)From the jungles of Myanmar to the streets of Hong Kong, police throughout Asia are fighting a war against methamphetamine.

By many indications, they’re losing.

Demand for both crystal meth and yaba, tablets that typically contain a mixture of meth and caffeine, is skyrocketing. Production is increasing at an unprecedented clip, and so is the body count. Leaders in places like Bangladesh and the Philippines are waging deadly drug wars that have cost thousands of lives.

But this isn’t “Breaking Bad” — meth isn’t just used by the poor and the downtrodden.

Meth no longer discriminates in Asia; it has become the dominant drug of choice across the region, irrespective of class, age or gender, according to Jeremy Douglas, who is in charge of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) southeast Asia operations.

In a career spanning 16 years, Douglas said he’s never seen demand like this.

“No situation is exactly comparable, but this is off the charts,” he said.

Experts say the boom is due to a serendipitous combination of domestic and geopolitical issues that have aligned to the benefit of the region’s drug gangs.

The majority of meth production is happening deep inside the jungles of the Golden Triangle, a lawless area where the borders of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar meet. Experts say it’s easy to conceal drug production there and move it on at short notice.

Drug runners, meanwhile, are exploiting new roads and infrastructure being built as part of an ambitious, trillion-dollar Chinese initiative to connect markets across the globe, using the flow of people and licit goods to mask drug trafficking.

And the profits, likely worth hundreds of millions of dollars, are being laundered via intricate international schemes, often using front companies in countries where lax oversight makes it easy to hide money.

“It’s a perfect storm in terms of the production of methamphetamine,” says John Coyne, a former head of strategic intelligence at the Australian Federal Police who now works on border security issues at the Australia Strategic Policy Institute.

“It’s pushing Southeast Asia into what could be in time a methamphetamine epidemic.”


A large portion of meth seized throughout the Asia Pacific region has been traced to Myanmar’s northern Shan State, where militias and warlords reign supreme.

Perhaps the most prominent is the United Wa State Army (UWSA) and its political wing, the United Wa State Party (UWSP).

The two have waged a years-long struggle for autonomy for the ethnic Wa population, people who share a common language as well as cultural and historic ties with their neighbors in China’s southern Yunnan province.

Shan State boasts a compelling combination of a good poppy-growing climate and a dearth of law enforcement. For years, the Golden Triangle was the source of the majority of the world’s illegal heroin and opium.

Authorities in the West have long accused the UWSA and UWSP of funding their armed struggle against the Myanmar central government with the profits from drug production. The UWSA is believed to boast around 30,000 fighters.

Verifying either claim is incredibly difficult. Northern Shan State is one of the hardest places in the world to access; some joke it’s easier to get into North Korea. The UWSA granted journalists a rare visit to the region in 2016, during which time they denied allegations of narcotics trafficking.

Official numbers appeared to lend credence to the claim that the UWSA is no longer producing heroin, at least at first glance. Golden Triangle heroin production and distribution has been on the decline, according to numbers from the United Nations.

Authorities warn that’s likely because the big players have ditched heroin in favor of a new, cheaper to produce alternative: methamphetamine.

“There’s a lot of evidence coming together from across the region pointing back to the same groups, pointing back to the same locations,” said Douglas with the UNODC.

The UWSA’s decision to get into the meth game, experts say, is partly a response to market forces, but it’s also motivated by profit and ease of production.

Methamphetamine is a synthetic drug. It’s made in a lab using chemicals and doesn’t require drug makers to cultivate organic crops, such as poppies, as is the case with heroin.

These labs can be covered by a tarp or moved on short notice. You can’t do that with a poppy field.


Once the meth is made, the next challenge is transportation. The Golden Triangle was for years one of the most impoverished and underdeveloped places on the planet, but that’s changing thanks to China’s One Belt One Road initiative — a massive infrastructure development project intended to help connect global, predominately developing economies.

Beijing has big plans in Myanmar, where it has spent billions to connect China’s landlocked Yunnan province to port cities in South and Southeast Asia. Laos and Thailand have seen similar investments.

An unintended side affect of these infrastructure improvements is that they’ve made it easier for meth traffickers to transport product from deep inside Shan State to the rest of Southeast Asia, Coyne said.

“What you’ve got is a large, legitimate trade of people, goods, etc., flowing out of Myanmar and Laos in which you can hide your drugs,” said Coyne.

Meth from northern Shan State in both crystal and pill form has been found as far away as Japan, New Zealand and Australia. A record 1.04 billion Australian dollars ($800 million) worth of meth, believed to have originated in Shan State, was found by police in Western Australia in December.

This year, authorities have conducted dozens of meth seizures in Thailand, China, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Data supplied by the United Nations shows major cyrstal meth trafficking flows in the Mekong River Delta region and beyond.

Shockingly, it only took five months for seizures in Malaysia and Myanmar to surpass the 2017 totals, according to Douglas.

While those busts could mean law enforcement is winning its fight against traffickers, it also shows the sheer quantity of meth being moved.

Coyne warns of another possibility — that meth producers have gone into overproduction, which drives down the per unit cost of making drugs, which in turn makes it easier for dealers to live with these massive busts.

“They can afford to lose larger quantities and still make profits,” he said.


All that money has to go somewhere, and law enforcement say drug dealers are using intricate financial networks to hide their ill-gotten gains.

The most prominent — at least publicly — is the case of the Zhao Wei, a gambling magnate accused by the US government of using his casino in Laos to help the UWSA launder proceeds from the sale of meth.

Casinos are used for laundering because they involve so much cash trading hands, but Zhao has the added benefit of operating inside what Douglas at the UNODC calls a “criminal mini-state.”

“It operates like his personal fiefdom,” Douglas said.

Zhao has reportedly negotiated a 99-year lease with the Lao government to operate what’s known as the Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone. The zone lies along the Mekong River that flows between Thailand, Myanmar and Laos. At its center sits the Kings Romans casino.

Zhao’s agreement with the Lao government allows his business to operate under its own set of unique laws, rules and regulations.

The only areas in which Zhao defers to the central government are on matters related to the military, the judiciary, and Lao foreign policy, Zhao told Chinese state media in 2011.

The system is ostensibly designed to help attract foreign investors into the special economic zone. However, the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Zhao and the casino in January, alleging that Zhao uses the lax regulation to help facilitate “the storage and distribution of heroin, methamphetamine, and other narcotics for illicit networks, including the United Wa State Army, operating in neighboring Burma.”

The Kings Romans office is supposed to be located at the end of a dimly lit hallway on the 36th floor of Wu Chung House, according to public records, but there was no sign of it when CNN visited.

The building’s directory shows that a company called Shuen Wai Holding Limited uses the office space. Real estate records confirm that Shuen Wai is the property’s owner.

Shuen Wai and Kings Romans share more than just an address, however. Shuen Wai and one of its two company directors were sanctioned by the US Treasury Department in 2008 amid allegations that the office was a key part of the financial network used by the UWSA to launder profits from drug sales.

“It makes total sense that the UWSA would be operating out of Hong Kong. They have a long history of mixing illicit with legal activities … and Hong Kong is the perfect place to do that for them,” said Evan Rees, an analyst at the intelligence firm Stratfor.

Down the dark hallway at the office’s entrance, Shuen Wai is the only business that’s visible. Its name is displayed in shiny block letters above an empty secretary’s desk. It was decorated with ornate wooden sculptures and marble floors, but with half the lights off and no one in sight.

The fact that the business was highly visible was a surprise to some of the sanctions experts CNN spoke with about the case.

“They usually at least make an effort to repaint the sign, even if it is the same address and same cast of characters in front of you,” said Peter Harrell, a sanctions expert at the Center for New American Security who previously served as deputy assistant secretary for counter threat finance and sanctions in the State Department’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs.

“Operating 10 years without changing the name, that’s pretty brazen.”

When CNN rang the doorbell at the office, a middle-aged, bespectacled man answered. He said the company was previously involved in the jade trade but now works in funeral services.

He refused to give CNN his name, but said he had been an account manager at the company for 20 years, during which time he has known the two individuals currently listed as Shuen Wai’s co-directors. He said the duo are based in mainland China and only come to Hong Kong a few times a year, a couple days at a time. He agreed to pass on a message to them from CNN — which they did not respond to — and then retreated back into the office. When CNN called back a couple days later, the individual said the couple was not willing to speak to CNN.

When asked about the Wu Chung House connections, the UN’s Douglas stressed that each case is different and the age of a specific holding company was not something he could comment on.

“That said, if the holding company has been a front for drug trafficking for 10 years it is pretty serious and concerning, and authorities should be investigating,” said Douglas.

“If links are found and organized crime activities are confirmed then there should be some serious actions taken, and questions will need to be asked about how a front company has been able to run for so long in the open in Hong Kong.”

Hong Kong authorities declined to comment when asked about the case.

Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/

Categories CNN

Indonesia quake survivors describe a hellish week – Trending Stuff

Indonesia quake survivors describe a hellish week – Trending Stuff
Women console each other after identifying the body of a relative in Balaroa village. Photograph: Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters

The logistics of responding to the disaster have been fraught with difficulty. Indonesia is an archipelago of more than 13,000 islands spread over more than 3,000 miles, and Sulawesi is in the countrys more remote east. The damage to Palus airport limited capacity to get supplies to where they were needed most.

Aid is now arriving, from Jakarta, neighbouring Borneo, Australia, Japan and the UK, but there were still reports of desperate residents in outskirt areas such as Sigi raiding passing cars for petrol and supplies. In Donggala earlier in the week, residents held out cardboard boxes to passing cars, placing planks of wood and rope across the road to force them to slow down.

In Palu, home to 300,000 people, some signs of normality are returning, but for some residents, such as Yaser Garibald, Palu will never be the same.

Yaser rushed to Balaroa on Friday night to search for his 60-year-old mother, Masri. He was unable to find her until the first light of dawn when he heard a faint voice coming from the rubble. She was wedged between two blocks of concrete with her arms wrapped around his nephew, Ririn, 23.

It hurts. Its hard to breathe, Masri told her son, as he hammered at the concrete in an attempt to free. In her last moments he was able to pass her water, but he was unable to save them.

Asked what kind of person she was, Yaser said he would remember his mothers final selfless act. When the earthquake struck she had made it out but then went back for her grandson. We dug her out and carried her away in a sarong, he said.

Mayweather says he will fight Pacquiao again – Trending Stuff

Mayweather says he will fight Pacquiao again – Trending Stuff

(CNN)Boxer Floyd Mayweather said Saturday a rematch of his famed 2015 fight with Manny Pacquiao will take place this year.

He also posted a picture of himself with Pacquiao at an event in Japan.

View this post on Instagram

I’m coming back to fight Manny Pacquiao this year. Another 9 figure pay day on the way @mayweatherpromotions

A post shared by Floyd Mayweather (@floydmayweather) on

The pair first fought in a much-hyped match three years ago, when the unbeaten Mayweather came out on top. The Philippines’ Pacquiao has been chasing a new fight ever since.

One of the wealthiest sportsmen ever, Mayweather, 41, retired from the ring after his victory over Conor McGregor a year ago.

In the Instagram video, Mayweather said: “I’m coming back in December.”

Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/

Categories CNN

Torrents of ‘liquid soil’ washed away buildings – Trending Stuff

Torrents of ‘liquid soil’ washed away buildings – Trending Stuff

(CNN)Rivers of soil swept away entire neighborhoods in Indonesia following a powerful earthquake last week that also generated a tsunami in a disaster that has killed at least 1,407 people.

Footage has emerged from the stricken city of Palu showing people running to find solid ground as structures were swept away and destroyed by waves of undulating earth. Images show a section of the city being erased by surging soil.

In Petobo town the ground under the length of an entire main road was torn up, with the tide of soil leaving broken stretches of tarmac-topped debris in wave-shaped mounds and troughs.

“Liquefaction occurs when loose sandy soils with shallow groundwater are subjected to sudden loading such as shaking from an earthquake,” said Jonathan Stewart, a professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Many experts liken the process to waves lapping on a sandy beach. When the waves come in, the sand softens, but when the waves withdraw, the sand stiffens.

“During the earthquake, water pressure is generated in the soil, which causes a dramatic loss of strength,” said Stewart. “The strength loss can be so great that the soil behaves almost like a liquid.”

Soil running downhill, known as “flow failure,” is one of the most severe effects of liquefaction, and prone to occur in areas with a particular soil structure.

“The soils in the slide area are likely geologically young, loose, sandy materials with shallow groundwater,” said Stewart.

‘I though it was doomsday’

Residents of Petrobo spoke with horror about the nightmare that unfolded when the ground beneath their feet suddenly began to run following the earthquake and tsunami on Friday.

“I saw asphalt rolling and the road folded … I saw houses rolling, and the ground breaking open,” Muryatim Galanu, a 42-year-old public service officer living in the town, told CNN.

“A lot of people fall inside. It’s thanks to God I am alive now, with my children … I thought it was doomsday.”

Not everyone in her family was as lucky. Galanu said she believed her parents and one of her cousins were killed in the disaster. She watched their house collapse as she ran away from the mud.

She even nearly lost her own granddaughter. “The mud rose up to her neck. I pulled her out, as if I was delivering a baby. I thought she was dead,” she told CNN.

Galanu said she had no intention of returning to her town following the disaster. “I don’t want to go back home again. I can’t … Better to find another place,” she said.

Geotechnical engineering

Though such a chain of events is rare and therefore difficult to mitigate, scientists say that engineering techniques do exist to lessen the impact of soil liquefaction.

“As with most problems, the first step in mitigation is recognizing that a problem exists,” said Stewart. “We have engineering procedure for this. Had they been applied, there is a good chance the hazard would have been recognized.”

Several techniques are used to stop flow slides. The easiest is the construction of a strengthened zone in the soil near the lower end of the slope, said Stewart.

Approaches to this in geotechnical engineering include densification of the soil by the injection of materials, or the compaction of sediments and soils using weights or vibration that mimic earthquake processes, said Adam Switzer, principal investigator at the Earth Observatory of Singapore.

Another method, he added, is the use of “earthquake drains’” that aim to mitigate liquefaction by releasing pressure before it reaches critical levels.

Costas Synolakis, director of the University of Southern California Tsunami Research Center, said that other ways to treat liquefaction are to avoid building multi-story structures and regulate to require deep foundations.

But in poorer countries these techniques might be too costly for government and individual budgets.

“Many of the mitigation techniques are likely to be well beyond the means of the average homeowner in southeast Asia,” Switzer told CNN.

In absolute terms careful choice of construction sites or relocation is the best defense against soil liquefaction, scientists said.

“The only way to completely mitigate the problem would be to… move developments off the liquefied soils,” said Stewart.

The process is thought to have played a key role in previous disasters, such as the Japan earthquake in 2011, where the extent of the liquefaction over hundreds of miles was daunting to experienced engineers.
A study found that liquefaction wrought more devastation than shaking in the Christchurch, New Zealand, earthquake in 2011.

Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/

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North Korea threat remains despite Trump summit, says Japan – Trending Stuff

North Korea threat remains despite Trump summit, says Japan – Trending Stuff

Tokyo maintains Pyongyang poses serious and imminent threat to its security

Japan is refusing to alter its hardline stance towards North Korea, claiming the regime poses a serious and imminent threat to its security, despite a lowering of regional tensions following Donald Trumps summit with Kim Jong-un.

In its 2018 defence white paper, published on Tuesday, the defence ministry said North Koreas nuclear capability and ballistic missiles proved that the security environment around Japan was becoming increasingly severe, despite recent dialogue between Pyongyang and Washington.

The North Korean leader made a vague pledge to denuclearise at historic meetings with Trump in Singapore in June, and with the South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, along the countries heavily armed border in April.

The defence ministry voiced concern over Chinese military spending and naval activity in the South China Sea, as well as air and maritime activity around the disputed Senkaku islands in the East China Sea.

The document also referred to Russias growing military ambitions, adding that Tokyo should monitor activity near their maritime border a reference to the disputed Kuril islands, which were seized from Japan by Soviet troops near the end of the second world war.

North Koreas military activities pose the most serious and pressing threat our nation has faced, the white paper said. Its military actions represent an unprecedented serious and imminent threat to Japans national security. There is no change in our basic recognition about the threat of North Koreas nuclear weapons and missiles.

The white paper was published soon after Trump cancelled a planned trip to Pyongyang by the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, citing the regimes lack of progress on nuclear disarmament since the presidents summit with Kim.

The paper noted that North Korea had conducted three nuclear tests and launched 40 ballistic missiles since the start of 2016. Some of the tests involved long-range missiles that flew over northern Japan albeit at very high altitudes while North Korea also possesses several hundred medium-range Rodong missiles that are capable of striking Japan.

We need to keep a careful watch on North Korea to see what concrete action it takes to abandon its nuclear weapons and missiles, the ministry said.

The defence minister, Itsunori Onodera, acknowledged there had been unprecedented attempts to establish dialogue with North Korea this year, but added: We cannot overlook the fact that, even to this day, it possesses and fully deploys several hundred missiles that put nearly all of Japan within range.

The ministry said China was attempting to unilaterally change the regional status quo through coercion by building military bases in the South China Sea and sending vessels into waters near the Senkakus, which are administered by Japan but claimed by China, where they are known as the Diaoyu.

Beijing had prompted strong security concerns in the region and international community, including Japan, the white paper said. It did, however, welcome the introduction of a mechanism designed to prevent an accident or miscalculation from escalating into conflict between Japan and China in disputed areas.

China is showing an interest in building trust to prevent such incidents, the ministry said.

The defence review said that Japan needed to strengthen its alliance with the US and bolster its defence capabilities, given that it was surrounded by potential sources of friction. Japan has stepped up joint military exercises with the US and other allies, including Britain and Australia, and increased orders for military hardware from the US.

The white paper was released before the prime minister, Shinzo Abe, and his cabinet are expected to approve a defence budget that includes initial costs for a US-developed land-based missile defence system, Aegis Ashore, which will be deployed specifically to counter the threat from North Korea.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us