to the hague and china says that's out of line. and japan's prime minister is aiming to amend the passivist core of the constitution if he expands his power. we'll look at what is at stake. >> cuban officials admit a stash of weapons came from their country but they say the soviet era arms were being sent to the north for repair. authorities policing the panama canal discover the weapons hidden in a shipment of sugar. in a statement released late tuesday, they confirmed that the cargo ship detained by p panamanian authorities -- soviet missile parts needed to be repaired. they indicated it was not in any way of breach of u.n. security council sanctions.
the news of tthe seizure was announced by panama's president and what he found sophisticated missile equipment. investigators have detained them. they said the ship's captain tried to commit suicide. defense consultants with intelligence analyze military hardware identified the equipment as high performance radar for surface to air missiles. patrick ventrell says the ship has a history of involvement of drug smuggling and they strongly support the decision to inspect the vessels. the acting ambassador said shipment of arms or related material to and from north korea violate sanctions. >> if confirmed to have what we suspect would be of interest to the sanctions committee.
>> they have a responsibility to make sure it is used for safe commerce. world leaders have long been trying to control the military positions, the sanctions following country's first nuclear test in 2006, they were strengthened after a third test this february. in spite of international pressure, the nation has been founding illicitly exporting to other countries. the report on the north to transport a missile propellant in 2007 and gas masks and chemical protection suits in 2009. earlier i spoke with an expert about the discovery. neil ashdown is a specialist based on a think tank in london. >> you identified it's a surface
to air system. >> we made that based on the photos tweeted by the president of panama. the cuban authorities have come out with a discovery which they list was contained in the cargo, a the missile systems that would be associated with the radar were identified and the number of spare parts for the systems. we are unable to make those identifications ourselves, only been able to identify the thing shown in the photo. >> how is the vessel being watched and what do you know about its movements? >> they say there was a tip off there were drugs on board and that's when the shipment was discovered.
in terms of movements before that, based on information provided, we know it passed through the panama canal into the atlantic on the first of june. the system was then switched off and we don't know where it's movements were precisely until it is then picked up again in panama on the 11th of july. they -- the cuban government subsequently have said that the ship did indeed travel to cuba but we're waiting on confirmation based on satellite imagery. >> do you know if this vessel was on an international watch list? >> we know it will be watched by various authorities and had run-ins in the past with the authorities for instance in ukraine. it is likely it is being watched but i don't know if it has been specifically tagged as a vessel of interest. >> in may of 2012 a vessel was intercepted on suspicion of
trying to export missile related components to syria. how is the incident linked to that episode? >> they both likely represent parts of north korea's broader proliferation activities. we know north korea pro live rates tech knowing to nuclear programs to a variety of states around the world. and this is driven primarily by profit seeking. we think the north korean government is strapped for cash particularly foreign reserves and these activities represent parts of the attempts to bolster the finances. >> that was neil ashdown. officials from north and south korea have again failed to narrow their differences on the resumption of a jointly run industrial zone. the complex has been closed since the north withdrew its workers in april. the officials met on wednesday for a fourth round of talks at
the industrial complex on the north korean side of the border. south korean delegates demanded north korea promise to reprevent a recurrence of the closure but the north declined reportedly blaming the south for the incident. there will be another round of talks next monday. 22 children have died and dozens more seriously unwell in india after eating a tainted school lunch. the apparent poisoning occurred at a government-run primary school in the eastern state. children at a school near the town of chap ra became nauseous after eating luncheontuesday. some children were treated at nearby hospitals. >> translator: when my boy came home from school he started vomiting. we rushed him to the hospital.
>> police say 22 children died and 29 others are still being treated. they suspect the lunch was tainted with a poisonous material. local officials promised an investigation. >> translator: the state's chief minister has ordered around immediate probe into the incident and the committee has been set up for that. a team of doctors has been arrange the to provide treatment to the children. >> the lunch of cooked vegetables and other food had been prepared in the kitchen at the school and the indian government serves free meals at public schools to encourage children from poor families to attend. officials in the philippines have been troubled by china's territorial claims in the south china sea. they launched a complaint with an international court. now chinese officials have a complaint of their own. they say the philippines has trampled on their rights. >> members of a u.n. tribunal are examining the claim. they are challenging china's
claim to a group of islands known as the spratlys. a spoekdsperson released a statement saying the move is unilateral and fails the lawful rights. the dispute is the illegal occupation of the territory by the philippines. the number of disputes in the area is rising. as the dispute draws on, china is ramping up its naval activities, chinese claims over the majority of the islands violate the u.n. convention on the law of the sea. >> russian authorities have confirmed that american fugitive edward snowden has filed a request for asylum. the former intelligence contractor spent three weeks holed up at an airport in moscow. he leaked details of top secret u.s. surveillance programs to
the media. american authorities charged him with he is pespionage. a russian lawyer confirmed he had handed in papers in a bid for asylum. but snowden hopes his stay will be temporary and wants to fly to one of the latin american nations that have offered him protection. russian immigration authorities say they will decide on snoiden's application within three months. the president vladimir putin indicated relations with the united states supersede this case. putin wants u.s. leaders to understand russia's position. he says relations between the two countries are far more important than a squabble over spies. the president added russia has warned snowden it would be unacceptable if his actions damage bilateral relations. the national security agency is facing some legal heat because of the revelations snowden made about how it gathers intelligence. a coalition of u.s. advocacy
groups is suing the nsa. it includes human rights watch and groups representing muslims and environmental activists and others. representatives of the coalition filed the suit in california. they are demanding the nsa halt its collection of phone communications and destroy any information it has stored. they argue that the nsa is spying on ordinary citizens and they say that's a violation of constitutional rights and free speech and association. a u.s. civil rights organization filed a similar suit. the agency defended the intelligence gathering program saying they have prevented terrorist attacks. japanese investigators are taking a closer look at several of the nation's nuclear plants. they are trying to find out if the land beneath them is prone to earthquakes.
a team of experts supported by the nuclear regulation authority is investigating the monju plant. the reactor is designed to generate power using plutonium from spent nuclear fuel. it's currently idle. it sits on 8 geological faults they are trying to determine if they are active. if they are, regulators won't allow the facility to restart. the team began to tlook at an area where part of a fault is visible in the ground. they scraped the soil to get a better view. it reached criticality in 1994 but shortly after that a series much accidents and technical problems force operators to take it offline. it has been mostly idle since then. they have ordered investigations into this and five other nuclear facilities. in may they determined that a fault beneath the plant is active. british lawmakers passed a bill legalizing same-sex
marria marriage. the queen must sign the bill and it will become law. same sex couples in britain have been allowed to enter into civil partnerships since 2005. such unions carry the same legal rights as marriage. but full recognition has been on the rise. the new law would not force the church of england to accept same sex weddings. other governments have recently moved to give more rights to same sex couples. germa germany's constitutional court ruled that same sex couples should be granted the same tax advantages as heterosexuals and the supreme court ruled that a law was unconstitutional but some people still oppose marriage between people of the same gender. they include the leaders of the catholic church.
the chairman of the u.s. federal reserve has repeated his plan to maintain the central bank's current monetary easing policy. bernanke says the stimulus won't be scaled back because the unemployment rate is still high. bernanke released the remark in a statement he will make later in the day before the u.s. congress. he says highly accommodative monetary policy will remain appropriate for the foreseeable future and says the fed intends to buy $85 billion worth of bonds every month until the labor market improves substantially. analysts say bernanke is trying to calm investors worried the fed may start to scale back its quantityive easing program soon. let's look how the markets are reacting to bernanke's comments. the dollar is trading against the yen, 99.26 to 29. turning to european stocks, ftse
is up by a half of one percent. paris, up by.54%. stock markets in new york starts in a while. voters in japan face a choice this weekend. they are deciding who should represent them in the upper house of their diet. when they cast ballots on sunday they'll be considering whether to give prime minister shinzo abe and his liberal party more power. the ldp controls the lower house. but opposition parties hold the majority of seats in the upper chamber and that's created a divided diet where passing legislation can be tricky. in the lead up to when japan decides, we've been looking at the key campaign issues and hearing from voters about what matters to them. candidates from these nine parties are running in the election. the group call fied for
political party status. others that failed to meet the standards are still fielding candidates. in august, 433 candidates, including independence are running in this election. one of the more emotionally charged issues some of those candidates are discussing involves japan's constitution. prime minister abe wants to revise it for the first time since it took effect in 1947. on tuesday we talked about the political process he would need to go through to do that. now we're going to look at one proposed amendment in particular. abe wants to change article nine, the constitution's passivist core. nhk world shows us what is at stake. >> reporter: japan's self-defense forces look like a military. they have more than 200,000 personnel. men and women who are armed with 740 tanks and 355 fighter jets. they also have 48 destroyers,
nearly twice as many as france. they have an annual budget of almost $60 billion, the fifth largest in the world for an armed force. >> can take military operations only in the case of emergency. they cannot take any kind of military actions in peacetime. on the other hand, it is treated as military force in international society, even in peacetime. >> but people in japan don't use the word military to describe the sdf. article nine of their constitution prohibits them from having military forces. >> land, sea and air forces as
well as other war potential, will never be maintained. >> reporter: for decades, japanese leaders have stressed that the self-defense forces are for just that, self-defense. and they've limited their activities. during the gulf war, the sdf didn't join coalition forces and japan offered $30 billion in support instead. it was criticized for not putting boots on the ground. it does send sdf units to iraq in 2003 to help with inf infrastructure reconstruction and medical assistance after the fall of saddam hussein. prime minister shinzo abe argues the sdf should not face so many restrictions. he and his liberal democrats
want to amend article nine. >> translator: we face a problem of what rule japan should play in international society. is it okay to just give money? japan should take responsibility in the future. >> a political scientist and member of a government panel on japan's security policy says lawmakers should revise the constitution to reflect the times in which we live. >> there were a couple of important things in the modern history, still there was no change of constitution. that is strange. so many people ask me why japan is now trying to change constitution, but the right question should be, why japan has never changed the constitution until now. >> reporter: however, a fair number of citizens are opposed.
they believe article nine defines modern japan. she meets on the 9th of every month with member of a group calling for the constitution to stay as it is. they also hand out information about their cause. >> translator: if we amend the constitution, we'll be allowed to go to war. there is a fear that the country may go back to its pre-war period. we think we are the most crucial turning point. >> reporter: some political parties say the constitution has kept japan from working alongside other nations. but others argue it is necessary to prevent the country from being sucked into conflict. this debate has been on low boil
for month. after the election, it will likely heat up. nhk world, tokyo. our coverage leading up to sunday's vote will continue for the rest of the week. on thursday we'll look at the issues many voters consider most important, the economy. prime minister abe has focused on trying to end decades of deflation. we'll explore the impact of his policies also known as abenomics. nhk world special coverage of japan's upper house election is a click or tap away. we're adding a host of features to our web and mobile sites. you'll find backgrounders and analysis and in depth reports on issues that could define the campaign, from the economy to the constitutional debate. get online and get informed. there's a tropical storm south of taiwan.
meteorologist robert speta is here with the latest. >> we are continue to watch our latest tropical storm continuing to roll off towards the north. it is just north of the philippines, south of taiwan and bringing heavy rainfall across northern portions of the philippines coming ashore. also towards southern taiwan we're seeing the outer rain bands push ashore. this is the late place you want rain because last friday we saw landfall of the typhoon and that brought tremendous amount of rainfall across the country. as this pushes through it zkz like that is going to be happening. with that said, it does have winds gusting up to 90 kilometers per hour but not expected to maintain its intensity. a slight weakening before it makes landfall here along the southeastern coast when it makes lawful there. but the main threat with this is going to be that considered
rainfall coming out of this. southern taiwan and then eventually after that pushes ashore. we want to watch this but let's pull back and look at the rest of china. you have been seeing an incredible amount of rainfall this year. it's that time of year we have the rainy season front that sets up. to the west in sichuan, you have been seeing landslides and severe flooding, expecting 250 millimeters of rain so the threat will be there for the next several days. to the east, look at that low pressure. this going through thursday but into friday it's going to concentrate there further north. with that said, we have this high pressure further down towards the south. as that pushes through, that high pressure ridge will lift up to the north. last week we saw very hot temperatures across much of central and western japan and south korea. that same set upwill push back
in and temperatures will rise up by thursday, 33 in tokyo, 27 towards seoul. you have the rain band overhead. shanghai, mid to high 30s as well. towards the americas, what's going on here as far as the upper level low which is still spinning over texas, drawing in moisture from the west. portions of northwest new mexico seeing heavy showers and risk of flooding and flash floods. this will weaken out but really pop-up thunderstorms across much of the northeast at this time into the midwest and great lakes. you see this set upright here? this will drift in from the north. there's a risk of severe weather thursday and friday. main reason is because it's very hot and humid. the atmosphere is unstable across the great lakes. 34 in chicago, 32 in toronto. new york at 35. what it feels like due to the heat and mugginess of the atmosphere, some places into the 40s. you'll want to stay cool especially in some cities where
you don't have air conditioning in a few places. so it really is going to get quite hot. a similar picture right now into southern france towards northern italy, showers there. a few could become strong. look at a high pressure stretching through. keeping things rather hot and muggy into london. take a look at this, 29 here for the high on thursday. paris at 30. some pop-up thunderstorms possible there but berlin into the 20s and vienna 30s as well. here's your extended fraflt.
the climax comes with a parade of giant floats. ♪ >> the procession kicks off with a child dressed in traditional costume cutting a sacred rope with a sword. the festival dates back to the tenth century and one of the three great festivals of the ancient capital. they battled the heat to see the colorfully decorated floats. and this is what they saw, enormous floats making hair raising 90 degree turns at crossings, executed by teams of about 50. >> translator: i was overwhelmed at seeing the huge floats. >> the tall floats are spectacular. >> that's "newsline" for this hour. i'm gene otani in tokyo.