December 2012
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Dec 27, 2012

School bus crash officials suspended

Beijing AP A dozen local officials in eastern China have been suspended while authorities investigate the crash of an overloaded school van that killed 11 kindergartners, state media said Wednesday. A deputy mayor of Guixi, where the crash occurred Monday, and the heads of ...

Nationalism takes back seat to the economy

| Dec 27, 2012

Nationalism takes back seat to the economy

by Reiji Yoshida

The lineup of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet seems to underline his determination to learn from his mistakes. During his first run as prime minister from 2006 to 2007, Abe concentrated mainly on diplomacy and patriotism, even though the public was clearly focused on ...

Partisan feuds leave judicial posts unfilled

| Dec 27, 2012

Partisan feuds leave judicial posts unfilled

It takes a calculator and perhaps the rigor of Sherlock Holmes to cut through the partisan rhetoric about President Barack Obama’s first-term record on judicial nominations. But the bottom line is clear enough. There are more vacancies on the federal courts now than when ...

Insurance plan saving Nepal's snow leopards

Dec 27, 2012

Insurance plan saving Nepal's snow leopards

The remorse felt by Himali Chungda Sherpa after he killed three snow leopard cubs in retaliation for his lost cattle inspired him to set up a system to prevent other herders from doing the same. Sherpa lost his cattle near the village of Ghunsa, ...

Dec 27, 2012

Tohoku Electric fails to convince NRA that faults are inactive

A Nuclear Regulation Authority panel said Wednesday it remains convinced that geological faults running under Tohoku Electric Power Co.’s atomic power plant in Aomori Prefecture are active, indicating the facility’s sole reactor cannot be restarted. The panel reached the same conclusion in an earlier ...

Swedish mining town to relocate

Dec 27, 2012

Swedish mining town to relocate

Perched on a hill by the iron ore mine it was once built around, the sleepy northern Swedish town of Kiruna is in the process of reinventing itself. It has little choice: In four years, it will have been moved somewhere else. At the ...

Dec 27, 2012

Assad relies on 'autistic' inner circle

The Syrian vice president’s criticism of leader Bashar Assad has highlighted the cracks in the regime’s highest ranks, pitting supporters of compromise against the president’s hardline inner circle. Assad’s closest aides believe the regime should keep fighting and that they can still win a ...

'Ikko Narahara: The Sky  in my Hands'

Dec 27, 2012

"Ikko Narahara: The Sky in my Hands"

by Tomohiro Osaki

Ikko Narahara first shot to fame in 1956, with “Human Land” — a photographic documentation of expeditions to the deserted Gunkanjima (Battleship Island) in Nagasaki Prefecture, and the lava-ravaged Sakura Island in Kagoshima Prefecture. On those islands, Narahara isolated himself from society, so that ...

Russia lauds $25 billion oil link to Pacific

Dec 27, 2012

Russia lauds $25 billion oil link to Pacific

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday unveiled the final extension of a new $25 billion oil pipeline to the Pacific that underscores the energy power’s gradual shift away from stagnant European markets. The East Siberia-Pacific Ocean (ESPO) link is also expected to expand sales ...

Abe ready for 'fresh' restart as Cabinet is sworn in

Dec 27, 2012

Abe ready for 'fresh' restart as Cabinet is sworn in

Shinzo Abe, president of the Liberal Democratic Party, became Japan’s seventh prime minister in six years Wednesday, replacing Yoshihiko Noda of the Democratic Party of Japan. After leading his party back to power from three years in the opposition, the revived leader said his ...

Dec 27, 2012

Unlicensed drivers face heavier penalty

The National Police Agency plans to seek a Road Traffic Law revision to impose heavier penalties for unlicensed driving, following a fatal car accident caused by a boy without a license in Kameoka, Kyoto Prefecture, in April, sources said. Under the NPA plan, unlicensed ...

Dec 27, 2012

Myanmar probes rare plane crash

Myanmar launched a probe Wednesday into the cause of an air accident that left two people dead and 11 injured when a passenger jet packed with foreign tourists landed short of the runway and caught fire. The incident raised fresh questions about the safety ...

Sightings of endangered Chinese 'river pig' decline

Dec 27, 2012

Sightings of endangered Chinese 'river pig' decline

A survey of endangered porpoises in China’s longest river has yielded fewer sightings as intense ship traffic threatens their existence, scientists reported. Chinese researchers spent 44 days tracking the finless porpoise — or “river pig” in Chinese — along a little more than half ...

Japan's public museums enjoy a makeover

Dec 27, 2012

Japan's public museums enjoy a makeover

by Edan Corkill

The collapse of the Sasago Tunnel in Yamanashi Prefecture three weeks ago put a spotlight on the state of Japan’s infrastructure, and how many of the bridges and tunnels that were built during the period of rapid economic development in the 1970s and ’80s ...