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Kyodo news summary -2-

December 11, 2018


Olympus to pay $85 mil. in U.S. for failure to report infections

TOKYO - Olympus Corp. said Tuesday it was fined $85 million after admitting failure to report to U.S. authorities infections connected to its duodenum endoscopes in a plea deal reached with the U.S. Justice Department.

In the agreement, Olympus admitted it did not report to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration three separate cases of infections, including E. coli bacteria, affecting some 30 patients in France and the Netherlands between August 2012 and October 2014.


Chinese, U.S. trade negotiators discuss how to proceed with talks

BEIJING - Chinese Vice Premier Liu He on Tuesday exchanged views with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer over the phone about how to proceed with trade talks between the two countries, China’s Commerce Ministry said.

The telephone talks came after Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed at their summit in Buenos Aires on Dec. 1 that the world’s two largest economies will continue negotiations to ease an escalating trade war.


India’s central bank chief resigns after rift with government

NEW DELHI - Reserve Bank of India Governor Urjit Patel has resigned, citing personal reasons amid a conflict with the government over the central bank’s independence from political influence.

Patel, a 55-year-old economist, took office as the 24th governor of the RBI on Sept. 4, 2016. His tenure was due to end in September 2019.


Tokyo stocks down in morning on concerns over Brexit, auto trade talks

TOKYO - Tokyo stocks fell Tuesday morning, weighed down by uncertainty over the outlook for Britain’s exit from the European Union and concern about the impact of Japan-U.S. trade talks on Japanese automakers.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average fell 119.20 points, or 0.56 percent, from Monday to 21,100.30. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange was down 16.83 points, or 1.06 percent, to 1,572.98.


Dollar edges down to 113 yen line on stock market weakness

TOKYO - The U.S. dollar edged down to around the 113 yen line Tuesday morning in Tokyo as investors grew risk-averse on a fall in Japanese stocks and U.S. stock futures.

At noon, the dollar fetched 113.02-03 yen compared with 113.26-36 yen in New York and 112.63-64 yen in Tokyo at 5 p.m. Monday.


Beijing court sentences Sapporo man to 12 yrs in prison over spying

BEIJING - A court in Beijing has sentenced a Japanese man in his 70s who was arrested in China in June 2015 to 12 years in prison for spying, sources well-informed about Sino-Japanese relations said Tuesday.

The man, from Sapporo in Japan’s northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido, was also ordered by the court on Monday to forfeit personal assets totaling 200,000 yuan ($29,000), the sources said.


Japan to offer free rubella vaccinations to combat outbreak

TOKYO - The Japanese government said Tuesday it will offer free rubella vaccinations for three years to men who were unvaccinated in their childhood amid an outbreak of the disease that threatens to dampen demand for travel to Japan.

Rubella can have serious health impacts on unborn babies and vaccinations and antibody tests will be offered free, in principle, through March 2022 for men aged between 39 and 56 who were not vaccinated under regular public programs.


U.S. sanctions 3 N. Korean officials over human rights abuses

WASHINGTON - The United States sanctioned three senior North Korean officials, including a top aide to leader Kim Jong Un, on Monday for their roles in the leadership’s serious human rights abuses and censorship.

Subject to sanctions were Choe Ryong Hae, North Korea’s de facto No. 2 leader, State Security Minister Jong Kyong Thaek and Pak Kwang Ho, director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department of the Workers’ Party of Korea, according to the Treasury Department.


Macron offers tax concessions after weeks of protests

PARIS - French President Emmanuel Macron said Monday he will raise the minimum wage and that some planned new taxes will be scrapped in response to weeks of violent protests.

Macron said in a televised address that much of the protesters’ anger toward his reform plans was just, promising that overtime pay will not be taxed and that new levies on pensions will be dropped.


U.S. auto union calls for quotas in trade deal with Japan

WASHINGTON - A labor union group representing American automobile manufacturing employees called Monday for the establishment of “strong” Japanese auto export quotas in a trade agreement the United States is eager to strike with Japan, citing the significant trade imbalances between the two countries.

The International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America -- commonly known as the United Automobile Workers, or UAW -- filed the demand for what critics call a managed trade policy tool during a hearing on bilateral trade negotiations that President Donald Trump’s administration intends to start as early as in mid-January.


Britain’s May delays parliamentary vote on Brexit

LONDON - British Prime Minister Theresa May announced Monday she will postpone a crucial parliamentary vote on her agreement to leave the European Union.

“If we went ahead and held the vote tomorrow the deal would be rejected by a significant margin,” she said. “We will therefore defer the vote schedule for tomorrow and not proceed to divide the house at this time.”


Japanese scientist Honjo receives Nobel Prize at ceremony

STOCKHOLM - Japanese scientist Tasuku Honjo received the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine at a ceremony Monday in Stockholm for his discovery of a protein on immune cells that paved the way for a new approach to cancer treatment.

The 76-year-old Kyoto native, clad in traditional Japanese clothing to remember the roots of his research, accepted the medal and diploma from Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf at the ceremony, which he attended with his wife Shigeko.


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