Dec 15th, 2018


1)   Japan’s central government started main reclamation work Friday at a disputed U.S. military base relocation site on the southern island of Okinawa despite fierce local opposition.

2)   The European Parliament on Wednesday approved an accord with Japan that has been dubbed the world’s biggest trade deal, covering economies that represent a third of the world’s GDP.

3)   A Japanese court on Friday sentenced a 26-year-old man to 18 years in prison in a high-profile road rage case in which he was accused of causing an accident resulting in the death of a couple and the injury of their two teenage daughters.

4)   The Japanese government plans to take measures to make regional labor markets accessible to foreign blue-collar workers to avoid them concentrating in large cities such as Tokyo .

5)   The Tokyo District Court on Thursday sentenced Yuya Takahashi, 39, the youngest son of actress Yoshiko Mita, to 2 1/2 years in prison, suspended for five years for possession of stimulants. It was his fourth arrest on charges related to illegal stimulants.

6)   Japan plans to call for the building of “multidimensional” defense capabilities in the next version of its national defense plan, amid security challenges in new domains such as cyberspace and outer space, government sources said Thursday.

7)   Virgin Galactic’s tourism spaceship climbed more than 50 miles high above California’s Mojave Desert on Thursday, reaching for the first time what the company considers the boundary of space.

8)   The neo-nationalist presence known as the net uyoku (net ultra-rightists) is a fairly well-known phenomenon. Their internet sites specialize in hate speech and the whitewashing of what most Japanese and most of the rest of the world call Japanese war crimes. 

9)   U.S. investigators have so far confirmed that a 78-year-old drifter  is responsible for more than 40 murders, authorities said Thursday. Samuel Little has confessed to 90 murders committed between 1970 and 2005.

10)   A group of Japanese Diet members are calling on South Korean President Moon Jae-in to appropriately handle the recent rulings by South Korea’s Supreme Court on wartime labor. They say the rulings run counter to an agreement between the 2 countries.

11)   Fresh data out of China suggest that the ongoing trade dispute is creating uncertainties for businesses and consumers. Chinese officials will likely step up support efforts as the economy faces increasing downward pressure.

12)   Researchers in Cuba have found that the venom of the blue scorpion  appears to have anti-inflammatory and pain relief properties, and may be able to delay tumor growth in some cancer patients.

13)   A Vermont man who is in an ongoing dispute with his town has let officials know exactly how he feels by erecting a large wooden sculpture of a fist with the middle finger raised on his front lawn.

14)   Expanding Chinese cities are generating more food waste than they can accommodate in landfills, and cockroaches could be a way to get rid of hills of food scraps, providing nutritious food for livestock when the bugs eventually die and, some say, cures for stomach illness and beauty treatments.

15)   Police say a Pennsylvania man released from jail immediately stole a car from its parking lot.a

Prison officials say that moments after 36-year-old Thomas Lee Williams was released, he attacked a woman in the parking lot Tuesday evening and stole her car. The Tribune-Review reports Williams crashed about 15 minutes later and ran into the woods, where he was caught.