1) The Lower and Upper houses of Japan’s Diet will vote on Friday on a resolution that strongly protests North Korea’s latest nuclear test. It calls the test totally unacceptable.
The draft of the multi-partisan resolution compiled by the governing and opposition parties calls the fourth nuclear test by the North a serious challenge to the international nuclear nonproliferation order.
2) Japan’s health ministry has handed out its longest-ever suspension of business penalty. It issued the order to a drug maker for using unauthorized production methods and covering up the misconduct.
The ministry on Friday demanded the Chemo-Sero-Therapeutic Research Institute halt operations for 110 days starting January 18th.
3) The yen has hit its highest level against the dollar in over 4 months.
At the Tokyo foreign exchange market on Thursday morning, the Japanese currency was trading in the 117 range to the dollar for the first time since August last year.
4) Japan’s exports of food, including farm and marine products, hit a record high last year, for the eleven months from January. Figures for that period have hit new record highs three straight years in a row.
The Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry said on Thursday that Japan exported a record 669 billion yen’s worth of these products, the equivalent of about 5.6 billion dollars.
5) A US court has ruled that a monkey who took a selfie photograph cannot own its copyright.
The lawsuit was filed in September last year against a British photographer by a US-based animal rights group.
6) The German government says nearly 1.1 million refugees and migrants arrived in the country last year. That was the largest number since the country began recording those figures in 1950.
The Interior Ministry said on Wednesday that about 430,000 came from Syria, some 150,000 from Afghanistan, and around 120,000 from Iraq.
7) A fire broke out on Thursday at Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic Park, the main venue for this year’s Summer Games.
It occurred in a makeshift structure used as an office for construction work. Part of the structure was engulfed in flames, but local officials say the fire was extinguished by workers. No injuries or damage to the Olympic facilities were reported.