TBEN News Digest: January 21, 2023

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The making of “kiccho” lucky willow branch decorations for Setsubun on February 3 will reach its peak at Kumano Hayatama Taisha Shrine in Shingu in Wakayama Prefecture, western Japan, on January 20, 2023. (TBEN) ==TBEN

The following is the most recent list of selected news summaries by TBEN News.

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Japanese astronaut candidates take final exams on recreated lunar surface

TOKYO – Aspiring Japanese astronauts have taken their final exams on a fake lunar surface at a training center near Tokyo. The successful candidates will be revealed next month.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency opened the facility at the Sagamihara Campus in Kanagawa Prefecture to the press on Thursday. Footprints and robber tracks cover the 23-meter-long, 18-meter-wide space that simulates the powdery regolith on the lunar surface.

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Education Minister Hipkins becomes New Zealand’s new Prime Minister

SYDNEY – Education Minister Chris Hipkins becomes New Zealand’s new prime minister after being the only candidate in the election on Saturday to succeed Jacinda Ardern as leader of the Labor Party.

Hipkins, 44, also the police minister, has yet to get formal approval from his party colleagues at a caucus meeting on Sunday to reaffirm his leadership of the ruling party, Labor Whip Duncan Webb said.

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NTT is bringing technology to market to analyze connected car data in FY 2023

TOKYO – Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. has developed technology that instantly analyzes data collected from tens of millions of connected cars, with a view to its commercialization starting in fiscal year 2023 from April.

The technology, which allows rapid sharing of road information sent by cars, including traffic congestion and accident information, enables vehicles to travel safely and efficiently and is expected to become fundamental to the spread of automated driving, the company said. Japanese telecom giant.

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The US accuses North Korea of ​​supplying Russia with weapons for its war against Ukraine

WASHINGTON — North Korea continues to support Russia’s military operations against Ukraine by supplying weapons and ammunition to a private military company, the White House said Friday.

White House national security spokesman John Kirby said the Treasury Department will designate the Russian company, the Wagner Group, as a “significant transnational criminal organization” and impose additional sanctions next week, along with its support network on several continents.

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Lunar New Year holidays begin in China with no COVID restrictions

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BEIJING — China’s week-long Chinese New Year holiday began on Saturday with no COVID restrictions after the country eased its anti-virus measures significantly, but the expected large-scale human migration raises concerns about possible outbreaks in rural areas with less developed healthcare systems.

President Xi Jinping has called for efforts to improve medical care for those most vulnerable to the novel coronavirus in rural areas and has called for stricter measures to prevent cluster infections in nursing homes and welfare facilities to protect the elderly.

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Japanese Prime Minister Kishida orders a downgrade of the COVID-19 classification in the spring

TOKYO — Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida pledged Friday to downgrade COVID-19’s legal status to a class 5 disease, the same level as seasonal flu, this spring, a move that would lead to a major shift in pandemic restrictions that will be in place for about three months. year place.

In Japan, COVID-19 is currently categorized as “grade 2 equivalent” and is subject to extensive steps, including restrictions on the movement of infected people and their close contacts. The measures are stricter than those against class 2 infectious diseases, including tuberculosis and severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS.

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Some worry about COVID downgrading as too fast, fearing more infections

TOKYO — Teachers, students, medical experts and other citizens expressed concern on Friday about the lowering of the legal status of COVID-19 this spring, fearing the move will remove anti-infection measures that have become an entrenched part of everyday life and increase infection risks.

Restaurants, retail operators, travel agencies and airlines welcomed the new coronavirus classification or called it overdue after their revenues plummeted under three years of coronavirus restrictions, including requests for people to stay indoors or businesses to reduce hours.

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Japanese convenience store sales rise 3.7% to all-time high in 2022

TOKYO – Japan’s convenience store sales rose 3.7 percent from a year earlier to a record 11.2 trillion yen ($87.2 billion) by 2022, helped by the first increase in customer visits in four years. amid easing COVID-19 restrictions, an industry association said on Friday.

According to the Japan Franchise Association, same-store sales of seven major convenience store operators grew for the second consecutive year, driven by strong sales of items such as packed lunches, rice balls, frozen foods and soft drinks.



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