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Kyodo news summary -1-
[February 14, 2013]

Kyodo news summary -1-

(Japan Economic Newswire Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) TOKYO, Feb. 15 -- (Kyodo) _ ---------- Journalist deaths surge to 70 worldwide last year: U.S. group NEW YORK - The number of journalists killed on duty in the world shot up to 70 in 2012 from 47 a year earlier, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Thursday.

Japanese video journalist Mika Yamamoto, 45, who was killed in Syria, was among them. The total was the second highest since 1992 when the New York-based group started compiling data, after 2009 when 74 died.

---------- Murderer of single victim gets death despite no criminal record OKAYAMA, Japan - A district court on Thursday sentenced a 30-year-old man from Osaka city to death for killing a 27-year-old woman in Okayama city in September 2011, in what appears to be the first death sentence given for the murder of a single victim by a defendant with no prior criminal record.

Judge Kosuke Morioka, presiding over a panel of professional and lay judges hearing the case of Koichi Sumida at the Okayama District Court, noted that the victim has also been sexually assaulted, making the case "grave." ---------- Japan gov't to hold 1st panel meeting on U.S.-style security council TOKYO - The Japanese government will hold a first meeting of a panel of experts Friday to discuss how to create a Japanese version of the U.S. National Security Council to strengthen the leadership role of the prime minister's office in security and diplomatic affairs.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who pledged to set up the body during campaigning for the general election in December, will head the 13-member panel, whose members include Shotaro Yachi, a former top bureaucrat at the Foreign Ministry and the brain behind Abe's diplomatic policies.

---------- N. Korea seen upgrading rocket launch site: U.S. think tank WASHINGTON - North Korea appears to be upgrading a rocket launch pad at the Musudan-ri site in the country's northeast, the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University said Thursday, citing analysis of satellite images.

The activity at the rocket launch pad, which has not been used since 2009, could be a signal that North Korea is planning to fire a long-range ballistic missile.

---------- Dollar trades near 93 yen in early Tokyo deals TOKYO - The U.S. dollar traded slightly below the 93 yen line early Friday in Tokyo, slightly up from its overnight levels in New York.

At 9 a.m., the dollar fetched 92.95-96 yen compared with 92.83-93 yen in New York and 93.45-46 yen in Tokyo at 5 p.m. Thursday.

---------- Suspect in online threat case says another person committed crime TOKYO - Yusuke Katayama, the man under arrest for allegedly making online threats through hijacked personal computers, has told his lawyer that he is not guilty and that no evidence of a computer virus for remotely controlling PCs would be found at his home.

According to the lawyer, Hiroshi Sato, and other sources, Katayama has admitted visiting the Enoshima district in Kanagawa Prefecture where a cat was found with a collar containing a data storage device linked to the case.

---------- Late Iwanami Hall chief pioneered independent movie theaters TOKYO - The late Etsuko Takano, general manager of Iwanami Hall, a Tokyo movie theater famous for screenings of foreign art films, played a pioneering role in bringing international masterpieces to the silver screen in Japan before the age of the Internet and cable television.

Works brought to Japanese audiences at the hall by Takano include "The Travelling Players" from Greece, "Man of Marble" from Poland, "The Whales of August" from the United States and "Pather Panchali" from India.

---------- Tokyo stocks open lower on yen's climb amid eurozone uncertainty TOKYO - Tokyo stocks opened lower Friday as the yen climbed against other major currencies amid uncertainty over the eurozone economic outlook, pressuring exporters' shares.

In the first 15 minutes of trading, the 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average fell 48.48 points, or 0.43 percent, from Thursday to 11,258.80. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange was down 5.63 points, or 0.59 percent, at 949.25.

(c) 2013 Kyodo News International, Inc.

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