U.S. MEDIA: DEMOCRATS TO RETAIN CONTROL OF SENATE
Turning now to the midterm elections in the United States. Multiple U.S. media outlets are projecting the Democrats will maintain control of the U.S. Senate. Voters are now waiting to see who will be in control of the House of Representatives.
U.S. media predict Democrat Senator Catherine Cortez Masto is certain to beat her Republican challenger, Adam Laxalt, in Nevada.
It projects Democrats will have at least half of the 100 seats in the Senate, including those that were not up for reelection this year. The vice president holds the tie-breaking vote if the Senate is evenly split.
The Democrats have held the Senate majority by a thin margin for two years. Biden has narrowly escaped losing control of both chambers despite his low approval ratings.
(Joe Biden / U.S. President)
“I’m not surprised by the turnout. I’m incredibly pleased by the turnout.”
SCHOLAR FINDS LETTERS BETWEEN EMPEROR SHOWA, POPE PIUS XII
A Japanese scholar has unearthed a series of letters between the emperor and the pope from the early 1950s.
NHK has learned that Nihon University Professor Matsumoto Saho found them among documents the Vatican declassified in 2020.
The exchange is between Pope Pius XII and Emperor Showa, whose given name was Hirohito. They were written after the San Francisco Peace Treaty brought an end to the U.S. occupation of Japan.
The pope congratulates Japan for regaining sovereignty, and for the coming of age of the crown prince, now Emperor Emeritus Akihito. In reply, the emperor expresses his deep gratitude on behalf of the Imperial Family and the people of Japan.
The emperor is said to have sought relations with the Vatican two months before the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. They established ties the following year.
RAIL OPERATOR ADDS DIGITAL TECH TO STATION WASHROOMS
A railway operator in western Japan is also adopting the latest digital technology to make the cleanup of its station washrooms more efficient.
West Japan Railway developed a system with a Tokyo-based tech firm. It features toilet paper and soap dispensers embedded with sensors that tell cleaners when refills are needed.
Sensors are also attached to the doors of cubicles to let staff know when they are unoccupied. That’s seen as a time-saver.
Another innovation is a toilet with a function to prevent clogging. That also helps reduce the workload as the rail operator faces a shortage of cleaning staff.
(Hashiba Satoshi/ West Japan Railway)
“Cleaning railway washrooms requires a lot of manpower. But with this system, we can do it in a more efficient way.”
JR West will introduce the technology at a new station due to open in Osaka City next spring.
JAPANESE CONSORTIUM TARGETS NEXT-GENERATION CHIPS
We start with a potential leap forward for Japan in the race to develop next-generation semiconductors. Eight big Japanese companies are teaming up and aim to start domestic production in five years.
The consortium includes Toyota Motor, Sony Group, and the telecoms giant NTT. They have set up a company called Rapidus. The new firm will develop advanced chips that are essential for technologies such as self-driving vehicles, supercomputers, and digital smart cities.
Chipmakers around the world are competing to create designs with thinner circuits for better performance. How thin the circuits are is measured in nanometers.
The South Korean company Samsung began mass-producing 3-nanometer chips in June. The new Japanese firm will aim for 2 nanometers or less.
NEW BANKSY MURAL APPEARS IN UKRAINIAN TOWN
Anonymous artist Banksy has unveiled a new work in a Ukrainian town devastated by the Russian invasion.
Banksy posted a photo of the mural on social media on Friday. The artwork is painted on a wall of a housing complex destroyed by Russian shelling. It shows a female gymnast performing a handstand on a pile of rubble.
Borodyanka is 50 kilometers northwest of Kyiv. The town came under fierce attacks and suffered huge casualties.
“It’s very important because the world must see what happened in Ukraine.”
Western media reports say another mural that appeared in the town may also be Banksy’s work. It shows a child throwing an adult man in a judo uniform to the ground.
There’s speculation that the mural satirizes Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has a black belt in judo and is facing fierce resistance from Ukraine.