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Published: Thursday, February 08, 2018 @ 3:46 AM
Updated: Thursday, February 08, 2018 @ 3:45 AM
TOKYO — A perk from U.S. tax reforms is helping lift Nissan's fiscal third quarter profit, although costs had to be earmarked and sales were dented by news of improper vehicle inspections at its plants in Japan.
Nissan Motor Co. reported Thursday an October-December profit of 301.6 billion yen ($2.7 billion), up dramatically from 131.7 billion yen a year earlier.
The tax reforms under President Donald Trump are a boost for Japanese automakers.
The company said quarterly sales fell 2 percent to 2.88 trillion yen ($26 billion).
Nissan acknowledged last year that unauthorized workers were routinely conducting inspections. The faulty inspections affected only vehicles sold in Japan, not exports, but an investigation found the dubious inspections were systematic and had been going on for years.
Nissan, allied with Renault SA of France and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. of Japan, recalled more than a million vehicles in Japan for further inspections.
Nissan executives have repeatedly apologized for the scandal, and some executives have returned some of their pay.
But the company has also been eager to put the scandal behind it and Nissan sales are doing well in other parts of the world.
When combined with its allied partners, Nissan is one of the biggest automakers in the world, rivaling Volkswagen AG of Germany and Toyota Motor Corp. of Japan.
Nissan, which also makes the March subcompact and Infiniti luxury models, lowered its vehicle sales forecast for the fiscal year through March by 50,000 units to 5.78 million vehicles.
Nissan is benefiting by being a leader in pure electric vehicles. It started selling the Leaf electric car in 2010. The Leaf is one of the first affordable mass-produced electric vehicles available to regular consumers.
The interest in going electric is growing because China, a huge auto market, is pushing automakers to develop EV technology and encouraging sales with subsidies. Automakers also face quotas in China that require electrics to make up at least 10 percent of their sales starting next year.
Nissan announced earlier this week it's developing 20 electric vehicles as part of a $10 billion, five-year investment program with its Chinese partner Dongfeng Group.
Follow Yuri Kageyama on Twitter at https://twitter.com/yurikageyama
Published: Sunday, February 18, 2018 @ 3:43 AM
Updated: Sunday, February 18, 2018 @ 3:43 AM
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A survivor of Wednesday's deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, slammed President Donald Trump, lawmakers and the National Rifle Association in a scathing speech Saturday at an anti-gun rally in Fort Lauderdale.
"Every single person up here today, all these people should be home grieving," said Emma Gonzalez, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. "But instead, we are up here standing together because if all our government and president can do is send thoughts and prayers, then it's time for victims to be the change that we need to see. Since the time of the founding fathers and since they added the Second Amendment to the Constitution, our guns have developed at a rate that leaves me dizzy. The guns have changed, but our laws have not."
Gonzalez called out one of Trump's tweets following the shooting that left 17 people dead.
So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 15, 2018
"So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!" Trump wrote Thursday morning.
Gonzalez said Saturday: "We did, time and time again. Since he was in middle school, it was no surprise to anyone who knew him to hear that he was the shooter. Those talking about how we should have not ostracized him, you didn't know this kid, OK? We did. We know that they are claiming mental health issues, and I am not a psychologist, but we need to pay attention to the fact that this was not just a mental health issue. He would not have harmed that many students with a knife."
She added: "If the president wants to come up to me and tell me to my face that it was a terrible tragedy and how it should never have happened and maintain telling us how nothing is going to be done about it, I'm going to happily ask him how much money he received from the National Rifle Association."
She went on to criticize him and other lawmakers.
"To every politician who is taking donations from the NRA, shame on you!" she said, prompting the crowd to chant, "Shame on you" in response.
Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 11:41 AM
— One day after the mass shooting at a Florida high school, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin told a radio host he believes the “culture of death that is being celebrated” in violent video games and movies was the trigger for the violence that led to the deaths of 17 students and teachers.
Bevin, in an interview with radio host Leland Conway, said violent video games that glorify murdering people and even allow players to rack up points for showing less compassion was at the core of the increasing number of attacks on schools, churches and concerts.
"There are video games that, yes, are listed for mature audiences, but kids play them and everybody knows it, and there's nothing to prevent the child from playing them," Bevin told Conway. "They celebrate the slaughtering of people. There are games that literally replicate and give people the ability to score points for doing the very same thing that these students are doing inside of schools, where you get extra points for finishing someone off who's lying there begging for their life."
It is not the first time Bevin has called out the makers of video games where players score points for killing. In January in Bevin’s own state, a 15-year-old boy killed two classmates and injured 14. After the shooting at Marshall County High School in Benton, Kentucky, Bevin posted an 11-minute video on Facebook where he said violent videos were a “cultural problem” that sparked the incident.
"We are desensitizing young people to the actual tragic reality and permanency of death," Bevin said. "This is a cultural problem."
After the shootings at Marjory Stonehouse Douglas High School last week, Bevin stepped up his attack, calling out other cultural influences such as music, television and movies, slamming them for violent lyrics or plots.
Are guns the problem? It's time to have an honest conversation. https://t.co/WhTJyQE9HQ— Governor Matt Bevin (@GovMattBevin) February 16, 2018
"Why do we need a video game, for example, that encourages people to kill people?" Bevin said. "Whether it's lyrics, whether it's TV shows, whether it's movies, I'm asking the producers of these products, these video games and these movies, ask yourselves what redemptive value, other than shock value, other than the hope you'll make a couple of bucks off it. At what price? At what price?"
Bevin isn’t the only one speaking out against violent video games. Others have pointed to such games as inspiration for similar attacks. But is there evidence that links playing violent games with taking a rifle and shooting people at a high school or some other venue?
The psychological community is split.
A study by researchers at the University of York in York, England, found no evidence that adults who play violent video games were any more likely to commit a violent act then those who do not play the games.
The study of 3,000 participants released in January showed the games do not “necessarily increase aggression in game players.
The York study also examined the realism of the games and whether that had an effect on the way players later acted. They looked at games that used characters that moved and reacted as a human would, not just an animated character. Researchers concluded that “there is no link between these kinds of realism in games and the kind of effects that video games are commonly thought to have on their players.”
The York researchers pointed out in their conclusions that the tests were conducted on adults. "We also only tested these theories on adults, so more work is needed to understand whether a different effect is evident in children players."
A 2015 study by the American Psychological Association contradicts the York study in part. The APA study found that playing violent video games is linked to increased aggression in players, but that there is “insufficient evidence” to link game playing with criminal violence or delinquency.
Those conducting the study stressed that while an increase in aggression was seen in the subjects of the study, the games’ effect on certain people with certain risk factors needs to be studied further.
“We know that there are numerous risk factors for aggressive behavior,” said Mark Appelbaum, the chairman of the task force that conducted the study. “What researchers need to do now is conduct studies that look at the effects of video game play in people at risk for aggression or violence due to a combination of risk factors. For example, how do depression or delinquency interact with violent video game use?”
A study of 105 Canadian teenagers – boys and girls – found that the teens that spent more than three hours a day playing violent video games were in danger of delayed emotional development .
Mirjana Bajovic, the author of the study, noted that not all the teens playing violent games showed a delay in emotional development, and that no correlation existed between the level of emotional development and those who played nonviolent games. Bajovic did note that the time spent playing those games was the main factor in influencing “empathic behavior and tendencies.
A study published in Psychological Science led researchers to conclude that for some, assuming an identity in a video game can have real-world impact.
Researchers asked 200 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to choose to be either a villain or a hero in a video game, and what they saw was an impact in levels of consideration in the students.
“Our results indicate that just five minutes of role-play in virtual environments as either a hero or a villain can easily cause people to reward or punish anonymous strangers,” said Gunwoo Yoon, lead author of the study.
The students were given the choice to serve chocolate sauce to a stranger or to serve hot chili sauce. Researchers found that those who chose to play the hero – in this case, cartoon character Superman – would serve chocolate to the stranger. Those who assumed the villain role – Voldemort from the Harry Potter novels – would serve the chili sauce.
The choices from the students were measured after as little as five minutes of playing the games.
Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 11:46 AM
PRINCE GEORGE COUNTY, Va. — A dog left tied to a tree with a note around its neck has been adopted.
Zeus was found tied to a tree with a note attached to his collar and a bag of food nearby.
“I am a very good dog. My owner just can’t afford me anymore,” the handwritten note read, according to WTVR. “She tried to find me a home but nobody would take me.”
The Prince George County Animal Shelter posted images of the 2-year-old German shepherd, Labrador mix Feb. 10. Zeus, who can sit, shake and loves to fetch, was able to get adopted Feb. 13, the first day he was available for adoption.
“Zeus' new family are wonderful pet owners who will give Zeus the kind of home that loves him for life this time,” the shelter said on Facebook.
Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 11:44 AM
CARTEGENA, Colombia — A Capuchin monkey and a dog have made an unlikely pair in Colombia.
Now the two are the best of unusual friends, Sky News reported.
But their friendship may soon be forced to come to an end.
The monkey becomes upset when anyone gets near them, so the Environmental and Ecological Protection Police took the dog and monkey and could separate them, returning the monkey to the wild, the Independent reported. But there could be a hiccup to their plan. The Independent reported that the Capuchins in the wild may not welcome the monkey into their group.