Archive for 04/05/2011

U.S. Sees Array of New Threats at Japan’s Nuclear Plant

04/05/2011 Leave a comment

By JAMES GLANZ and WILLIAM J. BROAD – “United States government engineers sent to help with the crisis in Japan are warning that the troubled nuclear plant there is facing a wide array of fresh threats that could persist indefinitely, and that in some cases are expected to increase as a result of the very measures being taken to keep the plant stable, according to a confidential assessment prepared by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Among the new threats that were cited in the assessment, dated March 26, are the mounting stresses placed on the containment structures as they fill with radioactive cooling water, making them more vulnerable to rupture in one of the aftershocks rattling the site after the earthquake and tsunami of March 11. The document also cites the possibility of explosions inside the containment structures due to the release of hydrogen and oxygen from seawater pumped into the reactors, and offers new details on how semimolten fuel rods and salt buildup are impeding the flow of fresh water meant to cool the nuclear cores.”  Read more.


Categories: Man-Made Disasters Tags:

Death Threats Issued Against Christian Leaders in Pakistan

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By Dan Wooding – “FAISALABAD, PAKISTAN (ANS) — A leading human rights campaigner in Pakistan has urged the government to provide ‘full-fledged security’ for Mr. Joseph Francis, Director of CLAAS (Center for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement), after Francis has received death threats for his work on the repeal of the country’s controversial blashemphy laws.

Naveed Walter, President of Human Rights Focus Pakistan (HRFP), told the ASSIST News Service that he is concerned for the safety of Mr. Francis, and other Christian leaders, who are also receiving disturbing threats…

‘We also strongly condemn the death threats to Christian leaders and we are not afraid. I have also got threats from unknown people during the campaign for the total repeal of blasphemy laws and now, during the recent demonstrations following the assassination of Mr. Shahbaz Bhatti.

‘We are committed, at any cost, to continue our peaceful struggle until religious freedom prevails in Pakistan.'” Read more.

Pakistan: Christian Man Goes Into Hiding After Told by Islamists to ‘Convert or Die’

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“‘Convert or die’.  Masih Gill, a Christian from the city of Mardan, in the province of ‘Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’ (Northern Pakistan), was threatened with these words by a group of Muslims with whom he had been speaking, after the recent episode of the burning of the Koran in the US.

This event caused violent reactions in Pakistan (three churches attacked in a week) by Muslim extremists. Nearly one dozen UN guards were killed on April 1, while two were beheaded. Local sources say that Masih Gill simply defended his faith, saying that Christians respect all religions and do not nurture hostility towards anyone. The Muslims then threatened Gill. They also said that they would charge him before Pakistani authorities with blasphemy.”  Read more.

Highly Contagious AIDS-Like Disease Spreading in China

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By Chen Yilian – “In a small hotel across from the Beijing Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a reporter from New Express Daily, dressed in an isolation suit, interviewed a dozen ‘unusual’ patients from different areas of China. Their symptoms are painful and debilitating, and AIDS-like, but repeated tests for HIV have come up negative.

Lin Jun, one of the patients interviewed in the March 24 New Express Daily report, said he used to be chubby, but now he is skin and bones, and his joints have become all deformed.”  Read more.


Categories: Pestilence

‘Hamas Weapons Capability Increased Four-Fold Over Last Five Years’

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By Amos Harel – “… The details released Monday indicate that Hamas has a well-developed missile industry.

In the past five years, the range of Qassam rockets apparently increased, with Abu Sisi’s alleged help, from six to 22 kilometers, though reported attempts to increase the range to 40 kilometers failed. The anti-tank missiles armor penetration capability increased from six to 26 centimeters.

According to the court indictment, Abu Sisi was also developing a mortar shell that could penetrate meter-thick armor and damage even a Merkava tank. It also says Hamas inquired about buying Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles and smuggling missiles that could strike at Israeli navy ships.” Read more.


Egypt Ready to Re-Establish Diplomatic Ties with Iran

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“CAIRO – Cairo is ready to re-establish diplomatic ties with Tehran after a break of more than 30 years, Egypt’s foreign minister said on Monday, signaling a shift in Iran policy since the fall of President Hosni Mubarak.

‘The Egyptian and Iranian people deserve to have mutual relations reflecting their history and civilization,’ said Foreign Minister Nabil Elaraby after meeting Iranian official Mugtabi Amani.

‘Egypt is open to all countries and the aim is to achieve common interests,’ Elaraby said, adding that Cairo welcomed ‘opening a new page with Iran.’

It was the first publicly announced meeting between officials from both countries since Mubarak was toppled on Feb. 11, handing power to the army.”  Read more.


Categories: Radical Islam

Record Floods in Northern Namibia Kill 60, Displace 20,000

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“WINDHOEK (Reuters) – Record floods have hit central and northern Namibia, killing more than 60 people in the last week and causing millions of dollars of damage to roads, bridges and crops, officials said on Monday.

‘Over 20,000 people have been displaced,’ government disaster chief Japhet Iitenge said, adding that helicopters, boats and four-wheel drive vehicles had been deployed to evacuate communities and distribute emergency relief.

‘We are still awaiting reports on damages.'”  Read more.


Categories: Natural Disasters

6.0 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Kepulauan Talaud, Indonesia

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“JAKARTA, Apr 05, 2011 (Xinhua via COMTEX) — An earthquake measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale jolted Kepulauan Talaud, Indonesia at 18:14 Jakarta time (1114 GMT) on Tuesday, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The epicenter, with a depth of 17.60 km, was initially determined to be at 3.06 degrees north latitude and 126.97 degrees east longitude.”  Source.


Categories: Earthquakes Tags:

Series of Landslides, Volcanic Eruptions and Tremors Shake Sicily

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“(AGI) Palermo – There has been a concerted series of explosions and landslides on Stromboli. Over the last 24 hours, monitors at the Vesuvian Observatory have picked up fifteen seismic signals associated with mild landslide events, all along the Sciara del Fuoco (Stream of Fire). Most of these events were follow-ons to the explosions and can therefore be attributed to rolling debris. The tremor was clearly on a diminishing scale, however.”  Source.

Categories: Natural Disasters Tags:

Exit Visa: Iraqi Christians Look for Safe Haven

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By Ruth Moon – “The governments of the Netherlands, Great Britain, and other European countries have refused asylum to many Iraqis, including thousands of individual Christians. But this year, evangelical leaders and human rights groups are pushing to resettle Christian refugees in groups to help them maintain their church identity.

The stream of Christian refugees from Iraq and surrounding countries has increased in recent years, though exact numbers do not exist because refugees are not counted by religious affiliation, said Grégor Puppinck, director of the European Center for Law and Justice, the European arm of the American Center for Law and Justice.” Read more.

Radioactive Fish Found in East Japan

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“Japan’s Fisheries Ministry has found high levels of radioactive iodine and cesium in fish caught near the troubled Fukushima nuclear power plant, Kyodo news agency reported on Tuesday.

One kilogram of young launce caught near the town of Kitaibaraki on the Ibaraki Prefecture on Monday contained 526 bequerels of radioactive cesium, 500 bequerels more than the legal limit, and 1,700 bequerels of iodine.

The Ibaraki authorities urged people to stop eating fish…”  Read more.


Islamists in Egypt Seek Change Through Politics

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By Jeffrey Fleishman, Los Angeles Times – “… ‘We were young and we took extreme measures. But now we’re old men and our time in prison has made us wiser,’ he said. “Al Qaeda and Islamic militancy have lost their glamour. Look at what has happened. The young saw that violence didn’t bring change to Egypt, a peaceful revolution did.”

Ibrahim is one of an increasing number of ultraconservative and moderate Islamists seeking a political voice in a new Egypt. Since the downfall in February of President Hosni Mubarak, who for three decades kept religion far from the center of power, the Islamist message is unshackled. The Muslim Brotherhood, the largest opposition party, expects a strong showing in September’s parliamentary elections.”  Read more.

Categories: Radical Islam Tags:
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