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Fourth blast hits Japan nuclear plant - media

A fourth explosion has rocked the Fukushima nuclear plant on Tuesday at Unit 4 at the facility, the Japanese Kyodo news agency reports. The agency also reported high levels of radiation at Unit 3, which was hit by a blast on Monday.

In his televised address on Tuesday, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan announced that radiation had spread from the three damaged reactors in the plant. He has asked people living within 30 kilometers of the Fukushima complex to stay indoors to avoid potential health risks from radiation.

"We are making every effort possible so that no further explosion, or no further leakage of radioactive material, would happen," the Japanese prime minister told journalists at a news conference. "The people at the power plant are carrying out an operation to inject water to cool the reactors, despite their putting themselves in a very dangerous situation. So in that sense, we hope that we can avoid further radiation leakage."


Wine

UK: Three-year-old is UK's 'youngest ever alcoholic'

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© Agence France-Presse
A three-year-old child who was treated in hospital for addiction to alcohol is thought to be Britain's youngest ever alcoholic, health officials say
A three-year-old child who was treated in hospital for addiction to alcohol is thought to be Britain's youngest ever alcoholic, health officials said Monday.

The youngster was one of 13 people under the age of 12 who were diagnosed as alcoholics by the state-run National Health Service (NHS) in central England between 2008 and 2010.

Health officials declined to give details of the three-year-old's condition or disclose the toddler's identity due to patient confidentiality rules.

An NHS spokeswoman said: "We treat alcohol abuse very seriously, and have specialist teams and experts on hand who are there to treat young patients with alcohol-related problems."

Attention

Nearly 200,000 people evacuated near Japanese nuclear plant


Info

Radioactive Contamination Found on 17 U.S. Navy Crewmembers in Japan

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© U.S. Navy
Seventeen crewmembers on three U.S. Navy helicopters were found to have been contaminated with low levels of radiation, officials say.
Seventeen U.S. Navy crew members have been contaminated with low-levels of radiation during disaster relief missions in Japan, military officials said Monday.

The radioactivity was detected when the service members returned to the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan aboard three helicopters. They were treated with soap and water and their clothes were discarded.

"No further contamination was detected," the military said.

The helicopters were also decontaminated.

The U.S. 7th Fleet, positioned about 100 miles northeast of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to deliver aid to Japan's coastal region, moved its ships further away due to "airborne radioactivity" and contamination found on its planes.

The military noted, however, that the level of contamination was very low, and the ship movement was merely a precaution.

"For perspective, the maximum potential radiation dose received by any ship's force personnel aboard the ship when it passed through the area was less than the radiation exposure received from about one month of exposure to natural background radiation from sources such as rocks, soil, and the sun," the Navy said.

Arrow Up

Breaking News: Radiation leaking from damaged plant

Soma, Japan - Radiation is spewing from damaged reactors at a crippled nuclear power plant in tsunami-ravaged northeastern Japan in a dramatic escalation of the 4-day-old catastrophe. The prime minister has warned residents to stay inside or risk getting radiation sickness.

In a nationally televised statement, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said radiation has spread from the three reactors of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in one of the hardest-hit provinces in Friday's 9.0-magnitude earthquake and the ensuing tsunami. He told people living within 12 miles (20 kilometers) of the plant to evacuate and those within 19 miles (30 kilometers) to stay indoors.

"The level seems very high, and there is still a very high risk of more radiation coming out," Kan said.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said early Tuesday that a fourth reactor at the Fukushima Dai-ichi complex was on fire and that more radiation was released, but officials announced later in the day that the fire was extinguished.

"Now we are talking about levels that can damage human health. These are readings taken near the area where we believe the releases are happening. Far away, the levels should be lower," Edano said.


Arrow Up

U.S. West Coast in Path of Fallout

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© SFSU/Meteorology

"If There Were a Reactor Meltdown or Major Leak at Fukushima, the Radioactive Cloud Would Likely be Blown Out ... Towards the US West Coast"

California is closely monitoring efforts to contain leaks from a quake-damaged Japanese nuclear plant, a spokesman said Saturday, as experts said radiation could be blown out across the Pacific.

"At present there is no danger to California. However we are monitoring the situation closely in conjunction with our federal partners," Michael Sicilia, spokesman for California Department of Public Health, told AFP.

"California does have radioactivity monitoring systems in place for air, water and the food supply and can enhance that monitoring if a danger exists," he added.

Experts have suggested that, if there were a reactor meltdown or major leak at Fukushima, the radioactive cloud would likely be blown out east across the Pacific, towards the US West Coast.

Attention

Iran FM Warns No Force Against Bahrain's Protests

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© Reuters/Hamad I Mohammed
Anti-government protesters confront riot police on a flyover near the Pearl Square in Manama, March 13, 2011. Bahraini riot police fired thick clouds of tear gas and pushed back protesters who blocked a main thoroughfare leading to the Bahrain Financial Harbour, a key business district in the Gulf Arab region's banking centre.
Manama - Forces from neighboring Gulf Arab countries will help maintain order in Bahrain, Arabiya TV reported on Monday, and an adviser to Bahrain's royal court said their forces were already on the strategic island.

"Forces from the Gulf Cooperation Council have arrived in Bahrain to maintain order and security," Nabeel al-Hamer, a former information minister and adviser to the royal court, said on his Twitter feed.

Gulf Daily News, a newspaper close to Bahrain's powerful prime minister, reported on Monday that forces from the GCC, a six-member regional bloc, would protect strategic facilities.

A Saudi official said Monday that more than 1,000 Saudi troops, part of the Gulf countries' Peninsula Shield Force, have entered Bahrain where anti-regime protests have raged for a month.

The troops entered the strategic Gulf kingdom on Sunday, the official told AFP, requesting anonymity.

Dollar

Where are the Japanese looters?

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© Kyodo News/Associated Press
People walk to receive water supply through a street with the rubble Monday March 14, 2011 in Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture, northern Japan following Friday's massive earthquake and the ensuing tsunami.
The absence of looting in Japan has taken many western observers by surprise.

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans experienced looting on a scale that astonished even American cynics. After last year's earthquake, the looting in Chile was serious enough to require military intervention.

There was looting in Haiti after its earthquake last year and in England during the 2007 floods.

So far, though, there is no looting reported from Japan.

Is it really that surprising? The politeness, honesty and orderly behavior of the Japanese are widely admired. A Brazilian friend in the jewelry business, under the influence of severe jet-lag, left an unlocked briefcase containing thousands of dollars in cash and hundreds of thousands of dollars in gem stones on a Tokyo commuter train.

His host talked him out of cutting his wrists and escorted him to the next station served by the train, where the briefcase and its contents were waiting for him at the lost-and-found counter.

If stories like that are credible in Japan and unthinkable in New York, Paris or London, the question is, "why?"

Bizarro Earth

Radiation spewing from reactors at Japan nuke plant

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Tagajo, Japan - Japan warned of an alarming radiation leak from a stricken nuclear power plant and told people nearby to stay indoors to avoid becoming sick in a rapidly escalating national crisis following last week's earthquake and tsunami.

In a nationally televised statement, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said radiation has spread from the three reactors of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in one of the hardest-hit provinces in Friday's 9.0-magnitude earthquake and the ensuing tsunami.

"The level seems very high, and there is still a very high risk of more radiation coming out," Kan said.

Evil Rays

Japan: Fourth Reactor on Fire

A spokesman says the fourth reactor at a damaged nuclear plant is now on fire; more radiation has been released, and it's enough in nearby areas to have an impact on health. Japan's prime minister says radiation has spread from the damaged reactors and warned of risks of more leaks. People within 19 miles of the power plant have been ordered to remain indoors. Details to follow.