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Many Outraged Over Prayer Service Held Before Tests

Baltimore - Praying for better grades. That's what happened inside a Baltimore City school and now legal experts say it violated the separation of church and state. Adam May reports on the controversy.

Dozens of students and parents gathered inside Tench Tilghman Elementary and Middle School last week for a Saturday prayer service aimed at motivating students to do well on state testing.

Wall Street

Tokyo Electric Battles Cooling System Failures at 3 Reactors Hit by Quake

© Jiji Press/AFP/Getty Images
Medical staff checks radiation levels of a resident in Koriyama city, Japan.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. engineers tried to stabilize three nuclear reactors damaged by the biggest earthquake in Japan's history after the plant was struck by a second explosion and as water levels dropped at one reactor, exposing fuel rods and increasing the threat of a meltdown.

The cooling system failed at the Dai-Ichi No. 2 reactor today, said Tokyo Electric, which runs the Fukushima nuclear plant 220 kilometers (135 miles) north of the nation's capital. Fuel rods at the reactor may have melted after becoming fully exposed, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told reporters.

A hydrogen explosion occurred at the No. 3 reactor today, following a similar blast on March 12 at the No. 1 reactor that destroyed the walls of its building. The utility has been flooding the three reactors with water and boric acid to reduce the potential for a large release of radiation into the atmosphere following the March 11 earthquake-generated tsunami that smashed into the plant, disabling electricity supply and backup generators.

"They are managing the situation, they have very qualified personnel there," Gennady Pshakin, a nuclear expert based in Obninsk, Russia, said by telephone. "We will have a week or 10 days of this uncertainty, but the situation should normalize. What we need is for the water supply to be constant."

Bizarro Earth

Japan's nightmare gets Worse: 3 damaged nuclear reactors now in meltdown at tsunami-hit power station

  • Fuel rods appear to be melting inside three over-heating reactors
  • Experts class development as 'partial meltdown'
  • Japan calls for U.S. help cooling the reactor
The Japanese nuclear reactor hit by the tsunami went into 'meltdown' today, as officials admitted that fuel rods appear to be melting inside three damaged reactors.

There is a risk that molten nuclear fuel can melt through the reactor's safety barriers and cause a serious radiation leak.

There have already been explosions inside two over-heating reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, and the fuel rods inside a third were partially exposed as engineers desperately fight to keep them cool after the tsunami knocked out systems.

© AFP/Getty Images
'Meltdown': The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant moments after it was rocked by a second explosion today. Officials later admitted that fuel rods are 'highly likely' to be melting in three damaged reactors

Eye 1

17 US Navy crewmembers in Japan test positive for radioactivity

As Japan struggles to contain three nuclear power reactors following a devastating 9.0 earthquake and tsunami, there have been a series of explosions and subsequent releases of radioactive stream, leading authorities to set up a 13-mile exclusion zone to help protect the local population.

In spite of the safeguards, 17 US Navy helicopter crewmembers have been tested and found to be radioactive, according to CNN.

A Navy spokesman said they were cleared free of radiation after they washed themselves thoroughly, but US forces are taking no chances. The 7th Fleet said Monday morning it was moving its ships clear of the reactor to avoid any threat to their mission: helping the people of Japan.

This video was broadcast by CNN on Monday, March 14, 2011.


Gadhafi forces attack western Libyan town

'The shops are closed, people are terrified,' resident says

© Associated Press
Protesters against Gadhafi
Tunis - Forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi attacked the small town of Zuwarah on Monday, seeking to recapture one of the last remaining rebel holdouts in western Libya, residents said.

"They are coming from the eastern side and also trying to get in from the west and the south. They are one kilometer from the center of town," resident Tarek Abdallah told Reuters by telephone.

"They are firing artillery shells. The shops are closed, people are terrified. There is no life in Zuwarah right now."

Zuwarah is a Mediterranean coastal town of 40,000 people, mostly from the Amazigh Berber minority, some 70 miles west of the capital Tripoli and near the border with Tunisia.

"I do not think we will hold on for long because there aren't that many of us, but the rebels went to try to defend the town anyway," Abdallah said.


Frustrated Crowd To NY Fed Chief: 'I Can't Eat An iPad'

© Scott J. Ferrell Congressional Quaterly/Newscom Wikimedia
New York Fed President William Dudley
New York Federal Reserve President William Dudley on Friday tried to calm people's nerves about rising food prices by reminding them that other products -- like iPads -- are getting cheaper.

"Today you can buy an iPad 2 that costs the same as an iPad 1 that is twice as powerful," Dudley said in Queens, Reuters reports. "You have to look at the price of all things."

But better iPads don't put food on the table, audience members reminded him.

"When was the last time, sir, that you went grocery shopping?" one person asked.

And, perhaps most succinctly, another told him, "I can't eat an iPad."


Saudi troops enter Bahrain to quell protests

Cairo - Saudi Arabian troops entered Bahrain on Monday as part of a military force from Gulf states called in to deal with a month of political unrest in the island kingdom.

Bahrain's government called in forces from its Sunni neighbors to put down unrest after protesters overwhelmed police and blocked roads in a resurgence of mass protests seen last month.

Nabeel al-Hamer, a former information minister and adviser to the royal court, said on his Twitter feed these troops were already on the island, a key U.S. ally and headquarters of the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet. Saudi officials declined comment.

Reporters saw no immediate movement of Saudi forces across the 16-mile causeway between the two countries.

Bahraini opposition groups including the largest Shiite Muslim party Wefaq said any intervention by Gulf Arab forces on the island was a declaration of war and an occupation.

Arrow Down

Wall Street slides amid fears over impact of Japan quake

© Eugene Hoshiko/AP
A man looks at a stock price board in Tokyo Monday. The Tokyo stock market plunged Monday, its first business day after an earthquake and tsunami of epic proportions laid waste to cities along Japan’s northeast coast, killing thousands.
Wall Street followed Japanese stocks lower Monday, as investors worried about the impact of Friday's devastating earthquake and tsunami that laid waste to cities along Japan's northeast coast, killing thousands and causing tens of billions of dollars in damage.

The Dow Jones industrial average was lately down 90 points. Shares in Europe mostly fell, led lower by shares of insurance and luxury shares on worries over the sectors' exposure to Japan.

"The market is clearly focused on Japan," said Peter Kenny, managing director at Knight Equity Markets in Jersey City, N.J. "It's the horror of the human toll and secondarily what it means for global demand."

Earlier Monday, the Tokyo stock market plunged, closing down 6.18 percent on its first day of business after the earthquake and tsunami. Shares in other Asian markets were mixed.

Oil prices dropped below $99 a barrel as the disaster threatened to send Japan, the world's third-largest economy, into a recession that could crimp demand for crude. In currencies, the dollar was down against the yen and the euro.


Global food prices hit record high

Big companies have increased their product prices because of higher raw material costs
Problem is set to worsen after a massive snowstorm in the United States and floods in Australia.

World food prices have hit their highest level on record in January, the United Nations has said.

It said on Thursday that its Food and Agriculture Organisation Food Price Index rose for the seventh month in a row to reach 231, topping the peak of 224.1 last seen in June 2008.

It is the highest level the index has reached since records began in 1990.

"The new figures clearly show that the upward pressure on world food prices is not abating. These high prices are likely to persist in the months to come," said Abdolreza Abbassian, an economist for FAO, which is based in Rome.


Civil unrest and food riots predicted in the UK by senior economist

© All Voices
The price of wheat, sugar, oil and other foodstuffs has risen sharply
The UK is experiencing a hike in inflation. After quite a few years when inflation was under control, it is hitting everyone hard. Added to the expected increases, conflict in the middleeast looks set to push oil prices through the roof. This in turn increases the price of basic food stuffs further. With a coalition government determined to reduce the country's debts immediately, it looks like we are in for a bumpy ride.

The latest UK predictions, from a senior economist at the worldwide bank of HSBC, make for gloomy reading. In fact they indicate doom, as well as gloom.

As Karen Ward, the economist in question, has pointed out, peoples incomes in the UK are on a downward spiral. There will be few, if any, ordinary citizens who would disagree with that. Most public sector workers who usually receive an annual cost of living increase, however small, in their pay-packets will be disappointed this year. These increases have been frozen for the foreseeable future.