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Day Care Owner Is Returned; Fled Country After Fatal Fire

© Fulton County Sherriff's Office, via Associated Press
Jessica Tata was arrested in Nigeria and transferred to the U.S. to face manslaughter charges.
A woman who fled to Nigeria after a fire killed four children at her day care center in Houston was flown back to the United States on Monday, the authorities said.

Investigators say that the woman, Jessica Tata, 22, left Houston two days after fire officials determined that the Feb. 24 blaze at Jackie's Child Care had most likely been sparked by a pot on a stove that the authorities believe Ms. Tata left unattended while she went shopping.

Three other children were injured in the fire.

Ms. Tata, who faces 14 charges, including four manslaughter counts, surrendered to Interpol agents in the Nigerian city of Port Harcourt on Saturday, the authorities said. Ms. Tata, an American citizen, has relatives in Port Harcourt, they said.

"You cannot thumb your nose at the justice system, whether it be domestically or abroad," Elizabeth Saenz, the United States marshal for the Southern District of Texas, said in a statement Monday. "Justice will be served. Jessica Tata has learned this, thanks to the global efforts of the many and unknown."

The children who died at Ms. Tata's in-home day care center were Elias Castillo, 16 months; Elizabeth Kajoh, 19 months; Kendyll Stradford, 20 months; and Shomari Leon Dickerson, age 3.

Bad Guys

Russia says Western strikes kill Libyan civilians

Russia called on Britain, France and the United States on Sunday to stop air strikes against what it said were non-military targets in Libya, saying the attacks had caused civilian casualties.

"In that respect we call on countries involved to stop the non-selective use of force," Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in a statement.

Lukashevich said 48 civilians were reported to have been killed and 150 wounded in the air strikes, figures that matched those given early on Sunday by Libyan state TV. He said strikes had destroyed a medical facility, roads and bridges.

The Western countries say they hit only military targets, including air defences and tanks that were threatening the eastern city of Benghazi.

Bad Guys

Putin likens U.N. Libya resolution to crusade calls

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin Monday likened the U.N. Security Council resolution supporting military action in Libya to medieval calls for crusades.

Putin, in the first major remarks from a Russian leader since a coalition of Western countries began air strikes in Libya, said that Muammar Gaddafi's government fell short of democracy but added that did not justify military intervention.

"The resolution is defective and flawed," Putin told workers at a Russian ballistic missile factory. "It allows everything. It resembles medieval calls for crusades."

Putin said that interference in other countries' internal affairs has become a trend in U.S. foreign policy and that the events in Libya indicated that Russia should strengthen its own defense capabilities.


Libya attacks criticised by Arab League, China, Russia and India

The air strikes launched by Western allies against Libya have been condemned by the head of a regional group for Arab states as well as China, Russia and India.

They said that the "indiscriminate" bombing raids went further than the no-fly zone agreed by the United Nations as a way of preventing Col Gaddafi's attacks on rebel forces, and risked harming civilians.

The criticisms by the head of the Arab League, in particular, risk undermining the legitimacy of the military action taken by France, Britain, Canada and the US, since the organisation had previously demanded the imposition of a no-fly zone.

No Entry

China paper blasts Western air attacks in Libya, compares them to Iraq, Afghanistan

China's most important political newspaper ratcheted up the country's criticism of Western airstrikes against Libya on Monday, comparing them to the U.S.-led invasions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Communist Party's flagship newspaper, The People's Daily, said in a commentary that the United States and its allies are violating international rules and that in places like Iraq "the unspeakable suffering of its people are a mirror and a warning."

"The military attacks on Libya are, following on from the Afghan and Iraq wars, the third time that some countries have launched armed action against sovereign countries," it said.

China continued to urge other nations to seek a peaceful resolution to the clash in the Middle East between Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and rebel forces.

Bad Guys

Bombing Libyan territory could mean large-scale conflict: Russia

Vitaly Churkin speaks
© AP
Russian permanent representative Vitaly Churkin speaks during a meeting of the United Nations Security Council at UN headquarters on Thursday, March 17, 2011. Russia was one of five Security Council members to abstain during the vote on a no-fly zone in Libya.

Russia has warned that foreign military intervention in Libya could trigger an all-out war with the West.

"Any bombing of Libyan territory could provoke a large-scale conflict between the so-called West and the so-called Arab world," a Russian Parliament leader said commenting on French and British plans to carry out aerial attacks in Libya.

Russia will not take part in a military operation in Libya, a top Russian defence official said on Friday.

"No, this is ruled out," Chief of the Russian General Staff Nikolai Makarov told the Interfax news agency.


US, Louisiana: Waterford 3 nuclear plant is not immune to ground-fault concerns, some geologists say

Recent advances in geological study have uncovered an array of deep-seated regional faults, long thought to be dormant, that have shown surface movement throughout southeast Louisiana. And in the wake of Japan's nuclear crisis, some local geologists and environmental activists are warning that the levees along the Waterford 3 nuclear plant in St. Charles Parish should be evaluated for potential fault hazards.

"It's not that you would have an earthquake at the time of a flood, but it creates a natural hazard that you should either avoid or take special precautions in your design for, and I think the troublesome thing is that Taft when it was built, that wasn't a concentrated risk," said Woody Gagliano, a geologist with Coastal Environments Inc., a Baton Rouge environmental consulting firm, who has studied the effects of geological faults on levee failures.

Three months after Hurricane Katrina roared through New Orleans in 2005, Gagliano testified before the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee that geological faults were known to underlie the levees at "many, if not most" of the breaches that occurred in hurricane levees and floodwalls in southeast Louisiana.


Google fined over Street View privacy breach

© AP/Paul Sakuma
In this photo taken March 7, 2011, Matt Potter of Google pedals Goggle's new Street View Tricycle at Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. France's privacy watchdog has handed down its largest fine ever against Google Monday, March 21, 2011, for improperly gathering and storing potentially sensitive data from Wi-Fi networks for its Street View application.
Paris - Google received its first ever fine for improperly gathering and storing data for its Street View application on Monday when it was penalized by France's privacy watchdog.

The 100,000 euro ($141,300) penalty - the largest ever by French body CNIL - sanctions Google for collecting personal data from Wi-Fi networks - including e-mails, web browsing histories and online banking details - from 2007 to 2010 through its roaming camera-mounted cars and bicycles.

The fine is the first against Google over the data-gathering, which more than 30 countries have complained about. At least two other European countries are considering fines, while some others have ruled against penalizing Google.

Google Inc. has apologized and says it will delete the data.

"As we have said before, we are profoundly sorry for having mistakenly collected payload data from unencrypted Wi-Fi networks," Google's Global Privacy Counsel Peter Fleischer said in an e-mailed statement. "As soon as we realized what had happened, we stopped collecting all Wi-Fi data from our Street View cars and immediately informed the authorities."


Crippled Japanese nuclear plant evacuates workers after smoke rises from complex

© Associated Press
Ko Nakamura, a victim of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, walks around his devastated home area searching for missing people with his dog in Otsuchi, northern Japan, Monday, March 21, 2011.
Fukushima, Japan - Plant operators evacuated workers from Japan's tsunami-stricken nuclear complex Monday after grey smoke rose from one of its reactor units, the latest of persistent troubles in stabilizing the complex after it was damaged in a quake and tsunami.

Smoke rising from the spent fuel storage pool of the plant's Unit 3 prompted the evacuation, Tokyo Electric Power Co. spokesman Hiroshi Aizawa said. The problem-plagued Unit 3 also alarmed plant officials over the weekend with a sudden surge of pressure in its reactor core.

Japanese officials had reported some progress over the weekend in their battle to bring the radiation-leaking Fukushima Dai-ichi plant under control after it was damaged during the massive March 11 earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeast Japan. But the crisis was far from over, with the discovery of more radiation-tainted vegetables and tap water adding to public fears about contaminated food and drink.

The toll of Japan's triple disaster came into clearer focus Monday after police estimates showed more than 18,000 people died in the quake and tsunami, and the World Bank said rebuilding may cost $235 billion.


Portugal's government fights for survival amid unpopular measures to ease financial crisis

© The Canadian Press
Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates, right, looks at Pedro Passos Coelho, leader of the main opposition party the center-right Social Democratic Party, PSD, as they meet Monday March 21, 2011
Lisbon, Portugal - Just as Portugal appeared to have dodged a bailout like those taken by Greece and Ireland, a domestic political spat was set Monday to worsen its financial troubles and possibly spoil Europe's efforts to put the sovereign debt crisis behind it.

Portugal's main opposition parties told the beleaguered minority government they won't budge from their refusal to endorse a new set of austerity measures designed to ease a huge debt burden that is crippling the economy.

The new steps are likely to be rejected in a parliamentary vote expected Wednesday and the timing could not be worse. A defeat in the vote, Prime Minister Jose Socrates warned, would trigger his government's resignation, consigning Portugal to at least two months of political limbo just as officials were hoping to boost investor confidence in the country's future.

"At this point, a political crisis is a big push towards the country resorting to outside help," Finance Minister Fernando Teixeira dos Santos said.