Society's ChildS


Japan Maintains Fukushima Reactor Timetable Despite Damage Discovery

© ReutersIllustration: Smoke is seen coming from the area of the No. 3 reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan
Tokyo - Japanese officials on Monday reiterated their commitment to bring the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex under control within the six to nine month timetable announced mid-April despite recent discoveries that its reactors are more heavily damaged than previously believed.

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said that the plant's three damaged reactors--Units 1-3--should be safely shut down in line with the schedule unveiled on April 17.

"I believe we can maintain the original timeframe," Kan told parliament.

The prime minister's special adviser on the nuclear issue, Goshi Hosono, said the plan is realistic because the reactors are continuing to cool down and are therefore moving to a safe condition.

Red Flag

Gulf Coast Syndrome

Spraying chemical dispersant Corexit
© n/aSpraying chemical dispersant Corexit in the Gulf of Mexico
A year after the BP disaster, some Southerners say they're coming down with mysterious and frightening illnesses

"This is the best-hidden secret perhaps in the history of our nation."

Dr. Mike Robichaux speaks into a microphone while standing on a truck bed in the shade of a massive tree in his yard in Raceland, La. He's wearing a blue polo shirt and jeans, and his white-gray hair is parted neatly. The former state senator, known affectionately as Dr. Mike, is an ear, nose and throat specialist in Lafourche Parish and self-described "too easygoing of a guy." But today, he's pissed.

"Nobody is fussing about this," he says.

Robichaux invited his patients and dozens of others to speak about their situations. Outside of neighborhood papers with names like the Houma Courier, the Daily Comet and Tri-Parish Times, their stories exist solely on blogs and Facebook - unless you visit Al Jazeera English, or sources in Germany, Belgium and elsewhere in Europe.

Heart - Black

Bush calls bin Laden death "judgment"

Las Vegas - George W. Bush says he was "not overjoyed" when President Barack Obama told him Osama bin Laden was dead because the campaign to track down the al-Qaeda leader was done not "out of hatred, but to exact judgment."

ABC News reports Bush made his first candid public comments on bin Laden's killing Wednesday at a hedge fund conference in Las Vegas. The former president said he was at a restaurant when he got Obama's call. Bush said Obama described the secret mission in detail. Bush said he told Obama, "Good call," and noted, "The intelligence services deserve a lot of credit."


Bomb blast destroys five NATO oil tankers in Pakistan

© GoogleTopographic of Peshawar/Pakistan Region.
Peshawar, Pakistan - At least five NATO oil tankers bound for Afghanistan caught fire on Friday after a bomb planted beneath one of them exploded, but there were no casualties, officials in Pakistan said.

"A remote-controlled device planted under one of the tankers carrying fuel for NATO troops in Afghanistan went off, triggering a fire that engulfed four more tankers," local administration official Iqbal Khan Khattak said.

The tankers were parked in the Torkham area of the troubled Khyber tribal region near the Afghan border.

Khattak said that there were a total of 21 tankers parked in the terminal, but the other vehicles were safe after being moved away from the blast site.

A local intelligence official confirmed the incident and said there were no casualties.

No group has claimed responsibility for the blast but the Taliban has said it carried out such attacks in the past.


Israel-Palestinian Violence Erupts on Three Borders

Israeli border policemen
© Reuters/Ammar AwadIsraeli border policemen detain a Palestinian protester during clashes in Shuafat refugee camp, in the West Bank near Jerusalem May 15, 2011.
Israeli troops shot Palestinian protesters who surged toward its frontiers with Syria, Lebanon and Gaza on Sunday, killing at least 13 people on the day Palestinians mourn the establishment of Israel in 1948.

In the deadliest such confrontation in years of anniversary clashes usually confined to the West Bank and Gaza, Israeli forces opened fire in three separate border locations to prevent crowds of demonstrators from crossing frontier lines.

The new challenge to Israel came from the borders of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Gaza -- all home to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who fled or were driven out in 1948.

Combined with a public relations disaster last year over the killing of pro-Palestinian activists in a Gaza aid flotilla and a determined Palestinian diplomatic drive to win U.N. recognition of statehood in September this year, the bloody border protests raised the stakes further for Israel.

Cloud Lightning

US:Boy Stays Safe from Tornado Hiding Inside Dryer

Two tornadoes swept through the town of Lenox, Iowa on Wednesday. Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt. Though one little boy got the scare of a lifetime. He managed to ride the storm out inside a dryer!

Jessica miller says her 11-year-old son Austin was home alone when the storm came rolling in. She called him from work. She says, "I said get in the laundry room. There is not a basement and I said just get in the laundry room and he said 'why mommy?' and I said, "just get in laundry room" and then the sirens went off."

As Jessica desperately tried to get home, two tornadoes whipped up debris you now see on the streets into a blinding mess. She says, "We saw all this stuff it was just a big gray swishing crap in the air."

She was stuck, unable to go any further. She says, "He said, 'Mommy there's glass breaking, it's loud crackling, it's loud and I think the house is going.' And I was like, 'Austin!' I mean I was like two blocks away I could not get here. It was like the worst feeling I can't even explain."


Cruise ship MSC Opera loses all power in Baltic

MSC Opera
© AP

A cruise ship carrying about 400 British passengers is being towed into a Swedish port after developing technical problems in the Baltic.

Tugs were sent to the MSC Opera after it lost all electrical power off the island of Gotland on Sunday morning.

The ship's Italian-owned operators said the engines had to be switched off.

Heart - Black

India: Two Mothers Strangle Daughters in Honour Killings

Indian flag
© The Associated Press / Altaf QadriAn Indian flag is seen on top of a building at the check post between India and Pakistan.
Two Muslim mothers in a northern Indian town have been arrested on accusations they killed their daughters for dishonouring the family by eloping with Hindu men, police said Sunday.

Newlyweds Zahida, 19, and Husna, 26, were strangled when they returned home after getting married to men of their choice, said Anil Kumar Kusan, a police officer.

Marriages between Hindus and Muslims are not common in India and are frowned upon by both communities, although there are more instances of inter-religious marriages among the educated urban population.

Across India, many marriages are still arranged by families. But with the booming economy and more women entering the work force, such traditions are slowly giving way to love marriages.


Spain: Man accused of beheading Briton in Tenerife remanded in custody

The man accused of murdering Jennifer Mills-Westley, the British woman who was beheaded in a frenzied knife attack while shopping on the holiday island of Tenerife, has been remanded in prison by a Spanish court.

Jennifer Mills-Westley
© the Lucie Blackman Trust & Missing Abroad/PAJennifer Mills-Westley was stabbed and decapitated in Tenerife supermarket
The decision came amid a growing scandal over how Deyan Valentinov Deyanov, a 28-year-old Bulgarian with a record of mental health problems and violence was allowed to roam the streets of the tourist resort of Los Cristianos, in the south of Tenerife.

Locals also expressed growing concern about the impact on tourism in a Canary Island resort highly popular with Britons.

It has emerged that Mills-Westley, 60, who had five grandchildren, had sought refuge at an employment centre in Los Cristianos, where she told social services officials she was being trailed. A man was reportedly sent away from the area by a security guard before she left the building.

Heart - Black

Schwarzenegger-Shriver Split Symptom of Boomer Divorce Epidemic?

broken heart
© unknown
This week's news that Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver have separated after 25 years of marriage may just be the latest tremor in a far bigger seismic event that's rocking baby boomers' world. Or at least, that's the story line that a lot of news media and blogosphere commentators are pushing these days.

For example, CNN's Amy Wilson notes in this blog post that the Schwarzenegger-Shriver split comes in the wake of another high-profile breakup of a seemingly solid midlife couple, former Vice President and environmental activist-icon Al Gore and his wife, Tipper, and other failed marriages for prominent boomers. Wilson evokes a 2010 Pew Research Center survey that shows that boomers are more inclined than younger adults to bail from a failing relationship. In the poll, 65 percent said that divorce is preferable to staying in an unhappy marriage, compared to 54 percent of younger adults. (Both boomers and younger adults also are much more inclined than over-65 Americans, by a 70 to 50 percent margin, to believe that the main purpose of marriage is happiness, the study showed.)