Welcome to Sott.net
Wed, 30 Sep 2020
The World for People who Think

Society's Child
Map

Nuke

Earthquake Death Toll May Exceed 10,000 as Japan Fights Nuclear Accident

Image
© Reuters / Kyodo
Houses lie flattened after a powerful earthquake in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture March 11, 2011.
Japan grappled to contain its worst nuclear accident in at least 33 years at a plant north of Tokyo as local media said the death toll from the nation's biggest earthquake and ensuing tsunami may top 10,000.

Radiation levels around the Tokyo Electric Power Co. station in Fukushima, 135 miles north (217 kilometers) of the capital, rose after cooling systems at a second reactor failed, heightening concerns about a possible meltdown following an explosion there yesterday. Water levels fell at a third reactor, raising the possibility of a hydrogen explosion there, Japan's top government spokesman said yesterday.

The 8.9-magnitude temblor and subsequent tsunami may have killed 10,000 in Miyagi prefecture north of Tokyo, national broadcaster NHK reported, citing local police. The official toll reached 1,597, with 1,481 more missing and 1,683 injured, the National Police Agency said. More than 350,000 people are in emergency shelters.

"Our country faces its worst crisis since the end of the war 65 years ago," an emotional Prime Minister Naoto Kan said at a nationally televised press conference in Tokyo yesterday. "I'm convinced that working together with all our might the Japanese people can overcome this."

Life Preserver

Japan tsunami survivor Hiromitsu Shinkawa found 10 miles out at sea

Image
© The Associated Press
Tsunami victim Hiromitsu Shinkawa, 65, waves to rescuers who spotted him floating on the roof of his home nearly 10 miles out to sea.
Rescuers spot 60-year-old from Fukushima prefecture clinging to the roof of his home two days after the tsunami struck

A 60-year-old man has been found on the roof of his floating house nearly 10 miles out at sea, two days after the tsunami that devastated the north-east coast of Japan.

Hiromitsu Shinkawa must have resigned himself to his fate when he was swept away by the retreating tsunami that roared ashore in his home town of Minami Soma in Fukushima prefecture.

As the wave approached, Shinkawa took the fateful decision to return home to collect belongings. Minutes later he was out at sea clinging to a piece of the roof from his own home.

Incredibly, he was spotted by a maritime self-defence force destroyer taking part in the rescue effort as he clung to the wreckage with one hand and waved a self-made red flag with the other. He had been at sea for two days.

Reports said that on being handed a drink aboard the rescue boat, Shinkawa gulped it down and immediately burst into tears. His wife, with whom he had returned home as the tsunami approached, is still missing.

Dollar

Moscow is now the billionaire capital of the world

Vladimir Lisin
© Agence France-Presse
Publicity shy Vladimir Lisin, pictured in Lipetsk in 2003, has retained his position as Russia's wealthiest man
Russian oligarchs are back with a bang, making Moscow the billionaire capital of the world.

Profiting from a boom in commodities, the number of billionaires in Russia, most of whom built their empires during the country's anarchic 1990s, grew to 101 from 62 last year, Forbes said in its annual list of the world's richest people.

Moscow is home to 79 of Russia's billionaires, more than any other city in the world.

Russia accounts for a third of Europe's 300 billionaires, and 15 of the world's 100 richest people, more than all the other so-called BRIC countries combined (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and more than Saudi Arabia.

Stormtrooper

Gaddafi's army will kill half a million, warn Libyan rebels

Image
© Patrick Baz/Getty
Libyan rebels have called on UN to impose a no-fly zone.
Rebels flee Ras Lanuf and call on UN to impose no-fly zone as Gaddafi's forces recapture strategically important towns

Muammar Gaddafi's army won control of a strategic rebel-held Libyan town and laid siege to another as the revolutionary administration in Benghazi again appealed for foreign military help to prevent what it said would be the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people if the insurgents were to lose.

The rebels admitted retreating from the oil town of Ras Lanuf - captured a week ago - after two days of intense fighting and that the nearby town of Brega was now threatened.

The revolutionary army, in large part made up of inexperienced young volunteers, has been forced back by a sustained artillery, tank and air bombardment about 20 miles along the road to the rebel capital of Benghazi.

Bizarro Earth

Estimated 10,000 Dead in Japan Amid Fears of Nuclear Meltdowns

earthquake Japan 2011 overturned highway
© t.sina.com.cn
The estimated death toll from Japan's disasters climbed past 10,000 Sunday as authorities raced to combat the threat of multiple nuclear reactor meltdowns and hundreds of thousands of people struggled to find food and water. The prime minister said it was the nation's worst crisis since World War II.

Nuclear plant operators worked frantically to try to keep temperatures down in several reactors crippled by the earthquake and tsunami, wrecking at least two by dumping sea water into them in last-ditch efforts to avoid meltdowns. Officials warned of a second explosion but said it would not pose a health threat.

Near-freezing temperatures compounded the misery of survivors along hundreds of miles of the northeastern coast battered by the tsunami that smashed inland with breathtaking fury. Rescuers pulled bodies from mud-covered jumbles of wrecked houses, shattered tree trunks, twisted cars and tangled power lines while survivors examined the ruined remains.

Stormtrooper

Yemen police kill protesters in crackdown on dissent

Image
© Muhammed Muheisen/AP
Yemeni security forces have killed four people in a crackdown on protests against president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Four dead and hundreds wounded in Sana'a and Aden as William Hague expresses concern over ongoing violence

Yemeni security forces have killed four people and wounded hundreds more in the second day of a harsh crackdown on anti-government protests, witnesses said. One of the dead was a 15-year-old student.

The assault with gunfire and tear gas was the toughest yet by the government in a month of protests aimed at unseating the president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has been in power for 32 years. An ally in the Obama administration's fight against al-Qaida, Saleh had appeared to be one of the Arab leaders most threatened by the regional unrest inspired by revolts in Egypt and Tunisia.

The violence began with a pre-dawn raid on a central square in the capital, Sana'a, where thousands of pro-democracy protesters have been camped out.

Stormtrooper

Bahraini police use tear gas on rally

Image

Bahraini ani-government protesters hold rally in Manama.
Bahraini security forces have fired tear gas at anti-government protesters in the capital Manama as demonstrators vow to continue their protest, witnesses say.

Riot police opened fire on hundreds of demonstrators that tried to reach Bahrain's Financial Harbor, a key business district, Press TV correspondent reported.

Bahrainis have been staging protests since mid-February, demanding the resignation of King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and constitutional reforms to the Sunni-led government.

Inspired by revolutions that toppled the despotic regimes in Egypt and Tunisia, Bahraini protesters also demand free and fair elections as well as the release of political prisoners.

Trying to prevent the protesters from staging rallies near the major business district, Bahraini security forces blocked a key roadway on Sunday.

Police also clashed with protesters and took measures to push them back towards Pearl Square roundabout.

"Riot police once again are using excessive force against protesters," said the Press TV correspondent. "The protesters closed down one of the highways in response to the attack on peaceful demonstrations on Friday."

Megaphone

300,000 people rally across Portugal

Image
© Unknown
Protesters shout slogans as they take part in a demonstration in central Lisbon on March 11.
More than 300,000 people have taken to streets in Portugal's capital Lisbon and 10 other major cities to protest lack of job opportunities in their country.

An estimated 200,000 protesters in Lisbon crammed the wide Liberdade Avenue and the Rossio Square, carrying banners with slogans urging a policy change to reverse surging unemployment, precarious working conditions for young people and falling living standards.

Last year, Portugal reported a record unemployment rate of 10.8 percent.

In addition to Lisbon protesters, another 80,000 people demonstrated in Portugal's second largest city of Porto, and a Facebook appeal gathered 65,000 signatures in support of the move, LUSA news agency reported.

Arrow Down

US: Schoolboy Survives 220-Foot Drop from Golden Gate Bridge

Image
© Alamy
The 17 year-old survived the 220-foot drop from the Golden Gate bridge into San Francisco Bay with only minor injuries.
A California high school pupil visiting the Golden Gate Bridge on a field trip climbed over a railing, jumped - possibly on a dare by fellow classmates - and somehow survived the 220-foot plunge into San Francisco Bay that kills dozens of people each year.

Most jumpers die, of internal injuries, broken bones and skull fractures, or drowning.

But the 17 year-old lived, and a statement from his school said he suffered no severe injuries beyond bruising and tenderness. He was rescued by a surfer who paddled over and took him ashore, California Highway Patrol Officer Chris Rardin said.

"It's a miracle in itself," Rardin said. "The majority of folks do not survive this type of fall."

Windsor Unified School District Superintendent Bill McDermott said he did not think the teen was trying to commit suicide, but instead jumped after other pupils from Windsor High School in Sonoma County urged him on. Several witnesses saw the teen go over the railing.

An ambulance rushed the teen to a San Francisco hospital. Officials couldn't provide further details Thursday night on his condition.

Someone leaps off the bridge an average of once every two weeks, with 32 deaths last year. About 98 percent of those plunges are fatal, and authorities rule most of those deaths suicides.

Nuke

US Experts Fear 'Chernobyl-like' Crisis for Japan

Image
© Reuters
Natural gas containers burn at a facility following an earthquake in Chiba Prefecture near Tokyo, Japan March 11, 2011.Explosion was heard at Japan's nuclear plant on Saturday, following melt-down.
US nuclear experts warned Saturday that pumping sea water to cool a quake-hit Japanese nuclear reactor was an "act of desperation" that may foreshadow a Chernobyl-like disaster.

Several experts, in a conference call with reporters, also predicted that regardless of the outcome at the Fukushima No. 1 atomic plant crisis, the accident will seriously damage the nuclear power renaissance.

"The situation has become desperate enough that they apparently don't have the capability to deliver fresh water or plain water to cool the reactor and stabilize it, and now, in an act of desperation, are having to resort to diverting and using sea water," said Robert Alvarez, who works on nuclear disarmament at the Institute for Policy Studies.

"I would describe this measure as a 'Hail Mary' pass," added Alvarez, using American football slang for a final effort to win the game as time expires.

An 8.9 magnitude earthquake that struck Japan on Friday set off the emergency at the plant, which was then hit by an explosion Saturday that prompted an evacuation of the surrounding area.

Workers doused the stricken reactor with sea water to try to avert catastrophe, after the quake knocked out power to the cooling system.

What occurred at the plant was a "station blackout," which is the loss of offsite air-conditioning power combined with the failure of onsite power, in this case diesel generators.