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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.


Pills

Japan disaster leads to nuke pill demand in Seattle

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© Unknown
Seattle USA - The phone has been ringing off the hook at Seattle vitamin and nutrition stores as worried customers try to get their hands on the radiation fighting compound potassium iodide.

Also known as K-I for its combined names on the Table of Elements, potassium iodide floods the body with non-radioactive iodine that then fends off radioactive iodine from nuclear exposure.

It proved very effective in fighting thyroid cancer in Europe after the Chernobyl disaster. It is being handed out in pill form to people living near the crippled nuclear reactors in Japan.

And even though experts have repeatedly said there is no current threat of a nuclear release reaching the U.S., a holistic nutrition store on Seattle's Capitol Hill had its modest supply of potassium iodide sold out in hours.

"Oh yeah, they're really scared," said Rae Diamond of Rainbow Natural Remedies, "and that's the main thing...to try to quiet the fears."

Bizarro Earth

Are We In Danger of Radioactive Exposure From the Japanese Nuclear Leaks?

Fukushima explosion
© NHK
Explosion at nuclear plant in Fukushima, Japan.
If we could rely on the Japanese and American governments to inform us of any danger, we wouldn't have to be so vigilant.

But given the American government's cover up of the severity of the BP oil disaster, the health risk to New Yorkers after 9/11, and numerous other health issues, we will have to educate and empower ourselves.

As ABC News notes, experts says that Japan has a long history of nuclear cover-ups.

Bizarro Earth

Japan Earthquake: New Blast at Fukushima Nuclear Plant

Fukushima
© AFP
A satellite photo of the Fukushima Daiichi plant showed the damage done in earlier explosions
A quake-stricken nuclear plant in Japan has been hit by a third explosion in four days, amid fears of a meltdown.

The blast occurred at reactor 2 at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, which engineers had been trying to stabilise after two other reactors exploded.

One minister has said it is "highly likely" that the rods might melt. Radiation levels near the plant have risen.

The crisis was sparked by a 9.0-magnitude quake and tsunami on Friday.

Thousands of people are believed to have died, and millions are spending a fourth night without water, food, electricity or gas. More than 500,000 people have been left homeless.

Cow

Agriculture industry, lawmakers try to limit secret videos

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© Unknown
Des Moines, Iowa - Angered by repeated releases of secretly filmed videos claiming to show the mistreatment of farm animals, Iowa's agriculture industry is pushing legislation that would make it illegal for animal rights activists to produce and distribute such images.

Agriculture committees in the Iowa House and Senate have approved a bill that would prohibit such recordings and punish people who take agriculture jobs only to gain access to animals to record their treatment. Proposed penalties include fines of up to $7,500 and up to five years in prison. Votes by the full House and Senate have not yet been set.

Doug Farquhar, program director for environmental health at the National Conference of State Legislatures, said Iowa would be the first state to approve such restrictions but Florida is considering similar legislation. The Iowa measure was introduced after a number of group released videos showing cows being shocked, pigs beaten and chicks ground up alive.

"It's very transparent what agribusiness is attempting to do here," said Bradley Miller, national director of the Humane Farming Association, a California-based group dedicated to protecting farm animals from abuse. "They're trying to intimidate whistleblowers and put a chill on legitimate anti-cruelty investigations. Clearly the industry feels that it has something to hide or it wouldn't be going to these extreme and absurd lengths."

Stop

Abortions Give Rise to Asia's 'Lost Boy' Generation

Abortions_1
© Agence France-Presse
A woman pushes a baby boy riding in a pram along a Beijing street in 2009.

Washington - Abortions of female fetuses have led to a massive surplus of young unmarried men in India and China, raising fears of an outcast group that could threaten the social fabric, a study said Monday.

The trend took root in the 1980s when ultrasound technologies made it easier for families to detect fetal sex early and to abort if it was not what the parents desired, said the analysis in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Sons have traditionally been preferred over daughters in many parts of China, India and South Korea due to social, cultural and financial motivations. Sex-selective abortion is outlawed but can be difficult to enforce.

The phenomenon was first spotted in South Korea in the early 1990s, when the sex ratio at birth (SRB) -- typically 105 male births to every 100 female births -- rose to 125 in some cities.

Similar rises in male births were seen in China, "complicated by the one-child policy, which has undoubtedly contributed to the steady increase in the reported SRB from 106 in 1979, to 111 in 1990, 117 in 2001 and 121 in 2005," said the study.

India has seen "sex ratios as high as 125 in Punjab, Delhi and Gujarat in the north but normal sex ratios of 105 in the southern and eastern states of Kerala and Andhra Pradesh," it added.

Laptop

Hacker group to release Bank of America e-mails Monday

BofA spokesman: Documents were clerical and administrative documents.

Charlotte, N.C. - Anonymous, a hacker group sympathetic to WikiLeaks, released on Monday emails that it obtained from someone who said he is a former Bank of America Corp employee.

In the emails dating from November 2010, people that appear to be employees of a Balboa Insurance, a Bank of America insurance unit, discuss removing documents from loan files for a group of insured properties.

Neither the emails nor correspondence released by Anonymous indicate the reason behind the electronic record keeping discussion.