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Japanese Radiation Adviser Quits in Rebuke to Government

© Agence France-Presse
Toshiso Kosako, Tokyo University professor and a senior nuclear adviser to Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, announces his resignation to Kan at a press conference in Tokyo, April 29, 2011

A key Japanese adviser on radiation leaks at the country's disabled Fukushima nuclear power facility has quit in protest over the government's handling of the disaster.

The adviser, Toshiso Kosako, a radiation safety expert at the University of Tokyo, said the government-set limits for radiation exposure at schools near the nuclear site are too high. At a tearful news conference late Friday, Kosako said he could "not allow this as a scholar."

Evil Rays

China detects 30 radioactive contamination cases


Beijing -- China has detected 30 cases of radioactive contamination in passengers, vessels and containers that have entered the country since March 16, quarantine authorities said on Friday.

The contamination cases were reported after China's quarantine bureaus started to monitor radiation levels at nine entry ports including Beijing, Liaoning and Zhejiang, said Li Yuanping, a spokesman for the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.

The first case involved a plane that arrived in the city of Dalian from Japan on March 16.


US: AIPAC Doesn't Speak for Me

Hedy Epstein Aipac palestine
© Unknown
Hedy Epstein
At the end of one of my first journeys to the Israeli-occupied West Bank in 2004, I endured a shocking experience at Ben-Gurion Airport. I never imagined that Israeli security forces would abuse a 79-year-old Holocaust survivor, but they held me for five hours, and strip-searched and cavity-searched every part of my naked body. The only shame these security officials expressed was to turn their badges around so that their names were invisible.

The only conceivable purpose for this gross violation of my bodily integrity was to humiliate and terrify me. But it had just the opposite effect. It made me more determined to speak out against abuses by the Israeli government and military.

Yet my own experience, unpleasant as it was, is nothing compared to the indignities and abuses heaped on Palestinians year after year. Israel's occupation of the West Bank is based not on equal rights and fair play, but on what Human Rights Watch has termed a "two-tier" legal system - in other words, apartheid, with one set of laws for Jews and a harsh, oppressive set of laws for Palestinians.

This, however, is the legal system and security state AIPAC (The American Israel Public Affairs Committee) will defend from May 22-24 at its annual conference. And, despite this grim reality, members of Congress will converge to hail AIPAC and Israel. The Palestinians' lack of freedom is bound to be obscured at the AIPAC conference with its obsessive focus on security and shunting aside of anything to do with upholding fundamental Palestinian rights.


Adelaide, Australia: Mystery over motive behind gun rampage that left three dead

Police are trying to establish a motive after an Adelaide man allegedly killed three of his neighbours and left a teenage boy and policeman fighting for life after a shooting spree.

A woman at the house in the suburb of Hectorville survived the bloodshed but her parents and husband were killed and her 14-year-old son was shot and seriously injured. An 11 year-old boy staying at the house survived injury after hiding in a bedroom.

The woman - who has not been named - called police at about 2.30am after hearing gunshots. Although police arrived within two minutes, detectives believe the three victims were dead when they arrived.


Arizona, US: Border-crossers suffer mysterious injuries

Two undocumented immigrants who were taken to a Nogales hospital on April 21 following a raid on their encampment by Border Patrol said they couldn't recall how they received their injuries.

According to the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's office, Ernesto Lopez Reyes, 18, and Hugo Sanperio-Cruz, 20, both from Mexico, told deputies that they crossed illegally into the U.S. the day before the incident at about 7 p.m. After walking for a while, the men fell asleep near Washington Camp, east of Nogales in the Patagonia Mountains, alongside a group of approximately a dozen other undocumented immigrants.

"The only thing they remember is that they were sleeping and Border Patrol agents came upon them and they ran and ended up falling in the darkness," said sheriff's spokesman Lt. Raoul Rodriguez, who described the terrain where the men fell as a "rocky slope."


Suspects in Belarus subway blast charged with terrorism, face death penalty if convicted

Prosecutors in Belarus on Friday brought terrorism charges against two men accused of carrying out the Minsk subway bombing this month, and if convicted they could face the death penalty.

A bomb that killed 11 people and wounded more than 200 was placed on the platform at Minsk's busiest subway station on April 11.

Three suspected accomplices have been arrested, but they have not yet been charged.

Prosecutors have not identified any of the suspects, describing them only as Belarusian citizens under the age of 30 without previous convictions. The authoritarian president, Alexander Lukashenko, has described them as blue-collar workers.

In announcing the charges against the two men, Deputy Prosecutor General Andrei Shved said they carried out the bombing "with the goal of destabilizing the public situation and public order."


2 charged after Australian defence force cadet says she was secretly filmed having sex

Two Australian military cadets were arrested Friday after police said they were involved in a scandal in which a female cadet accused a fellow student of secretly filming her having sex and showing it to his friends.

The defence force has been plagued by a series of scandals in recent months, and the woman's accusations prompted the government to order investigations into the treatment of women in the military.

Daniel McDonald, 19, and Dylan de Blaquiere, 18, appeared Friday in Canberra's ACT Magistrates Court on charges they used a communication service to cause offence. McDonald is also charged with an act of indecency.

The charges came three weeks after an 18-year-old woman alleged that a fellow first-year cadet at the Australian Defence Force Academy with whom she had consensual sex secretly filmed their encounter and transmitted it via Skype to six other students.


McDonald's Hires 62,000 in U.S. Event, 24% More Than Planned

© Getty Images
Job seekers reach for applications at a McDonald's Corp. restaurant in Chicago onApril 19, 2011.
McDonald's Corp. (MCD), the world's biggest restaurant chain, said it hired 24 percent more people than planned during an employment event this month.

McDonald's and its franchisees hired 62,000 people in the U.S. after receiving more than one million applications, the Oak Brook, Illinois-based company said today in an e-mailed statement. Previously, it said it planned to hire 50,000.

The April 19 national hiring day was the company's first, said Danya Proud, a McDonald's spokeswoman. She declined to disclose how many of the jobs were full- versus part-time. McDonald's employed 400,000 workers worldwide at company-owned stores at the end of 2010, according to a company filing.

The number of applications for unemployment benefits in the U.S. rose last week, a sign that progress in the labor market may be fading. Jobless claims increased by 25,000 to 429,000 in the week ended April 23, the most in three months, according to data from the Labor Department in Washington today.

Earlier this month, McDonald's said sales at stores open at least 13 months climbed 2.9 percent in the U.S. after it attracted more diners with items such as beverages and the Chipotle BBQ Bacon Angus burger. The fast-food chain has about 14,000 stores in the U.S. and more than 18,000 abroad. About 80 percent of all McDonald's stores are franchised.

McDonald's rose 16 cents to $78.03 at 4:15 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares gained 11 percent over the past 12 months.


US - Economy: 75,000 Applied for 2,000 Local McJobs

Restaurant managers say they plan to hire more in the future
© Getty Images

A McJob looked mighty appealing to tens of thousands of people in the Chicago area.

More than 75,000 job-seekers applied for 2,000 area positions with McDonald's during the fast food king's first-ever "National Hiring Day" on April 19.

Applicants packed franchises in Illinois, Southern Wisconsin and Northwest Indiana. McDonald's filled all 2,000 jobs, including more than 1,000 posts in the Chicago area alone, a McDonald's spokesperson said.

Oak Brook-based McDonald Corp. offered 50,000 positions nationwide as part of the April 19 job fair.

The openings were for full- and part-time restaurant crew and management positions, which translate to about three or four new hires per store. Applicants were asked to apply at franchises or online.

Che Guevara

Uganda rebellion gathers pace despite bloody government crackdown

Violent response to protests led by Kizza Besigye has fuelled rioters' determination to throw out President Yoweri Museveni
Ugandan protester
© Marc Hofer/AFP/Getty Images
A Ugandan protestor shouts near a burning barricade in Kampala after Ugandan opposition leader Kizze Besigye was arrested for the fourth time this month.
Riots have swept across the Ugandan capital, Kampala, in the biggest anti-government protest in sub-Saharan Africa so far this year.

Security forces have launched a brutal crackdown, opening fire on unarmed civilians with live rounds, rubber bullets and teargas. Two people have been killed, more than 120 wounded and around 360 arrested. Women and girls have been among those beaten, according to witnesses.

Two weeks of growing unrest - sparked by rising food and fuel prices - have gained fresh impetus after the violent arrest of the opposition leader Kizza Besigye on Thursday. Critics say President Yoweri Museveni, in power for 25 years, is losing his grip. They claim his wildly disproportionate crackdown on Besigye's "walk to work" protests smacks of panic and is sowing the seeds of popular revolt.

"I thought the police were going to kill me," said Andrew Kibwka, 18, after police with heavy sticks rained blows on him. "I was telling them I'm harmless but they just carried on. I did nothing to provoke them. They beat me because I was running away."