- - Thursday, December 15, 2011

JAPAN

Crippled nuclear plant to be declared stable

TOKYO | Japan is poised to declare its crippled nuclear plant virtually stable, nine months after a devastating tsunami.

But the facility still leaks some radiation, remains vulnerable to earthquakes and shows no prospect for cleanup for decades.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said last week that temperatures inside the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant’s three melted reactor cores are almost consistently below the boiling point and radiation leaks have significantly subsided - two key conditions in a hoped-for “cold shutdown.”

Officials say the government is expected to hold a news conference Friday to declare something close to cold shutdown, though experts caution it will be, at best, a tenuous stability.

AFGHANISTAN

U.S. finds abuses by Afghan police

KABUL | U.S.-trained Afghan village police have committed some human rights abuses, a U.S. military investigation has found, adding recommendations on how to eliminate them.

An executive summary also found the program was effective in providing security in areas where the Afghan army and police could not.

It called for closer cooperation with human rights and nongovernmental organizations so the Afghan government can act more quickly when allegations of abuse are reported.

The investigation was ordered by the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Army Gen. John Allen, after the New York-based Human Rights Watch issued a report in September that alleged that some units of the Afghan Local Police, or ALP, were committing human rights abuses - including rape and killings.

The new inquiry was carried out without involvement of the Afghan government. The full 109-page report, drafted by Air Force Brig. Gen. James Marrs, will be made public later. An advance copy of the summary was made available to the Associated Press.

TAIWAN

Beijing, Washington watch Taiwan polls

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