- - Monday, December 26, 2011


Probe finds fault in nuclear disaster response

TOKYO — Japan’s response to the nuclear crisis that followed the March 11 tsunami was confused and riddled with problems, including an erroneous assumption an emergency cooling system was working and a delay in disclosing dangerous radiation leaks, a report revealed Monday.

The disturbing picture of harried and bumbling workers and government officials scrambling to respond to the problems at Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant was depicted in the report detailing a government investigation.

The 507-page interim report, compiled by interviewing more than 400 people, including utility workers and government officials, found authorities had grossly underestimated tsunami risks, assuming the highest wave would be 20 feet. The tsunami hit at more than double those levels.

The report criticized the use of the term “soteigai,” meaning “outside our imagination,” which it said implied authorities were shirking responsibility for what had happened.

It said by labeling the events as beyond what could have been expected, officials had invited public distrust.


Israel debates Armenian killings

JERUSALEM — Over their prime minister’s objections, Israeli lawmakers on Monday began debating a proposal to recognize the mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks as genocide.

Doing so would likely further strain already acrimonious relations with Turkey, which denies the genocide label and says the massacres occurred in civil unrest as the Ottoman Empire disintegrated during World War I, with losses on both sides.

The issue is highly sensitive in Turkey, and lawmakers in France set off a diplomatic crisis with Ankara last week when they passed a bill making it a crime to deny that the killings amounted to genocide.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan swiftly halted political and economic contacts with Paris, suspended military cooperation and ordered his country’s ambassador home for consultations.


Officials: No foreign meddling in any Taliban talks

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