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Briefly: South Korean leader’s brother ensnared in bribery probe
Lee Sang-deuk, 76, was summoned for questioning earlier this week amid allegations that he took bribes from two bankers in exchange for his influence in investigations against their banks, prosecution officials said Thursday.
No charges have been filed against him, and prosecution officials said they were still investigating whether there is enough evidence to seek his arrest.
Lee Sang-deuk’s arrest would embarrass the president, who last year was outspokenly confident about the integrity of his government and has campaigned for fairness. Lee Myung-bak’s presidential term ends in February.
The controversy implicating the president’s family called to mind the scandal surrounding former President Roh Moo-hyun, who committed suicide in 2009 amid allegations that he and his relatives took bribes in exchange for their influence. Roh’s older brother was given a 2 1/2-year prison term for exerting his influence in business deals in exchange for money.
Reactor on grid; panel slams crisis response
TOKYO — Nuclear power returned to Japan’s energy mix for the first time in two months Thursday, hours before a parliamentary investigative commission blamed the government’s cozy relations with the industry for the meltdowns that prompted the mass shutdown of the nation’s reactors.
Though the report echoes other investigations into last year’s disaster at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, it could fuel complaints that Japan is trying to restart nuclear reactors without doing enough to avoid a repeat. Thursday’s resumption of operations at a reactor in Ohi, in western Japan, already had been hotly contested.
Government officials and the utility that runs the Ohi plant announced last month that the No. 3 reactor had passed stringent safety checks and needed to be brought back online to ward off blackouts as Japan enters the high-demand summer months. The government hopes to see the restart of more of Japan’s 50 working reactors as soon as possible.
The reactor is the first to be restarted since last year’s devastating tsunami inundated the Fukushima plant, setting off meltdowns in three reactors in the world’s worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl in 1986.
All of Japan’s reactors were gradually taken offline for maintenance or safety checks, and in early May the last reactor shut down, leaving the country without nuclear-generated electricity for the first time since 1970.
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