Daily Archives: March 29, 2011

Syrian government resigns: state television

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad


DAMASCUS, March 29, 2011 (KATAKAMI.COM / Reuters) — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad accepted the resignation of the government on Tuesday, Syrian state television said.

“President Assad accepts the government’s resignation,” an announcement on state television said.

Assad was expected to address the nation later on Tuesday or Wednesday in a speech which may include a decision to abolish emergency laws, after two weeks of democracy protests gripped the country.  (*)

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Posted by on March 29, 2011 in World News


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Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says son will choose profession himself

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his wife Sveltana


RUSSIA, March 29, 2011 (KATAKAMI.COM) — Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said he would not force his point of view on his 15-year-old son, Ilya, and would let him choose his future occupation himself, RIA NOVOSTI reported.

Russian teenagers finish school at the age of 16-17, and may then continue their education by entering a higher education institution or a training college.

Meeting with students and professors from technical universities on Tuesday, Medvedev was asked whether Ilya Medvedev has chosen his future occupation.

“My answer will be very brief: let him make the decision himself. I can add only one thing: I certainly won’t press my point of view on him.”

The president emphasized that it was not good when “parents shove their children into universities” with no regard to the teenagers’ interests and skills.

“You should not study for your parents, you should study for yourself,” Medvedev said. (*)

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Japan's nuke agency says radioactive water not overflowing into Pacific

Japan's nuke agency says radioactive water not overflowing into Pacific

TOKYO, March 29 (KATAKAMI.COM) — Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said Tuesday that radioactive water from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant had not been confirmed to have leaked into the Pacific Ocean from the plant’s underground drainage system. XINHUA reported on Tuesday.

The agency maintained that water levels at the channels located between 50 and 70 meters from the shore have remained consistent and Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), operator of the radiation- leaking plant, said they have taken preventative measures to ensure water doesn’t flow from the plant into the sea.

According to the nuclear safety agency, the utility firm has protected the drainage system with concrete blocks and sandbags.

Today’s announcement and preventative measures come after high levels of radiation were detected in a drainage system and damaged reactor buildings whose structural integrity and key cooling functions were compromised by the March 11 magnitude 9.0 earthquake and ensuing tsunami.

The troubled No. 2 reactor’s core has been partially melted, leaving TEPCO and the agency to believe the water came into contact with the melted fuel rods, causing the level of radiation to surge over the past four days.

The surge in radiation suggests that the reactor’s containment vessel may have been damaged and in the basement of the No. 2 reactor’s turbine building, water containing radioactive substances 100,000 times higher than usual has been detected and is increasing, the nuclear safety agency said.

TEPCO has been working to remove the contaminated water from the No. 1 reactor by pumping the water from the basements into the reactor’s turbine condenser for storage, but has run into difficulties as some of the temporary storage units near other reactor buildings have become full.

Hence, progress to remove contaminated water from the No. 2 and No. 3 reactors’ turbine buildings has been significantly delayed.

On a positive note, the nuclear safety agency on Tuesday said that workers managed to restore lighting in the control room of the No. 4 unit, meaning all six of the plant’s reactors now have lighting.

But adding to the ever-evolving crisis at the plant, highly toxic plutonium has been found in soil at five separate locations at the facility.

TEPCO said the levels of plutonium found were small, but a spokesperson for TEPCO said at a press conference that it was ” deplorable” that plutonium had escaped, despite the plant’s containment measures.

Such sentiments were reiterated by Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano who said the situation is “very serious” and suggests “a certain degree of melting of fuel rods.”

Japan’s nuclear safety agency said it is highly worried about the radioactivity of the plutonium samples detected as plutonium is more toxic than other radioactive substances such as iodine and cesium.

Plutonium emits alpha radiation and low-energy x-rays which are easily absorbed by human tissue.

Roughly 80 percent of the plutonium that enters the bloodstream goes either to the liver, bone or bone marrow, where it is retained for years, damaging tissue nearby and possibly resulting in cancer.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan, meanwhile, told a parliament session Tuesday that it is “highly likely” that the six-reactor Fukushima plant will eventually be decommissioned, echoing the words of Edano who suggested as much last week. (*)
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Posted by on March 29, 2011 in World News



In Cairo, Hamas calls for open crossings



GAZA CITY, March 29, 2011 (KATAKAMI.COM) — A delegation of Hamas leaders from Gaza are in Cairo this week, and told reporters at a news conference at the Press Syndicate office Tuesday that the party did not seek to interfere with Egyptian security, as reported by MA’AN NEWS AGENCY.

The strength of Cairo is strength for the Palestinian cause, Hamas politburo member Mahmoud Zahhar told journalists, saying his visit was aimed at assuring the interim Egyptian leadership that the Gaza government supported their cause.

“The winner is resistance,” when Egypt is secure, Zahhar said.

He told reporters that the had a series of meetings with Egyptian intelligence officials, and would meet with the new Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Al-Arabi later in the week.

“Important changes have begun,” he said of the events in Egypt since the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak, saying the development of a new constitution and preparation for elections would “re-draw the regional policies” of the country, remarking that already Al-Arabi had warned Israel not to attack Gaza, during the recent escalation in border violence.

Zahhar said his main point of discussion with Al-Arabi would be the current efforts toward Palestinian reconciliation, saying that Hamas officials had concluded an internal dialogue and “reached a unified position” on how to achieve reconciliation.

Most importantly, he continued, was the discussion he expected to press with Al-Arabi, on how to end the siege on Gaza, and secure the opening of the Gaza crossings for the free passage of goods and people.  (*)

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Posted by on March 29, 2011 in World News



Photostream : German President Christian Wulff meets Belgium's King Albert

German President Christian Wulff (L) and Belgium's King Albert inspect a German Bundeswehr armed forces guard of honour at the presidential residence Bellevue palace in Berlin, March 29, 2011. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

German President Christian Wulff (R) and his wife Bettina (L) pose for the media with Belgium's King Albert (C) and Queen Paola upon their arrival at the presidential residence Bellevue palace in Berlin, March 29, 2011. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

(From L to R) Bettina Wulff, King Albert II of Belgium, Queen Paola, and German President Christian Wulff pose for photographers on the steps of the presidential palace during a welcoming ceremony in Berlin March 29, 2011. (Photo byJOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)

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Egypt's Hosni Mubarak receives $300 pension – paper

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak



EGYPT, March 29,2011 (KATAKAMI.COM / RIA NOVOSTI) — Deposed Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak is in receipt of a monthly allowance of $339 from the state, an Egyptian paper said on Tuesday.

Mubarak’s pension as the former commander of the armed forces could not be disclosed, the Al-Masry Al-Youm daily said, citing an unnamed state official.

Mubarak has kept out of the public eye since the popular uprisings last month that forced him to step down and hand power over to the military.

The military authorities have forbidden Mubarak and his family to leave the country. The former leader is believed to be living in his villa in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. (*)

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Russia urges NATO to fulfil Libya resolution without excess creativity

Russian Ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin

BRUSSELS, March 29 (KATAKAMI.COM ) – Russia has called on NATO to fulfil the UN Security Council’s resolution on Libya without excessive creativity. Russian Ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said on Tuesday after a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) on the situation in Libya, ITAR TASS reported.

“Russia has the right to have full transparency in the development of the operation in Libya,” Rogozin said. He drew attention to the information about civilian casualties coming from the combat actions area.

“If these reports are confirmed, this would require a thorough independent investigation,” said the Russian ambassador.

According to a NATO release, on March 27, NATO Allies decided to take on the whole military operation in Libya under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973. The purpose of Operation Unified Protector is to protect civilians and civilian-populated areas under threat of attack. NATO will implement all military aspects of the UN Resolution. All NATO Allies are committed to fulfil their obligations under the UN resolution. Since the resolution was passed on March 17, Allies have moved swiftly and decisively to enforce the arms embargo and no-fly zone called for in the resolution, and to take further measures to protect civilians and civilian populated areas from attack.

Rogozin said earlier that the Russian side intended to emphasise “inadmissibility of transition of the international operation in Libya to a land phase.” “Russia will consider that step as occupation of a sovereign country,” the ambassador stressed.

A NATO source told Itar-Tass that the Alliance would inform Russia on its decision to assume control over all military operations in Libya. According to him, UN Security Council’s resolution does not allow land operations, and the Alliance intends to act strictly within the Security Council mandate.  (*)
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