Friday, March 18, 2011

Official: Spent fuel rods exposed, 'extremely high' radiation resulted

Tokyo, Japan (News Today) - Spent fuel rods in Unit 4 of Japan's stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant have been exposed, resulting in the emission of "extremely high" levels of radiation, the head of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Wednesday.

"What we believe at this time is that there has been a hydrogen explosion in this unit due to an uncovering of the fuel in the fuel pool," Gregory Jaczko told a House energy and commerce subcommittee hearing. "We believe that secondary containment has been destroyed and there is no water in the spent fuel pool, and we believe that radiation levels are extremely high, which could possibly impact the ability to take corrective measures."

The water served to both cool the uranium fuel and shield it. But once the uranium fuel was no longer covered by water, the zirconium cladding that encases the fuel rods heated, generating hydrogen, said Robert Alvarez, senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies and a former official with the Department of Energy.

That caught fire, resulting in a situation that is "very, very serious," he told CNN. He said the next step may involve nuclear plant workers taking heroic acts. Asked to be more specific, he said, "This is a situation where people may be called in to sacrifice their lives. ... It's very difficult for me to contemplate that but it's, it may have reached that point."

Photographs of the building released Wednesday by the power company showed a hole in a wall and deterioration of the roof.

A Japanese Self-Defense Force helicopter aborted its mission to drop water over the reactor because of the high radiation levels in the area, Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported.

Officials have been working to resolve cooling problems at four of Fukushima Daiichi's six reactors in the wake of the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeast Japan Friday.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said the temperature of water in spent fuel pools is typically kept below 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit). That requires a constant cooling source, which requires a constant power source, something not available at the plant in the aftermath of Friday's earthquake and tsunami.

"The concern about the spent fuel pools at Fukushima Daiichi is that sources of power to cool the pools may have been compromised," IAEA said in a statement. It listed the temperatures at spent fuel pools Tuesday as 84.0 degrees C (183 F) at Unit 4; 60.4 degrees C (141 F) at Unit 5 and 58.5 degrees C (137 F) at Unit 6.

By Wednesday, it was reporting "no data" for Unit 4 and worrying trends for the other two: Unit 5 had risen to 62.7 degrees C (145 F) and Unit 6 had risen to 60.0 degrees C (140 F).

Jaczko said U.S. nuclear officials were monitoring "as best we can" the four reactors. Three of them were operating at the time of Friday's 9.0 earthquake and were shut down following their normal procedures, he said. All of them, he said, appeared to have suffered "some degree of core damage from insufficient cooling caused ultimately by the loss of off-site power and the inability of the on-site diesel generators to operate successfully following the tsunami."

Three reactors were being cooled with seawater and their primary containment vessels were described as "functional," he said.

But core cooling was "not stable" for unit No. 2, he said. Though the primary containment appeared to be functioning, "we believe that the spent fuel pool level is decreasing."

At unit No. 3, he said, the integrity of the spent fuel pool appeared to have been compromised and there may have been a reaction between the zirconium cladding and the water.

Jaczko's grim announcement confirmed fears that the nuclear crisis would worsen. They had already heightened earlier in the day, when officials observed white vapor rising from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant's reactor No. 3.

Tests on tap water in Fukushima city, 80 kilometers (50 miles) away, found radiation, though at levels not harmful to the human body, and later tests showed no radiation in the water, government officials said.

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said Wednesday he will travel to Japan "as soon as possible, hopefully (Thursday)" to get the latest on the situation and to see how the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog agency can best help Japanese authorities, he said. He will stay one night, he added.

In Washington, military officials said they had deployed an atmospheric detection aircraft, the WC-135W Constant Phoenix, to assist in detecting radioactive materials in the atmosphere around Japan.

The plane, normally based at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, was moved Tuesday to Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska to prepare for its first sortie, the officials said.

The aircraft can "detect radioactive 'clouds' in real time," according to the Air Force.

Japan's chief cabinet secretary, Yukio Edano, initially said a breach in the containment vessel -- the steel and concrete shell that insulates radioactive material inside the reactor -- may have been the cause of Wednesday's white vapor. But he said later it was unlikely that the vessel suffered severe damage, the Kyodo news agency reported.

Officials told workers at the plant to evacuate Wednesday after the vapor rose above the plant and radiation levels spiked. Radiation levels later fell, and authorities allowed the workers to return, the Tokyo Electric Power Company said.

The number of nuclear workers remaining on site was slashed Tuesday from 800 to 50 but had grown to 180 by Wednesday afternoon, the power company said.

About 200,000 people living within a 20-kilometer radius of the plant have been evacuated; those living 20 to 30 kilometers from the site have been told to remain inside. Authorities also have banned flights over the area.

But the Japanese precautions were not universally embraced. The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo was recommending that U.S. citizens who live within 50 miles (80 kilometers) of the plant evacuate or take shelter indoors, U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos said in a statement Wednesday.

"Their standards are different from ours based on how far you should evacuate," White House spokesman Jay Carney said Wednesday. He called the situation "very fluid."

That view was confirmed by NRC's Jaczko. "For a comparable situation in the United States, we would recommend an evacuation to a much larger radius than has currently been provided in Japan," he said.

The U.S. military also said it will not allow troops within 50 miles of the plant, Col. David Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman, said Wednesday.

U.S. President Barack Obama was briefed Wednesday by the chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on the "deteriorating situation" of the damaged nuclear reactors, Carney said.

The weather has emerged as a key concern, but on Wednesday afternoon, winds were blowing out to sea, CNN International Meteorologist Jennifer Delgado said.

Between Units 3 and 4, Japanese authorities said they had measured radiation dose rates of up to 400 millisieverts per hour, IAEA reported Tuesday. That's equivalent to about 2,000 chest X-rays per hour, the agency said on its website. "This is a high dose-level value, but it is a local value at a single location and at a certain point in time," it added.

As a result of the monitoring of about 150 people from around the Daiichi site, 23 have been decontaminated, IAEA said.

"Their situation is not great," said David Brenner, director of the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University. "It's pretty clear that they will be getting very high doses of radiation. There's certainly the potential for lethal doses of radiation. They know it, and I think you have to call these people heroes."

A meltdown occurs when nuclear fuel rods cannot be cooled and melt the steel and concrete structure containing them. In the worst-case scenario, the fuel can spill out of the containment unit and spread radioactivity through the air and water. That, public health officials say, can cause both immediate and long-term health problems, including radiation poisoning and cancer.

Source : CNN

Japan Quake Upgraded to 9.0 Magnitude

Broken home People walk through the debris of what was once a suburb of Minami Sanriku in Miyagi Prefecture which was hardest hit by Fridays earthquake and tsunami

Washington (News Today) - US experts on Monday upgraded the strength of the earthquake which rocked Japan last week from a magnitude of 8.9 to 9.0, making it the fourth largest in the world since 1900.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) said Japanese seismologists have also independently updated their estimate of the earthquake which struck northern Japan on Friday unleashing a devastating tsunami.

“The USGS often updates an earthquake’s magnitude following the event,” the US-based center said in a statement. “Updates occur as more data become available and more time-intensive analysis is performed.”

It added that Friday’s quake was also the strongest ever recorded in Japan since modern readings began 130 years ago. The largest earthquake ever recorded was in Chile on May 5, 1960 when a 9.5 temblor struck off the southern coast, the USGS said. More than 1,600 people were killed and two million left homeless.

On March 27, 1964 a quake and tsunami killed 128 people and caused severe damage to Anchorage the largest city in Alaska. And then on December 26, 2004, came the undersea quake off Indonesia, which caused a massive tsunami that devastated coastlines in countries around the Indian Ocean, killing more than 220,000 people.

A 9.0-magnitude quake also hit off the coast of the remote Kamchatka peninsula in Russia’s far east on November 4, 1952, causing Pacific-wide tsunamis. The USGS said on its website that quake magnitudes are often revised once its experts have received all the seismology reports from around the world and the estimates from other national and international agencies.

“Some methods give approximate values within minutes of the earthquake, and others require more complete data sets and extensive analysis,” it added.

Japan has been left reeling by Friday’s natural catastrophe, with more than 10,000 feared dead, whole villages devastated, at least 1.4 million people left without running water and more than 500,000 crammed into shelters.

The Asian nation is also facing a nuclear emergency after the quake and tsunami crippled the ageing Fukushima plant, located 250 kilometers (160 miles) northeast of Tokyo, knocking out the cooling systems.

Two explosions have rocked the complex and the Japanese government said part of the container of one of the reactors appeared to be damaged, indicating possible serious radiation leaks.

Source : kompas

Kan heaps pressure on atomic plant operator

(News Today) - When Naoto Kan stormed into a meeting of executives from Tokyo Electric Power at 5.30am on Tuesday, he demanded an answer to a question being asked all around the world: "What the hell is going on?"

The Japanese prime minister's outburst did not just lay bare the growing tensions between his government and Tepco over the utility's handling of the escalating crisis engulfing its radiation-leaking Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

It also added weight to one of the most worrying aspects of a five-day crisis that could make or break the future of nuclear power in the world's third largest economy: the sense that the prime minister and his hard-pressed administration are not fully in control.

Mr Kan's exasperated questioning suggested a serious failure of co-ordination between officials and Tepco amid public concerns that neither are able to come up with solutions to the dangerous problems the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant has suffered since being hit by an earthquake and tsunami last Friday.

Near the top of the prime minister's list of complaints was Tepco's failure immediately to report an explosion at the plant on Saturday. Officials say Tepco did not tell the government about the first of a series of explosions at the plant until about an hour after it had happened.

Tepco's sluggishness resulted in a loss of face for Mr Kan, particularly since the blast on Saturday occurred just as he was explaining the situation at Fukushima to opposition politicians.

His omission of any mention of the blast in that meeting created an opportunity for his opponents to question his grasp of the situation and his leadership.

"Not a word [about the blast] was said," said Ryoichi Hattori, an opposition politician. "It is questionable to what extent the prime minister and cabinet were aware of the problems related to nuclear power plants."

But some analysts say the fact he was not informed earlier also reflects badly on Mr Kan's own administration.

The failure of his aides in the cabinet's crisis management office to inform him in a timely manner indicates that "there is a communication problem within the cabinet as well", said Takao Toshikawa, a political analyst.

Mr Kan's decision to be so vocal in his annoyance with Tepco may reflect in part the fact that the government is exposed to public criticism over its sometimes uncertain handling of the admittedly difficult task of balancing action to protect the public with the need to prevent panic.

Frustration is also growing in the area around the stricken nuclear plant, where residents have been struggling to decode official announcements about the Fukushima Daiichi's troubles while being subject to frequently revised advice and evacuation orders.

"There is so little information from the government and we are having a very hard time," said Katsunobu Sakurai, mayor of Minamisoma city in Fukushima prefecture. "Residents are really fearful".

But Mr Kan's decision to go critical over the nuclear crisis appears intended to steel the will of Tepco executives so that they will do whatever it takes to safely resolve the crisis.

In comments overheard and reported by a nearby journalist from Japan's Kyodo newswire, the prime minister told them the Tepco bosses that they should not have allowed staff to abandon their posts as the disaster escalated.

''In the event of withdrawal from there, I'm 100 per cent certain that the company will collapse,'' Kyodo quoted Mr Kan as saying. ''I want you all to be determined.''

However they feel about each other, the government and utility must work together to avert disaster at Fukushima Daiichi. The creation on Tuesday of a joint crisis committee of government and Tepco representatives under Mr Kan's leadership could help foster closer co-operation. But it also begs the question as to why such a body did not already exist.

Source : CNN

Indonesia Cleric 'Sought to Tap into Al-Qaeda Brand'

An armed police officer stands guard as radical Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, left, speaks to reporters from inside a holding cell while waiting for the start of his trial at a district court in jakarta, Indonesia, Monday, March 14, 2011. Bashir who was allegedly helped fund and recruit foot-soldiers for a new al-Qaida-styled terror cell, faces a maximum penalty of death if found guilty.

Jakarta, Indonesia (News Today) - An Indonesian militant cell adopted the name “Al-Qaeda in Aceh” to take advantage of the global brand name, a court heard Monday at the trial of firebrand cleric Abu Bakar Bashir.

The preacher, who faces charges including leading and financing the Aceh group, said that Osama bin Laden’s terror network was an established brand, Bashir’s former key aide Abdul Haris told the South Jakarta district court.

“The group that is well-known in the world for having carried out jihad is Al-Qaeda,” the 46-year-old terror convict said in his witness testimony, conducted via video link.

“That’s why Abu Bakar Bashir told us that in waging jihad, we should not create a new name for the group but just call it Al-Qaeda — such that jihad will not be disjointed, and (will) be far stronger,” he added.

Bashir could face the death penalty if convicted. Haris, who was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in jail for contributing funds to Al-Qaeda in Aceh, did not say whether he believed they had direct links with the international terror network.

The militant cell planned Mumbai-style attacks using squads of suicide gunmen against Westerners. Haris was among several witnesses who asked to testify via video link because of fears for their safety, prompting Bashir and his lawyers to walk out of the courtroom in protest.

“I don’t have any trust in this trial... You just wait, God will curse all of you, as this is all about Islam,” Bashir, 72, said.

Bashir is also an alleged co-founder of the Jemaah Islamiyah regional terror organisation, which is blamed for multiple attacks including the 2002 Bali bombings which killed 202 people, mainly Western tourists.

Source : kompas

Witnesses: Security forces attack protesters and doctors in Bahrain

Manama, Bahrain (News Today) - Security forces in Bahrain stormed the main hospital, beating doctors, and attacked demonstrators in Manama's Pearl Roundabout on Wednesday, witnesses in the Bahraini capital said. Bahraini officials deny these accounts.

Demonstrators reported hearing steady rounds of ammunition being fired while thick smoke rose from the Pearl Roundabout area. At least five helicopters whirred above the historic landmark, which has been a rallying spot for anti-government demonstrators in recent weeks.

In a statement Wednesday, Bahrain's government said that as police approached the roundabout, they were attacked by protesters -- whom they call "saboteurs" -- who threw Molotov cocktails at them. Police dispersed the protesters with tear gas, as protesters set fire to tents and trash cans on their way out, the government said.

According to the government, no live ammunition was used, and the only fatalities were two police officers who were repeatedly run over by three vehicles driven by protesters. Three arrests were made, an interior ministry spokesman said.

The crackdown comes a day after Bahrain's King Hamad imposed a three-month state of emergency and two days after Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates dispatched troops to the Persian Gulf island nation to "protect the safety of citizens," the Bahraini government said.

The clashes prompted Iran to recall its ambassador to Bahrain in what an Iranian government statement called a protest against "the killing of people of Bahrain by their government."

Bahrain's Sunni Muslim monarchy has long suspected Iran of attempting to foment unrest among the island's majority-Shiite population, leaked U.S. diplomatic documents show, and Iran has asserted territorial claims over the onetime Persian province both before and after the 1979 revolution brought the current Islamic republic to power

Speaking in the Egyptian capital of Cairo, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the intervention by Bahrain's neighbors "alarming" and urged all players in the region to keep "their own agenda" out of the struggle. Washington has told the Bahraini monarchy that "there is no answer to the demands for political and economic reform though a security crackdown," Clinton told CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

And President Barack Obama called both the Saudi and Bahraini kings to express his "deep concern over violence" and the need for "maximum restraint," according to White House spokesman Jay Carney. Bahrain is home to the headquarters of the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, the naval arm of American power in the region.

Cell phone networks in several areas were disrupted. Security forces blocked highways leading to the capital and formed a ring around the country's main hospital, Salmaniya Medical Complex, not letting people enter or leave, witnesses said.

Security forces then stormed the hospital and beat staffers, several doctors there said.

Doctors have been hiding in rooms, said Yousif Sharaf, a doctor at the hospital.

"We are trapped," Sharaf said. "We are asking for the security forces to please stay outside the hospital. They are beating the staff."

Fatima Haji, another doctor, also said she was trapped in the hospital.

"We are in a small group hiding," Haji said, her voice rising with emotion. "This is a government hospital. How can this happen in a government hospital?"

Haji said two people had died in the hospital Wednesday morning, and she feared for the other patients there because the doctors were not able to work.

Eventually, the army told hospital workers that they could leave, but they had to give their names and have their pictures taken, Haji said. Some of her colleagues were taken to the gates and beaten, she said.

CNN could not independently confirm the doctors' claims.

The Bahraini government expelled CNN's Mohammed Jamjoom from the country Wednesday without explanation. Reporting from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Jamjoom said two Bahraini information ministers came to his hotel and told him that the rest of the CNN crew was welcome to stay, but he was not.

"I was then escorted to the airport and made to leave the country," Jamjoom said.

Jamjoom said he and others were woken by the sound of gunfire Wednesday morning.

"We could see thick black plumes of smoke. We could see tear gas being dispersed," Jamjoom said. "It was a very, very violent scene from where we were looking on it."

Calls made to various hospitals turned up multiple accounts of witnesses being attacked, including medical staff and doctors, Jamjoom said.

On state-run television, a banner read, "Official source: Media allegations that medical care is being denied to patients are baseless."

Dr. Nazar Al Baharna, Bahrain's minister of health, resigned later in the day. He did not elaborate on the reason why.

Officials at another private hospital, Salmany Hospital, also said they were being besieged by troops.

It was unclear whether the attacks were carried out solely by Bahraini forces or included foreign troops who arrived in the country earlier in the week to help quell the demonstrations.

The Bahraini government denied the allegations and said foreign troops had been dispatched to secure specific installations, not participate in the crackdown.

A curfew was in effect from 4 p.m. Wednesday to 4 a.m. Thursday in various parts of the capital, the foreign ministry said.

Meanwhile, the U.K. Foreign Office announced Wednesday that the British Embassy in Bahrain was closed until further notice.

A day earlier, security forces fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters in the southern city of Sitra.

At least two protesters were killed, and at least 150 people were wounded, according to medical officials on the scene.

The protests started February 14 and are part of a series of demonstrations that have swept across the Arab world this year, toppling the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt.

In Bahrain, moderates have been demanding a constitutional monarchy, and hard-liners have called for the abolition of the countries' royal family altogether.

The king's decree mandates that security forces should "take the measures and procedures necessary to preserve the safety of the nation and its people," a government statement said.

"King Hamad's decree does not give the authorities a blank check to commit abuses," Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, said Wednesday. "The world is watching to see whether Bahrain will respect the basic rights of all its citizens."

Source : CNN

Demi Peran, Jeremy Thomas Siap Dibotaki

Jakarta, Indonesia (News Today) - Setelah cukup lama bekerja di balik layar, kerinduan aktor Jeremy Thomas untuk kembali berakting kian menjadi. Ia pun berniat melanjutkan kariernya di depan kamera.

Keinginan itu tentu ada alasannya. Diakui suami Ina Thomas ini, panggilan sebagai seorang aktor memang menuntutnya untuk kembali. "Saya belajar dari bintang-bintang Hollywood. Dua belas tahun saya berkecimpung di dunia peran, artinya sudah jadi tuntutan bagi saya untuk kembali ke dunia yang membesarkan nama saya," kata Jeremy dalam perbincangan dengan Kompas.com di kawasan Senayan City, Jakarta, Selasa (15/3/2011).

Bak gayung bersambut, sejumlah tawaran memang banyak datang kepadanya. Namun, Jeremy tak mau asal comot. "Tawaran main sih ada beberapa tapi saya masih pilih-pilih. Saya mau kalau ceritanya memang menarik dan menantang," ungkapnya.

Selama ini, diakui pria kelahiran Pekanbaru, Riau, 31 Juli 1971, peran yang dimainkannya lebih banyak memerankan sosok protagonis. Jeremy mengaku butuh tantangan baru. Kini, ia pun mengincar karakter yang berseberangan dengan sosok ayah baik-baik yang selama ini kerap diperankannya.

"Bolehlah sosok yang brutal tapi membela kebenaran," ujarnya.

Tapi jika boleh memilih, diakui Jeremy, ia ingin sekali memerankan tokoh berbau militer. "Pokoknya film yang berbau militernya, misalnya jadi pilot atau tentara yang ada kisah heroiknya. Bicara soal militer, biasanya identik dengan pasukan pembela bangsa. Kita ini punya banyak tokoh heroik lho, dengan film peran ini saya berharap bisa membangun simpatik masyarakat terhadap para tokoh heroik kita," harap aktor yang mengaku terakhir main film enam tahun lalu itu.

Nah, jika obsesinya kesampaian, Jeremy mengaku siap melakoni apapun demi kebutuhan peran. "Kalaupun saya disuruh dibotaki, saya siap," ujarnya.

Source : kompas

Philippine authorities: Text on radiation danger is hoax

(News Today) - Filipino authorities sought to calm panic unleashed among some residents after a hoax text message warned that radiation from Japan may affect the Philippines.

Concerns persist about nuclear reactors in Japan in the wake of a magnitude-9.0 quake and subsequent tsunami that struck the nation Friday.

But "there is no immediate danger of nuclear radiation in the Philippines," the nation's Department of Science and Technology said in a statement Monday.

The text message, which appeared to be a news flash from the BBC, spread like wildfire on Monday.

It said that the Japanese government had confirmed a radiation leak at nuclear plants in Fukushima Prefecture and that "Asian countries should take necessary precautions." It went on to warn that radiation may begin hitting the Philippines by Monday afternoon and instructed people to stay indoors and apply Betadine, an over-the-counter topical iodine-based antiseptic, on their neck area where their thyroid gland is located.

The message also warned against being in the rain, telling recipients to use an umbrella or raincoat "even if it's only a drizzle."

It was not immediately clear how many people received the message. Although some Filipinos dismissed it as a hoax immediately, others rushed to drugstores in search of Betadine.

The message also spread to some Filipinos living abroad, who became concerned about their relatives back home.

"I contacted my family, telling them not to go out, not to go anywhere," said Rowena Acquino, a Philippines expatriate in Jakarta, Indonesia. "The one who spread that news should be punished."

In its advisory, the Department of Science and Technology warned against believing in "hoax messages" and "rumors." "The advice circulating that people should stay indoors and wear raincoats if they go outdoors has no basis and did not come from the DOST or the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Center," the statement said. It asked Filipinos to stop forwarding the message "so as not to sow panic among our people."

"It was an irresponsible thing to do, considering the anxiety and panic that it can cause the public," said Lyndon Daz, a resident of the Philippine capital, Manila.

But, like many, Daz said he is still concerned. "We know the dangers that this can cause when the spread of it and containment is unabated," he said. "I am not quite certain that the Philippines is distantly safe from the radiation effects of the Fukushima power plant."

Hoax text messages, warning of impending disasters and often quoting reputable news organizations like the BBC or even CNN, are not uncommon in the Philippines or Indonesia.

Some Indonesians also received the message on their mobile phones, on their BlackBerries and on social networking sites like Facebook, Indonesian executive Manda Azhairie said. "It's unfortunate that there are irresponsible people who take advantage of other people's misfortunes," she said.

Source : CNN

Makanan dari Jepang Kena Sensor

(News Today) - Radiasi lantaran meledaknya pembangkit listrik bertenaga nuklir di Fukushima, Jepang, memunculkan kekhawatiran bagi banyak negara. Lantaran itulah, Thailand pun segera membuat woro-woro untuk menyensor semua makanan impornya dari Negeri Matahari Terbit. Warta AP dan AFP pada Selasa (15/3/2011) menunjukkan hal tersebut.

Berangkat dari situlah, Sekretaris Jenderal Pengawasan Makanan dan Obat Thailand Pipat Yingsaree memaparkan bahwa pihaknya pada tahap awal akan memeriksa makanan segar dan produk makanan segar asal Jepang. "Itu prioritas kami, termasuk sayur dan buah-buahan segar dari Jepang," kata Yingsaree.
Kendati demikian, Yingsaree belum menetapkan waktu untuk seleksi acak tersebut. "Sekiranya diperlukan, kami akan melakukan seleksi itu," demikian Pipat Yingsaree.

Source : kompas

U.S. freezes Libyan foreign minister's assets

(News Today) - The United States government on Tuesday took steps to boost opposition forces attempting to oust Libyan President Moammar Gadhafi by freezing the assets of that country's foreign minister and identifying 16 companies operating in the U.S. that are owned or controlled by the regime.

The White House said Tuesday it also looking for ways to use some of the $32 billion in assets frozen by U.S. sanctions to aid Libyan anti-government groups.

"We are exploring authorities to free up some of the seized regime assets," Obama administration spokesman Jay Carney told reporters on Tuesday.

The action taken by U.S. Treasury Department against Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa not only freezes his assets under U.S. jurisdiction, it also makes it illegal for individuals to do business with him. The Treasury Department did not give any indication of the value of his assets.

"Today's designation of Moussa Koussa builds on the strong steps taken by the United States to apply targeted, financial pressure on the Gadhafi regime," said Acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen in a prepared statement.

"The identification of state-owned companies furthers Libya's isolation from the U.S. financial system," Cohen said.

It is illegal for U.S. entities to do business with any of the 16 companies identified by the Treasury Department as under Libyan government control or ownership because of an executive order issued by President Obama on February 25.

The order bars "the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; and ... the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person."

The list of banned Libyan entities includes Gadhafi and his children, senior government officials and their spouses and children as well as anyone involved in "the commission of human rights abuses related to political repression in Libya."

The companies include: Afriqiyah Airways, National Oil Corporation, Libya Investment Authority, Libya Africa Investment Portfolio, Libyan African Investment Company, Libyan Arab Foreign Investment Company, Libya Arab Foreign Bank, Economic and Social Development Fund Company, Gomhouria Bank, Al Wafa Bank, Agricultural Bank, National Commercial Bank, National Banking Corporation, Sahara Bank, Savings and Real Estate Investment Bank and First Gulf Libyan Bank.

Source : CNN

Pentingnya "Loveplay" Sebelum Bercinta

(News Today) - Aktivitas seksual sebelum berhubungan badan biasanya disebut foreplay. Namun, sebagian besar ahli dalam bidang seks menyebutkan bahwa istilah tersebut tak tepat, karena tidak berarti apa-apa selain “pemanasan”. Tentu pemanasan untuk hubungan seks.

Kata foreplay memberi tekanan besar pada pria untuk memiliki penis yang mampu bereksi dan cenderung membawa kita berpikiran bahwa seks hanyalah sekadar hubungan badan.

Demikian pendapat yang disampaikan Joel D. Block, Ph.D, dalam bukunya yang berjudul Secrets of Better Sex. Menurut Joel, istilah yang tepat untuk itu adalah loveplay.

Selanjutnya Joel mengungkapkan bahwa biasanya periode yang disebut foreplay ini dianggap sebagai langkah yang harus dilakukan oleh seorang pria terhadap pasangan wanitanya supaya siap berhubungan seks karena pria dianggap selalu siap.

Kenyataannya, pria, terutama yang sudah lanjut usia, sangat membutuhkan dan menginginkan loveplay sebelum atau selama hubungan seks. Sebagai sebuah persiapan menuju hubungan badan yang sesungguhnya, foreplay akan lebih mampu meningkatkan gairah seksual bila dijalankan dengan benar.

Berikut ini lima petunjuk untuk foreplay menurut Joel. D. Block:

1. Ingatlah bahwa seks dimulai di otak. Mulailah berpikir tentang saat-saat berhubungan seksual dan ceritakan pikiran Anda secara singkat, lebih bagus lewat sebuah gambar kepada pasangan jika dapat. Bisa juga dengan simbol lain, misalnya mengirimkan setangkai bunga mawar ke kantornya.

2. Perhatikan detail romantik. Siapkan suasana yang sedikit romantis. Pastikan ruangan cukup hangat, pencahayaan yang tepat, bau ruangan harum, pakaian dalam yang merangsang, dan sebagainya.

3. Perlahan-lahan. Mulailah dengan mencium (jangan langsung pada organ seksual).

4. Berikan orgasme. Banyak wanita tidak mengalami orgasme saat berhubungan seksual. Sebagian wanita yang mengalami orgasme beberapa kali jauh lebih mungkin mendapatkan orgasme yang kedua atau ketiga selama berhubungan seksual jika mereka pernah mengalaminya.

5. Perhatikan zona erotik lain. Ada banyak zona erotik, misalnya puting, skrotum (pada pria), atau tempat-tempat lain seperti telinga, leher, dan sebagainya.

Source : kompas

Mallarangeng: PSSI Bertingkah Dikartu Merah!

Jakarta, Indonesia (News Today) - Menteri Negara Pemuda dan Olahraga, Andi Mallarangeng, mengancam akan melakukan tindakan tegas jika PSSI melakukan pelanggaran-pelanggaran di kongres nanti. Menurut Menpora, ini bisa dilakukan mengingat tugas pemerintah adalah melakukan pengawasan.

Rencananya, PSSI akan melakukan dua kongres pada 26 Maret dan 29 April mendatang. Kongres pertama akan dilaksanakan untuk memilih Komite Pemilihan dan Komite Banding. Adapun kongres kedua untuk memilih Ketua Umum, Wakil Ketua Umum dan Komite Eksekutif periode 2011-2015.

"Ikuti saja statusa FIFA, karena statuta itu sudah sesuai semangatnya dengan aturan perundang-undangan Indonesia dan ketentuan olahraga di KONI/KOI. Jadi, pemerintah ikut mengawasi selama dilakukan sesuai dengan aturan-aturan negeri ini maupun aturan FIFA, maka kongres akan berjalan dengan baik, happy ending," kata Mallarangeng di kantor Menpora, Jumat (18/3/2011).

"Tapi, kalau ada pelanggaran-pelanggaran, atau tidak kesesuaian, maka pemerintah turun tangan. Pemerintah punya kewenangan yang jelas dalam undang-undang. Ada yang melanggar, ya kartu merah," sambung Andi.

Dalam kesempatan itu, Menpora juga mendukung langkah Komite Penyelamat Persepakbolaan Nasional (KPPN) yang batal melakukan kongres sendiri, dan mengikuti kongres PSSI.

"Kongresnya biar satu, bersama-sama, yang penting sesuai dengan aturan. Tapi, aturan standar electoral FIFA, bukan aturan statuta PSSI yang maknanya sudah jauh sekali dari makna statuta FIFA yang sebenarnya. Bahasa Inggris dan bahasa Indonesianya harus sama, bukan menyimpang," pungkas Menpora.

Source : kompas

Stoner Tercepat Latihan Resmi

Losail, Qatar (News Today) - Pebalap tim Repsol-Honda mendominasi latihan resmi seri pembuka MotoGP 2011 yang berlangsung di sirkuit Losail, Qatar, Kamis (17/3) malam. Casey Stoner menutup sesi yang berlangsung 45 menit dengan waktu terbaiknya 1 menit 55,752 detik untuk satu putaran.

Hasil yang diukir mantan juara dunia 2007 asal Australia ini masih kurang baik dibandingkan catatan waktunya ketika sesi tes di sirkuit yang sama, Senin (14/3). Saat itu, mantan pebalap Ducati itu mengukir waktu 1 menit 55,681 detik. Kendati begitu, Stoner satu-satunya pebalap yang mencatat waktu 55 detik.

Rekan setimnya, Dani Pedrosa yang menempel kedua kalah cepat 0,610 detik atau 1 menit 56,362 detik. Pebalap asal Spanyol ini mengeluh soal ban belakang yang tak habis dimengertinya. Padahal, kala sesi tes, soal karet hitam ini tidak mengganggunya.

Cukup mengejutkan penampilan Valentino Rossi. Pebalap Ducati itu bertengger di urutan kelima dengan waktu 1 menit 56,479 detik. "Latihan pertama ini semua bekerja dengan baik. Kami masih perlu melakukan pengembangan di bagian tertentu," ujar The Doctor.

Hasil latihan resmi
1. Casey Stoner AUS Repsol Honda Team 1m 55.752s
2. Dani Pedrosa ESP Repsol Honda Team 1m 56.362s
3. Hector Barbera ESP Mapfre Aspar Team 1m 56.421s
4. Marco Simoncelli ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini 1m 56.441s
5. Valentino Rossi ITA Ducati Marlboro Team 1m 56.479s
6. Ben Spies USA Yamaha Factory Racing 1m 56.493s
7. Jorge Lorenzo ESP Yamaha Factory Racing 1m 56.586s
8. Andrea Dovizioso ITA Repsol Honda Team 1m 56.592s
9. Randy de Puniet FRA Pramac Racing Team 1m 56.790s
10. Colin Edwards USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1m 56.879s
11. Nicky Hayden USA Ducati Marlboro Team 1m 56.910s
12. Hiroshi Aoyama JPN San Carlo Honda Gresini 1m 56.987s
13. Loris Capirossi ITA Pramac Racing Team 1m 57.366s
14. Cal Crutchlow GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1m 57.429s 15. Karel Abraham CZE Cardion AB Motoracing 1m 57.821s
16. Alvaro Bautista ESP Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1m 58.528s
17. Toni Elias ESP LCR Honda MotoGP 1m 59.087s

Source : kompas

Q&A: Is Japan facing nuclear nightmare?

(News Today) - The crisis at an earthquake-damaged nuclear plant in Japan continued Tuesday, as radiation levels rose to dangerous levels following an explosion at a third overheating reactor.

Tokyo Electric Power Company, which manages the Fukushima Daiichi facility, said a fire at a fourth reactor on Tuesday morning may also have caused radioactive material to escape. Company officials said high temperatures inside the building housing the reactor may have caused spent fuel rods sitting in a pool to ignite or explode. The blaze was later extinguished.

Nuclear uncertainty lingers as clock ticks

How dangerous are radiation levels now?

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said radiation levels had spiked after the explosion and fire, but he later told reporters that readings at the plant's gate had returned to a level that would not cause "harm to human health."

Officials had earlier reported radiation levels at the plant of between 100 and 400 millisieverts, or as much as 160 times higher than the average dose of radiation a typical person receives from natural sources in a year.

But Glenn Sjoden, a professor of Nuclear Engineering at Georgia Tech in the United States, told CNN that the radiation levels were extremely serious. "Things have dramatically changed in the last few days. Initially they were recording slightly elevated levels at the site boundary because they were venting small pumps from the buildings to release pressure.

"The situation is very different now as a fraction of the core has melted releasing some fission products to the atmosphere as they continue to relieve the pressure in the system."

How a Boiling Water Reactor works

However he said the radiation levels indicate that only a partial meltdown has occurred in the affected reactors. "The levels would be significantly higher if a total meltdown had occurred," he said.

A nuclear meltdown is where the fuel in the core of the reactor starts to melt. This happens when there is a loss of coolant (water) in the core. A fuel melt is a serious problem as it releases a lot of the radioactive material that is contained in that fuel.

What is being released into the atmosphere?

According to Sjoden, the main radioactive components likely to escape when a reactor's fuel rods are breached are Iodine-131 and Caesium-137. Damaging levels of both components were emitted during the Chernobyl reactor disaster in the Ukraine in 1986.

What are the effects on humans?

According to Malcolm Grimston, Associate Fellow for Energy, Environment and Development at London's Chatham House, the single biggest issue following the Chernobyl disaster was radioactive iodine getting into the thyroid gland and causing cancer.

However he said it was likely those living near the Fukushima plant will have been offered iodine tablets which flood the thyroid gland with non-radioactive iodine so there is no space for radioactive iodine to penetrate.

"At Chernobyl they had trouble getting hold of these tablets because it was such a poor area," he told CNN.

All but about 50 workers from the facility have been evacuated while people living within 18.6 miles (30 kilometers) of the plant have been advised to remain indoors.

How serious a hazard are spent fuel rods?

Fuel rods are long metal tubes containing pellets of fissionable material which provide fuel for nuclear reactors. Once these fuel rods have been used, they are submerged in a reinforced steel and concrete container nearby filled with water -- not unlike a large swimming pool - to cool them and allow their radioactivity to decay.

As long as the spent fuel rods remain covered they are perfectly safe. If this changes then the likelihood of a problem developing increases.

"There's still long-lived radioactivity in the rods from the spent fuel," said Paddy Regan, Professor of Physics at Surrey University in England. This consists of a mixture of residues from the nuclear reaction that take a long time to decay.

"There are not many of them but they do take a lot of time to decay and they generate a lot of heat. That's why they're put in these cooling ponds."

What caused the fire in No.4 reactor?

This is not yet clear. High temperatures inside the building may have caused fuel rods sitting in the cooling pond to ignite, the plant's owner said.

According to Professor Andrew Sherry, Director of the Dalton Nuclear Institute at the University of Manchester, the water level may have dropped in the pool. "If that happens you don't have enough cooling water to reduce the heat, which is similar to what is happening in the reactor's core," he said.

"You haven't got criticality because the rods aren't packed together, but they are still hot. The remaining water could heat and then evaporate."

What about the possible damage caused by the blast in reactor No.2?

"My understanding is that the damage was associated with the torus structure underneath the reactor's containment vessel," said Sherry. This donut-shaped structure, also known as a wet well, helps to manage the pressure inside the reactor by condensing the steam into water.

"If there was a pressure drop at the time then this suggests it has been damaged and there may be a leak that led to more hydrogen and steam escaping in a less controlled manner," said Sherry. "That will have increased local radiation levels."

How did the crisis at the plant begin?

Three reactors were in operation when Friday's 9.0 magnitude quake struck. The reactors -- which went into service between 1970 and 1979 -- are designed to shut down automatically when a quake strikes, and emergency diesel generators began the task of pumping water around the reactors to cool them down. However, these stopped about an hour later. The failure of the back-up generators has been blamed on tsunami flooding by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

What caused the explosions?

Grimston said a build-up of pressure inside the inner containment of the reactors was the likely cause. "My suspicion is that as the temperature inside the reactor was rising, some of the metal cans that surround the fuel may have burst and at high temperature, that fuel cladding can react with water to produce zirconium oxide and hydrogen.

"That hydrogen then will be part of the gases that need to be vented. That hydrogen then mixes with the surrounding air. Hydrogen and oxygen can then recombine explosively."

Source : CNN

Borong Pil Iodine lantaran "Lebay"

(News Today) - Cemas soal radiasi gara-gara meledaknya reaktor nuklir pembangkit listrik Fukushima nyatanya menjadi berlebihan alias lebay. Mari tengok sepotong catatan dari AP dan AFP pada Selasa (15/3/2011) soal perilaku berlebihan warga Moskwa.

Entah dari mana datangnya pemicu perilaku itu, warga Moskwa sejak Minggu (13/3/2011) menyesaki apotek-apotek di kota itu. Incaran mereka cuma satu, pil iodine. Bahkan, jaringan apotek nasional di Moskwa mengatakan,"Permintaan iodine meningkat."

Uniknya, tak satu pun pihak berwenang di Moskwa mampu menjelaskan mengapa warga berbondong-bondong memborong pil yang memang acap menjadi penolong jitu bagi orang yang terkena radiasi radio aktif. Dengan menelan pil itu, orang yang terkena radiasi tidak terjangkit kanker tenggorokan.

Tak cuma itu, kecemasan berlebihan juga membuat warga tak tahu berapa takaran konsumsi pasti iodine untuk pencegahan radiasi itu.
Sampai kini, pemerintah Rusia sama sekali belum menetapkan apakah Negeri Beruang Merah juga terimbas radiasi reaktor Fukushima tersebut atau tidak. Seperti China, pemerintah Rusia tengah memerhatikan dengan seksama soal ledakan reaktor itu dan dampaknya. Reaktor Fukushima meledak sebagai dampak dari gempa bumi berkekuatan 8,9 disusul tsunami yang melanda Jepang pada Jumat (11/3/2011).

Source : kompas

Hati-hati Penjualan Tiket Palsu Konser Justin Bieber via Online

Jakarta, Indonesia (News Today) - Justin Bieber memang sebuah daya tarik besar. Sejumlah situs penjualan tiket bermunculan menawarkan tiket konsernya di Jakarta. Namun, berhati-hatilah! Banyak penggemar Justin Bieber yang hampir tertipu saat hendak membeli tiket konser idola mereka lewat internet.

Antusias penggemar terhadap konser Bieber di Indonesia memang sangat tinggi. Banyak fans Tanah Air yang masih bingung untuk mendapatkan tiket konser idola mereka. Tak heran jika kemudian muncul pihak-pihak yang memanfaatkan.

Seperti yang dialami oleh Yadi yang ingin membeli tiket konser Bieber untuk anaknya. Mendapat info dari seorang teman, ia pun mengunjungi situs http://marygops.webs.com/ untuk melakukan pemesanan tiket secara online.

Yadi kemudian menghubungi nomor yang tertera di situs tersebut untuk melakukan pembayaran atas tiket yang dipesan. Namun ia merasa ada keanehan usai mendapatkan jawaban dari nomor telepon tersebut. Yadi pun membatalkan rencananya untuk membeli tiket dari situs itu.

Situs tersebut mengaku sebagai promotor Marygops Studios yang melakukan penjualan tiket secara online. Padahal, sistem penjualan tiket secara online hanya dijual secara eksklusif di www.rajakarcis.com. Promotor akan menjual 6 ribu tiket pada 20 Maret 2011.

Promotor Marygops Studios juga sudah berkali-kali mengingatkan para penggemar Bieber agar berhati-hati terhadap penipuan yang dilakukan sejumlah oknum.

"www.marygops.webs.com dan www.zonacentraltickets.com BUKAN AGEN PENJUALAN TICKET KAMI. MEREKA MENJUAL TICKET PALSU..HATI2 YA BELIEBERS..," tulis promotor lewat akun Twitter resminya, @marygopsstudios.

Selain itu, ada juga oknum yang membuat akun Twiter palsu promotor dengan nickname yang hampir sama persis. Akun asli promotor adalah @marygopsstudios, sedangkan yang palsu @Marygopsstudios. Jika Beliebers--sebutan untuk fans Bieber-- ingin mencari informasi mengenai tiket dan sebagainya, lebih baik kunjungi http://www.jbindofever.com.

Justin Bieber akan menggelar konsernya di Sentul International Convention Center pada 23 April mendatang. Sebanyak 5 perusahaan turun tangan untuk menyelenggarakan konser bertajuk 'Justin Bieber My World Tour' itu.

Source : detik

Bos Pabrik Ekstasi Punya Laptop di Bui

Sejumlah alat dan bahan produksi narkotika di pabrik rumahan yang disita aparat Badan Narkotika Nasional di Perumahan Taman Dadap Indah, Kosambi Timur, Tangerang, Banten, Kamis (17/3/2011). Lewat pemantauan selama sekitar empat bulan, aparat BNN berhasil mengungkap pabrik narkoba rumahan.

Jakarta, Indonesia (News Today) - Pria berinisial E yang diduga mengendalikan pabrik ekstasi di Tangerang dari dalam Rutan Salemba, Jakarta Pusat, diketahui memiliki berbagai keistimewaan.

Menurut Kepala Bagian Humas Badan Narkotika Nasional (BNN) Sumirat Dwiyanto, saat ditemui wartawan di kantornya, Kamis (17/3/2011), E sempat mendapatkan sejumlah fasilitas yang tidak seharusnya didapatkan seorang tahanan.

"Dia diketahui memiliki handphone, laptop, dan modem sehingga dia dapat bebas berkomunikasi dengan orang luar," jelasnya.

Dengan kemudahan berkomunikasi tersebut, E dapat leluasa mengendalikan sindikat narkoba untuk terus beroperasi walaupun dirinya berada di dalam bui. "Kami belum menentukan apakah ada keterlibatan oknum sipir dalam rutan tersebut," ujarnya.

Sumirat juga menegaskan, penahanan terhadap E merupakan hasil kerja sama antara BNN dan Kementerian Hukum dan HAM yang sama-sama menginginkan penjara bersih dari narkoba.

Source : kompas

U.N. remains divided on Libya no-fly zone

United Nations (News Today) - The U.N. Security Council is considering a new draft resolution that includes a no-fly zone over Libya and additional economic and political sanctions.

But council nations remain divided on the no-fly zone proposal.

Germany's U.N. ambassador said his country has questions about such a zone. India's U.N. ambassador asked, "Who will implement the no-fly zone? Who would provide assets for it?"

China's U.N. ambassador said his country is concerned about deteriorating conditions in Libya but didn't say whether Beijing backs a no-fly measure.

The United States declined to take a public position. A council diplomat said the U.S. is engaged in negotiations on the text.

The resolution is in two main parts. The no-fly zone section says the council "decides to authorize a ban on all flights in the airspace of Libya in order to help protect civilians." It authorizes member states to "take all necessary measures to enforce compliance." Another element refers to helping in the delivery of humanitarian food and supplies.

There is far more support in the council for the sanctions part, rather than the no-fly-zone.

The Arab League recommendation of a no-fly zone carries some weight with reluctant council nations. But the Arab League declaration that there should be "no foreign intervention" has perplexed delegates.

That's why Lebanon, the lone Arab member of the Security Council, has been asked to get clarification on this stance from the Arab League.

Lebanon's U.N. ambassador said Libyan diplomats at the United Nations will be asked for information on places and safe passages that can be protected by a no -ly zone in an effort to help answer some nations' questions on the zone.

Lebanese Ambassador Nawaf Salam told reporters his country is in favor of a no-fly zone that would have a deterrent effect on Libyan government forces..

Asked about French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe's remarks that events on the ground may made a no-fly-zone irrelevant, Lebanon's U.N. ambassador declared "nothing is too late but may not be enough."

Security Council consultations resume at 11 a.m. Wednesday.

France's U.N. ambassador, Gerard Araud, said he doubts a vote will occur Wednesday because the resolution has a long and technical text.

Source : CNN

Berkat YouTube, Pelajar Jepang Tahu Keluarganya Selamat

(News Today) - Begitu gempa berkekuatan 9 di Jepang mengguncang, Jumat (11/3/2011) pekan lalu, jaringan telepon di Jepang langsung terganggu. Semua sibuk mencoba meghubungi sanak saudara, teman, atau kolega di Jepang ingin segera tahu kabarnya. Namun, apa saya, telepon tak jua tersambung.

Akiko Kosaka, pelajar asal Jepang yang tengah kuliah di University of California di Riverside Amerika Serikat sudah kehilangan harapan mengenai keselamatan keluarganya di Minami Sanriku. Apalagi, desa yang dihuni sekitar 17.000 kepala keluarga tersebut diberitakan telah hancur dan menyisakan banyak korban jiwa akibat terjangan gelombang laut setinggi lebih dari 3 meter.

Tiga hari lamanya Kosaka berusaha mencari tahu keadaan keluarganya. Baru pada hari ke-4 pascabencana ia menerima email bahwa adiknya, Yukiko, telah diselamatkan dan sedang mengungsi di sebuah sekolah. Akan tetapi apa yang terjadi pada kedua orangtuanya, kakek dan neneknya, serta kakaknya yang sebelumnya tinggal satu atap, ia belum tahu.

Hingga akhirnya, ia mendapatkan kabar dari salah satu teman yang menghubunginya tentang keberadaan sebuah video berdurasi sekitar 45 menit di situs YouTube menunjukkan bahwa rumah keluarga Kosaka adalah satu-satunya rumah yang masih berdiri di antara puing-puing desa. Video tersebut dikabarkan menunjukkan kakaknya sedang melambai-lambaikan tangan ke kamera wartawan sambil mengatakan, "Kami semua selamat."

Kosaka sempat panik ketika seharian mencari di internet namun tidak menemukan video yang dimaksud. Pertolongan akhirnya datang melalui sebuah email yang melampirkan link dari video tersebut kepadanya.

"Saya pikir mereka tidak selamat. Saya menangis selama tiga hari ini, Jumat, Sabtu, Minggu." katanya sambil terisak-isak saat diwawancarai CNN, Selasa (15/3/2011) malam.

Ketika menyaksikan video itu untuk pertama kalinya di dalam rumah kontrakannya di Riverside, California, reaksi Kosaka mengejutkan semua penghuni rumah. "Saya berteriak, dan membuat penjaga rumah terbangun dan membuat mereka mengira sesuatu yang buruk telah terjadi. Mereka bertanya apa yang terjadi, saya berkata, Mereka selamat!" teriaknya.

Dalam video tersebut, kakak Kosaka, Shoko yang berusia 24 tahun nampak sedang berdiri di beranda lantai dua rumahnya, tepat di luar kamar Kosaka. Ia berusaha menarik perhatian media yang membawa kamera video dan berpesan tolong sampaikan kepada saudaranya di Californya bahwa keluarganya baik-baik saja.

Saat diwawancarai tersebut Kosaka masih berusaha mengirimkan pesan melalui video dan media lainnya dengan tujuan menyampaikan pesan ke Jepang bahwa ia sudah menerima pesan yang dikirim keluarganya. Kosaka masih harus melihat video yang menampilkan keadaan ayahnya, Natsumi, ibunya, Noriko, serta kakek dan neneknya.

Rumah keluarga Kosaka menjadi satu-satunya yang bertahan di desa Minami karena sekitar 5 tahun lalu ayahnya membangun rekonstruksi baru yang membagi rumah menjadi dua bagian lengkap dengan ruang bawah tanah. Rumah-rumah lain di desa itu sudah dimakan usia dan tidak diperbaharui.

Dalam video YouTube yang melegakan tersebut nampak kakak Kosaka memegang papan bertuliskan "KELUARGA KOSAKA" lalu berteriak "Karena adik kami sedang berada di Amerika, tolong sampaikan bahwa kami semua selamat."

Source : kompas

Demokrat Pilih Nachrowi atau Foke?

Presiden Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono menyalami Gubernur DKI Jakarta Fauzi Bowo pada penutupan Raker di Istana Bogor, Selasa (22/2/2011).

Jakarta, Indonesia (News Today) - Pencalonan Ketua DPD Partai Demokrat DKI Jakarta, Nachrowi Ramli menjadi calon Gubernur DKI Jakarta seakan menenggelamkan nama Gubernur DKI Jakarta saat ini yang juga merupakan Anggota Dewan Pembina Partai Demokrat, Fauzi Bowo.

Namun, di tingkat Dewan Pimpinan Pusat (DPP), Demokrat rupanya masih belum memiliki calon resmi yang akan dikedepankan dalam Pilgub DKI tahun 2012 tersebut. Hal ini disampaikan Ketua DPP Partai Demokrat Bidang Komunikasi dan Informasi, Ruhut Sitompul, Selasa (15/3/2011), saat dihubungi wartawan. "Calonnya belum diputuskan jadi mohon bersabar," ujarnya.

Ruhut menjelaskan untuk pemilihan gubernur di tiap provinsi, termasuk DKI Jakarta, calon yang akan diusung Demokrat akan diputuskan oleh Ketua Umum dan Sekretatis Jenderal DPP Partai Demokrat. "Keputusan itu didapat setelah berkonsultasi dengan Ketua Dewan Pembina Bapak SBY," ungkap Ruhut.

Ketika ditanyakan soal peluang Fauzi Bowo untuk kembali dicalonkan oleh internal partai, Ruhut enggan menjawab secara gamblang. Ia hanya mengatakan, "Sampai sekarang belum mengerucut jadi bersabar ya."

Sebelumnya, Nachrowi Ramli menyatakan kesiapannya untuk maju menjadi calon Gubernur DKI Jakarta. "Kalau itu amanah dan diberi izin partai, saya secara pribadi siap. Komunikasi dengan berbagai partai juga mulai dibangun," ungkap Nachrowi.

Namun demikian, Nachrowi mengatakan bahwa komunikasi kepada parpol-parpol itu hanyalah suatu pendekatan awal. "Intinya untuk membangun dan menjalin hubungan baik," ucapnya.

Sementara itu, hingga saat ini, Gubernur DKI Jakarta, Fauzi Bowo, masih enggan mengomentari pencalonan kembali dirinya menjadi DKI 1. "Yang jelas saya kerja saja dan selesaikan jabatan saya sampai tahun depan," ucap Gubernur beberapa waktu lalu usai meresmikan kantor Samsat Drive Thru di Jakarta Timur.

Source : kompas

Italian island faces flood of Tunisian migrants

Tunis, Tunisia (News Today) - Italy's coast guard says at least 1,623 migrants have landed on the tiny island of Lampedusa over a 24-hour period.

According to a coast guard statement released Tuesday, at least seven boats believed to have taken off from Tunisia landed on the Italian island with more than 400 passengers. The rest of the people were rescued at sea by Italian maritime patrols.

Sailors at the Tunisian fishing port of Zarzis said they have seen a spike in the number of boats full of migrants departing on the dangerous 16- to 24-hour journey to Lampedusa, about 100 kilometers (62 miles, or 54 nautical miles) away.

"Yesterday, seven boats left here for Lampedusa," Faisal Jebnoun said Monday as he pulled seaweed and other debris from his net after a long day fishing for squid.

"The youth are crazy," Jebnoun added. "They all think they'll find a better life in Italy, and they don't even speak Italian!"

Italy has seen a surge in migrants from Tunisia since the North African country experienced a revolution in January that threw longtime President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali from power.

Lampedusa is often a favored target since it is one of the southernmost European points in the Mediterranean Sea.

At one point, said Souei Abdesslem, president of the Blue-fish Union in Zarzis, so many young Tunisians were anxious to smuggle themselves to Europe that fishermen began sleeping in their boats to prevent them from being stolen for the hazardous passage across the Mediterranean.

The Italian coast guard reported that it had rescued five passengers Sunday night who said their boat sank, with 35 other passengers still missing.

Dozens of passengers from a Tunisian boat are believed to have died in January after it collided with a Tunisian coast guard vessel on a similar journey.

Coast guard spokesman Cosimo Nicastro said he expects that the recent surge of migrants will decrease because of forecasts of stormy weather in the days ahead.

Source : CNN

Ketombe Hilang dengan Ramuan Mengkudu dan Nanas

(News Today) - Ketombe adalah masalah sel-sel kulit mati di kepala yang menumpuk dan berkelompok secara berlebihan. Normalnya, sel kulit mati di kulit kepala akan terangkat sedikit demi sedikit dan tak terlihat. Namun, kondisi kulit kepala yang bermasalah karena infeksi jamur, menyebabkan iritasi dan sekresi kulit yang berlebihan bisa menyebabkan kulit mati mengumpul dan mengelupas. Kulit kepala yang meradang dan masalah kulit kepala lainnya juga bisa membentuk sisik serta ketombe pada kulit kepala.

Coba atasi dengan cara tradisional jika Anda mengalami masalah ketombe. Berikut ini resep antiketombe menggunakan nanas dari buku Herbal Indonesia Berkhasiat: Bukti Ilmiah dan Cara Racik, keluaran Trubus:

Bahan:
100 cc Air perasan jeruk purut
200 cc Air nanas
100 cc Santan kelapa

Cara pembuatan:
1. Campurkan semua bahan jadi 1.
2. Masukkan dalam wadah tertutup.
3. Gunakan sebagai shampo 3-4 kali seminggu.

Untuk resep dari buah mengkudu, simak resep Prof. H. M. Hembing Wijayakusuma dalam bukunya, Ramuan Lengkap Herbal Taklukkan Penyakit:

Bahan:
2-3 buah Mengkudu matang

Cara pembuatan:
1. Bersihkan buah mengkudu, lalu parut. Tambahkan sedikit air, aduk rata, lalu oleskan pada kulit kepala sambil pijat perlahan.
2. Oleskan lagi hingga merata, biarkan mengering, lalu bilas dengan air hingga bersih.
3. Lakukan 3 kali seminggu hingga gatal dan ketombe menghilang.

Source : kompas

California student from Japan finds family alive on YouTube

Riverside, California (News Today) - Akiko Kosaka, a student from Japan attending the University of California at Riverside, had lost all hope for her family in Minamisanriku, the fishing village where more than half of the 17,000 residents are missing and feared dead in the aftermath of last week's tsunami.

For three days, she scoured the Internet. She received one e-mail that her youngest sister, Yukako, 13, was likely safe in her middle school's shelter. But what about her parents, paternal grandparents and older sister, who all lived under the same roof?

When the mayor was quoted in the media as saying he barely survived the tsunami, Kosaka thought the worst, because her father's pharmacy was located near the town hall.

"I didn't think they survived," Kosaka, 20, told CNN during a tearful interview Tuesday. "I cried for three days -- Friday, Saturday, Sunday."

Then she received word Sunday night from a friend in Japan of the existence of a 45-second YouTube video showing her family home as the only one standing amid the rubble. The video highlighted her older sister holding a sign to a TV news crew saying in Japanese "we are all safe."

Kosaka expressed relief upon hearing of the video, but became distraught after she couldn't find it online, despite staying up all night looking for it.

Then a contact through a Japanese social network e-mailed her the link Monday morning.

When seeing the video for the first time inside the home of her host family, Kosaka's reaction surprised everyone in the household.

"I screamed, and my host parents woke up and they thought it was really bad," Kosaka said. "They asked what happened. And I said, 'They survived!'"

In the video, her 24-year-old sister, Shoko, is standing on the family home's balcony, off Kosaka's bedroom, and is asking the TV crew to pass along word to her sister in America that she's safe.

Now Kosaka is trying to respond by using the media and the Internet to inform her relatives she's aware of their message -- though she's still concerned about them in the obliterated coastal village, which media accounts liken to a ghost town.

Kosaka has yet to see her father, Katsumi; mother, Noriko; or paternal grandparents on any video -- or receive any word from them.

Though she speaks English, Kosaka extended a message to them, in Japanese, through a CNN news crew: "My older sister, Shoko, I saw your video. Thank you very much for being alive. It made me really happy that you are worried about me even in this tough situation.

"Grandpa and grandma, how is your health? Dad and mom, I know that everything is tough right now with your job and everything but I am so glad that you are alive. I really look forward to seeing you guys again."

In the offices of the University of California at Riverside Extension program, where she began a year-long study of English last September, Kosaka provided a personal narrative to the stark footage of her hometown street now in ruins.

Kosaka's family home is the only one left standing on a hill because her father reconstructed the two-story house with a basement five years ago, Kosaka said. The other houses in the neighborhood were aging, she said.

Kosaka expressed shock that the earthquake or the tsunami demolished the block because she thought the area would be safe on high ground, she said. Her family's house has a scenic view of the ocean, just a five-minute walk away, she said.

In the video, a news crew approaches the family house, and Kosaka's older sister is wearing a white helmet and holds up one sign saying, "Kosaka Family," and then another saying, "We are all safe."

At another point in the video, the older sister indicates she's holding up the signs to the camera crew "because my younger sister is in America. We are all okay."

When Kosaka heard of the video's existence, she thought to herself, "I couldn't believe it. It's a miracle," she said.

Since seeing the video, she watched it over and over again -- at least "50 or something" times within about 24 hours, she said, offering a wild guess.

As she reviewed the video again Tuesday morning, Kosaka was still incredulous.

"This is my house," she said, viewing the video on a university office computer. "When I saw this video, I was very shocked by it. I thought (the hillside community) was safe. There were houses next to my house, but they were destroyed. That means the tsunami came up to the house."

She was moved to see her sister shouting to the news crew from the balcony. "It makes me very happy," Kosaka said. "It's the only way to hear her voice."

Her sister's voice, though, struck Kosaka as "tired and depressed."

"Maybe she tries to stay strong for my family. So I'm very proud of her," Kosaka said.

She believes her parents are likely OK, but her grandfather, Yoshio, is 85 and grandmother, Soyoko, is 80.

"My grandparents are old, so I'm worried about their health," Kosaka said, adding no one in her hometown probably has water, and the winter weather is still cold, with snow.

She's also worried about the family pharmacy, where her father, 52, is a pharmacist and her mother assists. The family opened it 10 years ago.

"I think it was his dream," Kosaka added.

Since Kosaka saw the video, she has been sharing her story with classmates. "I cried in front of them too much," she said Tuesday.

The University of California at Riverside Extension is the continuing education branch of the university and has an enrollment of 4,000 students from 60 countries who participate in English-language study or certificate programs, said Bronwyn Jenkins-Deas, associate dean and head of international programs.

Of the 4,000 students, 109 of them are from Japan, and five of them had families affected by the quake or tsunami or both, Jenkins-Deas said.

It is only Kosaka, though, who has yet to have direct contact with her family, Jenkins-Deas said.

"The story is quite amazing," Jenkins-Deas added.

Source : CNN

Sneijder: Aku Lebih Hebat daripada Robben

Munich (News Today) - Wesley Sneijder melontarkan lelucon yang menyebutkan dirinya lebih baik daripada kompatriotnya Arjen Robben sebelum pertandingan antara Inter Milan versus Bayern Muechen di leg kedua babak 16 Liga Champions, Selasa atau Rabu (16/3/2011) dini hari WIB.

"Siapa yang lebih kuat antara Robben dan aku? Aku tentunya," kata gelandang asal Belanda itu sambil tertawa.

"Aku pikir kami dua pemain yang memiliki tipe berbeda dan dia juga pemain yang hebat. Aku merasakan perasaan yang luar biasa. Selalu menjadi hal yang luar biasa bisa melawan rekanku dari Belanda,"

"Aku sangat mengenal Luois Van Gaal. Arjen dan aku merupakan rekan saat masih membela Real Madrid dan juga di tim nasional. Namun, aku harus mengalahkan dia hari ini," beber Sneijer.

"La Beneamata" sendiri bertandang ke Allianz Arena dengan bermodalkan kekalahan 0-1 pada leg pertama. Oleh karena itu, Inter butuh usaha yang keras jika ingin melaju ke perempat final Liga Champions.

Source : kompas

Ahmadinejad: U.S., Europe should not intervene in Libya

Madrid, Spain (News Today) - The United States and Europe should not intervene militarily in strife-torn Libya because it would make matters worse, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told Spanish state television TVE on Tuesday.

"I think a military intervention would be even worse. The experience of Iraq and Afghanistan is before us. It made things worse, not better," Ahmadinejad told TVE in an interview at the presidential palace in Tehran, Iran, which was televised in Spain.

He condemned Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's bombardment of rebels, saying, "We condemn these massacres and we have condemned them previously. Whomever bombs his own people should be condemned."

But Ahmadinejad -- speaking in his native Farsi that was translated to Spanish -- also warned, "A Western intervention will just complicate the situation. The West needs to leave behind its colonialist vision."

He accused the United States and Europe of having provided weapons and backing to Gadhafi and other autocratic regimes in the region in the past.

"Previously they helped the government and today they are pretending to help the people," he said. "If they don't intervene in Libyan affairs I think the Libyan people can decide their future."

On Saturday, the Arab League recommended a no-fly zone over Libya. In a private session on Monday, the U.N. Security council has expressed doubts and concerns about the measure, meaning quick approval likely will not occur.

Asked about Iran, Ahmadinejad denied any repression against opposition at home.

"Never, never. We have never done that. During the past 30 years we have had 30 free elections," he said.

The TVE reporter, Ana Pastor, then requested information about Iranian opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi.

"Are you their lawyer?" Ahmadinejad replied. "In all countries there are opponents. And there is also the law. If there is an opposition, can they break the law?"

Source : CNN

Progam Pemulihan Merapi Hingga 2013

Relawan melakukan pencarian korban letusan Gunung Merapi di Dusun Banjarsari, Desa Glagaharjo, Kecamatan Cangkringan, Sleman, DI Yogyakarta, Senin (8/11/2010). Foto ini berhasil memenangi lomba foto XL Award 2010.

Sleman - Yogyakarta, Indonesia (News Today) - Kebijakan Pemerintah Kabupaten Sleman, DIY, dalam program pemulihan pascabencana Gunung Merapi akan dilaksanakan sampai 2013.

"Pelaksanaannya dimulai Januari 2011 hingga 2013, dan maksimal sampai 2014," kata Bupati Sleman Sri Purnomo, di Sleman, Selasa (15/3/2011).

Pemerintah kabupaten telah memulai upaya pemulihan melalui rehabilitasi dan rekonstruksi pascaerupsi Merapi, dan ini memerlukan dukungan semua pihak, karena tidak mungkin dilakukan sendiri, mengingat keterbatasan sumber daya yang ada.

Bantuan fasilitas kesehatan juga sangat diperlukan untuk memantapkan dan mempertahankan pelayanan kesehatan.

"Bencana erupsi Merapi akhir 2010 telah merusak sekitar 10 gedung puskesmas pembantu dan lima puskesmas di wilayah Kecamatan Pakem, Turi, Ngemplak, dan Cangkringan," katanya.

Berbagai bantuan yang diterima Pemkab Sleman tentu akan semakin memotivasi masyarakat untuk menata kembali kehidupannya.

"Selain itu, bantuan tersebut juga memudahkan kami dalam rehabilitasi dan rekonstruksi pascabencana erupsi Gunung Merapi," katanya.

Sri Purnomo mengatakan dalam membangun kesehatan masyarakat, Pemkab Sleman memulainya dengan kebijakan menciptakan generasi yang sehat dan berkualitas sejak dini, yaitu dengan mengupayakan agar setiap bayi yang lahir di wilayah kabupaten ini selalu dalam keadaan sehat.

"Agar bayi dapat lahir sehat, maka setiap ibu hamil juga harus dalam keadaan sehat, siap secara fisik dan mental," katanya.

Ia mengatakan dalam upaya meningkatkan pelayanan kesehatan bagi masyarakat, Pemkab Sleman juga telah membenahi sistem pengelolaan puskesmas.

"Mulai 2011 semua puskesmas telah difungsikan sebagai Badan Layanan Umum Daerah (BLUD). Sistem pengelolaan ini mampu menjaga kesinambungan kualitas pelayanan kepada masyarakat tidak terganggu oleh pergantian tahun anggaran," katanya.

Source : kompas

Clinton 'deeply inspired' by Egyptian change

Cairo, Egypt (News Today) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a strong statement of praise for Egypt's political revolution Tuesday, declaring she was "deeply inspired" by the dramatic change and promising new assistance for America's longtime Middle East ally.

Clinton pledged $90 million in emergency economic assistance during a meeting in Cairo with Foreign Minister Nabil Al-Araby. She is the highest ranking U.S. official to visit Egypt since the overthrow of former President Hosni Mubarak.

"The United States will work to ensure that the economic gains Egypt has forged in recent years continue, and that all parts of Egyptian society benefit from these gains," a State Department statement noted.

Among other things, the administration is also working with Congress to create an "Egypt-American Enterprise Fund" to help spark private sector investment in the country, the statement said.

The U.S. Export Import Bank, according to the statement, has also already approved $80 million in insurance backing for letters of credit issued by Egyptian financial institutions.

"Egypt and the United States have many strategic interests in common," Clinton declared. The two countries don't agree on every key issue, but it is critically important to maintain lines of communication and an open relationship, she said.

Clinton said she supported a move announced earlier in the day by Egyptian authorities to overhaul their internal security operations.

"The new system will not be allowed to meddle in the rights of citizens in Egypt," Interior Ministry spokesman Major Alla Mahmoud asserted. "It will deal with terrorism matters and emergency situations."

Interior Minister Mansour Al-Issawi was one of six new ministers in Prime Minister Essam Sharaf's government to take office earlier this month.

While in the region, Clinton is also scheduled to visit neighboring Tunisia to express support for that country's revolt.

Source : CNN

"Di SEA Games Pun, Berat bagi Indonesia"

Maestro bulu tangkis Indonesia, Rudi Hartono.

Jakarta, Indonesia (News Today) - Menjelang SEA Games 2011 di Indonesia pada November mendatang, maestro bulu tangkis Indonesia Rudy Hartono memperingatkan agar para pemain Indonesia berhati-hati. Jika tidak, harapan untuk menjadi juara bisa pupus.

"Indonesia belum tentu menang atau meraih medali emas," ujar delapan kali juara All England itu di Jakarta, Selasa (15/3/2011).

Mengacu kepada hasil para pemain Indonesia di All England pekan lalu—ketika para pemain tunggal putri berguguran di babak kualifikasi dan hanya dua ganda putra yang berhasil mencapai perempat final, Rudy memastikan akan berat bagi Indonesia untuk meraih medali emas di SEA Games sekali pun.

Indonesia menargetkan juara umum pada cabang bulu tangkis dengan meraih minimal empat medali emas seperti yang diperoleh dua tahun lalu di Laos dari nomor beregu putra, tunggal dan ganda putra, serta ganda campuran.

"Kalau ada Lee Chong Wei dan Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong (pemain tunggal dan ganda Malaysia), pemain kita belum tentu menang," katanya.

Malaysia diperkirakan akan menjadi batu sandungan terbesar bagi Indonesia untuk nomor beregu maupun perorangan, terutama pada tunggal dan ganda putra. Sedangkan pada ganda campuran, Thailand yang mempunyai finalis All England Sudket Prapakamol/Saralee Thoungthongkam dan pasangan peringkat tujuh dunia Songphon Anugritayawon/Kunchala Voravichitchaikul patut diperhitungkan.

Rudy memperkirakan, 60 persen medali emas SEA Games akan jatuh ke tangan Malaysia.

Pada SEA Games 2009 di Thailand, emas tunggal putra disumbangkan Sony Dwi Kuncoro yang mengalahkan sesama pemain Indonesia, Simon Santoso, 21-16, 21-12, sedangkan Markis Kido/Hendra Setiawan mengalahkan pasangan Malaysia, Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong, 21-17, 21-17 untuk meraih emas ganda putra. Adapun pada ganda campuran, Nova Widianto/Liliyana Natsir meraih juara setelah mengalahkan pasangan Thailand, Songphon Anugritayawon/Kunchala Voravichitchaikul, 21-10, 20-22, 21-9.

Kondisi Sony yang belum pulih sepenuhnya dari cedera dan penampilan Simon yang belum stabil, ditambah pasangan baru ganda campuran Tontowi Ahmad/Liliyana Natsir, membuat kekuatan tim Indonesia saat ini menjadi berbeda dengan dua tahun lalu.

SEA Games 2011, menurut rencana, akan digelar di Jakarta dan Palembang pada 11-25 November mendatang.

Source : kompas

How bad is it? Depends on which nuclear expert you ask

(News Today) - Experts disagreed Tuesday over just how bad things have gotten at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in northeastern Japan, but all of them agreed that things could get worse.

An explosion Tuesday at the plant elevated the situation there to a "serious accident," on a level just below Chernobyl, a French nuclear official said, referring to the international scale that rates the severity of such incidents and to an incident 25 years ago in what is now Ukraine. His comments came before a fire was reported Wednesday in the No. 4 reactor building at the Japanese plant.

The International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale -- or INES -- ranks incidents from Level 1, which indicates very little danger to the general population, to Level 7, a "major accident" with a large release of radioactive material and widespread health and environmental effects.

"It's clear we are at Level 6, that's to say we're at a level in between what happened at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl," Andre-Claude Lacoste, president of France's nuclear safety authority, told reporters Tuesday.

The core meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant near Middletown, Pennsylvania, in 1979 caused no injuries or deaths, and only low levels of radiation were found later in plants and animals, experts said.

At least 30 people died following the 1986 explosion and fire at Chernobyl, and large swaths of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia were contaminated from the nuclear fallout. Thousands of cases of childhood thyroid cancer resulted, according to Dr. Ira Helfand of Physicians for Social Responsibility, which opposes the use of nuclear power.

Japanese nuclear authorities initially rated the incident that began last Friday with a 9.0-magnitude earthquake in northeastern Japan followed by a tsunami at Level 4, according to Greg Webb of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Level 4 is characterized as a minor release of radioactive material that necessitates only measures to control food due to contamination. But in the latest information about the explosion, Japanese authorities did not give it a rating, Webb said, and the IAEA did not cite one either.

But Joseph Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund and author of "Deadly Arsenals: Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Threats," said the level is far beyond 4. "We are way beyond Three Mile Island level and heading into Chernobyl territory," he told CNN in a telephone interview. "This is at least a 5, probably a 6 and it could end up a 7."

He added, "This is not going to end well. At the very least, we're going to have a very expensive mess to clean up, and the worst is that we we spread radioactive particles across hundreds or thousands of square miles of Japan."

The Institute for Science and International Security agreed the initial rating was low. "The explosion in the Unit 2 reactor, the third so far, and the fire in the spent fuel pond in the reactor building for Unit 4 means that this accident can no longer be viewed as a level 4 on the INES scale," the institute said Tuesday in a posting on its website.

"This event is now closer to a level 6, and it may unfortunately reach a level 7," it said.

Level 6 events have broad consequences that require countermeasures to deal with the radioactive contamination.

Level 7 events would constitute a larger release of radioactive material and would require further countermeasures.

Another way to measure the incidents would be to rank them in comparison with Chernobyl, deemed the worst, and Three Mile Island.

"My guess is this is now number two, but I need to need to look at the data more carefully," said James Acton, an associate in the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment and a Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow.

Tom Cochran, a senior scientist in the nuclear program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said he would guess that the incident ranks "a little worse than Three Mile Island and not nearly as bad as Chernobyl." But, he complained, he could not look at the data because they had not been made available. "There are too many variables: First is the lack of transparency on the part of the Japanese."

Even if the Japanese prove capable of keeping coolant in the three reactors that have experienced partial core meltdowns, many uncertainties remain, he said. One of them is whether the containment vessels will keep any molten nuclear material from entering the environment.

"If it does pool in the bottom of the reactor, after some period of time it will probably eat through the reactor into the primary containment area which is, or should be, sealed, but may not be," he said.

If the containment system is breached, "you have more or less direct access to the environment. At that point, you expect the volatile fission products and the gaseous fission products to get out of the system. That would be things like Krypton 85, Iodine 131 and Cesium 137."

Given that prevailing winds were blowing out to sea and people who lived within 20 kilometers of the plant had been evacuated, Cochran said he was sanguine about the possible outcome.

"But you can always play the game of, what's the worst-case situation? And the worst case can get pretty bad."

Whatever happens, the incident will greatly affect the calculation of probabilities associated with nuclear power risk, he said.

The probability of a core melt had been estimated at about one chance in 10,000 reactor years of operation, he said. "We've had now three core melts in 30 years in less than 500 reactors, he said, referring to Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and now Japan. "So the probability of a partial core melt is one chance in several hundred instead of one chance in 10,000. So, it's not a good statistic."

Many experts said it could be a long time before they are able to determine the incident's impact.

"We don't know enough to assess the long-term or short-term effects of this," said Kirby Kemper, a nuclear physicist, physics professor and vice president of research at Florida State University.

Kemper said it appears the radioactive material released had largely dissipated into the atmosphere. However, he added, authorities would will have to test the soil for contamination in the 20-kilometer radius of the plant that was evacuated before anyone should be allowed to return home.

Trying to place the situation on the INES scale is premature, said David Brenner, director of the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University.

"I've been asked to put a number on it a few times and I've resisted," he said.

Cochran said his concerns transcend nuclear power. "We've watched Exxon Valdez, the BP oil spill, numerous coal mining accidents, Chernobyl, TMI, now Fukushima, slag ponds, TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) reactors giving way. You have got to ask yourself, how many wake-up calls do you need before you get serious about building a safe, renewable-energy economy?"

Source : CNN

Ah, Siapa Bilang Karier Zaskia A Mecca Redup

Jakarta, Indonesia (News Today) - Meski jarang tampil di layar kaca, bukan berarti pamor Zaskia Adya Mecca di dunia hiburan meredup. Istri sutradara Hanung Bramantyo itu malah mengakui bahwa kesibukannya saat ini tergolong padat.

Selain merawat anak pertamanya yang baru berusia lima bulan, Zaskia mengaku sedang disibukkan dengan membantu suami dan merampungkan sejumlah sinetron edisi Ramadhan.

"Kalau sekarang jarang terlihat, mungkin karena aku kebanyakan di belakang layar menemani Mas Hanung. Makanya, jadi sering tidak terlihat di depan layar," ujar Zaskia ketika ditemui di Ballroom Hotel Grand Hyatt, Jakarta, Selasa (15/3/2011).

Saat ini, Zaskia mengaku sedang menyiapkan sejumlah sinetron. Kesibukannya saat ini, selain memberi asi eksklusif untuk putrinya yang telah berusia lima bulan, Zaskia juga sedang sibuk menjalani shooting untuk edisi Ramadhan.

"Aku lebih sibuk di bulan Ramadhan dibandingkan pada bulan biasanya. Semua kesibukan aku jalani dengan enjoy dan tidak ada masalah apa pun. Malah semuanya sangat menyenangkan," terangnya.

Source : kompas

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