Japan: Power Company Apologizes for Radiation Burns to Workers

STR/AFP/Getty Images(TOKYO) -- Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) on Saturday issued an apology for not giving its employees proper warning about the degree of radiation risk they faced.

The apology follows a report that water which caused radiation burns to the legs and feet of three workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was 10,000 times more radioactive than normal. TEPCO apologized for knowing about the radiation risk its employees faced, yet not telling them about it.

In a statement, TEPCO officials said “If we had given (the employees) the heads up thoroughly, we would have been able to avoid their exposure to the radiation at this time. We regret our lack of communication.”

Nuclear experts say the water at the Fukushima Daiichi plant could only reach those levels if it had come into contact with uranium, meaning a breach of the core was almost certain. There are also reports that a high level of radiation has been found in sea water near the plant.

The government is attempting to stay on top of the situation by encouraging TEPCO to provide them with as much information as possible.

Government officials claim the situation at Reactor 1 is stable and does not appear to be getting worse, however, they anticipate that it would be a “long time” before the crisis is over. Government officials also say they will.

On Friday, Prime Minister Naoto Kan Friday called the situation "grave and serious."

"We are not in a position to be optimistic," Kan said. "We must remain vigilant. We must treat every development with the utmost care."

The death toll in Japan stands at an estimated 10,175 people, while over 17,000 people are reportedly still missing following the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami in Japan on March 11.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Libya Rebels Take Control of Ajdabiya

ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images(AJDABIYA, Libya) -- Rebels in Libya reportedly took control of the city of Ajdabiya on Saturday.

Bombed out tanks, rebels firing celebratory shots into the air and horns honking were some of the sights and sounds on the streets of Ajdabiya Saturday after rebels wrestled control of the town from Moammar Gadhafi’s forces.

The takeover comes as coalition forces continue to launch air raids across Libya, providing aid to rebels in their battle with Gadhafi’s forces.

Speaking at a press conference Saturday, Libya’s Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim accused coalition forces of trying to ignite a civil war in the country. Kaim said coalition forces were trying to drive the country’s armed forces out of Libyan cities, and that the coalition was acting outside of the United Nations mandate.

Earlier in the month, the UN authorized the imposition of the no-fly zone in Libya, which extends west from Benghazi.

Meanwhile, some journalists have claimed they are being assaulted by Libyan government minders. Journalists claim they have been kicked and have had their cameras destroyed by miners as they tried to carry out their duties.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Newt Gingrich Acknowledges ‘Contradictions’ On His Libya Views

ABC News(DES MOINES, Iowa) -- Potential 2012 presidential candidate Newt Gingrich defended his shifting positions on whether the U.S. military should have intervened in Libya on Saturday, saying that he was responding to President Obama’s changing views.

“The fact is that on each day I was on television I was responding to where the president was that day,” Gingrich told a gathering of conservative Iowans. “And so obviously there were contradictions.”

“It’s true,” he added, “I was trying to follow Obama.”

The former Republican House Speaker originally expressed support for the enforcement of a no-fly zone using American military force, but earlier this week he appeared to flip-flop, calling President Obama’s decision to get involved an act of “amateur opportunism.”

His explanation: “If you had asked, ‘should we jump in the lake?’ I would have said ‘no.’ Once we jumped in the lake I said, ‘swim as fast as you can.’”

On Saturday, speaking before a gathering of conservative Iowans, Gingrich said the NATO coalition must “defeat Gadhafi as rapidly as possible.”

“I would do it by using Egyptian, Moroccan, Jordanian and Iraqi ground forces as advisers and as air controllers with the rebels using all of Western air power as decisively as possible,” he said, adding: “Once you get involved, I believe you get involved decisively, you win quickly, you minimize casualties, you get it over with.”

Gingrich, who was speaking at the Conservative Principles Conference in Des Moines along with a handful of other possible 2012 presidential hopefuls, spent much his 17-minute speech criticizing the Obama administration.

“If Reaganomics was the path to prosperity,” he said, “Obamanomics is the path to oppression.”

On energy policy, Gingrich took issue with President Obama’s recent comment to South American businessmen that “we want to be one of your best customers” by buying Brazilian oil.

“That’s exactly backwards,” he said. “I want us to create American energy in America and I want Brazilians to be our customer.”

“In 2012, we could win a historic election and we could end the 80-year dominance of the left,” he said.
Earlier this month, Gingrich announced the exploratory phase of his presidential campaign and said he would make an official announcement in May.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Key Witness in Amanda Knox Trial Stumbles in Testimony 

TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images(PERUGIA, Italy) -- A key witness in the Italy court trial of American student Amanda Knox gave conflicting statements in court on Saturday when asked to recount what he saw on the night of November 1, 2007.

Knox, 23, and her former Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, who turned 27 on Saturday, are appealing their 2009 conviction, of 26 and 25 years in prison respectively, for sexual assault and murder in the death of Knox's British roommate, Meredith Kercher.

Saturday's main witness, Antonio Curatolo, testified in Knox's first trial in 2009 that he had seen Knox and Sollecito in Piazza Grimana – the square above the house Knox shared with Kercher – on the night of the murder. Curatolo was the only eyewitness brought by the prosecution in the first trial that the judges deemed reliable.

In an effort to dismantle Curatolo's testimony, the defense team for Knox and Sollecito called a number of witnesses on March 12. Disco owners and bus drivers testified that most discos were closed on the night of November 1, 2007 because they had their big Halloween events the night before.

Curatolo, who in 2007 lived outdoors in the Piazza Grimana square, told the court on Saturday that he had seen Knox and Sollecito in the square on November 1 talking animatedly. When asked what night it was, he said he thought it was Halloween.

He then contradicted himself, by telling the prosecutor that he was sure that it was the very next day, at around 1 or 2 p.m., that he saw police cars driving by the square. He said he saw police "and people in white suits" inside and outside the cottage where Knox lived with Kercher. Kercher's body was discovered mid-day on Nov. 2.

The court in Perugia set the next hearing in the case for May 21, when court-assigned independent DNA experts will present their report regarding key DNA evidence presented in the first trial.

A third person, Rudy Guede, was convicted to 16 years in prison for his role in the crime. He was tried separately from Knox and Sollecito and has exhausted his appeals.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Deal May Be in the Works for Yemen President to Step Down

GAMAL NOMAN/AFP/Getty Images(SANA'A, Yemen) -- As protests in Yemen continue, it remains uncertain as to whether President Ali Abdullah Saleh will step down from his position.

On Saturday it was reported that a deal was being worked out that could see Saleh stepping down in the near future. According to published reports, government officials have confirmed that such a deal was being negotiated for Saleh’s departure. Saleh has said that he is ready to transfer power to the persons/persons that he sees fit to take the reins.

Protestors are hoping that Saleh steps down sooner than later, as they continue to call for his immediate departure. Demonstrators have been calling for his departure for almost two months, with dozens of people being killed during clashes between protestors and pro-government forces.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Syria: More Protestors Killed, Buildings Torched

Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- Social unrest continued in Syria Saturday as demonstrators reportedly burned offices belonging to the ruling Baath political party.

The destruction of the buildings took place in Southern Syria, with a police station reported to be among those set on fire. Saturday marked a deadly day for protestors, as security forces reportedly opened fire on demonstrators killing two people. Saturday also saw authorities release 200 political prisoners in the country’s capital, Damascus.

The past week has been a deadly one with dozens killed during anti-government protests.

Since the beginning of the year, pro-democracy movements have led to regime changes in Egypt and Tunisia but Syrian President Bashar Assad has vowed the same will not happen in his country.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Fears of Radiation Rise in Japan Amid Possible Core Breach at Plant

DigitalGlobe via Getty Images(TOKYO) -- UPDATED: The water which caused radiation burns to three workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was 10,000 times more radioactive than normal.  Nuclear experts are now saying that the water could only reach those levels if it had come into contact with uranium, meaning a breach of the core was almost certain. 

A somber Prime Minister Naoto Kan Friday called the situation "grave and serious."

"We are not in a position to be optimistic," he said.

"We must remain vigilant," Kan said. "We must treat every development with the utmost care."

The U.S. military is now taking a direct role in attempts to cool reactors at the damaged nuclear plant, according to U.S. and Japanese officials.

As a first step, the U.S. military plans to ship 525,000 gallons of fresh water on two U.S. Navy barges from a U.S. base in Yokosuka, south of Tokyo, according to a spokesman for the U.S. Forces Japan.

Meanwhile, the death toll in Japan was estimated at 10,175 people, according to NHK TV. More than 17,400 were still missing. It has been two weeks since the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami hit on March 11.

Japan is still trying to feed and relocate hundreds of thousands of homeless survivors, clear away tons of debris and bury the thousands of dead.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Oxford English Dictionary Embraces Internet Slang

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(OXFORD, U.K.) -- OMG, the Oxford English Dictionary has announced its latest updates!

The authoritative reference book -- the final word on words -- has announced that it has updated its online edition with 1,900 revisions and adds from across the dictionary. New additions include such digitally-driven abbreviations such as OMG -- Internet shorthand for "Oh my God'" or "Oh my Gosh" -- LOL, "laughing out loud"; IMHO "in my humble opinion"; and BFF, "best friends forever."

One might be tempted to exclaim WTF? (And if you don't know what that stands for, you can look it up: it was included in the 2009 updates.)

"Technology has been one of the biggest drivers of new vocabulary for centuries," Jesse Sheidlower, editor at large for the O.E.D., told ABC News.

Popular culture, explained Sheidlower, is a major driver of new vocabulary. But the dictionary's editors insist they are hardly indiscriminate. Once a word makes it in, it is never removed even if it becomes antiquated -- the purpose of the O.E.D. is to exist as a comprehensive, living history of the language.

"If we really thought a word would vanish, we'd hold off [including it] for a while," said Sheidlower. "Year after year there are tons of new Internet terms -- slang or terms from text messaging -- that we may not use for more than a few months."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


One Million People Estimated to Have Fled Ivory Coast Port

ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images(ABIDJAN, Cote d'Ivoire) -- UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, reports that a million people may have fled the Ivory Coast port city of Abidjan in the wake of violence over President Laurent Gbagbo's disputed election.

Residents have fled from the dense neighborhoods of the city due fears of escalating violence between Gbagbo and his opponent Alassane Ouattara, both of whom allege to have won November's presidential election.

450 people have been reported dead since violence erupted.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Syrian Protests Spread to Damascus

Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images(DAMASCUS) -- Syrian protests spread to the capital of Damascus, and major cities like Homs and Latakia on Friday, according to Al Jazeera.

The demonstrations come a day after President Bashar Al Assad's promised to reform the government and provide raises for workers. Al Assad has held power for more than a decade, following his father's three decade rule.

Thousands of people rallied on Thursday around the funerals of those slain by government security forces.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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