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Archive for April 2nd, 2011

Deadly protests flare up in Kandahar after Koran burning

The Globe and Mail- Susan Sachs

Kabul— Globe and Mail Update
Published Saturday, Apr. 02, 2011 8:31AM EDT
Last updated Saturday, Apr. 02, 2011 10:52AM EDT

New and deadly protests over the burning of a Koran flared up on Saturday in the city of Kandahar, a day after riots in northern Afghanistan left seven United Nations employees and four Afghans dead.

Nine people were killed and at least 90 injured in Kandahar as mobs roamed the city smashing shop windows, burning cars and vandalizing a girls’ high school, according to local officials.

The protests were fuelled by anger that an obscure Florida pastor made a show of destroying a Koran last month. But their violence in Kandahar and, a day earlier, in the normally peaceful city of Mazar-i-Sharif demonstrated how quickly any large gathering in Afghanistan can bring anti-Western sentiment boiling to the surface.

A spokesman for the Kandahar provincial governor blamed Taliban insurgents and sympathizers for infiltrating the protest, which began with a march of about 100 stick-wielding men and boys and ballooned to a mob of several thousand over the course of the morning.

Afghan police and American soldiers fought back a crowd that tried to storm a complex of government buildings in Kandahar, a stronghold of the insurgency that has seen a string of assassinations of local officials and suicide bombings in the past two months.

Many of the people injured were beaten and stoned by the protesters when they refused to join in the rampage, according to witnesses and hospital officials.

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WI Update: Operation Badger Justice~ Anti-Union Bill Restraining Order now INDEFINITE!

Daily Kos- by invisiblewoman

Fri Apr 01, 2011 at 05:20 PM EDT

From Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman comes this sweet tidbit of joy, courtesy of Wispolitics:

Bargaining bill restraining order remains in effect; DA rests case Judge Maryann Sumi’s temporary restraining order against the implementation of the collective bargaining bill will remain in effect indefinitely.

The plaintiff in the case, Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne, rested his side of the case this afternoon, but Sumi said she could not set a date to take more testimony because the GOP legislators named as defendants in the case are still covered under legislative immunity.

Assistant AG Maria Lazar had asked for the restraining order to be vacated, arguing the hearing could not conclude without the participation of defendants Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, Senate President Mike Ellis, Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald and Assembly Majority Leader Scott Suder.

But Sumi said that just as those lawmakers are entitled to their day in court, they are also not entitled to the suspension of the current restraining order.

“It remains in effect until further order of the court,” Sumi said, adding that she doesn’t know when that will be. The judge said the defendants in question could waive their immunity, allow their attorneys to move forward without them or wait until their immunity expires.

Bob Jambois, attorney for Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, responded that if those lawmakers “find this to be an inconvenience,” they would still be able to pass the bill again with 24 hours notice of a conference committee hearing and legislative sessions.

Sumi requested briefs from both sides on seeking declaratory judgment, the nature of indispensible parties in the case and time limits for service of process while immunity is in effect. That brief is due April 25 for the district attorney’s office, followed by defendants’ briefs on May 16 and a reply from the DA on May 23

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Radioactive water leaks from crippled Japan plant

By EUGENE HOSHIKO and MARI YAMAGUCHI, Associated Press 47 mins ago

RIKUZENTAKATA, Japan – Highly radioactive water spilled into the ocean from a tsunami-damaged nuclear power plant Saturday as Japan’s prime minister surveyed the damage in a town gutted by the wave.

The Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex has been spewing radioactivity since March 11, when a magnitude-9.0 earthquake and ensuing wave knocked out power, disabling cooling systems and allowing radiation to seep out of the overheating reactors. Authorities said the leak they identified Saturday could be the source of radioactivity found in coastal waters in recent days.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan went to the plant and flew over the tsunami-ravaged coast soon after the wave hit, but Saturday was the first time he set foot in one of the pulverized towns.

Dressed in the blue work clothes that have become almost a uniform for officials, Kan stopped in Rikuzentakata, where the town hall is one of the few buildings still standing. All its windows are blown out and a tangle of metal and other debris is piled in front of it.

The prime minister bowed his head for a minute of silence in front of the building. He met with the town’s mayor, whose 38-year-old wife was swept away in the wave and is still missing. Officials fear about 25,000 people may have been killed, many of whose bodies have not been found.

“The government fully supports you until the end,” Kan later told 250 people at an elementary school that is serving as an evacuation center.

Megumi Shimanuki, whose family is living in a similar shelter 100 miles (160 kilometers) away in Natori, said Kan didn’t spend enough time with people on the ground. Kan returned to Tokyo in the afternoon.

“The government has been too focused on the Fukushima power plant rather than the tsunami victims,” said Shimanuki, 35. “Both deserve attention.”

Saturday’s leak was from a newly discovered crack in a maintenance pit on the edge of the Fukushima complex, Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency spokesman Hidehiko Nishiyama said.

The crack was apparently caused by the quake and may have been leaking since then, said spokesman Osamu Yokokura of Tokyo Electric Power Co., which runs the plant.

Measurements showed the air above the radioactive water in the pit contained more than 1,000 millisieverts per hour of radioactivity. Even just two feet (60 centimeters) away, that figure dropped to 400 millisieverts. Workers have taken samples of the water in the pit and seawater and are analyzing them to determine the level of contamination.

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