US spy plane to be deployed
The US military is set to deploy an unmanned spy plane to boost surveillance capabilities as North Korea apparently readied for missile launches, a newspaper report said yesterday. The Global Hawk will be stationed at the US airbase in Misawa in the first ever deployment of the aircraft in the country, the Sankei Shimbun reported, quoting government sources. The US military informed the government last month about plans to deploy the plane between June and September, but may bring the date forward, it said, following reports about North Korea’s preparations for missile launches. South Korea’s Yonhap news agency, citing a top South Korean government official, said North Korea had loaded two mid-range Musudan missiles on mobile launchers and hidden them in underground facilities near its east coast.
Possible radioactive leak
Radioactive water may have leaked into the ground from a tank at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the operator said yesterday, the latest in a series of troubles at the crippled facility. Up to 120 tonnes of contaminated water may have escaped from one of the seven underground reservoir tanks at the tsunami-damaged plant, according to a Tokyo Electric Power Co spokesman. The tank stores water used to cool down the reactors after radioactive caesium is removed, but other radioactive substances remain. The leakage came after one of the systems keeping spent atomic fuel cool at the plant temporarily failed on Friday, the second outage in a matter of weeks, underlining the precarious fix at the plant.
Carter warns on violence
Former US president Jimmy Carter warned on Friday that deadly religious violence was undermining the country’s hard-won democratic reforms. At least 43 people were killed in Buddhist-Muslim unrest last month, marring international optimism about the nation’s emergence from decades of military rule. “I’m deeply concerned about the recent religious violence,” Carter, 88, said in a speech in the former capital, Yangon, during a visit for talks with the reformist regime and fellow Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. “The recent violence risks damaging the reputation that you have gained in your country just as you’re trying to rebuild it once again,” he added. “No people should ever be treated as inferior by the government or by other citizens,” he said, voicing concern for the plight of tens of thousands of displaced people in western Rakhine state.
Ferry collision injures 31
Thirty-one people were injured in a collision between a passenger ferry and another vessel late on Friday, police said, in the latest accident to hit the city’s frenetic waters. “The ferry crashed with another ship. Right now the injured people have been transported to the dock,” a police spokeswoman said, adding that 11 of the injured had been admitted to hospital. Thirty-eight people were killed and scores injured when a ferry collided with a pleasure boat in October last year, the region’s worst maritime disaster in 40 years, which raised questions about safety in one of the world’s busiest harbors. Researchers say that while it remains one of the world’s safest ports, increased vessel traffic and risks associated with land reclamation works along the harbor front call for urgent government attention.