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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Loji nuklear meletup

TOKYO: Satu letupan dan kebimbangan mengenai peleburan satu daripada loji nuklear Jepun mendedahkan skala bencana yang dihadapi negara itu selepas gempa bumi dan tsunami menyebabkan lebih kira-kira 1,000 orang dikhuatiri terbunuh.

Asap tebal kelihatan berkepul-kepul di loji nuklear Fukushimam No 1 kira-kira 250 kilometer ke timur laut Tokyo selepas letupan di loji berkenaan memusnahkan tembok dan bumbungnya.


Letupan itu dilapor menyebabkan beberapa pekerja cedera. Kerajaan Jepun mengesahkan letupan itu dan pembocoran radiasi serta berkata, ia akan menyiasat punca letupan itu.

Agensi berita Kyodo memetik Suruhanjaya Keselamatan Jepun sebagai berkata, sesium radioaktif dikesan berhampiran kawasan itu.


Menurut laporan, kegiatan radioaktif meningkat 20 kali ganda di luar.


“Loji itu mungkin mengalami proses peleburan,” lapor agensi berita Kyodo dan Jiji sebelum letupan berlaku sementara rangkaian televisyen NHK memetik agensi suruhanjaya berkenaan sebagai berkata, tiub logam yang mengandungi bahan api uranium mungkin sudah cair.

Sistem penyejukan loji terbabit rosak akibat gempa bumi besar yang melanda wilayah berkenaan 24 jam sebelum itu, memaksa pihak berkuasa bergegas memulihkan keadaan dan memindahkan lebih 45,000 penduduk yang mendiami lingkungan 10 kilometer.


Beribu-ribu lagi turut dipindahkan dari kawasan berhampiran loji kedua, Fuku- shima No 2, yang turut mengalami kerosakan pada sistem penyejukannya.

Sebahagian daripada rod nuklear dikatakan terdedah untuk seketika semalam selepas paras air penyejuk menurun dan sebuah kereta bomba terpaksa digunakan untuk mengepam air masuk ke dalam reaktor.


Pegawai Suruhanjaya Keselamatan Nuklear, Ryohei Shiomi berkata, penduduk yang berada di luar sekitar 10 kilometer dari loji itu tidak akan terjejas jika letupan berlaku.


Kebanyakan 51,000 penduduk yang tinggal di kawasan bahaya sudah dipindahkan. - AFP


http://www.hmetro.com.my/myMetro/articles/Lojinuklearmeletup/Article/index_html

Lima dakwa ditampar guru

Oleh ISKANDAR SHAH MOHAMED
iskandar@hmetro.com.my

SAKIT... mangsa menunjukkan bagaimana guru didakwa menampar muka mereka.
SAKIT... mangsa menunjukkan bagaimana guru didakwa menampar muka mereka.

PORT DICKSON: Hanya kerana dikesan ponteng kelas, lima pelajar tingkatan satu sebuah sekolah menengah kebangsaan (SMK) di sini, mendakwa terpaksa menanggung malu apabila ditampar oleh guru mereka di depan rakan lain, baru-baru ini.

Difahamkan, dalam kejadian kira-kira jam 5 petang Rabu lalu, semua pelajar perempuan berusia 13 tahun iaitu Cheok Lai Jun, Liew Jia Kei, Choo Je Yan, Sua Hui Yi dan Yong Poi Xia yang berlainan kelas dikatakan dipanggil oleh guru wanita berusia lingkungan 20-an.


Sejurus berkumpul di dalam sebuah kelas, pelajar sesi petang itu dikatakan diarah guru berkenaan supaya beratur dan menampar pipi kiri mereka di depan beberapa pelajar lain.

Menceritakan kejadian itu, Je Yan berkata, mereka berlima tidak menyertai pelajar lain pergi ke bengkel kemahiran hidup berikutan terlalu letih kerana menyertai program kokurikulum pada sebelah pagi.


“Kira-kira jam 4 petang itu, kami bagaimanapun tidak keluar dari kawasan sekolah dan hanya berehat di kelas. Sejam kemudian, guru yang turut mengajar mata pelajaran Sejarah pada ketika itu memanggil kami dan bertanya mengapa kami tidak pergi ke bengkel.


“Kami memberitahu kerana terlalu letih namun dia tidak dapat menerima alasan itu lalu menampar muka kami,” katanya pada sidang media di sini, semalam.

Turut hadir, ibunya, Tan Sew Eng, 40, dan dua lagi rakannya, Lai Jun dan Jia Kei.


Menurut Je Yan yang mewakili semua rakannya, emosi mereka terganggu dengan kejadian itu kerana terpaksa menanggung malu dengan rakan pelajar lain.

Sementara itu, Sew Eng berkata, beliau tidak dapat menerima tindakan guru berkenaan yang dianggap keterlaluan.


“Saya tahu dia (anak) memang bersalah tetapi mengapa guru menampar muka mereka di depan pelajar lain?Saya tidak akan mempertikaikan tindakannya jika dia merotan tangan atau anggota badan lain kurang tidak sensitif,” katanya.


Menurutnya, dia akan membuat laporan rasmi kepada Jabatan Pelajaran negeri dan Kementerian Pelajaran supaya guru terbabit dikenakan tindakan sewajarnya.


http://www.hmetro.com.my/articles/Limadakwaditamparguru/Article/artikelMA

Kos tunai haji akan diumum tidak lama lagi

YAN: Kos mengerjakan ibadat haji akan diumumkan dalam masa terdekat, kata Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom hari ini.

Beliau berkata, kerajaan telah meneliti kajian mengenai cadangan yang dibuat Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH) tahun lepas.


"Tunggulah sama ada berlaku kenaikan kos atau tidak. Semua faktor yang mempengaruhi kos menunaikan fardu haji diambil kira, namun kerajaan manilai tambang yang bakal diumumkan nanti sebagai sesuai dan tidak membebankan jemaah," katanya.

Mengenai penghantaran balik pelajar Malaysia ke Mesir, Jamil Khir berkata kerajaan pusat sedia memikul tanggungjawab negeri-negeri yang tidak sanggup atau enggan menanggung kos tersebut.


"Dari awal lagi saya beritahu perkara ini. Jadi janganlah mempolitikkan isu ini," katanya.


Beliau kesal dengan penyebaran berita kerajaan Kedah pimpinan Pas terpaksa menghabiskan RM2.5 juta bagi menghantar pulang hampir 1,000 pelajarnya ke Mesir baru-baru ini, yang menggambarkan kerajaan pusat lepas tangan.


http://www.hmetro.com.my/articles/Kostunaihajiakandiumumtidaklamalagi/Article

Doa ayah cepat mati

Doa ayah cepat mati

Oleh HIDAYATUL AKMAL AHMAD
hidayatulakmal@hmetro.com.my

BAHAYA... wayar sambungan elektrik yang boleh menyebabkan litar pintas.
BAHAYA... wayar sambungan elektrik yang boleh menyebabkan litar pintas.

PETALING JAYA: Dia anak tunggal dalam keluarga tapi kerana dendam kesumat sejak kecil berikutan sikap baran ayahnya, seorang wanita bertindak umpama ‘Si Tanggang’ apabila tergamak mendoakan kematian lelaki itu.

Episod dendam itu bermula sejak Sara, 40-an, masih kanak-kanak apabila mendakwa sering dipukul dan dimaki hamun oleh ayahnya, Pak Atan, 74, meskipun kesalahan hanya kecil.


Kemarahan wanita itu makin membara selepas ayahnya bernikah dengan perempuan seberang kira-kira tujuh tahun lalu, iaitu selepas tiga tahun kematian isteri yang juga ibu kepada Sara.

Kemuncaknya pada September lalu apabila Sara didakwa menghalau ayah dan ibu tirinya keluar dari rumah mereka di sini, hingga terpaksa membina pondok kecil serba daif di tepi rumah itu.


Menurut Sara, dia dan ayah tidak mungkin berbaik semula kerana terlalu banyak kenangan pahit bersama lelaki itu sejak kecil lagi.


“Mungkin orang nampak saya jahat bila saya katakan saya selalu berdoa supaya Allah cepat cabut nyawa ayah sebab tidak mahu menanggung dosa lagi apabila selalu berfikiran negatif terhadapnya.

“Biarlah kami dengan dunia masing-masing sebab ayah sudah mewasiatkan kepada saudara mara tidak membenarkan saya menyentuh atau melihat mayatnya jika dia meninggal dunia kelak,” katanya kepada Metro Ahad.


Dia berkata, punca perselisihan faham disebabkan sikap panas baran ayah sejak muda hingga kini.

Sejak kecil, dia sering dipukul dan dimaki hamun meskipun kesalahan dilakukan hanya kecil.


“Saya tidak rapat dengan ayah kerana kebanyakan masa dihabiskan bersama ibu. Mana mungkin saya mengadu masalah bersama ayah yang baran tidak kira masa.


“Jika anak tunggal lain, pastinya mereka disayangi dan ditatang bagai minyak penuh, malangnya situasi itu tidak pernah terjadi kepada saya.


“Saya masih ingat sewaktu kecil, arwah datuk dan nenek (sebelah ayah) pernah bergaduh hingga menggunakan senapang selain mengeluarkan perkataan tidak sopan, dan sikap itu mengalir dalam tubuh ayah,” kata ibu kepada empat cahaya mata lelaki itu.


Menurut Sara, sikap ayah yang tidak boleh menerima pendapat orang lain dan merasakan diri selalu betul sungguh berbeza dengan sikap arwah ibu yang sentiasa sabar dan tenang.


“Tiada anak yang tidak sehaluan dengan bapa kandung tanpa sebab. Kadangkala kita terlepas pandang perkara remeh hingga tidak sedar kita membuatkan orang lain kecewa.


“Pernah saya diugut ayah jika buku laporan peperiksaan ada dakwat merah, dia menyuruh saya makan habuk buku selain dirotan hingga meninggalkan birat di punggung,” katanya kesal dengan sikap bapanya.


http://www.hmetro.com.my/articles/Doaayahcepatmati/Article/artikelMA

Muhasabah diri

KUALA LUMPUR: “Apabila berlaku situasi seperti ini, kedua-dua pihak harus bermuhasabah diri mencari penyelesaian supaya krisis ini tidak berpanjangan,” kata Penasihat Majlis Agama Islam Johor (Maij), Datuk Noh Gadut mengulas mengenai sengketa Pak Atan dan anak tunggalnya.

Beliau berkata, perkara sedemikian tidak wajar berlaku disebabkan masyarakat sering didedahkan dengan natijah menjadi anak derhaka dan mereka harus mengambilnya sebagai iktibar.


“Hukum dunia, setiap perbuatan pasti akan ada balasan. Kita sering mendengar cerita seperti anak tidak mampu mengucap ketika menghadap sakaratul maut, wajah bertukar menjadi babi dan mati dalam keadaan mengaibkan akibat menderhaka kepada ibu bapa.

“Apakah kejadian itu tidak mampu membuka hati kita?” katanya ketika dihubungi.


Noh berkata, Tuhan tidak zalim dan setiap kejadian pasti ada punca dan hikmah tersendiri, sebaliknya hanya manusia yang selalu alpa dengan perbuatan zaman lampaunya.


“Jangan sesekali kita melupakan Tuhan kerana Dia pasti melupakan kita, jangan memberikan rezeki haram kepada anak kerana tidak berkat selain memberi impak negatif apabila dewasa kelak.

“Ayah juga perlu tegur kesilapan anak dan sering mengingatkan mereka mengenai balasan Allah dunia akhirat dan bagi pihak si anak pula mereka tidak akan mencium bau syurga jika tidak meminta ampun daripada ibu bapa dan mereka harus ingat reda Allah adalah reda ibu bapa terhadap anak,” katanya.


Menurut Noh, jika kejadian ini berterusan si anak boleh didakwa di mahkamah syariah disebabkan gagal memberi nafkah kepada bapanya.

Katanya, jika si anak enggan bertaubat dan memohon ampun serta melakukan solat sunat taubat, tidak mustahil anaknya akan melakukan perbuatan sama apabila dirinya tua.


“Dunia ini ibarat roda. Ada masa kita di bawah dan di atas, sebab itu apabila berada di puncak jangan bongkak serta bangga dengan apa dimiliki kerana semua ini hanya pinjaman.


http://www.hmetro.com.my/myMetro/articles/Muhasabahdiri/Article/artikelMA

Anak tunggal berubah

PETALING JAYA: “Macam mana anak yang dijaga dan dibesarkan dengan penuh kasih sayang memperlakukan saya begini? Binatang pun tahu makna sayang,” luah Pak Atan, 74, yang tinggal di pondok daif bersama isterinya di sini sejak September lalu, selepas dihalau anak kandungnya.

Lebih menyedihkan, pondok berkenaan hanya terletak bersebelahan rumah didiami wanita itu bersama suami dan empat anaknya.


Menceritakan peristiwa perit itu, Pak Atan berkata, dia tidak menyangka anaknya, Sara, 40-an, tergamak menghalaunya kerana sejak kecil dia tidak pernah mengabaikan tanggungjawab sebagai bapa.

Sama ada daripada segi pendidikan agama, pelajaran dan keperluan harian, semuanya cuba dipenuhi meskipun terpaksa bertarung nyawa demi memberikan sesuap nasi kepada anak tunggal kesayangannya.


“Siapa tak sayang anak, ditambah dia satu-satunya zuriat kurniaan Tuhan kepada kami. Pendek kata, dialah racun dialah penawar.


“Sejak berkahwin dan memiliki pekerjaan baik membuatkannya semakin kurang ajar dan bongkak hingga lupa siapa saya,” katanya dalam nada kecewa ketika ditemui Metro Ahad di pondok buruknya.

Menurut Pak Atan, semuanya berpunca apabila dia meminta pertolongan anaknya membayar bil elektrik berjumlah RM250 yang sebelum ini dilakukan olehnya.


Itupun disebabkan dia mahu bergegas ke Lapangan Terbang Antarabangsa Kuala Lumpur (KLIA) untuk ke Sumatera, Indonesia melawat saudara maranya di sana.

Sepanjang menduduki rumah miliknya, Pak Atan tidak pernah meminta wang anaknya untuk membayar bil elektrik, air mahupun cukai pintu.


Selepas tiga minggu pulang ke Malaysia, Pak Atan menyangka anak tunggalnya sudah menjelaskan bil berkenaan, namun hairan kerana tiga bulan selepas itu dia tidak menerima bil elektrik seperti selalu.


“Kami mempunyai lapan rumah sewa (setinggan) yang disewakan kepada penduduk dengan kadar RM200 sebulan. Kebiasaannya saya turut membayar bil elektrik mereka sekali.


“Waktu itu saya tidak mengesyaki apa-apa hinggalah bulan seterusnya apabila menerima bil dengan catatan tunggakan berjumlah hingga RM7,000.


“Disebabkan terlalu terkejut, saya tanya dia dan terkedu apabila secara tiba-tiba dia meninggikan suara dan bercakap kasar menggunakan perkataan yang tidak sepatutnya. “Akibat tidak mampu membayar bil, bekalan elektrik dipotong dan kami duduk dalam kegelapan buat sementara waktu hinggalah rakan menantu memberikan bantuan menyambung semula,” katanya yang bergantung hidup hasil jualan surat khabar, tanaman herba Mas Cotek dan menjual baju.


Sejak itu, hubungan Pak Atan dan anaknya dingin, malah hasutan daripada pihak ketiga juga menyebabkan situasi bertambah tegang.


“Perkataan seperti mampus, sial, kurang ajar dan orang tua kedekut sudah sebati dengan diri saya sampaikan sudah lali. Jika anak orang lain duduk serumah bersama ibu bapa tidak pernah meminta duit membayar bil, namun situasi sebaliknya berlaku kepada saya disebabkan anak terlalu berkira,” katanya yang turut mengakui anaknya sering menghantar khidmat pesanan ringkas (SMS) menghamburkan kata-kata kesat.


Selain itu, menurut Pak Atan, antara punca lain menyebabkan perbalahan antara dia dan anaknya juga disebabkan perkahwinan keduanya dengan orang seberang kira-kira tujuh tahun lalu.


“Anak saya memang tidak suka perkahwinan saya bersama isteri kedua disebabkan dia bukan orang tempatan. Sebab itu saya mengalah dan berpindah selepas dihalau bagi mengelak perbalahan menjadi lebih teruk,” katanya yang kematian isteri pertama yang juga ibu kepada anak tunggalnya akibat kanser usus 10 tahun lalu.


Tinjauan ke pondok Pak Atan mendapati rumah itu hanya berlantaikan permaidani tanpa simen, tanpa peralatan memasak lengkap, tiada perabot dan paling berbahaya melihat sambungan wayar elektrik daripada rumah anaknya yang mengundang risiko.


“Di sinilah tempat saya dan isteri berlindung daripada hujan dan panas. Tanah yang digunakan ini asalnya adalah bukit, tetapi saya tarah dan ratakan untuk dijadikan tempat tinggal.


“Anak kandung tidak sudi menjaga, padahal rumah yang diduduki itu milik saya yang dibina hasil titik peluh sendiri,” katanya sayu.


Situasi bertambah sebak apabila penulis menyaksikan cucu Pak Atan hanya menggunakan tingkap dapur untuk berkomunikasi atau meminta wang saku daripada datuknya untuk membeli makanan ringan mahupun belanja sekolah.


Penulis berasa pelik melihat hubungan yang masih baik antara cucu dan datuknya, Pak Atan menjelaskan pertalian antara empat cucunya akan tetap utuh disebabkan mereka tidak bersalah, malah tidak mengerti situasi sebenar.


“Beginilah kehidupan saya. Apabila cucu perlukan duit, mereka akan meminta daripada saya dan Alhamdulillah hubungan saya dan mereka tetap baik hingga kini.


“Mereka cucu saya dunia akhirat. Biarlah perselisihan faham ini hanya membabitkan saya dan ibu mereka,” katanya.


http://www.hmetro.com.my/myMetro/articles/Anaktunggalberubah/Article/artikelMA

Hanya berdoa

Oleh HADZLAN HASSAN dan SHAMRAN SARAHAN
metahad@hmetro.com.my

LONGGOK... kesan tsunami di Miyagi, Jepun utara.
LONGGOK... kesan tsunami di Miyagi, Jepun utara.

KUALA LUMPUR: “Saya hanya mampu berdoa... kemudian mencapai helmet (topi keselamatan) dan bersembunyi di bawah meja (di pejabat),” kata Muhammad Zulfahmi Samsudin, 28, menceritakan detik cemas ketika berdepan gempa bumi berukuran 8.9 pada skala Richter yang melanda Jepun, kelmarin.

Ketika bencana alam itu berlaku, Zulfahmi melakukan rutin sebagai jurutera di syarikat gergasi, Kumpulan Fuji Elektrik yang terletak di Kawasaki, Jepun, iaitu kira-kira 400 kilometer dari lokasi terjejas teruk.


“Mulanya, saya ingatkan ia hanya gempa bumi biasa. Di Jepun, gempa bumi biasa hanya berlaku dalam tempoh kurang 20 saat, namun gegaran yang berlaku lebih daripada satu minit ketika gempa berlaku kelmarin dan (gegaran) terus berlanjutan membuatkan kami (rakan sekerja) panik.

“Fail di rak meja dan komputer jatuh akibat gegaran itu. Saya hilang punca seketika dan mula teringat keluarga di Malaysia, terutama isteri (Wan Hakimah Wan Ibrahim, 27) dan anak (Nurhannah, 5 bulan), di bibir saya tidak habis-habis berdoa untuk keselamatan diri,” katanya ketika dihubungi semalam.


Zulfahmi tidak menafikan ketika gempa berlaku dia sangat takut kerana ketika itu di berada di tingkat enam pejabat.


“Sukar membayangkan perasaan ketika itu, gegaran sungguh kuat. Saya sangat berharap gegaran itu berhenti secepat mungkin,” katanya.

Selepas kejadian, Zulfahmi berkata, bandar Kawasaki menjadi sesak berikutan orang ramai berduyun-duyun pulang ke kediaman masing-masing.


“Perkhidmatan kereta api dihentikan, bas menjadi tumpuan membuatkan orang ramai beratur sehingga dua kilometer menanti giliran menaiki bas.

“Saya bersama 12 rakan sekerja (warga Jepun) berjalan kaki sejauh 12 kilometer untuk pulang ke rumah masing-masing,” katanya.


Menurut Zulfahmi, walaupun dirinya dalam keadaan tidak menentu, dia bersyukur kerana anak dan isteri pulang ke Malaysia sejak Januari lalu.


“Lebih baik saya hadapi kejadian ini sendiri daripada membabitkan isteri dan anak yang masih kecil. “Saya akan pulang ke Malaysia 24 Mac ini dan berharap semuanya berjalan lancar nanti,” katanya.


Kedutaan Besar Malaysia di Jepun melaporkan, pihaknya masih dalam usaha menghubungi semua warga Malaysia, termasuk pelajar di kawasan yang terjejas teruk, terutamanya di Miyagi, Iwate dan Aomori.


Sehingga jam 6 pagi tadi (5 pagi waktu Malaysia), kedutaan menghubungi 289 warga Malaysia yang berada di wilayah itu.


http://www.hmetro.com.my/myMetro/articles/Hanyaberdoa/Article/artikelMA

10 gempa bumi susulan direkodkan

PUTRAJAYA: Jabatan Meteorologi merekodkan 10 gempa bumi susulan dalam tempoh kurang 24 jam daripada kejadian gempa terkuat 8.9 skala Richter pada jam 1.46 petang, berhampiran perairan timur Honshu, Jepun kelmarin.

Kejadian gempa susulan yang direkodkan itu adalah pada kadar kuat dan sederhana iaitu dari 5.4 hingga 7.4 skala Richter, tidak termasuk gegaran kecil yang dirasai penduduk.


Jumaat:

  • 2.15 petang, gempa 7.4 skala Richter direkodkan di kawasan perairan sama iaitu 131 kilometer (km) dari timur laut Tokyo (4,078 km timur laut Kudat, Sabah)
  • 7.36 malam, gempa 6.5 skala Richter, berhampiran perairan sama timur Honshu, 439 km timur laut Sapporo (4,420 km timur laut Kudat)

  • 8.15 malam, gempa 6.2 skala Richter, berhampiran perairan timur Honshu, 251 km timur laut Tokyo

  • 11.13 malam, gempa 6.3 skala Richter, berhampiran perairan timur Honshu, 173 km timur laut Tokyo (4,101 km timur laut Kudat)


    Sabtu:

  • 2:59 pagi gempa 6.2 skala Richter, berhampiran perairan barat Honshu, 191 km barat laut Tokyo (3,998 km timur laut Kudat)

  • 3.02 pagi gempa 6.1 skala Richter, berhampiran perairan timur Honshu, 419 km tenggara Sapporo (4,457 km timur laut Kudat)

  • 3.26 pagi gempa 5.4 skala Richter di kepulauan Ryukyu, 418 km tenggara Kobe (2,889 km timur laut Kudat)

  • 3.47 pagi gempa 6.3 skala Richter di timur laut Jepun, 393 km barat daya Sapporo (4,288 km timur laut Kudat)

  • 4.11 pagi gempa 6.3 skala Richter berhampiran perairan timur Honshu, 443 km timur laut Tokyo (4,406 km timur laut Kudat)

  • 9.47 pagi, gempa 6.5 skala Richter berhampiran perairan timur Honshu, 292 km timur laut Tokyo (4,243 km timur laut Kudat)


  • http://www.hmetro.com.my/myMetro/articles/10gempabumisusulandirekodkan/Article/artikelMA
  • Tokyo lumpuh

    TERSADAI... sebuah kapal diheret arus kuat  dan  tersadai di kawasan bandar Miyagi.
    TERSADAI... sebuah kapal diheret arus kuat dan tersadai di kawasan bandar Miyagi.
    KEMUSNAHAN BESAR... tsunami menenggelami kawasan Sendai, timur laut Jepun.
    KEMUSNAHAN BESAR... tsunami menenggelami kawasan Sendai, timur laut Jepun.

    TOKYO: Gempa bumi paling kuat dalam sejarah yang melanda Jepun kelmarin bukan saja membawa kemusnahan besar, malah melumpuhkan bandar moden dunia ini.

    Kesan daripada gempa bumi sekuat 8.9 skala Richter itu mengakibatkan sistem pengangkutan kereta api elektrik dan komuter yang membawa jutaan penumpang setiap hari lumpuh, talian komunikasi terputus manakala ratusan penduduk terperangkap dalam lif.


    Penduduk sebelum ini bangga dengan teknologi moden yang melengkapi Tokyo dan bergantung kepada kecekapan sistem pengangkutan awam dalam melakukan pekerjaan harian, namun disebabkan kerosakan teruk, pihak berkuasa terpaksa membatalkan hampir semua perkhidmatan itu.

    Pekerja restoran, Akira Tanaka, 54, berkata gempa bumi sekuat itu tidak pernah dialaminya dan dipercayai melanda setiap 100 tahun.


    “Disebabkan sistem pengangkutan terhenti, buat pertama kali dalam hidup, saya terpaksa berjalan kaki sejauh 20 kilometer untuk pulang ke rumah,” katanya.


    Penduduk, Tomoko Suzuki berkata, dia dan ibunya tidak dapat pulang ke kediaman mereka yang terletak di tingkat 29 kondominium kerana kerosakan lif.

    “Kami juga tidak dapat mencari teksi untuk pergi ke rumah saudara atau menempah bilik hotel berdekatan. Suhu sangat sejuk dan kami tidak lagi tahu hendak buat apa,” katanya.


    Walaupun pusat bandar itu tidak terputus bekalan elektrik, kebanyakan lif gagal berfungsi akibat kerosakan atau dihentikan sebagai langkah berjaga-jaga manakala di kawasan pinggir ibu negara Jepun itu, jutaan kediaman dan bangunan bergelap akibat ketiadaan elektrik.

    Menurut laporan Kementerian Pengangkutan Jepun, 163 penduduk terperangkap dalam lif dengan 75 masih belum dikeluarkan sehingga pagi semalam.


    Puluhan ribu penduduk yang terperangkap di stesen kereta api pula terpaksa berteduh di kafe, hotel dan pejabat kerajaan yang menawarkan tempat berlindung.


    Talian telefon bimbit yang terputus menyebabkan orang ramai terpaksa beratur di pondok telefon sekitar bandar Tokyo.


    Syarikat komunikasi Jepun, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp (NTT) turut menyediakan talian kecemasan dan Internet khas bagi memudahkan orang ramai menghantar mesej kepada keluarga dan rakan.


    Jurucakap NTT, Mai Kariya bagaimanapun berkata, hampir 90 peratus panggilan yang dibuat terpaksa disekat akibat sistem telekomunikasi melebihi bebanan.


    “Pihak kami kini melakukan pemeriksaan menyeluruh terhadap kerosakan menara dan kabel,” katanya.


    Sehingga semalam, beberapa perkhidmatan kereta api bawah tanah beroperasi semula selepas terputus selama enam jam dan diteruskan walaupun melebihi waktu biasa.


    Langkah itu kebiasaannya diambil jika perkhidmatan terbabit berdepan masalah, namun apabila pengendali sistem pengangkutan itu mengumumkan penangguhan operasi hampir semua kereta api, orang ramai membanjiri jalan raya.


    Pihak berkuasa tempatan menawarkan lebih 60 pejabat kerajaan, kampus universiti dan beberapa tempat lain sebagai penempatan sementara kepada orang ramai untuk bermalam.


    http://www.hmetro.com.my/myMetro/articles/Tokyolumpuh/Article/artikelMA

    Hanya satu penerbangan ke Tokyo

    KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airlines (MAS) hanya menjadualkan satu penerbangan ke Lapangan Terbang Antarabangsa Narita di Tokyo, Jepun menerusi penerbangan MH88 pada 11.35 malam tadi dari Lapangan Terbang Antarabangsa KL (KLIA) di Sepang.

    Jurucakap Pusat Panggilan 24 Jam MAS berkata, setakat ini hanya satu penerbangan dibenarkan berlepas ke Jepun dan perancangan penerbangan bergantung kepada keadaan terkini di negara itu, yang dilanda gempa bumi dan tsunami kelmarin.


    “Buat masa ini, hanya penerbangan MH88 akan berlepas ke Lapangan Terbang Antarabangsa Narita di Tokyo pada 11.35 malam tetapi jadual penerbangan untuk esok (hari ini) masih belum dapat dipastikan.

    “Tempahan tiket untuk penerbangan itu masih dibuka tetapi hanya boleh ditempah untuk penerbangan kelas perniagaan,” katanya.


    Semalam, penerbangan MAS MH70 dari Kuala Lumpur dilencongkan ke Lapangan Terbang Antarabangsa Taipei, Taiwan selepas gempa bumi kuat berukuran 8.9 pada skala Richter menggegar timur laut Jepun.


    Gempa bumi itu mencetuskan tsunami setinggi 10 meter yang menyebabkan kira-kira 1,000 orang terkorban serta membadai kawasan ladang.


    http://www.hmetro.com.my/myMetro/articles/HanyasatupenerbangankeTokyo/Article/artikelMA

    Rumah terbelah

    Rumah terbelah

    Oleh HADZLAN HASSAN, SHAMRAN SARAHAN dan FIRDAUS IBRAHIM
    metahad@hmetro.com.my

    KUALA LUMPUR: “Beberapa rumah didiami pelajar Malaysia, terutama di Iwate dan Miyagi, retak teruk, malah ada antaranya terbelah umpama kek remuk akibat gempa yang melanda Jepun kelmarin.

    “Suasana rumah macam kapal selepas perang dan ia boleh dilihat melalui gambar yang dimuatkan dalam blog atau laman sosial mereka (pelajar),” kata Razuan Md Radzi, pelajar tahun empat Universiti Iwate, Jepun.


    Bagaimanapun, katanya, sehingga semalam tiada kecederaan atau kemalangan jiwa dilaporkan membabitkan rakyat Malaysia.

    “Selepas gempa, saya mendapatkan perlindungan di kedutaan kita di sini, malah ketika bersama rakan lain, bangunan kedutaan turut bergoyang teruk dan bumbung runtuh.


    “Kami kemudian berlari keluar dan berkumpul di tempat letak kereta sebelum keadaan kembali pulih,” katanya.


    Gempa berukuran 8.9 pada skala Richter itu menggegarkan bumi Samurai itu selain mengundang tsunami yang disifatkan terburuk dalam tempoh 300 tahun.

    Kejadian berlaku tepat jam 2.46 petang waktu tempatan (1.46 waktu Malaysia) selama dua minit dan setakat ini mengorbankan hampir 1,000 nyawa manakala ribuan yang lain masih hilang.


    Bagi Yusuf Abd Karim, 28, yang bekerja di sebuah syarikat di Tochigi, kira-kira 300 kilometer dari pusat gempa, kesan gegaran boleh dirasai kawasan penginapannya.

    “Sehingga malam tadi (kelmarin) kediaman kami masih bergoyang, tetapi syukur tiada kejadian tidak diingini menimpa kami di sini,” katanya.


    Sementara itu, Panglima Operasi Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia (TUDM), Leftenen Jeneral Datuk Ackbal Abdul Saman ketika dihubungi berkata, pihaknya menunggu arahan Majlis Keselamatan Negara (MKN) dan Wisma Putra untuk menghantar pasukan bantuan ke Jepun.


    “TUDM bersiap-sedia menghantar bantuan ke negara berkenaan dan jika menerima arahan, pasukan saya akan terus bergerak ke sana.


    “Kita tidak tahu jenis bantuan yang akan disalurkan kerana belum berada di sana, namun saya yakin pasukan yang akan dihantar mampu membantu rakyat kita di sana selain meringankan beban yang mereka tanggung,” katanya.


    http://www.hmetro.com.my/articles/Rumahterbelah/Article/artikelMA

    Japan quake-tsunami death toll likely over 10,000


    An SOS sign is written on the ground of Shizugawa High School in Minamisanrikucho in Miyagi Prefecture (state), northern Japan, Sunday, March 13, 2011 AP – An SOS sign is written on the ground of Shizugawa High School in Minamisanrikucho in Miyagi Prefecture …

    TAGAJO, Japan – The death toll in Japan's earthquake and tsunami will likely exceed 10,000 in one state alone, an official said Sunday, as millions of survivors were left without drinking water, electricity and proper food along the pulverized northeastern coast.

    Although the government doubled the number of soldiers deployed in the aid effort to 100,000, it seemed overwhelmed by what's turning out to be a triple disaster: Friday's quake and tsunami damaged two nuclear reactors at a power plant on the coast, and at least one of them appeared to be going through a partial meltdown, raising fears of a radiation leak.

    The police chief of Miyagi prefecture, or state, told a gathering of disaster relief officials that his estimate for deaths was more than 10,000, police spokesman Go Sugawara told The Associated Press. Miyagi has a population of 2.3 million and is one of the three prefectures hardest hit in Friday's disaster. Only 379 people have officially been confirmed as dead in Miyagi.

    The nuclear crisis posed fresh concerns for those who survived the earthquake and tsunami, which hit with breathtaking force and speed, breaking or sweeping away everything in its path.

    "First I was worried about the quake, now I'm worried about radiation. I live near the plants, so I came here to find out if I'm OK. I tested negative, but I don't know what to do next," Kenji Koshiba, a construction worker, said at an emergency center in Koriyama town near the power plant in Fukushima.

    According to officials, at least 1,200 people were killed — including 200 people whose bodies were found Sunday along the coast — and 739 were missing in the disasters.

    In a rare piece of good news, the Defense Ministry said a military helicopter on Sunday rescued a 60-year-old man floating off the coast of Fukushima on the roof of his house after being swept away in the tsunami. He was in good condition.

    The U.S. Geological Survey calculated the initial quake to have a magnitude of 8.9, while Japanese officials raised their estimate on Sunday to 9.0. Either way it was the strongest quake ever recorded in Japan. It has been followed by more than 150 powerful aftershocks.

    Teams searched for the missing along hundreds of miles (kilometers) of Japanese coastline, and hundreds of thousands of hungry survivors huddled in darkened emergency centers that were cut off from rescuers and aid. At least 1.4 million households had gone without water since the quake struck and some 2.5 million households were without electricity. Temperatures were to dip near freezing overnight.

    Trade Minister Banri Kaeda said the region was likely to face further blackouts and that power would be rationed to ensure supplies go to essential needs.

    Large areas of the countryside remained surrounded by water and unreachable. Fuel stations were closed and people were running out of gasoline for their vehicles.

    Public broadcaster NHK said around 380,000 people have been evacuated to emergency shelters, many of them without power.

    In Iwaki town, residents were leaving due to concerns over dwindling food and fuel supplies. The town had no electricity and all stores were closed. Local police took in about 90 people and gave them blankets and rice balls but there was no sign of government or military aid trucks.

    At a large refinery on the outskirts of the hard-hit port city of Sendai, 100-foot (30-meter) -high bright orange flames rose in the air, spitting out dark plumes of smoke. The facility has been burning since Friday. A reporter who approached the area could hear the roaring fire from afar, and after a few minutes the gaseous stench began burning the eyes and throat.

    At a small park near the refinery, trees and large swaths of grass were covered in thick black crude oil. Two large tanker trucks were jammed sideways among the trees, their gas tanks crumpled.

    Mayumi Yagoshi, an office worker at the refinery, said she had taken the day off Friday because she had slipped and hurt her back.

    "I was lucky, but I feel really bad. My mobile phone doesn't work and I have no idea what happened to everyone else," she said.

    In the small town of Tagajo, near Sendai, dazed residents roamed streets cluttered with smashed cars, broken homes and twisted metal.

    Residents said the water surged in and quickly rose higher than the first floor of buildings. At Sengen General Hospital the staff worked feverishly to haul bedridden patients up the stairs one at a time. With the halls now dark, those that can leave have gone to the local community center.

    "There is still no water or power, and we've got some very sick people in here," said hospital official Ikuro Matsumoto.

    One older neighborhood sits on low ground near a canal. The tsunami came in from the canal side and blasted through the frail wooden houses, coating the interiors with a thick layer of mud and spilling their contents out into the street on the other side.

    "It's been two days, and all I've been given so far is a piece of bread and a rice ball," said Masashi Imai, 56.

    Police cars drove slowly through the town and warned residents through loudspeakers to seek higher ground, but most simply stood by and watched them pass.

    Dozens of countries have offered assistance. Two U.S. aircraft carrier groups were off Japan's coast and ready to provide assistance. Helicopters were flying from one of the carriers, the USS Ronald Reagan, delivering food and water in Miyagi.

    Two other U.S. rescue teams of 72 personnel each and rescue dogs were scheduled to arrive later Sunday, as was a five-dog team from Singapore.

    In Sendai, firefighters with wooden picks dug through a devastated neighborhood. One of them yelled: "A corpse." Inside a house, he had found the body of a gray-haired woman under a blanket.

    A few minutes later, the firefighters spotted another — that of a man in black fleece jacket and pants, crumpled in a partial fetal position at the bottom of a wooden stairwell. From outside, the house seemed almost untouched, two cracks in the white walls the only signs of damage.

    The man's neighbor, 24-year-old Ayumi Osuga, dug through the completely destroyed remains of her own house, her white mittens covered by dark mud.

    Osuga said she had been playing origami, the Japanese art of folding paper into figures, with her three children when the quake stuck. She recalled her husband's shouted warning from outside: "'GET OUT OF THERE NOW!'"

    She gathered her children — aged 2 to 6 — and fled in her car to higher ground with her husband. They spent the night huddled in a hilltop home belonging to her husband's family about 12 miles (20 kilometers) away.

    "My family, my children. We are lucky to be alive," she told The Associated Press.

    "I have come to realize what is important in life," Osuga said, nervously flicking ashes from a cigarette onto the rubble at her feet as a giant column of black smoke billowed in the distance.

    Potential Nuclear Meltdown Play Video ABC News – Potential Nuclear Meltdown

    ___

    Associated Press writers Eric Talmadge in Koriyama, Todd Pitman in Sendai and Malcolm J. Foster, Mari Yamaguchi, Tomoko A. Hosaka and Shino Yuasa in Tokyo contributed to this report.


    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110313/ap_on_bi_ge/as_japan_earthquake

    Al-Qaida commander calls for Islamic rule in Libya


    CAIRO – An al-Qaida commander who escaped a U.S. prison has urged Libyans to overthrow Moammar Gadhafi's regime and establish Islamic rule.

    Abu Yahia al-Libi says in a video posted on a militant website that after the fall of the regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, it is now Gadhafi's turn. A transcript of the video was provided Sunday by SITE Intel, a U.S. group that monitors militant messages.The authenticity of the 31-minute video posted on militant websites late Saturday could not be verified.

    Gadhafi has accused the protesters and rebels seeking to end his longtime rule of being tools of al-Qaida. The rebels have no known links to the terrorist organization.

    Al-Libi escaped from Afghanistan's Bagram prison in 2005. His nickname Al-Libi is Arabic for Libyan.


    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110313/ap_on_re_af/af_libya_al_qaida

    Bahrain police surround protest camp, use tear gas


    Bahraini anti-government protesters disperse carrying their flags Saturday, March 12, 2011, after a peaceful demonstration by tens of thousands outsid AP – Bahraini anti-government protesters disperse carrying their flags Saturday, March 12, 2011, after a peaceful …

    MANAMA, Bahrain – Riot police in Bahrain fired tear gas and rubber bullets Sunday at an anti-government protest camp in the capital and at demonstrators blocking the highway into the main financial district, eyewitnesses said.

    The Sunday morning police operation was the largest effort to clear the protesters from Pearl Square in the capital, Manama, since the Shiite demonstrations, inspired by the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, started in mid-February.

    Mostly Shiite protesters are demanding greater political freedoms and want the Sunni monarchy to give up its monopoly on power in the strategically important Gulf nation, the home of the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.

    On Sunday, the protesters blocked a main highway leading to Bahrain's main financial district in downtown Manama, causing huge traffic chaos during morning rush hour. Sunday is the first work day of the week in the Arab world.

    Traffic was stalled for miles (kilometers), and police fired tear gas and used heavy vehicles to try to move the protesters and dismantle the barriers they had set up.

    Eyewitnesses at Pearl Square said security forces also surrounded the protests' tent compound, shooting tear gas and rubber bullets at the activists.

    Protesters showed an Associated Press photographer rubber bullets apparently fired Sunday. Activists tried to stand their ground and chanted "Peaceful, peaceful."

    Bahrain's government said in a statement that security forces are conducting "operations to reopen the King Faisal Highway." Police dispersed about 350 protesters "by using tear gas," the government said.

    The statement did not mention police activity at Pearl Square.

    Four people were killed at Pearl Square last month when security forces stormed it just days after the protesters set it up. Three other people were killed at protests aimed at reclaiming the square.


    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110313/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_bahrain_protests

    In Japan plant, partial meltdown 'highly possible'


    An official wears protective clothing while waiting to scan people for radiation an emergency center on Sunday, March 13, 2011, in Koriyama, northeast AP – An official wears protective clothing while waiting to scan people for radiation an emergency center …

    KORIYAMA, Japan – Japanese officials were struggling Sunday with a growing nuclear crisis and the threat of multiple meltdowns, as more than 170,000 people were evacuated from the quake- and tsunami-savaged northeastern coast where police fear more than 10,000 people may have already died.

    A partial meltdown was already likely under way at one nuclear reactor, a top official said, and operators were frantically trying to keep temperatures down at the power plant's other units and prevent the disaster from growing even worse.

    Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said Sunday that a hydrogen explosion could occur at Unit 3 of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex, the reactor that could be melting down. That would follow a blast the day before in the power plant's Unit 1, as operators attempted to prevent a meltdown by injecting sea water into it.

    "At the risk of raising further public concern, we cannot rule out the possibility of an explosion," Edano said. "If there is an explosion, however, there would be no significant impact on human health."

    More than 170,000 people had been evacuated as a precaution, though Edano said the radioactivity released into the environment so far was so small it didn't pose any health threats.

    A complete meltdown — the collapse of a power plant's systems and its ability to keep temperatures under control — could release uranium and dangerous contaminants into the environment and pose major, widespread health risks.

    Up to 160 people, including 60 elderly patients and medical staff who had been waiting for evacuation in the nearby town of Futabe, and 100 others evacuating by bus, might have been exposed to radiation, said Ryo Miyake, a spokesman from Japan's nuclear agency. The severity of their exposure, or if it had reached dangerous levels, was not clear. They were being taken to hospitals.

    Edano told reporters that a partial meltdown in Unit 3 of the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant was "highly possible."

    Asked whether a partial meltdown had occurred, Edano said that "because it's inside the reactor, we cannot directly check it but we are taking measures on the assumption" that it had.

    Japan struggled with the nuclear crisis as it tried to determine the scale of the Friday disasters, when an 8.9-magnitude earthquake, the most powerful in the country's recorded history, was followed by a tsunami that savaged its northeastern coast with breathtaking speed and power.

    At least 1,000 people were killed — including some 200 bodies discovered Sunday along the coast — and 678 were missing, according to officials, but police in one of the worst-hit areas estimated the toll there alone could eventually top 10,000.

    The scale of the multiple disasters appeared to be outpacing the efforts of Japanese authorities to bring the situation under control more than two days after the initial quake.

    Rescue teams were struggling to search hundreds of miles (kilometers) of devastated coastline, and thousands of hungry survivors huddled in darkened emergency centers cut off from rescuers and aid. At least a million households had gone without water since the quake, and food and gasoline were quickly running out across the region. Large areas of the countryside were surrounded by water and unreachable. Some 2.5 million households were without electricity.

    Japanese Trade Minister Banri Kaeda warned that the region was likely to face further blackouts, and power would be rationed to ensure supplies to essential facilities.

    The government doubled the number of troops pressed into rescue and recovery operations to about 100,000 from 51,000, as powerful aftershocks continued to rock the country. Hundreds have hit since the initial temblor.

    Unit 3 at the Fukushima plant is one of the three reactors that had automatically shut down and lost cooling functions necessary to keep fuel rods working properly due to power outage from the quake. The facility's Unit 1 is also in trouble, but Unit 2 has been less affected.

    On Saturday, an explosion destroyed the walls of Unit 1 as operators desperately tried to prevent it from overheating and melting down.

    Without power, and with its pipes and pumps destroyed, authorities resorted to drawing seawater mixed with boron in an attempt to cool the unit's overheated uranium fuel rods. Boron disrupts nuclear chain reactions.

    The move likely renders the 40-year-old reactor unusable, said a foreign ministry official briefing reporters. Officials said the seawater will remain inside the unit, possibly for several months.

    Robert Alvarez, senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies and former senior policy adviser to the U.S. secretary of energy, told reporters that the seawater was a desperate measure.

    "It's a Hail Mary pass," he said.

    He said that the success of using seawater and boron to cool the reactor will depend on the volume and rate of their distribution. He said the dousing would need to continue nonstop for days.

    Another key, he said, was the restoration of electrical power, so that normal cooling systems can operate.

    Edano said the cooling operation at Unit 1 was going smoothly after the sea water was pumped in.

    Operators released slightly radioactive air from Unit 3 on Sunday, while injecting water into it hoping to reduce pressure and temperature to prevent a possible meltdown, Edano said.

    He said radiation levels just outside the plant briefly rose above legal limits, but since had declined significantly. Also, fuel rods were exposed briefly, he said, indicating that coolant water didn't cover the rods for some time. That would have contributed further to raising the temperature in the reactor vessel.

    At an evacuation center in Koriyama, about 40 miles (60 kilometers) from the troubled reactors and 125 miles (190 kilometers) north of Tokyo, medical experts had checked about 1,500 people for radiation exposure in an emergency testing center, an official said.

    On Sunday, a few dozen people waited to be checked in a collection of blue tents set up in a parking lot outside a local gymnasium. Fire engines surrounded the scene, with their lights flashing.

    Many of the gym's windows were shattered by the quake, and glass shards littered the ground.

    "The situation there is very bad," said Takehito Akimoto, a 39-year-old high school teacher. "We are still trying to confirm the safety of our children, many of them scattered with their families or friends, so we don't know where they are or if they are OK."

    A steady flow of people — the elderly, schoolchildren and families with babies — arrived at the center, where they were checked by officials wearing helmets, surgical masks and goggles.

    Officials placed Dai-ichi Unit 1, and four other reactors, under states of emergency Friday after operators lost the ability to cool the reactors using usual procedures.

    An additional reactor was added to the list early Sunday, for a total of six — three at the Dai-ichi complex and three at another nearby complex. Local evacuations have been ordered at each location. Japan has a total of 55 reactors spread across 17 complexes nationwide.

    Officials began venting radioactive steam at Fukushima Dai-ichi's Unit 1 to relieve pressure inside the reactor vessel, which houses the overheated uranium fuel.

    Concerns escalated dramatically Saturday when that unit's containment building exploded.

    Officials were aware that the steam contained hydrogen and were risking an explosion by venting it, acknowledged Shinji Kinjo, spokesman for the government's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, but chose to do so because they needed to keep circulating cool water on the fuel rods to prevent a meltdown.

    To cool the reactor fuel, operators needed to keep circulating more and more cool water on the fuel rods. But the temperature in the reactor vessel apparently kept rising, heating the zirconium cladding that makes up the fuel rod casings.

    If the temperature inside the Fukushima reactor vessel rose further, to roughly 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit (2,200 Celsius), then the uranium fuel pellets would start to melt. But once the zirconium reached 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit (1,200 Celsius), it reacted with the water, becoming zirconium oxide and hydrogen.

    When the hydrogen-filled steam was vented from the reactor vessel, the hydrogen reacted with oxygen, either in the air or water outside the vessel, and exploded.

    A similar "hydrogen bubble" problem concerned officials at the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear disaster in Pennsylvania, until it dissipated.

    According to experts interviewed by The Associated Press, any melted fuel would eat through the bottom of the reactor vessel. Next, it would eat through the floor of the already-damaged containment building. At that point, the uranium and dangerous byproducts would start escaping into the environment.

    At some point in the process, the walls of the reactor vessel — 6 inches (15 centimeters) of stainless steel — would melt into a lava-like pile, slump into any remaining water on the floor, and potentially cause an explosion much bigger than the one caused by the hydrogen. Such an explosion would enhance the spread of radioactive contaminants.

    If the reactor core became exposed to the external environment, officials would likely began pouring cement and sand over the entire facility, as was done at the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident in the Ukraine, Peter Bradford, a former commissioner of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said in a briefing for reporters.

    At that point, Bradford added, "many first responders would die."

    Japan's nuclear crisis deepens Play Video Reuters – Japan's nuclear crisis deepens

    ___

    Yamaguchi reported from Tokyo. Associated Press writers Tomoko A. Hosaka in Tokyo and Jeff Donn in Boston contributed to this report.


    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110313/ap_on_re_as/as_japan_earthquake_nuclear_crisis

    Gadhafi pushes ahead as Arab League calls for help


    An anti-Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi rebel, fires an RPG against pro-Gadhafi warplanes at a desert road between Agela and Ras Lanouf town, eastern Li AP – An anti-Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi rebel, fires an RPG against pro-Gadhafi warplanes at a desert road …

    RAS LANOUF, Libya – The world moved a step closer to a decision on imposing a no-fly zone over Libya but Moammar Gadhafi was swiftly advancing Saturday on the poorly equipped and loosely organized rebels who have seized much of the country.

    Gadhafi's forces pushed the front line miles deeper into rebel territory and violence erupted at the front door of the opposition stronghold in eastern Libya, where an Al-Jazeera cameraman slain in an ambush became the first journalist killed in the nearly monthlong conflict.

    In Cairo, the Arab League asked the U.N. Security Council to impose a no-fly zone to protect the rebels, increasing pressure on the U.S. and other Western powers to take action that most have expressed deep reservations about.

    In surprisingly swift action and aggressive language, the 22-member Arab bloc said after an emergency meeting that the Libyan government had "lost its sovereignty." It asked the United Nations to "shoulder its responsibility ... to impose a no-fly zone over the movement of Libyan military planes and to create safe zones in the places vulnerable to airstrikes."

    Western diplomats have said Arab and African approval was necessary before the Security Council voted on imposing a no-fly zone, which would be imposed by NATO nations to protect civilians from air attack by Gadhafi's forces.

    The U.S. and many allies have expressed deep reservations about the effectiveness of a no-fly zone, and the possibility it could drag them into another messy conflict in the Muslim world.

    Gen. Abdel-Fattah Younis, the country's interior minister before defecting, told The Associated Press that Gadhafi's forces had driven even further into rebel territory, past the refinery at Ras Lanouf and were now just 25 miles (40 kilometers) outside Brega, the site of another major oil terminal.

    Fewer rebel supporters were seen by an Associated Press reporter further east, suggesting morale had taken a hit as the momentum shifted in favor of the regime.

    Outside the rebel stronghold of Benghazi deep in opposition territory, Al-Jazeera cameraman Ali Hassan al-Jaber was killed in what the pan-Arab satellite station described as an ambush.

    Correspondent Baybah Wald Amhadi said the crew's car came under fire from the rear as it returned from an assignment south of Benghazi. Al-Jaber was shot three times in the back and a fourth bullet hit another correspondent near the ear and wounded him, Amhadi said.

    "Even areas under rebel control are not totally safe," he said. "There are followers, eyes or fifth columns, for Col. Gadhafi."

    The Libyan government took reporters from the capital, Tripoli, 375 miles east by plane and bus to show off its control of the former front-line town of Bin Jawwad, the scene of brutal battles six days earlier between insurgents and Gadhafi loyalists using artillery, rockets and helicopter gunships.

    A police station was completely destroyed, its windows shattered, walls blackened and burned and broken furniture inside. A nearby school had holes in the roof and a wall. Homes nearby were empty and cars were overturned or left as charred hulks in the road.

    Rubble filled the streets and a sulfurous smell hung in the air.

    The tour continued 40 miles to the east in Ras Lanouf, an oil port of boxy, sand-colored buildings with satellite dishes on top.

    The area was silent and devoid of any sign of life, with laundry still fluttering on lines strung across balconies. About 50 soldiers or militia members in 10 white Toyota pickups, holding up portraits of Gadhafi, smeared with mud as camouflage guarded it. A playground was strewn with bullet casings and medical supplies looted from a nearby pharmacy whose doors had been shot open.

    The defeat at Ras Lanouf, which had been captured by rebels a week ago and only fell after days of fierce fighting and shelling, was a major setback for opposition forces who just a week ago held the entire eastern half of the country and were charging toward the capital.

    A massive column of black smoke billowed from Ras Lanouf's blazing oil refinery. A Libyan colonel asserted the rebels had detonated it as they retreated.

    A resident also reported fighting between government forces and rebels inside Gadhafi's territory in Misrata, Libya's third-largest city, 125 miles (200 kilometers) southeast of Tripoli.

    "There's the sound of firing, tanks and rockets," he told The Associated Press by telephone. "We can hear the sound of tanks, but it's hard to go near. It feels like there is a battle at the edge of the city."

    Government forces also have recaptured the strategic town of Zawiya, near Tripoli, sealing off a corridor around the capital, which has been Gadhafi's main stronghold.

    ____

    Schemm reported from Brega. Ryan Lucas in Bayda, Libya, Diaa Hadid, Sarah El Deeb and Michael Weissenstein in Cairo contributed to this report.


    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110313/ap_on_re_af/af_libya

    Libyan rebels building civil society from scratch


    FILE - In this Monday, March 7, 2011 file photo, two Libyan boys help at the newly setup media center in what used to be a court house in Benghazi, Li AP – FILE - In this Monday, March 7, 2011 file photo, two Libyan boys help at the newly setup media center …

    BENGHAZI, Libya – The burnt-out waterfront building was once the local branch of Libya's hated high court. In the past three weeks, it has been transformed into a bustling hub of civic society, home to a daily newspaper, a recording studio and a press center.

    The dramatic shift highlights one of the main challenges facing the rebels seeking to topple Moammar Gadhafi, who for more than four decades has snuffed out any sign of independent action by his people. With his rule shattered in the east, activists led by lawyers, doctors and local businessmen are trying to fill the void.

    Libya is not like Egypt, where ousted President Hosni Mubarak tolerated some political parties, trade unions, rights groups and an increasingly vibrant independent press. Under Gadhafi, there were no independent non-governmental organizations, free trade unions or political parties. The press was — and in the territory under the regime's control still is — tightly muzzled.

    But since the revolt erupted Feb. 15 in eastern Libya against Gadhafi's rule, the first impromptu institutions have begun popping up, with Libya's intellectual class largely leading the way.

    "What we've done so far in these three weeks is astronomical, unbelievable," opposition spokesman Mustafa Gheriani said.

    The battle is far from over. Gadhafi tightened his grip Saturday on the coastal road linking his territory to the rebel-controlled east, but the rebels have vowed to keep fighting.

    Their crowning achievement so far is the establishment of an interim national governing council to manage the day-to-day affairs in territory under their control. It has even appointed a crisis committee to handle military matters and foreign affairs.

    Headed by former Justice Minister Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, the council counts two prominent lawyers, Abdel-Hafidh Ghoga and Fathi Turbel, as well as a political science professor among its members.

    But it has struggled to speak with a unified voice at times, most notably sending repeated mixed messages about an alleged Gadhafi proposal to negotiate, but members dismiss the problems as growing pains.

    "We've survived these three weeks, and we have a functioning government," Gheriani said. "Are we going to have hiccups, bumps on the road? Of course, that's to be expected."

    At the local level, city councils have sprung up to run hospitals, collect trash and provide essential services like electricity and clean drinking water.

    Army units in the east that defected to the rebel side are busy training young volunteers eager to battle Gadhafi's forces.

    Benghazi, the epicenter of the rebellion and the headquarters of the governing council, is even having new police uniforms sewn in Egypt to provide the force with a new look and distance itself from the Gadhafi regime, Gheriani said.

    To the east in Bayda, young men collect trash, provide security, man checkpoints and direct traffic. The city council has reached an agreement with the banks to loan about $160 (200 dinars) a month interest free to needy residents, said Hamdy Yacoub, a statistics professor at Omar Mukhtar University.

    "We work as consultants to everybody in town, trying to help manage things," said Yacoub, whose two brothers serve on the city council. They also get their hands dirty, cleaning streets on some days.

    Town councils in Tobruk, Derna and other eastern cities clustered along the Mediterranean coast have similar operations.

    Doctors also have done their part, setting up a simple network to provide medical care and ferry supplies to rebel forces on the front lines, and a rotation system to keep it all humming.

    "We are educated people, most of us are professors who have the ability to be organizers," said Dr. Gebreil Hewadi, the head of the radiology department at Jalaa Hospital in Benghazi and a member of the health committee.

    "I think this will provide a basis for after Gadhafi leaves," he said hopefully.

    Hewadi acknowledged that it was just the beginning as 41 years of Gadhafi's unchallenged rule have left Libyans unversed in how to use the ballot box.

    "We need to teach ourselves and train ourselves how to select leaders," he said. "It will take time, but I think the Libyan people, especially the young, can do this."

    Young people launched the uprising, and they're also providing the manpower that has transformed Benghazi's former high court, which tellingly shares a courtyard with the dreaded internal security service's torched offices.

    Some two weeks ago, the building still smelled of smoke, the floors were strewn with shattered glass and doorways were boarded up. Now, the tile floors are covered with cigarette butts and the charred walls are plastered with a rainbow of posters mocking Gadhafi. Foreign reporters and Libyan activists pack the halls and stairs from morning to night.

    On the building's ground floor, there is a committee to help those needing food or money, another to document those kidnapped and killed by Gadhafi, and a third to register volunteers and direct them where to go.

    One floor up is a bustling press center, with wireless Internet — a precious commodity since Gadhafi pulled the plug on the Web early in the uprising — and a technology support team of English-speaking volunteers. In another room, arriving foreign journalists pick up rebel press credentials after signing in and getting their passports scanned.

    Down the hall are the offices for the "Libya" daily, one of three new pro-rebellion newspapers set up since the uprising began Feb. 15. Men and women bundled up in coats and scarves against the cold draft whipping through the boarded up windows sit in front of computer screens, typing articles or arranging the layout for the next day's edition.

    "We try to give the world the truth," said Maher Awami, a 37-year-old graphic designer and photographer working for the newspaper. "The state media in Gadhafi's hands just lies."

    The decidedly pro-rebellion paper publishes one edition a day, often six to eight pages of articles about the uprising and those killed, color photographs full of flag-waving supporters and caricatures of Gadhafi.

    "We have the ability to build our own civil society, we have educated ourselves at school and on the Internet," Awami said. "This revolution did not come from empty space."


    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110313/ap_on_re_af/af_libya_civil_society

    Scenes of devastation at heart of Japan disaster


    A man walks by a collapsed house and debris at Sendai Port in Sendai, northeastern Japan, Saturday, March 12, 2011, following Friday's 8.9-magnitude q AP – A man walks by a collapsed house and debris at Sendai Port in Sendai, northeastern Japan, Saturday, March …

    SENDAI, Japan – She scanned the landscape of debris and destruction, looking at the patch of earth where Japan's massive tsunami erased her son's newly built house so thoroughly that she can't even be certain where it once stood.

    Satako Yusawa teared up but pulled herself together quickly. Because for the 69-year-old widow, there was this to be thankful for: Her son and his family were out of town when Friday's offshore, 8.9-magnitude quake sparked huge surges of water that washed fleets of cars, boats and entire houses across coastal Sendai like detritus perched on lava.

    But her son had borrowed a lot of money to build that house, and had moved in only last month.

    "This," she said, "is life."

    No one knows yet how many people died in the disaster. Police found 200 to 300 bodies on beaches near Sendai but were still assessing the devastation in the northeastern port of 1 million people, where regional Gov. Yoshihiro Murai was to visit on Sunday. Japan's overall death toll stood at 686, though the government said the eventual tally could far exceed 1,000 as search efforts step up in the coming days.

    For those who survived, the bleakest of landscapes unfolded before them.

    In Sendai, mud-spattered survivors wandered streets strewn with fallen trees and houses ripped from foundations, alongside smaller relics of destroyed lives — a desk chair, a beer cooler. Power and phone reception remained cut, as rescuers plied through murky waters around flooded structures. Smoke from at least one large fire billowed in the distance.

    This is what it looks like when the earth shakes, the water comes and the fires burn: Life is interrupted, reduced for hours and days to basic survival. Conveniences, taken for granted in one of the world's most developed societies, become mere hopes for tomorrow.

    [Related: The world’s deadliest tsunamis]

    Yusawa said she was having tea at a friend's house when the main quake struck, shaking the ground massively for more than two horrifying minutes.

    "We were desperately trying to hold the furniture up," she said, "but the shaking was so fierce that we just panicked."

    Yoshio Miura, 65, was in his small trucking company office Friday afternoon when the rumbling started, sending him under a table and dislodging heavy metal cabinets.

    "These cabinets fell down right on top of me, and luckily they were stopped by this table," he said, gesturing across an office in shambles, its contents strewn across the floor by the quake and then coated in a thick layer of grime from the tsunami.

    "The shaking was mostly side to side, it was very strong. ... Look at what it did to this building!" He points to a large shed that was lifted off its foundation.

    Then came the water — massive waves that swept some 6 miles (10 kilometers) inland.

    "The flood came in from behind the store and swept around both sides," remembered convenience store owner Wakio Fushima. "Cars were flowing right by."

    Wakio's store, about 3 miles (5 kilometers) from the shore, already was reopened for business, but there was no power and the floors were filthy with tsunami residue.

    Many Sendai residents spent the first night outdoors, unable to return to homes damaged or destroyed in the disaster. Some fellow residents and business owners chipped in with help. At an electronics store, workers gave away batteries, flashlights and cell phone chargers. Several dozen people waited patiently outside.

    [Related: Reactor leaks spark fears of another Chernobyl]

    From a distance, the store appeared to have survived intact. But a closer look revealed several smashed windows and slightly buckled walls.

    Inside was chaos. The ceiling of the second floor had collapsed, and large TVs, air conditioners and other products lay smashed and strewn about the aisles.

    "Things were shaking so much we couldn't stand up," said Hiroyuki Kamada, who was working in the store when the initial quake hit.

    The tsunami hit the city's dock area and then barreled down a long approach road, carrying giant metal shipping containers about a mile (2 kilometers) inland and smashing buildings along the way.

    Hundreds of cars and trucks were strewn throughout the area — on top of buildings, wedged into stairwells, standing on their noses or leaning against each other.

    Most ships in port managed to escape to sea before the tsunami hit, but a large Korean ship was swept onto the dock.

    Cell phone saleswoman Naomi Ishizawa, 24, was working when the quake hit in the mid afternoon. She said it took until nightfall to reach her house just outside Sendai and check on her parents, who were both OK. Their home was still standing, but the walls of a bedroom and bathroom had collapsed and debris was strewn throughout.

    And yet, she was lucky. The tsunami's inland march stopped just short of her residence; other houses in her neighborhood were totally destroyed.

    Like many people throughout Japan's northeast, she had not heard from others in her family and was worried.

    "My uncle and his family live in an area near the shore where there were a lot of deaths," Ishizawa said. "We can't reach them."

    Eyewitness to Destruction Play Video FOX News – Eyewitness to Destruction


    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110312/ap_on_re_as/as_japan_earthquake_devastation

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