Doll found in the debris following tsunami in Ofunato, Japan.
(Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class
Matthew M. Bradley/U.S. Navy. Used with permission.)
CRISIS IN JAPAN: The 50 technicians working at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant were forced to temporarily evacuate today after yet another fire broke out in one of the reactors. Authorities tried to use to a helicopter to douse the facility, but radiation levels were so high that the effort was abandoned. Despite the dangers, the crew of workers — dubbed the Fukushima 50 — later returned to their posts to avert a nuclear catastrophe.
These unnamed operators are braving radiation and fire to pump hundreds of gallons of seawater into the stricken reactors. If a full meltdown occurs, thousands of tons of radioactive dust could imperil the lives of millions. According to The New York Times, five workers have died since the magnitude-9.0 earthquake hit Japan on March 11. Another 22 have been injured and two are missing.
Japanese Emperor Akihito made a rare appearance on television today, offering his condolences to the victims of the earthquake and tsunami and thanking those involved in the disaster relief, The BBC reported. “I hope from the bottom of my heart that the people will, hand in hand, treat each other with compassion and overcome these difficult times,” he said.
Cold temperatures and snow continued to hamper search and rescue efforts in northeastern Japan. Up to 450,000 people are staying in temporary shelters, and millions are struggling to survive with little food, water, electricity or heat. More than 11,000 people are officially listed as dead or missing, The Associated Press reported.
Although the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant kept investors on edge, Asian markets rebounded today, with Tokyo stocks rising 5.7 percent, Reuters reported.
HOW TO HELP: If you’re looking for someone affected by the Japan earthquake and tsunami, or have information about someone there, click here. To donate money, goods or services, visit these Websites:
* American Red Cross. Or text redcross to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
CLASHES IN BAHRAIN: Riot police fired dozens of rounds of teargas into crowds of anti-government protesters in Manama today, CBC News reported. Demonstrators responded to this action by throwing petrol bombs and blocking off a main thoroughfare leading to Bahrain Financial Harbour. Witnesses and state TV said at least four people were killed. The clashes occurred a day after Bahrain’s king declared martial law.
CIA CONTRACTOR INDICTED: A Pakistani court indicted CIA contractor Raymond Davis on two counts of murder today, Reuters reported. Davis, 36, allegedly shot and killed two men on Jan. 27 following what he described as an attempted robbery. The U.S. says he has diplomatic immunity and should be repatriated rather than tried.
LIMITING E.P.A.’S POWER: The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011, which repeals the Environmental Protection Agency’s finding that carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases are a threat to human health and the environment, The New York Times reported. The measure would also bar the E.P.A. from imposing new rules to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Republican lawmakers promised a floor vote before the Easter recess.
MIAMI MAYOR OUSTED: Nearly nine out of 10 voters chose to recall Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez on Tuesday, The Miami Herald reported. Despite spending more than $1 million to fend off the ouster, Alvarez was ushered out in the largest recall of a local politician in U.S. history. County Commissioner Natacha Seijas was similarly recalled after representing her district for 18 years.
BUCKLES LAID TO REST: Frank Buckles, the last U.S. veteran of World War I, was buried at Arlington National Cemetery on Tuesday, The Washington Post reported. Buckles died on Feb. 27 at the age of 110.
RETURN TO EARTH: A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying U.S. astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonauts Oleg Skripochka and Alexander Kaleri landed safety in Kazakhstan today, Reuters reported. Two flight engineers — American Catherine Coleman and Italian Paolo Nespoli — are still aboard the International Space Station.
NATIVE SON WINS IDITAROD: Veteran dog musher John Baker made history on Tuesday by claiming the first place in the Iditarod Sled Dog Race, CNN reported. It was the first time in the race’s 38-year history that an Alaskan Inupiaq had taken the top prize. Baker, 48, also shattered Martin Buser’s course record for the fastest completion time, beating it by more than three hours. He finished the grueling 1,150-mile race in 8 days, 19 hours, 46 minutes and 49 seconds.
VIDEO OF THE DAY
March 16 is National Artichoke Hearts Day, National Curlew Day and Freedom of Information Day.
TODAY IN HISTORY
In 1985, Terry Anderson, chief Middle East correspondent for The Associated Press, was abducted in Beirut. For the next six years and nine months, he was held captive and tortured by a group of Hezbollah Shiite Muslims who were supported by Iran. Anderson was released on Dec. 4, 1991.
BIRTHDAYS* Musician Wolfgang Van Halen, 20.
* Actor Tim Kang, 38.
* Actor Alan Tudyk, 40.
* Actor Judah Friedlander, 42.
* Actress Lauren Graham, 44.
* Singer Tracy Bonham, 44.
* Director Gore Verbinski, 47.
* Comic book creator Todd McFarlane, 50.
* Rapper Flavor Flav (Public Enemy), 52.
* Football Hall of Famer Ozzie Newsome, 55.
* Singer Nancy Wilson (Heart), 57.
* Author Alice Hoffman, 59.
* Actor Victor Garber, 62.
* Actor Erik Estrada, 62.
* Game show host Chuck Woolery, 70.
* Director Bernardo Bertolucci, 70.
* Actor/comedian Jerry Lewis, 85.
* Human rights activist Rachel Corrie died in 2003 at the age of 23.
* British actor John Hewer died in 2008 at the age of 86.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.” –Oscar Wilde