Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Too early to criticize Japan nuke crisis

A nuclear policy expert tells the AP that while any number of nuclear-related deaths in Japan would be too many, last Friday's tsunami is likely to prove significantly more devastating to human life than the reactor incident

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa people express solidarity with Japanese

People of tribal areas and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have expressed solidarity with the quake and tsunami-stricken people of Japan after last week’s devastation.

Honorary Consul-General of Japan in Peshawar Nawabzada Fazle Karim Afridi told reporters on Tuesday that he received messages of people from across the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa expressing solidarity with the government and people of Japan in these difficult moments when natural calamities hit the Asian nation harder.

“Our people are unskilled and they offer help to the people of Japan in whatever possible,” the honorary consul-general of Japan said while speaking of Pakhtun nation’s sympathies for the people of Japan.

Afridi, however, urged the Pakistanis to stand by Japan in their hour of need. “Japan always reached out to our people when any calamity hit us. We should reciprocate in the same manner.

My appeal to the people of Pakistan will be to help the people of Japan who are brave enough to confront the destruction,” the honorary consul-general of Japan added. staff report

Human Rights Watch protests for Afghan women's rights

An Afghan measure that would give the government control over women's shelters is an assault to civil liberties, Human Rights Watch said.

The Afghan government is considering a measure that would give it authority over women's shelters, which are typically run by non-governmental organizations.

Rachel Reid, an Afghan specialist at Human Rights Watch, said that although the government claims that taking control would help fund the shelters, the real intentions are clear.

"The government is increasingly dominated by hard-line conservatives who are hostile to the very idea of shelters, since they allow women some autonomy from abusive husbands and family members," she said in a statement.

The measure includes suggestions that would force women to undergo forensic examinations and places restrictions on their freedom of movement.

Many of the women in Afghanistan are living under a societal system governed by strict interpretations of Islam.

Even though 69 of the 249 members of the lower house of Parliament are women, Reid said much of the government in Afghanistan is "full of misogynist warlords."

Saudi Arabia withdraws Reuters reporter's permit

Saudi Arabia has withdrawn the accreditation of a senior Reuters correspondent, obliging him to leave the country, after officials complained on Tuesday that a recent report on a protest in the kingdom was not accurate.

Reuters said it stood by its coverage and welcomed an assurance given by the Saudi government that it would begin the accreditation of a replacement for its correspondent.

Saudi Information Minister Abdul-Aziz Khoja said: "We have been accustomed to exceptional precision from Reuters but its correspondent here in one of his reports lately did not relay the actual, precise picture we have been used to from Reuters.

"In any case, his limited work permit in the kingdom has expired," he said. "We welcome any correspondent the company appoints and we will help and facilitate the mission of Reuters in having a new correspondent appointed in the kingdom."

Reuters Editor-in-Chief Stephen Adler praised the coverage of Senior Correspondent Ulf Laessing, who has been based in the Saudi capital Riyadh since 2009. Laessing joined Reuters in his native Germany in 1997 and has also worked in Egypt and Kuwait.

"Reuters is committed to accurate and unbiased reporting from Saudi Arabia," Adler said. "We are disappointed that Ulf Laessing must leave Riyadh but welcome the minister's assurance that Saudi Arabia will now accredit a new correspondent."

Laessing was expected to leave the country later this week.

Reuters, part of New York-based Thomson Reuters, the leading information provider, employs some 3,000 journalists worldwide.

Reporting in English, Arabic and more than a dozen other languages, Reuters has had bureaux across the Middle East for well over a century. In 2003, it became the first major international news organization to have a foreign correspondent accredited to work in the kingdom by the Saudi authorities.

Curfew to be imposed in key locations in Bahrain

Bahrain's Defence Force (BDF) will take charge of national security and impose curfew at specific places under the present state of emergency, the Bahrain News Agency reported Tuesday.

"Necessary action will be taken against anyone flouting the law, " BDF's military judiciary director said in a statement to Bahrain News Agency, adding that under the present state, there will be restrictions placed on movement in certain areas.

In addition, certain locations will be evacuated and rallies disrupting the public order will be banned. "Suspects will also be tracked down and arrested to face charges. BDF appeals all citizens and expatriates to abide by the state of national safety measures," the official said.

Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa on Tuesday declared a three-month state of emergency with immediate effect and delegated BDF Commander in Chief Marshal Shaikh Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Khalifa to take necessary measures.

Scientific Outlook on Development part of theories of socialism, Hu Jintao

Hu Jintao

said in his keynote report to the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on Monday that the Scientific Outlook on Development initiated by the 16th CPC Central Committee in 2003 is part of the theories of Socialism with Chinese characteristics that stands along with Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of Three Represents.

"Theories of socialism with Chinese characteristics constitute a system of scientific theories including Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important thought of Three Represents, and the Scientific Outlook on Development and other major strategic thoughts," Hu said.

This system represents the Party's adherence to and development of Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought and embodies the wisdom and hard work of several generations of Chinese Communists leading the people in carrying out tireless explorations and practices, Hu said.

"It is the latest achievement in adapting Marxism to Chinese conditions, the Party's invaluable political and intellectual asset, and the common ideological foundation for the concerted endeavor of the people of all ethnic groups. It is an open system that keeps developing," Hu said.

He noted that practices since the publication of the Communist Manifesto nearly 160 years ago have proved that only when Marxism is integrated with the conditions of a specific country, advances in step with the times and is tied to the destiny of the people can it demonstrate its strong vitality, creativity and appeal. In contemporary China, to stay true to Marxism means to adhere to the system of theories of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of Three Represents have been put in the Party charter in previous CPC national congresses and enshrined in the country's Constitution thereafter.

Source: Xinhua

Bahrain MP quits to protest 'massacre'

Bahraini lawmaker Nada Hafad has resigned from the country's parliament as a brutal crackdown of peaceful anti-government protesters continues.
Hafad's resignation came on Tuesday in protest to the ongoing massacre" in Bahrain and amid reports of random shootings by military helicopters.

Bahraini security forces are reportedly using live rounds in their attempt to disperse thousands of people have been staging street protests in their quest for political refoms.

The forces have reportedly attacked a hospital and clashed with the doctors in the medical center.

Witnesses also said of the involvement of Arab armies in the killing of Bahraini protesters adding that Saudi troops prevented ambulances from delivering the injured to hospitals.

Meanwhile in the Saudi city of Qatif rallied in a show of solidarity with protesters in Bahrain and condemned the use of violence against them.

6 killed, 1,000 injured in Bahrain

At least six Bahrainis have been killed and more than 1,000 others injured by government security forces and Saudi troops, and thousands of Bahrainis have marched to the Saudi Embassy.

At least five villages came under attack by soldiers and helicopters using live ammunition against the protesters.

A medical source told AFP on Tuesday that the victims were shot with buckshot.

On the streets of the capital Manama, people have put up makeshift barricades to block the path of foreign forces. The Bahraini people say they do not want any foreign intervention in their country's affairs.

Also on Tuesday, thousands of anti-government demonstrators marched to the Saudi Embassy to protest against the military intervention, a day after military convoys crossed the border from Saudi Arabia into Bahrain to help the government suppress the protesters.

“Down, down with Hamad!” the crowds chanted at the Saudi Embassy, expressing their view that Bahrain's ruler, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, had gone too far in the crackdown on the opposition.

Clinton: Egypt revolution must produce democracy

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton implored Egyptians on Tuesday to complete their fragile and unfinished democratic transition while fighting continued next door in Libya and Bahrain called in foreign security forces to put down anti-government protests there.
Fearing that gains made since last month's ouster of authoritarian President Hosni Mubarak may be lost to impatience or a hijacking of the political system by extremists, Clinton urged Egyptians to seize the opportunity to make their country a model for an inclusive Arab democracy.
"To the people of Egypt, let me say: this moment of history belongs to you," Clinton said following talks with Egypt's new foreign minister, Nabil al-Araby. "This is your achievement and you broke barriers and overcame obstacles to pursue the dream of democracy."
She called on Egypt to use its millennia-old traditions of civilization and innovation to ensure the success of their peaceful revolution.
"Today, because of the Egyptian people, Egypt is rising. Egypt, mother of the world, is now giving birth to democracy," Clinton said. "We congratulate you on embarking on what will be a very important next chapter in the storied history of Egypt."
The U.S. sees Egypt as a potential vanguard for reform throughout the region and is eager not to allow developments in Libya, Bahrain or elsewhere, including Yemen, disrupt it.
Speaking beside al-Araby, Clinton said the U.S. understood the urgency of the situation in Libya, where forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi are reclaiming territory from rebels in heavy fighting. She also expressed grave concern about developments in Bahrain where the Sunni monarchy has asked Sunni-majority neighbors in the Gulf to help it deal with an uprising by Shias, who are the majority in Bahrain.
Making her first visit to what she called the "new Egypt," Clinton said the country's path to elections and greater freedom will be hard work but that America will help.
She unveiled details of an economic support package aimed at helping to create badly needed jobs, mainly for Egypt's exploding youth population, and spur foreign investment. In addition to an already announced $150 million being redirected to the transition and financial sector, the aid will include tens of billions of dollars in credits and private sector loans as well as the expansion of Egyptian facilities that are able to send duty-free exports to the United States.
While trying to help Egypt resolve some of its most critical economic woes, Clinton pleaded with Egypt's transitional authorities, as well as private civic groups that played a leading role in the Mubarak protests to embrace reform guided by two key ideas: non-violence and national unity. "Those two principles must be embraced through the transition by all parties, to ensure a future of security and democracy for the Egyptian people," she said.
She applauded an announcement Tuesday of further dismantling of the hated state security apparatus and said Egypt now needs to prepare for free, fair elections to produce "leaders that will be able to respond to (your) aspirations."
Clinton was the first U.S. cabinet-level official to visit Cairo since the fall of Mubarak, a staunch U.S. ally for more than 30 years and the first secretary of state to visit a non-Mubarak-led Egypt since Alexander Haig in 1981.
Decades of close ties between Mubarak and successive American presidents have left many Egyptians suspicious of U.S. motives, particularly after the Obama administration appeared slow to back the protesters.
One student group said it had declined invitations for some of its members to meet with Clinton while she is in Cairo. "Based on her negative attitude toward the revolution in the beginning and the positions of the American administration in the region, the invitation has been refused," the Revolution Youth Coalition, which groups various movements involved in organizing the protests, said in a statement.
After her meeting with the foreign minister, Clinton saw several dozen rights activists, women's leaders and students to ask them where they thought the transition stood and what help they might need from the U.S.
They expressed concerns about the timing of an upcoming referendum on constitutional amendments and parliamentary elections in June to be followed by a presidential vote. Some believe the sequencing does not allow enough time for the opposition to organize into credible political parties. Others are concerned at possible heavy-handed tactics from the military.
On Wednesday before leaving for Tunisia, where she will have similar meetings with transition leaders there, Clinton is to see the chief of Egypt's powerful Armed Forces Supreme Council, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, and interim Prime Minister Essam Sharaf.
She will also hold a town hall meeting with students, educators and others.

Foreign intervention in Bahrain

EDITORIAL: Daily Times

Although Bahrain’s monarch had requested the Gulf Cooperation Council, comprising six Gulf countries, to send their forces to contain the protests in Bahrain.The 1000-strong contingent sent by five neighbouring countries of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait, will be used to suppress Shia protesters, who are demanding political and economic rights in a country ruled by a minority Sunni elite. Arguably, Saudi Arabia was more worried than the rest of the Gulf countries because its oil-rich, Shia-dominated eastern area borders Bahrain and if the Bahraini Shias manage to gain the upper hand, it might spell disaster for the Saudi monarchy’s own existence, which has kept its Shia population backward and deprived for decades. It is in the interest of all reactionary monarchs of the Gulf to not let things get out of hand, hence this collaboration. There is no reason to open fire on unarmed protesters, but when an insecure minority is ruling over a restless majority as in Bahrain, perhaps this is inevitable. It would be pertinent to mention that Pakistan’s retired military officers and civilians are being rapidly hired by Bahrain because they are reputed to be most aggressive. It is not certain if the Bahrainis, who have been out on the streets for a month, would be able to sustain their struggle in the face of a brutal crackdown that now seems on the cards.

When the wave of insurgency started from Tunisia and spread to Egypt, in both cases yielding results quickly and relatively peacefully, an optimistic illusion was created that this would be replicated in all Arab countries where the public had risen. It has turned out that all Gulf countries are not at the same juncture of history where their regimes had been hollowed out from within and needed just the kind of push that the people in Egypt and Tunisia provided. Yemen’s long-serving dictator is not yielding to the protesters’ demands to relinquish the office of president, which he has been holding for the last 32 years. There have been protests in Oman as well without much hope for success. In Libya, there are reports that the tables have been turned by Gaddafi’s use of military force and a vow to fight till the last drop of blood. The rebel forces in Libya that had taken over eastern towns are now being pushed back through the use of navy, air force and artillery bombardments. The imbalance of power between the two sides is so great that an untrained, lightly armed, scattered guerrilla force cannot win over a conventional military force in set-piece battles. Being largely a desert excepting the northern periphery, it will not be easy for the rebels to sustain guerrilla warfare against Gaddafi’s air power. It seems that Gaddafi still has the backing of his military and certain tribes who are aiding him.
In this scenario, saner heads in the West are advising the hawks led by France against military intervention in the name of ‘humanitarian’ action. It has been proved in recent years that such intrusions are, after all, not entirely altruistic and are driven by vested interests. The UN Security Council is unlikely to yield to the proposal of imposing a no-fly zone over Libya. It is dangerous thinking, this talk of military intervention and will lead to the expansion of war in Libya and the region. A fig leaf has been created in the shape of the Arab League’s endorsement of a no-fly zone, but this is unlikely to impress anyone. The Arab League has lost credibility over the years and cannot necessarily be taken as representing the interests of the Arab people. Gaddafi may have resiled from anti-imperialist Arab nationalism and may be cracking down on his people, but this should not be used an excuse to call for a foreign intervention. The Arab people must be given the opportunity to settle their affairs themselves. *

Protesters stage rare demo in Syria

Protesters have demonstrated in Damascus, the Syrian capital, in a rare show of dissent against the country's hardline regime.

Witnesses said 40 to 50 people gathered after midday prayers on Tuesday in the Al Hamidiya area near the city's Umayyad Mosque.

A YouTube video showed protesters clapping and chanting "God, Syria, freedom -- that's enough", and "Peaceful, peaceful", a chant heard elsewhere in weeks of protests that have swept through the Arab world.

A voice in the background says: "The date is (March) 15 ... This is the first obvious uprising against the Syrian regime ... Alawite or Sunni, all kinds of Syrians, we want to bring down the regime".

The protest was quickly broken up by government supporters, the AP news agency reported.

Bashar al-Assad, who succeeded his father as president in 2000, has said there is no chance of unrest elsewhere in the region spreading to Syria. The country has been ruled by al-Assad's Baath Party since 1963.

The regime is considered one of the most repressive in the Middle East with political opposition locked up and media tightly controlled.

New York-based Human Rights Watch has said Syria's authorities were among the worst violators of human rights in 2010, jailing lawyers, torturing opponents and using violence to repress ethnic Kurds.

Earlier this month the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 13 political prisoners had gone on hunger strike to protest against "political detentions and oppression" in their country.

One of the prisoners, 80-year-old former judge Haitham al-Maleh, was later released under an amnesty marking the anniversary of the 1963 coup which brought the Baath party to power.

Officials say political prisoners in Syria have violated the constitution and that outside criticism of the state's human rights record is interference in Syria's affairs.

Source: Al Jazeera and Agencies

Tuba az shabi hijran- Ahmad Zahir

Two killed in Bahrain violence despite martial law

A doctor said hundreds had been injured and ambulances seized by troops

At least two people have been killed and as many as 200 injured in clashes between anti-government demonstrators and security forces in Bahrain.A doctor told the BBC he was treating many people with head and gunshot wounds, and that soldiers and police were using ambulances to attack people.

The violence came as the government announced a state of emergency and called in Saudi troops to keep order.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has appealed for calm and restraint.

"The use of force and violence from any source will only worsen the situation," she told reporters during a visit to the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

"Our advice to all sides is that they must take steps now to negotiation towards a political resolution," she added.

Mrs Clinton also said she had told Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal that "they, along with everyone else, need to be promoting the dialogue".

A diplomatic row has also flared over the issue, with Bahrain recalling its ambassador in Tehran and complaining of "blatant interference" in its affair because Iran had condemned the arrival of foreign forces.

Earlier, Bahrain's King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa decreed that there would be a three-month state of emergency to help restore order.
The head of the armed forces had been authorised to take all measures to "protect the safety of the country and its citizens", the announcement said.

On Monday, more than 1,000 troops from the Gulf Co-operation Council rolled into the country at the king's request, flashing victory signs.

Thousands of Bahrainis marched on the Saudi embassy in the capital, Manama, on Tuesday to protest against the intervention.

"People are angry. We want this occupation to end. We don't want anybody to help the Al Khalifa or us," a protester called Salman told the Reuters news agency, referring to the Sunni Muslim ruling family.

After the declaration of the state of emergency, many protesters set up barricades to protect themselves against the security forces. Young men, some wearing masks and carrying sticks, stood guard.

Later, there were violent clashes in several mainly Shia areas. In the village of Sitra, 15km (10 miles) south of Manama, police officers armed with shotguns fired on residents, a witness told the BBC.

Medics said more than 200 people had been injured in the clashes, and that two men - one Bahraini and the other Bangladeshi - had been killed.

State television said a Bahraini policeman was among the dead, denying media reports that a Saudi soldier had been shot and killed.

Bullet wounds
There were chaotic scenes at the Salmaniya medical centre, where many of the injured were brought.

A doctor at the medical centre's accident and emergency department said there were "many, many casualties".

"People are coming in with bullet wounds and injuries caused by rubber bullets. There are hundreds of people," he told the BBC. "We received one major case - a man whose skull had been split open by something."

Two other men were in a serious condition after being shot in the eyes, while a third had been shot in the back of the head, the doctor said.

"We were at the health centre in Sitra, and they shot at us. The doctors and nurses were all scared because the windows were being broken and we could hear the shooting. This is a disaster," he added.

Doctors have appealed for international help to ensure access to the wounded
He said police and soldiers - both Bahraini and foreign - had seized six ambulances, and then used them to attack protesters.

"The paramedics were kicked out, and they took the ambulances. They went everywhere in them and they were shooting people."

Other doctors appealed for international help to ensure access to the wounded. The BBC saw an ambulance that had been shot at.

The main Shia Muslim opposition group, al-Wefaq, condemned the state of emergency, and appealed for international help.

On Monday, it said the arrival of Gulf states troops - the first time that any Arab government has called for outside military help during the current wave of protests sweeping the region - was tantamount to a declaration of war.

Most members of Bahrain's majority Shia community majority community, which has long complained of discrimination and repression by the Sunni elite, say they want a constitutional monarchy and other democratic reforms. However, some have said they want a republic.

Latest developments in Arab world's unrest

Latest developments in the unrest sweeping the Arab world from North Africa to the Persian Gulf:
Moammar Gadhafi's forces hit the rebellion's heartland with airstrikes, missiles and artillery. Rebels rush to the front and send up two rickety airplanes to bomb government ships, as mosques broadcast pleas for help defending a key gateway city to the rebel-held east.
The dramatic turn in Gadhafi's fortunes outpaces French and British efforts to build support for a no-fly zone, which falls apart in the face of German opposition and U.S. reluctance.

Clashes sweep the country a day after a Saudi-led military force arrives to defend its Sunni monarchy from a Shiite-led protest movement demanding political freedoms and equal rights. Hundreds of demonstrators are injured by shotgun blasts and clubs, a doctor says, and the king declares a three-month state of emergency.
One demonstrator is shot in the head and killed, and a Saudi official says one of his country's soldiers is shot dead by a protester.
Egypt's new interior minister dissolves the country's widely hated state security agency, which was accused of torture and other human rights abuses in the suppression of dissent against ousted President Hosni Mubarak's nearly 30-year rule. Dismantling the agency was a major demand of the protest movement that led the 18-day uprising.
Visiting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, meanwhile, presses Egypt's transitional leaders to follow through on pledges for democratic reform
Anti-government tribesmen in the north storm a security building and shoot dead four soldiers in a revenge attack after government troops open fire on opposition protesters calling for the president's ouster, witnesses say. The attack is a significant escalation by the anti-government side in a month of daily street protests in which stone-throwing demonstrators have clashed with security.

Protests Continue in Oman, Despite Ruler's Concessions

New protests against the government have erupted in Oman, despite a series of reforms announced by the country's rulers.

Several hundred state petroleum workers rallied Tuesday outside of the agency's headquarters in Muscat to demand higher wages. There also are reports of demonstrations in other towns.

On Sunday, Sultan Qaboos bin Sa'id issued a decree granting lawmaking powers to councils that previously had only advisory roles. He also ordered an increase in state pension benefits and payments for families receiving social security.

The sultan announced the reforms in response to a series of protests than began last month. Demonstrators have said they are seeking jobs and a greater role in politics.

Japan's nuclear situation nearing severity of Chernobyl

The explosion Tuesday at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has elevated the situation there to a "serious accident" on a level just below Chernobyl, a French nuclear official said, referring to an international scale that rates the severity of such incidents.
The International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale -- or INES -- goes from Level 1, which indicates very little danger to the general population, to Level 7, a "major accident" in which there's been a large release of radioactive material and there will be widespread health and environmental effects.
"It's clear we are at Level 6, that's to say we're at a level in between what happened at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl," Andre-Claude Lacoste, president of France's nuclear safety authority, told reporters Tuesday.

Japanese nuclear authorities initially rated the incident at Level 4, according to Greg Webb of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Level 4 is characterized as a minor release of radioactive material that necessitates only measures to control food due to contamination. But in the latest information about the explosion, Japanese authorities did not give it a rating, Webb said, and the IAEA is not putting a number on it either.
Whatever the level, many experts warn that it's too early, and there's too little information, to determine what it means for the people who live in the region near the Daiichi plant.
"We don't know enough to assess the long-term or short-term effects of this," said Dr. Kirby Kemper, a noted nuclear physicist, physics professor and vice president of research at Florida State University.
Based on information from Japanese authorities, Kemper said it appears the radioactive material that has been released has mostly dissipated into the atmosphere. However, he said, authorities would have to test the soil for contamination in the 20-kilometer radius that was evacuated around the plant before anyone could return home.Trying to place the situation on the INES scale is premature, said David Brenner, director of the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University.
"I've been asked to put a number on it a few times and I've resisted," he said.
With the effort to get the reactors under control still under way and uncertainty over where winds will blow radioactive waste, there's no way of telling how much waste will be released or what impact it will have on human health, he said.
As things stood Tuesday, Brenner said he did not believe the releases that had been reported so far posed a significant public health threat. He said the situation will clarify within 48 hours, for better or for worse, at which point, he said, it would make sense to assess the incident's overall severity.
At least 30 people died following the 1986 explosion and fire at Chernobyl, and large swaths of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia were contaminated from the nuclear fallout. The core meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant near Middletown, Pennsylvania, in 1979 caused no injuries or deaths, and only very low levels of radiation were found later in plants and animals, experts said.
The latest incidents in Japan -- an explosion Tuesday at the plant's No. 2 reactor and a fire in a cooling pond used for nuclear fuel at the No. 4 reactor -- briefly pushed radiation levels at the plant to about 167 times the average annual dose of radiation, according to details released by the IAEA.
That dose would quickly dissipate with distance from the plant, and radiation levels quickly fell back to levels that posed no immediate public health threat, said Japan's chief Cabinet secretary, Yukio Edano.
But the deteriorating situation at the plant and concerns about a potential shift in winds that could loft radiation toward populated areas nevertheless prompted authorities to warn people as far as 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) away from the plant to stay inside.
"There is still a very high risk of further radioactive material coming out," Prime Minister Naoto Kan said, asking people to remain calm.
According to the information about the radioactive matter released Tuesday from Japanese authorities, Kemper said, "as long as you're sealing your house well enough you're not going to ingest it."
Another problem with trying to predict contamination is that the levels don't necessarily go down the farther you get from the source, according to David Lochbaum, director of the Nuclear Safety Project for the Union of Concerned Scientists.
"The contamination levels aren't linear, so the farther away you get doesn't necessarily mean you get a lower dose rate. Chernobyl, in some cases, had areas 100 miles away from the facility having significantly higher radiation levels than areas only 10 or 15 miles away," he explained Tuesday in a teleconference with reporters.
"The winds would carry the radioactivity and then the rainfall would bring it down to the ground to contaminate where people were, he said. "So there are a number of factors that determine where it goes and who's in harm's way."
About 200,000 people within a 20-kilometer (12.4 mile) radius of the Daiichi plant had been previously evacuated.
But Japanese authorities couldn't rule out the specter of greater radiation dangers down the road.
For the first time since the quake crippled cooling systems at the Daiichi reactors on Friday and blasts occurred at two reactors Saturday and Monday, Edano said radiation levels at the plant had increased to "levels that can impact human health."
He said Tuesday he could not rule out the possibility of a meltdown at the troubled reactors.
While seawater was being pumped into the reactors in an effort to prevent further damage, "it cannot necessarily be called a stable situation," he said.
The plant's owners have taken precautions to protect the people in Fukushima Prefecture, where the reactors sit. The plants are 138 miles (about 225 kilometers) from Tokyo.
They evacuated all but about 50 workers from the facility and urged people within 30 kilometers of the plant to remain indoors. The government imposed a no-fly zone over the 30-kilometer radius "because of detected radiation after explosions" there, the country's transportation ministry said.
A North Carolina-based company, Nukepills.com, has donated about 50,000 potassium iodide tablets to a hospital in Tokyo. Potassium iodide "is recommended by health officials worldwide to prevent thyroid cancer of those exposed to radioactive iodine in the event of a nuclear reactor accident or detonation of a nuclear bomb," said a statement from the company, which describes itself as a internet-based provider of radiation emergency preparedness products.
"We are very pleased that these tablets will be given to people directly affected by the nuclear crisis," said Troy Jones, president of Nukepills.com.

'Brutal attacks' alleged in Bahrain ,Pakistanis,Syrians involved in attacks

Hospital staff overwhelmed by influx of wounded protesters and, in some cases, undercover police.

Human rights in Bahrain in grave stage

It's categorically demonstrable by facts and figures that Bahrain has one of the blackest human rights records among the Arab countries surrounding the Persian Gulf.

Bahrain has a population of less than 800,000, 70 percent of them practicing Shias; however, this tiny Arab country is renowned for its longstanding tradition of suppressing the Shia majority, exercising inhumane methods of torturing, imprisoning the political activists, putting restrictions on the mass media and exploiting foreign workers for various purposes.

When Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa assumed the throne as the king of Bahrain in 2001, the situation of human rights in this country was quite deplorable and alarming. According to a report by the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, several people were incarcerated during anti-government demonstrations or public gatherings and sent to prisons for lengthy periods of time, tortured by loathsome methods such as sleep deprivation or sexual assault. “On 17 December, 2007 on Martyrs' Day aimed at paying tribute to past victims of torture, members of the Special Security Forces began a wave of arrests targeting more than 60 individuals, among them over 10 activists. Within the month of February 2009, several key human rights defenders in Bahrain were arbitrarily arrested and detained including Abbas Abdul Aziz Al-Umran, Sayed Sharaf Ahmed, Ali Hassan Salman, and Jaafar Kadhim Ebrahim," the report says.

In a flagrant and indefensible movement, King Hamad issued Bahrain's Royal Decree 56 in 2002 which entrusted legal and judicial impunity to the government officials, state police forces and all of those who were involved in the cases of human rights abuse in Bahrain. The UN Committee against Torture condemned this decision; however, the Bahraini monarch was quite satisfied with the result of his "royal decision" and even paved the ground for the promotion of a number of those officials and state police forces who had committed human rights abuses during the 1990s.

The UN Committee against Torture explicitly asked the Bahraini government to dissolve the royal Decree 56 and allow the federal courts to investigate the possible crimes against humanity which the Bahraini police officers and other security forces had perpetrated, but the government of King Hamad refused to heed the international calls and impeded the prosecution of wrongdoers who had mercilessly tortured political dissidents and human rights activists in the jails of Manama.

According to the statistics released by the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, there are currently 514 political prisoners in Bahrain, 116 of them are children. Some of the Bahraini political activists who were imprisoned for speaking out against the injustice administered by the government retold heartrending accounts of the torture and persecution they were subject to while in the underground prisons of Bahraini monarchy.

"Since my arrest when I was taken to an underground prison, I have been severely tortured. They used electric shocks, my eyes were blindfolded and my hands tied behind my back. I was not allowed to sleep for the first 5-6 days," said one of the prisoners upon his release, asking to remain anonymous.

"Due to the severity of the beatings on my head and ears, both my ear drums have torn. Some nights I bled due to the severity of the beatings as well as the electric shocks," said another prisoner in an article posted on the website of Bahrain Center for Human Rights.

But the persecution of political dissidents and activists in Bahrain has been so all-encompassing and broad that even the international organizations in the countries with which Bahrain has developed close diplomatic ties couldn't remain silent in the face of the grave violation of human rights in this Persian Gulf country.

Dr. Abdul Jalil Al-Singace, the Chairman of the Human Rights Committee of the Haq Movement was arrested on August 13, 2010, only one day after King Hamad demagogically appealed to the critics of the government and opposition leaders in exile to return to their country and enjoy freedom of expression and action.

Dr. Abdul Jalil and his family members were arrested on the morning of August 13 in the Manama Airport, simply one day after the King of Bahrain promised increased freedoms for the government critics and opposition leaders.

Several other political activists were also arrested following the imprisonment of Dr. Abdul Jalil, who was residing in London and had attended a session of the House of Lords on August 5 and briefed the Parliament Members about the situation of human rights in Bahrain.

According to a report by the UK-based Islamic Human Rights Commission, Abdul Ghani Al-Khanjar, the spokesman of the Committee of Martyrs and Victims of Torture, Sheikh Saeed Al-Nouri and Sheikh Mohammad Habib Al-Miqdad, who have campaigned against political repression in the country, were arrested in early morning raids on their homes on August 16.

Three weeks after the widespread imprisonments which encompassed the whole Bahrain such a striking thunderstorm, the Human Rights Watch called on the Bahraini government to release the arrested opposition leaders and make sure about their physical and mental health; however, reports leaked out from the prisons in which they were kept incommunicado showed that the government of Bahrain had treated Dr. Abdul Jalil and his fellow activists in the most aggressive and cruel way.

Upon his release from the prison, Dr. Abdul Jalil told the Bahrain's Attorney General that he was handcuffed and blindfolded the entire time he spent in jail. He said that his captors beat him on his fingers with a hard instrument, slapped him around, and pulled and twisted his nipples and ears with tongs.

Interestingly, Bahrain is a member state to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. According to the Article 9 of this convention, "anyone who is arrested shall be informed, at the time of arrest, of the reasons for his arrest and shall be promptly informed of any charges against him," and "shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power." However, Bahrain has never clung to this rules and abused the human rights in the most brutal ways.

Bahrain Youth Society For Human Rights is an active organization which reports the cases of human rights violations in this Arab country. According to reports published by this organization, the three opposition groups of Bahrain Freedom Movement, the Haq Movement and the Al-Wafa Islamic Movement are constantly harassed by the government and many of their members are imprisoned without any trial and tortured without any warrant, justification or explication.

The website of Bahrain Youth Society For Human Rights has published tear-jerking pictures and photos of the Bahrainis who were subject to the brutal torturing of the country's police and security forces. These pictures depict the severe physical damages which are inflicted on the Bahraini youths who were imprisoned during the demonstrations and public gatherings and the political activists who were jailed while they were in their homes.

Overall, Bahrain in which an all-out revolution against the 40-year uncontested monarchy is looming doesn't have a healthy and pure human rights record. What people in this Arab country want is freedom, improved living conditions and an end to the discriminatory treatment with the Shias. Will the Bahraini dictators finally heed the calls of their people?

'Saudis declaring war against Bahrainis'

A Bahraini opposition leader says the Saudi government is manifestly waging war on the people of Bahrain by sending troops to help suppress the popular uprising in the country.

“What we see today is a declaration of war [against] unarmed civilians, whose only crime is to engage in a peaceful revolution, to determine their own destiny,” Saeed al-Shehabi told Press TV on Monday.

“If they (Saudi Arabia) continue their presence then that is, according to all opposition groups within Bahrain and outside, nothing but a declaration of war against the country,” the opposition leader added.

Shehabi deplored, “This is a sad day, not only for Bahrain, but for the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council ([P]GCC), because that alliance is supposed to be looking after the affairs of the people of that region, not to wage wars against the other countries.”

“It is astonishing to see the biggest country in this alliance invading a small country and other countries are joining in,” he noted.

Shehabi argued, “According to the charter of ([P]GCC), one country can ask for the support of another country within that alliance only in case of an external aggression against it.

“In the case of Bahrain, we have no external aggression; we have only internal problems that should be settled within the country itself, not by invasions.”

On Monday, Bahrain's fellow members of the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council -- Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar -- dispatched their armed forces to the Persian Gulf island at Manama's request to quell countrywide protests at the Sunni-led monarchy's suppression of the Shia majority.

Inspired by the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions, tens of thousands of Bahrainis have poured into the streets in the capital Manama since mid-February, calling for an end to Al-Khalifa dynasty, which has ruled the country for almost two centuries.

Demonstrators are keeping vigil in hundreds of tents in Manama's Pearl Square, which has become the epicenter of anti-government protests.

At least 7 people have been killed so far during the government clampdown on the peaceful demonstrations in Bahrain.

Bahrain Declares State of Emergency

Hours after the king of Bahrain declared a three-month state of emergency, doctors at a central hospital on Tuesday said two protesters had been killed and some 200 wounded and injured in clashes with riot police in the suburban village of Sitra.

One man, Ahmed Farhan, 24, had dozens of shotgun pellet wounds on his back and a gaping head injury, while a second man had tire marks from having been run over by security forces, the doctors said. Grisly video from the hospital, including of Mr. Farhan, appeared online shortly after.

“The signs are that this is a coordinated attack,” said Dr. Ali al-Aradi, an administrator at Suleimaniya Hospital. “These were not skirmishes. This was an attack on the protesters. These are the kinds of wounds we are seeing — shotgun and head injuries.”

The Ministry of Information said a security officer had been also been killed in the nearby village of Ma’ameer.

The violence around Sitra, a stronghold of antigovernment activists six miles south of the capital, contrasted starkly with a large protest in downtown Manama, where more than 10,000 protesters marched peacefully on the Saudi Arabian Embassy to denounce a military intervention by Persian Gulf countries the day before.

The entrance of foreign forces, including Saudi troops and those from other Gulf nations, threatened to escalate a local political conflict into a regional showdown; on Tuesday, Tehran, which has long claimed that Bahrain is historically part of Iran, branded the move “unacceptable.”

The foreign troops did not appear to take up positions in the capital early on Tuesday, heading instead for the palace neighborhood of Riffa.

Nevertheless, the city took on the feel of a ghost town: businesses were shuttered, malls closed and the streets largely deserted as residents watched apprehensively to see what role the foreign military would play to quell widespread demonstrations.

Since a violent effort to clear central Manama on Sunday failed, the authorities have appeared to hand over whole sections of the capital and surrounding villages to the protesters, who have blocked roads with rubble and trash bins.

Bahrain’s Ministry of Information, which has recently used its Twitter account to announce road closures, posted two messages in close succession claiming that protesters had attacked police and security forces in villages around the capital. One message suggested that a security officer had died: “A member of security force passed away in Maameer this evening when deliberately run over by one of the rioters.” Another said: “Police patrols exposed to shooting by automatic weapons by a group of vandals in Buri. No injuries.”

While there were no reports of fighting between protesters and foreign troops so far, The Associated Press, citing an unnamed Saudi security official, said that one soldier had been shot and killed by a protester on Tuesday. No details were given and the report could not be immediately confirmed. Bahrain state television denied the report, Reuters said.

The decision by Saudi Arabia to send in troops on Monday threatened to further inflame the conflict and transform this teardrop of a nation in the Persian Gulf into the Middle East’s next proxy battle between regional and global powers. On Monday, Iranian state-run media went so far as to call the troop movement an invasion.

“The presence of foreign forces and interference in Bahrain’s internal affairs is unacceptable and will further complicate the issue,” Ramin Mehmanparast, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, said at a news conference in Tehran, according to state-run media.

Even as predominantly Shiite Muslim Iran pursues a determined crackdown against dissent at home, Tehran has supported the protests led by the Shiite majority in Bahrain.

“People have some legitimate demands, and they are expressing them peacefully,” Mr. Memanparast said. “It should not be responded to violently.”

He added, “We expect their demands be fulfilled through correct means.”

Iran’s response — while anticipated — showed the depth of the rivalry across the Persian Gulf in a contest that has far-reaching consequences in many parts of the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia has been watching uneasily as Bahrain’s Shiite majority has staged weeks of protests against a Sunni monarchy, fearing that if the protesters prevailed, Iran, Saudi Arabia’s bitter regional rival, could expand its influence and inspire unrest elsewhere.

On Monday, about 2,000 troops — 1,200 from Saudi Arabia and 800 from the United Arab Emirates — entered Bahrain as part of a force operating under the aegis of the Gulf Cooperation Council, a six-nation regional coalition of Sunni rulers that has grown increasingly anxious over the sustained challenge to Bahrain’s king, Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa. “This is the initial phase,” a Saudi official said. “Bahrain will get whatever assistance it needs. It’s open-ended.”

The decision is the first time the council has used collective military action to help suppress a popular revolt — in this case a Shiite popular revolt. It was rejected by the opposition, and by Iran, as an “occupation.” The troops entered Bahrain at an especially combustible moment in the standoff between protesters and the monarchy. In recent days protesters have begun to move from the encampment in Pearl Square, the symbolic center of the nation, to the actual seat of power and influence, the Royal Court and the financial district. As the troops moved in, protesters controlled the main highway and said they were determined not to leave.

“We don’t know what is going to happen,” Jassim Hussein Ali, a member of the opposition Wefaq party and a former member of Parliament, said in a phone interview. “Bahrain is heading toward major problems, anarchy. This is an occupation, and this is not welcome.”

Rasool Nafisi, an academic and Iran expert based in Virginia, said: “Now that the Saudis have gone in, they may spur a similar reaction from Iran, and Bahrain becomes a battleground between Saudi and Iran. This may prolong the conflict rather than put an end to it, and make it an international event rather than a local uprising.”

An adviser to the United States government, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the news media, agreed. “Iran’s preference was not to get engaged because the flow of events was in their direction,” he said. “If the Saudi intervention changes the calculus, they will be more aggressive.”

Though Bahrain said it had invited the force, the Saudi presence highlights the degree to which the kingdom has become concerned over Iran’s growing regional influence, and demonstrates that the Saudi monarchy has drawn the line at its back door. Oil-rich Saudi Arabia, a close ally of Washington, has traditionally preferred to operate in the shadows through checkbook diplomacy. It has long provided an economic lifeline to Bahrain.

But it now finds itself largely standing alone to face Iran since its most important ally in that fight, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, has been ousted in a popular uprising. Iran’s ally, Hezbollah, recently toppled the Saudi-backed government of Lebanon — a symbol of its regional might and Saudi Arabia’s diminishing clout.

But Bahrain is right at Saudi Arabia’s eastern border, where the kingdoms are connected by a causeway.

The Gulf Cooperation Council was clearly alarmed at the prospect of a Shiite political victory in Bahrain, fearing that it would inspire restive Shiite populations in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to protest as well. The majority of the population in Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich eastern provinces is Shiite, and there have already been small protests there.

“If the opposition in Bahrain wins, then Saudi loses,” said Mustafa el-Labbad, director of Al Sharq Center for Regional and Strategic Studies in Cairo. “In this regional context, the decision to move troops into Bahrain is not to help the monarchy of Bahrain, but to help Saudi Arabia itself .”

The Bahrain government said that it had invited the force in to help restore and preserve public order. The United States — which has continued to back the monarchy — said Monday that the move was not an occupation. The United States has long been allied with Bahrain’s royal family and has based the Navy’s Fifth Fleet in Bahrain for many years.

Though the United States eventually sided with the demonstrators in Egypt, in Bahrain it has instead supported the leadership while calling for restraint and democratic change. The Saudi official said the United States was informed Sunday that the Saudi troops would enter Bahrain on Monday.

Saudi and council officials said the military forces would not engage with the demonstrators, but would protect infrastructure, government offices and industries, even though the protests had largely been peaceful. The mobilization would allow Bahrain to free up its own police and military forces to deal with the demonstrators, the officials said.

The Gulf Cooperation Council “forces are not there to kill people,” said a Saudi official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the press. “This is a G.C.C. decision; we do not violate international law.”

But the officials also acknowledged that it was a message to Iran. “There is no doubt Iran is involved,” said the official, though no proof has been offered that Iran has had anything to do with the political unrest.

Political analysts said that it was likely that the United States did not object to the deployment in part because it, too, saw a weakened monarchy as a net benefit to Iran at a time when the United States wants to move troops out of Iraq, where Iran has already established an influence.

The White House issued a statement calling on “the government of Bahrain to pursue a peaceful and meaningful dialogue with the opposition” and for the “G.C.C. partners to show restraint.”

The assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs, Jeffrey D. Feltman, traveled to Bahrain on Tuesday to meet with “government and nongovernmental leaders,” according to a statement from the American Embassy, “in order to support a made-in-Bahrain approach to the political, social and economic challenges that Bahrain faces.”

The military force is one part of a Gulf Cooperation Council effort to try to contain the crisis in Bahrain that broke out Feb. 14, when young people called for a Day of Rage, fashioned after events in Egypt and Tunisia. The police and then the army killed seven demonstrators, leading Washington to press Bahrain to remove its forces from the street.

The royal family allowed thousands of demonstrators to camp at Pearl Square. It freed some political prisoners, allowed an exiled opposition leader to return and reshuffled the cabinet. And it called for a national dialogue.

But the concessions — after the killings — seemed to embolden a movement that went from calling for a true constitutional monarchy to demanding the downfall of the monarchy. The monarchy has said it will consider instituting a fairly elected Parliament, but it insisted that the first step would be opening a national dialogue — a position the opposition has rejected, though it was unclear whether the protesters were speaking with one voice.

The council moved troops in after deciding earlier to help prop up the king with a contribution of $10 billion over 10 years, and said that it might increase that figure. But if the goal was to intimidate Iran, or the protesters, that clearly was not the first response.

Bahrain’s opposition groups issued a statement: “We consider the entry of any soldier or military machinery into the Kingdom of Bahrain’s air, sea or land territories a blatant occupation.”

Obama's new headaches: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain -- and Iran

A nuclear crisis in Japan, civil war in Libya, and budget battles on Capitol Hill -- a busy time for President Obama.

And, now, a new major headache that's not yet getting much attention because of all the others: Saudi Arabian troops in neighboring Bahrain, seeking to protect the Sunni monarchy there.

Iran criticized what it termed "an invasion," and called the Saudi move "unacceptable" -- basically, in the words of The New York Times, "threatening to escalate a local political conflict into a regional showdown with Iran."

The Obama administration, of course, is also already battling with Iran over its nuclear program.

In the latest twist of Middle East unrest, Iran is a Shiite sect government backing the Shiite majority in Bahrain against its Sunni sect rulers.

Saudi Arabia, which is Sunni, has made it clear it will not accepted a Shiite government next door in Bahrain.

Saudi Arabia, you'll recall, is a large supplied of U.S. oil.

Yes -- a busy time for President Obama.

Foreign troops suppress demonstrations in Bahrain

The king in Bahrain has declared a three month state of emergency as anti-government protests continue in the Emirate.

Troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have arrived in Bahrain to help the country's ruling monarchy restore law and order.

The neighbouring Gulf states say it's not an invasion but Bahrain's opposition groups have described the arrival of foreign forces as an occupation.

The ABC's Middle East correspondent Anne Barker reports.

ANNE BARKER: Saudi armed forces rolled into Bahrain, across the causeway which links the two Gulf kingdoms.

One thousand Saudi troops and 500 police from the United Arab Emirates arrived as clashes between anti-government protesters and Bahrain's security forces intensified.

Yesterday dozens of protesters were injured as security forces loyal to the Sunni royal family battled thousands of Shiite demonstrators, calling for democratic reforms.

At a meeting in Paris with the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, the Emirates foreign minister said his country was simply answering a call for help.

ABDULLAH BIN ZAYED, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES FOREIGN MINISTER: The Bahrain government asked us yesterday to look at ways to help them to diffuse the tension in Bahrain.

ANNE BARKER: But Bahrain's opposition says the arrival of foreign forces amounts to an occupation.

AL-WAAD IBRAHIM SHERIF AL SAYD, OPPOSITION LEADER (translated): We say to our brothers in the Gulf, your army is welcome when our country faces danger from the outside, but we will consider you part of an occupation, when you come to oppress the people.

ANNE BARKER: Bahrain is home to the United States fifth fleet, despite a close relationship with the Bahrain Government, the US has been caught off guard.

The White House was only advised at the last minute about the deployment of foreign troops, leaving an awkward moment for the US Secretary of State.

HILLARY CLINTON, US SECRETARY OF STATE: The UAE is currently the head of the Gulf co-operation council and he is here representing the GSC so we will have a very comprehensive discussion.

ANNE BARKER: The White House stopped short of calling for the foreign troops to leave.

JAY CARNEY, WHITEHOUSE SPOKESMAN: We are calling on the Saudis to show restraint and we believe political dialogue is the way to address the unrest that has occurred in the region.

ANNE BARKER: Shiites in Bahrain account for 70 per cent of the population and have long complained of discrimination by the Sunni Dynasty.

Some opposition groups are calling for the Sunni rulers to give up their powers in the partially-elected parliament. But as the violence increases many protesters are now calling for the entire royal family to go.

The arrival of foreign forces suggests Bahrain's royal family can no longer hold onto power without their support.

Japanese nuclear plant hit by fire and third explosion

Japan is facing the world's biggest nuclear crisis for decades as engineers struggle to regain control of the Fukushima plant following another explosion and a fire that caused a spike in radiation to harmful levels