Japanese utility takes blame for nuclear crisis
TOKYO (AP) — The utility that operates Japan’s crippled nuclear plant says it deserves most of the blame for the crisis, in the company’s strongest remarks about its own shortcomings.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. acknowledged in a report today that it was not prepared to deal with the earthquake and tsunami that ravaged northeast Japan in March 2011, causing meltdowns at its Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant. TEPCO had earlier maintained that the tsunami was mostly to blame for the crisis.
The report said that TEPCO’s equipment and safety measures were insufficient and that the meltdowns should have been avoided. It also said TEPCO did not try to inform the public of risks and troubles at the plant.
Car bombs kill 19 in Baghdad
BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi officials say four car bombs have struck Shiite mosques in Baghdad, killing at least 19 people and wounding 72.
A police officer said the deadliest bombing was in western Jihad neighborhood when a parked car bomb exploded as worshippers were leaving a mosque after prayers today. Seven people died there and 25 were wounded.
Another police officer said four worshippers were killed and nearly 20 were wounded in a bombing in eastern Qahira neighborhood. He said three people died and 15 were wounded in the eastern Zafaraniyah district and that another car bomb killed five and wounded 14 in the northeastern Binook neighborhood.
Three health officials confirmed the causality figures.
Ex-leader seeks exile in Benin
COTONOU, Benin (AP) — Ousted Central African Republic President Francois Bozize is requesting exile in the tiny West African nation of Benin days after rebels invaded and overthrew his government of a decade, officials said.
Bozize has made a request to reside in Benin, the country’s Foreign Affairs Minister Nassirou Arifari Bako confirmed late Thursday. Thousands of armed rebels invaded Bangui, the Central African Republic capital, last weekend, and Bozize and his family fled to neighboring Cameroon amid the chaos.
Regional mediators brought the rebels and Bozize together for peace talks in Gabon in January, and an agreement was reached that kept the rebels from attacking Bangui. However, the accord quickly unraveled as the rebels accused Bozize of failing to deliver on his promises. Rebel leader Michel Djotodia declared himself president until 2016 days after Bozize fled.
Police chase cattle through town
VIENNA (AP) — Austrian police and firefighters have taken on the role of urban cowboys in a two-day round-up of a herd of cattle that broke out of a fenced-off pasture and decided to go into town.
A police statement says the 43 steers defied attempts by police and volunteer firefighters to recapture them after wandering off Thursday and heading toward the Upper Austrian town of Freistadt. After being chased away from the railway station, they endangered motorists by stampeding onto a two-lane highway before running into a town suburb.
Two firefighters who tried to stop them were injured and needed hospital treatment.
The statement says 18 of the animals remain on the loose today. The rest have been corralled or tranquilized.