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A year on, only brief home visits for Japan nuclear evacuees

OKUMA, Japan (Reuters) – Back home for just three hours, a tearful Miyoko Takeda sorted through her belongings. She left behind the kimonos she once wore as a traditional dancer, fearful they might be contaminated by radiation. Nearly a year has passed since a massive 9.0 magnitude earthquake hit Japan,…

Suspected Bali bomber on trial in Indonesia

A Muslim militant arrested in the same Pakistani town where US commandos later killed Osama bin Laden stood trial in Indonesia Monday on charges including murder for the 2002 Bali bombings. Umar Patek, 45, faces five other counts, including bomb-making and illegal firearms possession, and prosecutors say they will push…

New Fukushima scare blamed on faulty thermometer

TOKYO (Reuters) – A scare over temperatures rising near danger level in a reactor at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, where workers are battling to prevent a resurgence of the radiation crisis, could be a false alarm, the plant operator said on Monday. Instruments showed the temperature inside the plant’s No.2…

Putin vows to boost Russian population

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Monday vowed to reverse Russia’s demographic decline and boost its population to 154 million, as he ramped up his re-election campaign in the face of protests. In a new campaign article addressing his core constituency including employees of state companies and blue-collar workers, Putin also…

Top officer seeks ‘more autonomy’ for elite special ops forces: report

The top US special operations officer, who oversaw the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, is seeking new authority to move his forces faster and outside of normal Pentagon deployment channels, according to The New York Times. The newspaper said Admiral William McRaven, who leads the Special Operations Command, is…

Bob Marley documentary electrifies Berlin

A hotly awaited documentary on Bob Marley has premiered to cheers at the Berlin film festival, tracking his journey from bullied biracial Jamaican boy to reggae superstar. “Marley” by Oscar-winning Scottish film-maker Kevin Macdonald is a two-and-half-hour-long tribute to a child of the Kingston ghettos who made reggae a global…

Same-sex marriage push in Australia

Two bills calling for the legalisation of gay marriage were introduced to Australia’s parliament on Monday in a move campaigners said would add momentum to the push for equality. The private member’s bills, introduced by left-leaning Greens lawmaker Adam Bandt and Stephen Jones from the ruling Labor party, take to…

Flight from Japan sparks New Zealand flu scare

New Zealand health authorities on Monday admitted they overreacted to an influenza scare on a flight from Japan by quarantining the plane on the tarmac at Auckland airport for several hours. The Air New Zealand flight from Tokyo was isolated after it landed Monday morning when the airline informed health…

Conservative group to sponsor NASCAR driver during election

CHICAGO (Reuters) – NASCAR racing cars typically are painted with ads for products like coffee, beer, or tires. But a conservative political training organization is trying something different this presidential election year — it’s sponsoring a red-white-and-blue car with the message “Keep America Free.” American Majority, which has worked with…

Carbon tax controversy may spark trade war: Airbus boss

A widening split in the global aviation industry over an unpopular European carbon tax may trigger a trade war, the head of plane manufacturer Airbus said Monday. “I have to say I’m really worried also as a manufacturer about the consequences,” Airbus Chief Executive Thomas Enders told a conference on…

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