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March 23 - 29 2011
μWorld News PAGES 15-17
μComment PAGES 18-21
μObituaries PAGES 22-23
μExpat Life PAGES 29-32
Who bought it? Bryony Gordon at the auction for the dress that snared a prince
WORLD NEWS P15
Snipers kill 52 in Yemen Protestors shot as calls for President’s resignation intensify
FEATURES P24 & 25
The new gold Peter Foster takes a look at China’s rare earth industry
G7 talks on Japan rescue Industrial nations meet to prevent huge overappreciation of the yen
15 2 16 18 47 48 10 26 28 34 35 39
Bonus Ball 21
Bonus Ball 17
There were two winners of Wednesday’s £7.2m prize and two winners of Saturday’s £5.0m jackpot
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By Nick Allen in Tokyo FEARS that radioactive particles could have contaminated food and milk supplies have eclipsed progress made towards averting a potentially catastrophic nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi reactors in Japan.
Engineers have managed to rig power cables to all six reactors at the Fukushima complex, and restarted a water pump that will help reverse the overheating that triggered the world’s worst nuclear crisis in 25 years.
A spokesman for Tokyo Electric Power Company, the plant operator, said workers had to be moved out briefly after light grey smoke was spotted emanating from reactor three but added radiation levels had remained stable.
“We are checking the cause of the smoke,” he said.
A small quantity of smoke was still coming out nearly two hours later, but engineers were reported to have resumed work
Engineers at Fukushima Daiichi had been racing to restore power to cooling systems at its six reactors to reverse the overheating.
In the meantime, fire trucks were spraying water to help cool reactor fuel rod pools.
Asked if the worst of the nuclear crisis was over, Steven Chu, the US Energy Secretary, said: “We believe so, but I don’t want to make a blanket statement.”
Gregory Jaczko, the US nuclear regulatory commission chairman, added that radiation levels at the site appeared to be falling.
But mounting concerns that radioactive particles already released into the atmosphere could have contaminated food and water supplies eclipsed the progress made in the battle to avert a catastrophic meltdown in the reactors.
Concern about radiation has spread to food and Yukio Edano, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, ordered a halt to all shipments of spinach from the four provinces surrounding the plant. Milk shipments from the province of Fukushima were also banned.
The contamination also spread to other vegetables – canola and chrysanthemum greens. Tokyo’s tap water, which was found to be contaminated with iodine last Friday, now has caesium as well. Rain and dust are also tainted.
In the province of Ibaraki, a centre of vegetable production, tests found radioactive iodine levels in spinach that were 27 times the accepted limit. Milk in Fukushima was found to be contaminated with radiation 17 times that limit.
The Japanese government said the levels were still far below anything that would cause harm to human health.
Mr Edano said: “Even if you eat and drink them several times it will not be a health hazard. So I would like you to act calmly without reacting.”
But a World Health Organisation official said the situation was “more serious” than originally thought.
Peter Cordingley, the Manila-based spokesman for the WHO’s regional office for the Western Pacific, said: “Quite clearly, it is not what we thought in the early stages. It is more serious.
“We have seen Japanese people in grocery stores paying close attention to where their produce is coming from, and we think this is a wise practice.”
Meanwhile, the World Bank said rebuilding may cost £145billion following the earthquake and tsunami which is thought to have killed more than 20,000 people.
Reports, pages 4 and 5
Alive Ordeal of nine days in rubble
AN 80-year-old woman and her 16-year-old grandson were pulled alive from the remains of their home in Japan on Sunday, nine days after the earthquake and tsunami that has killed at least 8,500 people. Sumi Abe and her grandson Jin were in the kitchen when the two-storey house collapsed in the coastal city of Ishinomaki. The boy was able to reach the fridge and they survived on yogurt, bread and fizzy drinks. Mrs Abe said she was unhurt as she was put on a stretcher and winched away by helicopter.
FEW BRITISH TAKERS FOR THE LAST BUS OUT
THE last bus carrying British nationals out of quake-hit northern Japan left the city of Sendai on Sunday morning.
Five Britons, a New Zealander and a Canadian were in the latest group evacuated. Despite all they had endured, the Dixon family were reluctant to leave their home town of Shibatamachi, which is within the 50-mile (80km) evacuation zone set for its nationals by the British government.
“We are leaving because of the children,” said
Alastair Dixon, a 30year-old teacher from Cambridgeshire. “We have toughed out a very difficult situation this week and come from a town where there was no electricity and food.
“We had to get river water to drink and live by daylight, camping out in our house,” he said.
He was leaving with his Japanese wife, Mayumi, and their three children, Louis, five, Ray, two, and nine-month-old Nina, but intended to return.
The British Embassy had moved out 61 Britons, 15 dependants and 31 other people on five buses before Sunday’s.
Clive Bull, part of the embassy team in Sendai, said: “We have rung round to all the British nationals that we have details of in the region. This time, we have had a relatively low take-up of the offer of evacuation and some people say they are happy to stay. They say they see no reason to leave.”
Officials could not say how many they had not been able to contact.
By Bonnie Malkin in Toowoomba PRINCE WILLIAM praised the resilience of those who lost relatives and their homes in the Queensland floods as he met crowds in the worsthit areas, and was moved to tears when speaking to a family whose 13-year-old son died.
At a reception on Sunday in Brisbane, the Australian state’s capital, he paid tribute to rescue crews who risked their lives to pick people from the water during the disaster in January.
“As a search and rescue pilot myself, I am full of admiration for their courage and skill,” he said. “Queenslanders are renowned for their grit, for their resilience and courage.”
The Prince found it emotional to speak to the family of Jordan Rice, who died in the floods after insisting that rescuers “take my brother first”.
Jordan, his brother Blake and their mother Donna were trapped in their car in the town of Toowoomba. While Blake, 11, was carried to safety, Jordan and Miss Rice were swept from the roof of the car and killed. The Prince spoke to Blake and Jordan’s father, John Tyson, as he visited the flood-ravaged towns in the Lockyer Valley, west of Brisbane. Mr Tyson said: “You could see in his eyes when he shed a tear that our story reopened his own pain and sense of loss at losing someone tragically that you so dearly love. You could tell that Prince William also felt our pain.”
Blake said that meeting the Prince had been an honour. “Dad told me to ensure that I gave him a firm handshake so I shook his hand and he told me that I needed to be strong.” Hundreds lined the
Prince’s route in Toowoomba, and the Australian press said he had “brought the sunshine” back to the state.
The Prince also spent two hours meeting victims’ families in Grantham, where 17 people died. More than 10 weeks after the disaster, the town is practically empty, with just seven families still living there, and wrecked homes are yet to be demolished.
The Prince ended his tour in Victoria, visiting more flooded communities.
Prince William visits New Zealand, pages 16 and 17