World leaders react to death of Osama bin Laden

Leaders and officals around the world have issued varied reactions to the announcement that Osama bin Laden has been killed during a U.S. military operation in Pakistan. NATO has insisted it will continue fighting against militants in Afghanistan, and the United Nations said the death of bin Laden marked a “watershed moment in our common global fight against terrorism.”

Announcing that the al-Qaeda leader had been killed by U.S. special forces during a forty-minute raid on a compound in Abbottabad, near the capital Islamabad, U.S. President Barack Obama said it was “a good day for America.” Speaking at a ceremony to celebrate winners of the Medal of Honor, Obama praised the “anonymous heroes” who took part in the operation. He said: “We may not always know their names, we may not always know their stories, but they are always there on the front lines of freedom and we are truly blessed. As commander-in-chief, I could not be prouder of our men and women in uniform.”

Barack Obama announces the news that bin Laden had been killed. He said it was "a good day for America." Image: White House.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the chief of NATO, vowed the organization would remain fighting in Afghanistan despite the death of bin Laden. “As terrorism continues to pose a direct threat to our security and international stability, international cooperation remains key and NATO is at the heart of that cooperation,” he said in a statement. “NATO allies and partners will continue their mission to ensure that Afghanistan never again becomes a safe haven for extremism, but develops in peace and security.”

The U.N. and the European Parliament also welcomed the news. Ban Ki-moon, the U.N. secretary general, said: “The death of Osama bin Laden, announced by President Obama last night, is a watershed moment in our common global fight against terrorism. The crimes of al-Qaeda touched most continents, bringing tragedy and loss of life to thousands of men, women and children.”

David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, said the news “will be welcomed right across our country” and was a “massive step forward,” but warned the death of bin Laden “does not mark the end of the threat we face from extremist terror.” Italian Prime Minster Silvio Berlusconi said: “This is a great outcome in the fight against evil, in the fight against terrorism, a great outcome for the United States and for all democracies”.

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, said the killing of bin Laden was a “decisive strike” at al-Qaeda. “At his command and in his name, terror was enforced into many countries against men women and children, Christians as well as Muslims,” she said. “Osama bin Laden suggested that he was operating in the name of Islam, but in reality he makes a mockery of the fundamental values of his own and every other religion.”

Several Asian countries also said bin Laden’s death was a step forward in the war against terrorism. Chinese spokeswoman Jiang Yu said “China has taken note of the announcement. We believe the death of Osama bin Laden is a milestone and a positive development for the international anti-terrorism efforts.” Japan, Malaysia and Singapore also welcomed the news.

Australia pledged not to withdraw forces from Afghanistan after the announcement. “Osama bin Laden declared war on innocent people and today he has paid the price for that declaration,” Julia Gillard, the Prime Minister, said. “The mission in Afghanistan will continue,” she added, saying al-Qaeda “will continue”. Nicolas Sarkozy, the President of France, said bin Laden was a “promoter of the ideology of hatred and was the chief of a terrorist organization responsible for the deaths of thousands of victims, especially in Muslim countries,” and “justice has been done” for the victims of al-Qaeda attacks.

Cquote1.svg Osama bin Laden suggested that he was operating in the name of Islam, but in reality he makes a mockery of the fundamental values of his own and every other religion. Cquote2.svg
—Angela Merkel

Situation at damaged nuclear power plant remains ‘very grave’, says Japanese Prime Minister

Two weeks after a disastrous earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, the situation at the severely damaged Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant has been described by the Prime Minister as “very grave and serious”. In a nationally televised report to the nation on Friday, Naoto Kan said the Japanese government was “not in a position where we can be optimistic.”

Radiation is reported to still be leaking from the plant, in Fukushima prefecture. “The source of the radiation seems to be the reactor core,” said Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency official Hidehiko Nishiyama, adding that radiation was “more likely” coming from the core than from the reactor’s spent fuel pool.

The Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant pictured five days after the earthquake by Digital Globe.

On Thursday three workers stepped into contaminated cooling water in the reactor’s turbine room while trying to replace cables at reactor No. 3, Nishiyama said. The water seeped into the the boots of two of the workers, touching their skin and causing lesions; the third worker’s clothing protected him from the water. The two workers with skin lesions were hospitalized for radiation exposure. The radiation level of the contaminated water measured 10,000 times the level of cooling water in an undamaged reactor.

Work has been stopped on attempts to reattach a permanent power line to the cooling system in reactor No. 3, and the building has been evacuated. Nishiyama could give no predictions of when work would resume. The possibility that water is leaking from the core of reactor No. 3 increases the danger for workers who attempt to cool the crippled plant. The reactors must be cooled before more safety work can begin.

Japan had been using seawater for cooling since the disaster crippled the power plant’s cooling systems, but U.S. officials were concerned that saltwater could harm the equipment, causing it to seize up and corrode, thereby worsening the situation.

8.9 magnitude earthquake hits Japan, causes tsunami

A massive 8.9 magnitude earthquake occurred in northern Japan early on Friday. The earthquake’s epicenter is 130 km (81 miles) east of Sendai, in the Honshu island of Japan. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the epicenter was at a depth of 24.4 km (15.2 miles). 29 people are reported dead. (www.bbc.co.uk)

The earthquake triggered tsunamis in various parts of the country. Japan issued a tsunami warning immediately after the earthquake, followed by tsunami warnings for New Zealand, Australia, Russia, Guam, Philippines, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Nauru, Hawaii, Northern Marianas (USA) and Taiwan. It is confirmed for the Philippines that if the tsunami doesn’t hit the country for 2 hours (5:00 – 7:00) it will be slightly safer, it is currently alert number two for all regions.

Effect of 2011 Sendai earthquake in Tokyo

The tsunami attained a height of 10 meters, and swept houses, buildings and cars according to reports. Shinkansen stopped the bullet train service following the quake. According to reports, an oil refinery was set ablaze by the quake at Ichihara, Chiba prefecture to the east of Tokyo.

The National Weather Service said that earthquakes “of this size” often “generate tsunamis potentially dangerous to coasts outside the source region.” “Based on all available data a tsunami may have been generated by this earthquake that could be destructive on coastal areas even far from the epicenter,” it added.

Sendai earthquake - Refinery fire.

About 20 people were reportedly injured in Tokyo following the collapse of a roof of a hall. 4 million people are estimated to be without power in the capital. In Sendai, several people are feared to be buried under the remains of a collapsed hotel.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan said there had been no nuclear plant radiation leaks caused by the disaster. He expressed sympathy to all victims in his address, promising help, and stating that an emergency response headquarters had been set up. No death toll has been confirmed yet. The disaster is currently being broadcasted world wide in lots of local channels and international cable ones like CNN, History Channel, Discovery Channel, and a lot more. Japanese, and other eastern sian countries’ officials are devastated by this.

 

Clinton blasts ‘deeply distressing’ leak of US sites

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton regretted the “deeply distressing” release of a secret list of key infrastructure sites that could threaten US security if hit by terror strikes.

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

“I will underscore that this theft of US government information and its publication without regard for the consequences is deeply distressing,” Clinton said as she briefed reporters with Japan and South Korea’s top diplomats.

“The illegal publication of classified information poses real concerns and even potential damage to our friends and partners” worldwide, she warned.

In one of its most explosive leaks of US secrets so far, WikiLeaks yesterday divulged a list of key infrastructure sites around the world that, if attacked, could critically harm US security.

David Beckham arrives in Trinidad and Tobago amid security fears

British footballer David Beckham has arrived in Trinidad and Tobago amid fears of kidnapping. Beckham travelled to the island of Trinidad to watch the final of the FIFA women’s Under 17s World Cup final and to launch a football festival for children. The stars arrival is also speculated to help England’s bid for the 2018 World Cup.

David Robert Joseph Beckham.

Beckham’s safety has come into question while he is visiting the island. Trinidad and Tobago have one of the highest murder and kidnap rates in the world. Beckham, who is reported to have a 125m fortune, could be a high target for a ransom kidnap. Upon his arrival, there were a numerous amount of police on scene as well as Beckham’s own personal security team.

Along with FIFA president Sepp Blatter, Beckham watched the women’s Under 17s World Cup final which saw South Korea defeat Japan to win the cup. The football festival he will host on Monday has gained criticism from officals. The host of the festival is the Marvin Lee Stadium; Lee was the captain of the Trinidad and Tobago national football team and died during a match in 2003 when he collided with Landon Donovan, a former team mate of Beckham.

Critism was also brought up over the choice of Beckham to host the festival. Trinidadian footballer Dwight Yorke is reported to have been upset with the choice of Beckham over himself or cricketing legend Brian Lara. The Trinidad Star newspaper said “If we are talking about inspiring youths, then why do we have to turn to Beckham when we already have someone from here who has achieved everything in the game.”

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