Khamis, 14 April 2011

The Star Online: World Updates

The Star Online: World Updates

FACTBOX - Japan's disaster in figures

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 06:34 AM PDT

REUTERS - The following lists the impact of the earthquake and tsunami that hit northeast Japan on March 11 and the subsequent crisis at a nuclear power plant.

Asterisk indicates a new or updated entry.

Photographs which were found in the rubble of an area, devastated by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, are hung at a collection center for those who are looking for their personal belongings in Natori, northern Japan, April 12, 2011. (REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon)


* A total of 13,498 people were confirmed dead by Japan's National Police Agency as of 7 p.m. (1000 GMT) on Thursday, while 14,734 were missing.


* About 139,100 people were in shelters around the country as of Thursday following evacuation, the National Police Agency said.

The government has set up an evacuation area around Tokyo Electric Power Co's quake-stricken nuclear plant in Fukushima 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo, with a 20-km (12-mile) radius. More than 70,000 people lived in the largely rural area within the 20 km zone. It is unclear how many of them have been evacuated, but most are believed to have left.

Another 136,000 people were within a zone extending a further 10 km, which has been advised to stay indoors.

The government said on April 11 that because of accumulated radiation contamination, it would encourage people to leave certain areas beyond its 20 km exclusion zone around the plant and that children, pregnant women, and hospitalised patients should stay out of some areas 20-30 km from the nuclear complex.


* As a result of the March 11 quake and tsunami, followed by strong aftershocks on April 7 and 11, a total of 154,965 households in the north were still without electricity as of Thursday, Tohoku Electric Power Co said.


* At least 220,000 households in 8 prefectures were without running water as of early on Thursday, the Health Ministry said.


* At least 72,554 buildings have been fully destroyed, washed away or burnt down, the National Police Agency of Japan said as of 1000 GMT on Wednesday.

IMPACT ON ECONOMY The government estimates the material damage from the quake and tsunami alone could top $300 billion, making it by far the world's costliest natural disaster.

The top estimate would make it the world's costliest natural disaster.

The estimate covers damage to roads, homes, factories and other infrastructure, but excludes lost economic activity from power outages and costs arising from damage to the Fukushima nuclear power plant, as well as the impact of swings in financial markets and business sentiment.

The yen initially spiked to a record high against the dollar after the quake, prompting the first joint intervention by the Group of Seven rich nations in 11 years to help shield Japan's export-reliant economy.

Japan's reconstruction spending will almost certainly exceed that of the 1995 quake in Kobe, when the government needed extra budgets of more than 3 trillion yen.

The government is set to compile an extra budget worth about 4 trillion yen, focusing on removing debris, building temporary housing and restoring infrastructure such as schools. Japan plans to allocate 1 trillion yen to stem job losses and help the unemployed, the Nikkei business daily reported on Tuesday.

This is likely to be the first of several spending packages, but cabinet ministers, including the finance minister, have said that Japan, which has a huge public debt already twice the size of its $5 trillion economy, should avoid new bond issuance.


According to the Foreign Ministry, 135 countries and 39 international organisations have offered assistance.

(Compiled by Tokyo Political and General News Team)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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Clinton urges NATO to maintain unity over Libya

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 06:34 AM PDT

BERLIN (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged NATO on Thursday to maintain unity, saying Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was trying to test the alliance's resolve in the Western-led air campaign against his forces.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton address the media prior to a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and at the Chancellery in Berlin April 14, 2011. (REUTERS/Saul Loeb/Pool)

"As our mission continues, maintaining our resolve and unity only grows more important," Clinton said in prepared remarks to a NATO foreign ministers' meeting in Berlin amid signs of strain within the alliance. "Gaddafi is testing our determination."

Clinton spoke after France and Britain said NATO needed to do more to stop Gaddafi's forces assaulting rebel-held cities and towns.

She said the international coalition was "escalating the pressure and deepening the isolation of the Gaddafi regime". She called for efforts to "sharpen the choices facing those around him."

"We need to tighten the squeeze on Gaddafi's inner circle through asset freezes, travel bans and other penalties. We need to work with Libya's neighbours to aggressively enforce the arms embargo so that Gaddafi cannot resupply his forces."

Clinton reaffirmed the United States' commitment to the military campaign against Gaddafi but stopped short of signalling a stronger U.S. role after Washington relinquished command of the operation to NATO last month.

"The U.S. is committed to our shared mission. We will strongly support the coalition until our work is completed," she said.

She reiterated U.S. demands that Gaddafi cease attacks and withdraw his forces, restore vital services to Libya's citizens and allow unimpeded passage of humanitarian aid.

"Gaddafi knows what he must do. As long as he does not comply with these demands, NATO will strike his forces inside these areas," she said.

Clinton expressed concern about what she described as "atrocities" unfolding in the town of Misrata, saying: "We are taking actions to respond, and those responsible will be held accountable."

She urged intensified political, diplomatic and economic pressure to force Gaddafi from power. "We must see Gaddafi go. Only then can a viable transition move forward."

(Writing by Erik Kirschbaum; Editing by Andrew Dobbie)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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