Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 16th 2013 Contents A31
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Japan is shutting down its last
functioning nuclear reactor, with no
timetable for a restart.
Reactor 4 at Ohi in western Japan
will stop generating electricity in the
early hours of Monday.
Analysts say Japan will be without
nuclear power until December at the
earliest, the longest shut-down since
The Japanese public turned against
nuclear power after the meltdowns
at the Fukushima plant in 2011.
Before the accident, which was
caused by a massive earthquake and
tsunami, nuclear plants supplied
about 30 per cent of Japan s power.
But since then the plants have been
closed, either for scheduled mainte-
nance or because of safety fears, and
have not been restarted.
Japan went without nuclear power
during May and June last year, but
operator Kepco was allowed to restart
its reactors at Ohi.
The government has been under
pressure to tighten safety standards
to allay public fears.
Analysts say it will take around six
months to clear all of the safety
checks and legal hurdles involved in
So far, power companies have
applied to restart about a dozen of
Japan s 50 reactors.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants
to see the reactors back on line, as
they are a vital part of his plan to
turn the economy around.
Since the Fukushima disaster, Japan
has been forced to import huge
amounts of coal, liquid natural gas
and other fuels.
Abe s government blames these
imports for the huge trade deficits
posted by Japan since 2011.
The average household electricity
bill has risen by 30 per cent since
Fukushima, denting the government s
attempts to boost consumer spend-
ing. But continuing problems at the
Fukushima plant have hampered the
government s attempts to win public
support for a return to nuclear.
In the latest setback, operator
Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) said
earlier this month that radiation levels
had risen around tanks used to store
water that has been flushed through
the damaged reactor buildings. (BBC)
India has successfully test-fired
for a second time a nuclear-capable
missile that can reach Beijing and
much of Europe, bringing a step
closer production of a weapon
designed to strengthen its nuclear
"The test was successful," Ravi
Kumar Gupta, spokesman for the
Defence Research and Development
Organisation (DRDO), said yester-
"It hit the target in a predefined
trajectory. It met all the mission
A video distributed by the DRDO
showed the Agni-V rocket blasting
off from a forest clearing on an
island off India s east coast state of
The Agni-V is the most advanced
version of the indigenously built
Agni, or Fire, series, part of a pro-
gramme that started in the 1960s.
Earlier versions could reach old
rival Pakistan and western China.
India is trying to keep up with
China s growing military strength
and wants to have a viable deterrent
against its larger nuclear-armed
The two countries have generally
warm relations, but they fought a
brief Himalayan war in 1962 and a
build up of conventional defences
along their disputed border is a
source of tension.
Nuclear-armed Pakistan is
increasing its arsenal of nuclear war-
heads and developing short-range,
tactical nuclear weapons, raising
concern about an escalating South
Asian arms race, the International
Institute for Strategic Studies said
The think-tank said in a report
the race with Pakistan was increasing
the risk of a nuclear exchange during
a conventional conflict, perhaps
sparked by an act of terrorism.
The Agni-V missile was first test-
ed in April 2012. It is mostly domes-
tically built and has a range of about
Only the UN Security Council
France, Russia the United States and
Britain---along with Israel, are
believed to have such long-range
Gupta said India was now ready
to start a process of production and
subsequent induction of the missile.
PONTIAC---One man's ingenious plan to
save his house from the wrecking ball
caused crews to take down the wrong
home in Pontiac on September 6.
The man who owned the house that
was slated for demolition is accused of
changing the address numbers with the
house next door. Mike---the man who owns
the house that wasn't supposed to be torn
down---told Michigan's WXYZ 7 Action
News he was planning on renting it out on
October 1 and he's wondering if the city of
Pontiac owes him a new house.
But many in the neighborhood are happy
the wrong house was torn down. They say
it was an eyesore with broken windows.
They also said squatters were living in the
"When I heard they tore down the house
on accident I wanted to give them a
twelve-pack of beer," said neighbor Fred
Sargent. "I was that happy."
"If anybody was going to rent that out, it
had to be a crackhead," Sargent said.
Detectives with the Oakland County
Sheriff's Office are now investigating the
alleged swapping of address numbers that
led to the wrong house being torn down.
Regardless, the man's plan didn't work for
long. Crews returned later the same day to
tear down the right one. (WXYZ)
DAMASCUS---A US-Russian plan
to remove Syria s chemical
weapons is a "victory" that averts
a war, a Syrian minister said Sun-
day, as Washington s top diplomat
briefed Israel about the landmark
"On one hand, it helps the Syr-
ians emerge from the crisis and on
the other it has allowed for averting
war against Syria...," Minister of
State for National Reconciliation
Ali Haidar told Russian news agency
"It s a victory for Syria that was
achieved thanks to our Russian
His remarks came as US Secre-
tary of State John Kerry met Israeli
Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu to brief him on the plan
to eradicate Syria s chemical
Washington is seeking to bolster
international support for the agree-
ment inked in Geneva on Saturday,
which demands action from Dam-
ascus within days.
The ambitious plan to dismantle
and destroy Syria s chemical arms
stockpile---one of the largest in the
world---by mid-2014 was thrashed
out during three days of talks in
Geneva between Kerry and his
Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.
It gives Syrian President Bashar
al-Assad a week to hand over details
of his regime s arsenal of the inter-
nationally banned arms in order to
avert unspecified sanctions and the
threat of US-led military strikes.
It also specifies there must be
immediate access for arms control
experts and that inspections of what
the US says is some 45 sites linked
to the Syrian chemical weapons
programme must be completed by
The deal won the backing of
China, a veto-wielding permanent
member of the Security Council,
which like Russia has vetoed several
UN resolutions on Syria.
"This agreement will enable ten-
sions in Syria to be eased," Foreign
Minister Wang Yi told his visiting
French counterpart Laurent Fabius
who will meet Lavrov on Tuesday
Ahead of Sunday s meeting,
Netanyahu said he hoped the accord
would see a complete destruction
of the Damascus regime s chemical
"We hope that the Russian-US
agreement on Syria s chemical
weapons will bear fruit but the real
test will be in its implementation:
the full dismantling of the regime s
chemical weapons stockpile,"
Netanyahu said at a ceremony
marking 40 years since the Yom
Israel has voiced alarm at the use
chemical weapons inside its neigh-
bour Syria because of the potential
fallout for Israelis across the bor-
Some Israeli commentators raised
the question of whether Washing-
ton would lean on Israel to ratify
the international treaty banning the
use of chemical weapons.
"Kerry may tell Netanyahu the
United States is working to remove
one of the gravest threats on Israel s
security, by combining a credible
military threat with creative diplo-
macy," said Barak Ravid, diplomatic
correspondent for Haaretz news-
"Now, Kerry may say, the US
needs Israel s help by ratifying the
treaty prohibiting the use of chem-
ical weapons," he wrote.
Israel signed the Chemical
Weapons Convention in 1993, but
never ratified it, despite demands
to do so from Washington and
The Syrian rebels, fighting to oust
Assad since March 2011, have
rejected the deal, warning it would
not halt the conflict that has killed
more than 110,000 people and dis-
"Are we Syrians supposed to wait
until mid-2014, to continue being
killed every day and to accept (the
deal) just because the chemical arms
will be destroyed in 2014?" asked
Free Syrian Army chief General
But on the streets of Damascus
there was a flicker of hope that the
end of the devastating 30-month
conflict may be in sight.
"We have more hope now, after
this agreement. We might be able
to see an end to terrorism and the
troubles that we ve had no part in
creating," said beauty salon owner
Muna Ibo. (AFP)
Owner swaps addresses to avoid home demolition
reactor at Ohi
India tests nuclear-capable missile
Syria hails US-Russia chemical arms deal as a 'victory'
The long range ballistic Agni-V missile is displayed during Republic Day
parade, in New Delhi, India, January 26. AP PHOTO
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