April 11, 2011

Signs of the Times

Terror Attack’: 1 Dead, Over 20 Wounded in Jerusalem Bus-Stop Blast

JERUSALEM (AP) — A bomb struck a crowded bus stop in central Jerusalem Wednesday, killing one woman and wounding more than 20 other people in what authorities said was the first major Palestinian militant attack in the city in several years.

The bombing brought back memories of the second Palestinian uprising last decade, a period in which hundreds of Israelis were killed by suicide bombings in Jerusalem and other major cities.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but Israeli police blamed Palestinian militants. The attack came against the backdrop of a rising wave of violence that has threatened to upset more than two years of relative calm that has prevailed since an Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Earlier this month, five members of a Jewish settler family were knifed to death in their sleep at their West Bank home. And in recent days, Israel has carried out reprisals in Gaza in retaliation for rocket and mortar fire launched into southern Israel. On Tuesday, an errant Israeli strike meant for Palestinian militants killed four members of a Palestinian family in Gaza.

Adding to the tensions, peace efforts with Hamas’ rival, the Western-backed Palestinian government in the West Bank, have been stalled for months. Palestinian leaders condemned the attack.

For More: Read the rest of the story here.

27000 dead & counting......

Japan disaster: over 27,000 dead or missing

More than 27,000 people are officially dead or missing after the earthquake and tsunami that struck northeastern Japan on March 11th.

According to the National Police Agency, 9,811 people are confirmed dead as of 9 PM on Thursday.

The agency says it has received reports of 17,541 people missing.

Most of the dead and missing are from the 3 hardest hit prefectures of Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima.

The number of confirmed deaths in Fukushima totals 839, far smaller than the more than 5,800 in Miyagi and about 3,000 in Iwate. This may be due to the suspension of search operations in areas within 20 kilometers of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, because of radiation leaks.

Figures appear almost certain to rise because of the absence of family members to report the dead and missing. In some areas, entire families appear to have perished in the tsunami that followed the magnitude 9.0 quake.

Emergency shelters are accommodating more than 200,000 people, mostly from the prefectures of Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima, according to NHK figures. More than 30,000 people, mainly from Fukushima, have fled their hometowns to other prefectures.

Some survivors who have returned to their homes in areas where essential services have been restored are suffering from shortages of supplies, and are having to seek food at shelters for local residents.

The National Police Agency says at least 18,000 houses were destroyed by the quake and tsunami, and more than 130,000 homes were damaged.

Thursday, March 24, 2011 03:01 +0900 (JST)

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