Japanese authorities are now admitting the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility was far more severe than they had previously admitted. On Monday, Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency more than doubled its estimate for the amount of radiation that leaked from the plant in the first week of the disaster in March. The agency has also admitted for the first time that full nuclear meltdowns occurred at three of the plant’s reactors.
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh remains in Saudi Arabia seeking medical treatment four days after he was injured in an attack on his presidential compound. Yemen’s acting leader says Saleh would return in days, but there is growing pressure for Saleh to step down from power. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for an immediate transition of power. Meanwhile, new reports suggest Saleh may have been far more seriously injured than acknowledged. U.S. officials say Saleh suffered burns on 40 percent of his body and a collapsed lung.
The Syrian government is threatening to intensify its attacks on demonstrators after claiming that as many as 120 Syrian security personnel were killed in the northwestern city of Jisr al-Shughour. The claim has not been independently verified, but demonstrators fear the Syrian regime will use it as an excuse for a new government onslaught. An estimated 1,200 civilians have died in recent months since the protests began.
Dozens of Bahraini medical officials who treated anti-government protesters were charged with attempting to overthrow the nation’s monarchy on Monday. A total of 47 health workers, including 23 doctors and 24 nurses, were arraigned in a closed-door hearing.
In Libya, NATO war planes have bombed the headquarters of Libyan state TV as well as military barracks near Libyan leader Col. Muammar Gaddafi’s compound. The attacks came hours after NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he will ask NATO countries to step up their participation in the military campaign against Gaddafi.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Gen. David Petraeus are urging President Obama to reject calls for a substantial withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan this summer. Despite growing opposition to the nearly 10-year-long war, Gates and Petraeus are arguing that to leave too early would imperil hard-fought gains. The war in Afghanistan is already the longest in U.S. history. Gates spoke in Afghanistan on Monday.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates: “If we can keep the military pressure on through the remainder of this year, keep what we’ve captured from these guys in the south, keep disrupting them, as you are up here, and they see that they are not going to win, that that then creates the opportunity for a political reconciliation.”
President Obama’s top economic adviser, Austan Goolsbee, has decided to resign less than a year after he became chair of the Council of Economic Advisers. The announcement comes just days after the government revealed the nation’s official unemployment rate has jumped back up to 9.1 percent. The nation is facing its worst unemployment slump since the 1930s. CBS News reports about 6.2 million Americans—45 percent of all unemployed workers in the country—have been jobless for more than six months, a higher percentage than during the Great Depression.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has called for the House ethics committee to investigate Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York. On Monday, Weiner admitted to having what he described as “inappropriate” and “explicit” conversations with six women over Twitter, Facebook, email and occasionally on the phone.
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has announced he will refuse to sign the state up for a controversial federal program that requires local police to forward fingerprints of every person they arrest to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The program, called Secure Communities, allows federal immigration agents to pursue deportation against those found to be undocumented or a non-citizen with a criminal record. Last week New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo suspended New York’s involvement in the Secure Communities program. Illinois pulled out of the program in May. Two other states, Washington and Minnesota, have declined to join the program.
More than 3,000 participants from some 180 countries are gathering in Bonn, Germany, this week for climate talks aimed to lay the foundation for the upcoming U.N. ministerial-level climate talks in Durban, South Africa. The Bonn talks come as the International Energy Agency has released new figures showing the world’s energy-related carbon emissions broke record highs in 2010. Tove Ryding is heading the Greenpeace delegation at the talks.
Tove Ryding: “It’s easier for politicians to respond after a catastrophe has happened than to show and be proactive, to actually try to prevent the catastrophes before they happen. And that’s the essence of what we need in these negotiations. We need proactive politicians who actually take the opportunities to solve this problem before we end up in a climate disaster. After all, what we’re talking about here is actually millions of green jobs. It’s to transform our societies to energy systems that are safe, that are stable and that are based on renewable energy and energy efficiency.”
In the United States, climate-related emergencies are occurring across the country. Arizona has declared a state of emergency as it continues to battle one of the state’s worst wildfires. The so-called “Wallow Fire” has now destroyed more than 230,000 acres, including the majority of the Apache National Forest. Meanwhile, the swollen Missouri River is threatening to submerge the Iowa town of Hamburg. If efforts to secure a faltering levee fail, the town’s 1,100 residents could find themselves under as much as eight feet of water for a month or more. Emergency officials anticipate record-breaking floods along the Missouri River throughout the summer. Meanwhile, record-setting heat in Texas and other southern states is putting children and the elderly, in particular, at risk.
In Canada, a Senate page has lost her job after staging a controversial demonstration on the floor of the governing body. Brigette DePape, 21, staged an unprecedented protest by walking onto the Senate floor Friday carrying a sign that read, “Stop Harper,” referencing Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Following her removal from her job, DePape called for a Canadian version of the Arab Spring movement that has swept through the Middle East and North Africa.
Brigette DePape: “I think that it’s defeatist to say, ‘Oh, we have a Harper majority government, and, you know, we’ll let them do as much as they can for the next four years.’ Frankly, we need to act now. We need to stop the conservative agenda. Three-quarters of Canadians disagree with the Harper agenda. Conservative values are not Canadian values. And so, we need to take to the streets now.”
Following her loss of employment, DePape was offered a job by documentary filmmaker Michael Moore, who praised her act of civil disobedience as an “iconic moment.”
A millionaire from Chicago has managed to buy his way out of jail despite being found guilty of killing two British citizens in a hit-and-run accident in Florida. Thirty-six-year-old Ryan Levin faced up to 30 years in jail for two counts of vehicular homicide and fleeing an accident scene. Levin, who drove a $120,000 Porsche, initially denied involvement in the accident. He avoided a jail sentence by paying an undisclosed settlement to the widows of his victims. Instead of jail he was sentenced to two years house arrest, 10 years probation. This was not Levin’s first offense. In 2006 he ran over a Chicago police officer. He could still be extradited to Illinois for violating his parole.
The Puerto Rican independence activist Norberto Gonzalez-Claudio has pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from his alleged involvement in the 1983 armored truck robbery of about $7 million in Connecticut. Gonzalez was arrested on Friday after 25 years on the run. Authorities allege the bank heist was committed to fund the activities of Los Macheteros, a militant organization that seeks Puerto Rican independence. In 2005, the FBI shot dead the leader of the Macheteros, Filiberto Ojeda Ríos.
In Wisconsin, more than a thousand Wisconsin workers marched through Madison Monday to protest Gov. Scott Walker’s “budget repair” bill that slashes collective bargaining rights and funding for education, healthcare and seniors’ programs. Eight people were arrested. Pilar Schiavo is with National Nurses United.
Pilar Schiavo: “People are angry. They understand. The impact of this budget, I think, is really sinking in for people. And you see, when you get thousands of people out in the streets on a Monday at noon, I think it really is a testament to the fact that they are willing to stand up and fight, that they’re frustrated, that Walker is going too far, and that they’re going to defend their rights. These BadgerCare cuts mean actual death sentences for people. I mean, Walker and the politicians are actually signing death sentences if they pass this budget.”
In Florida, four activists from the group Food Not Bombs were arrested Monday for feeding the homeless in the city of Orlando. Three other members of the group were arrested last week.
The death toll in Germany from an outbreak of E. coli has reached at least 22, making it one of the deadliest E. coli outbreaks in modern history. Another 2,300 people have been infected.