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News in Brief: Japan Sends Soldiers on Emergency Mission at Crippled Reactor

Japan Sends Soldiers on Emergency Mission at Crippled Reactor

Japan Sends Soldiers on Emergency Mission at Crippled Reactor

The Japanese government sent soldiers on a dangerous emergency mission to reduce radiation leaks at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Thursday, The Washington Post reports. After police failed to keep the reactor cool with water cannons used for riot control, soldiers arrived and dumped 30 tons of water from fire hoses and aircraft on the reactor that was damaged by an earthquake and tsunami earlier this week. The government took these emergency measures after US officials told Americans to stay at least 50 miles away from the plant to avoid radiation. The announcement raised doubts in the Japanese assessment of the situation as the government there is allowing people to be much closer to the plant.

US Military Invests in Spyware for Social Networking

The Pentagon is developing software that will allow US military personnel to secretly influence social media and spread pro-American propaganda through fake Internet personas, according to an exclusive report by The Guardian UK. The military awarded a contract to a California-based company to develop an “online personal management service” that will allow online spies to control ten personas at once. Web experts are comparing the program to China’s attempt to stifle free speech and web surfing.

Opposition Leaders Arrested After Violent Crackdown in Bahrain

Bahraini forces arrested several opposition leaders and activists after using tanks and helicopters to violently clear anti-government protesters from the streets of the nation’s capital city of Manama, according to Al Jazeera reports. More than 1,000 people were injured in the crackdown, and three civilians and three policemen were reported killed. Human rights group Amnesty International reported that security forces fired live ammunition at peaceful protesters.

White House Condemns GOP Attempt to Strip NPR Funding

The Obama administration released a statement today condemning a move in the House of Representatives to strip National Public Radio (NPR) of government funding. The House Rules Committee approved the bill in an emergency hearing yesterday, and the statement from the Obama administration was released just ahead of a pending House vote. The White House warned the bill could force small rural public radio stations to shut down by denying them federal funding to purchase content. Republicans began an offensive against NPR after a video was released showing a former fundraising official denouncing the Tea Party.

Libyan Rebels Plead for Support

Rebels in Libya are calling for international assistance as forces loyal to Moammar Gaddafi surround a rebel stronghold and batter the loose organization of resisters, according to NPR. The US wants the UN Security Council to approve broad international military intervention to halt Gaddafi s assault on the rebels, but does not want to put US troops on the ground there. Opposition fighters say they are prepared to hold their ground, but some analysts say the rebels could be out-gunned by loyalist forces.

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