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News in Brief: More Rainwater Tests Positive for Radiation From Japan, and More

More Rainwater Tests Positive for Radiation From Japan

More Rainwater Tests Positive for Radiation From Japan

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Wednesday released a new set of data on the levels of radioactive material in milk, rainwater and drinking water as part of a continuing effort to track radiation from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan. The only new data on milk, which has been found to be radioactive in several cities across the country, came from Reno, Nevada, where no radioactive material was detected. The only drinking water data comes from Knoxville, Tennessee, and Hartford, Connecticut, and both samples were also free of radiation. Rainwater in about a dozen cities, however, tested positive for radioactive iodine-131 and in some cases radioactive cesium. Iodine-131 levels ranged from 4.4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) in Charlotte, North Caroline, to 200 pCi/L in Kansas City. New data from Boise, Idaho, where rainwater recently tested as high as 390 pCi/L, was not released. All of the samples tested were collected at least a week ago, and some data is up to two weeks old. The EPA officials say they expected to see some radiation drift from the Daiichi plant to the US, but radiation levels are too low to cause a public health concern. Nuclear critics, however, claim that any dose of radiation can be dangerous to human health, and the EPA needs do more testing and release data on a more frequent basis before declaring America safe.

No Court Date for Mubarak as Investigation Continues

Egypt's ousted former President Hosni Mubarak and his sons are still under investigation, but a legal source said that no court date has been set for questioning, according to Reuters. Egyptian state television had previously reported that Mubarak and his sons, Alaa and Gamal, were summoned to appear in a court in Cairo on April 19, but legal source said the state needs more time to investigate and a final date had not been set.

Congressional Budget Office Release Could Derail Budget Compromise

A budget compromise in Congress that kept the federal government from shutting down over the weekend was supposed to cut $38.5 billion from the federal budget, but recent Congressional Budget Office analysis shows the compromise will only cut $352 million over the next fiscal year, according to The Washington Post. The announcement angered some conservatives seeking deep government spending cuts. The House is voting today on the compromise, which both parties agreed on late last week.

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