A premium watermelon has sold for more than 6,000 U.S. dollars at an auction in Japan.
A top quality watermelon grown in Northern Japan is said to have broken the world record for the highest selling price, 6,100 U.S. dollars.
News from REUTERS
Out of Japan we found this flower fire extinguisher - that makes shit ...
BY TRACY PFEIFFER
ANCHOR: CHRISTINA HARTMAN
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A week after the devastating earthquake that rocked Japan, workers are still struggling to get the country’s nuclear crisis under control. Japan’s nuclear agency has upgraded the situation from a four to a five on a 7-level scale, bringing the catastrophe on par with the 1979 Three Mile Island incident in Pennsylvania.
New aerial footage from a military helicopter paints a grim picture of the extent of the damage to Japan’s Fukushima reactor, which has seen multiple explosions since the quake and consequent tsunamis. (Video: The Telegraph)
The chopper itself was part of an initial tactic in the fight to keep spent nuclear rods from overheating, utilizing a water dumping technique commonly used to fight forest fires -- but strong winds quickly nixed that idea.
“Now the focus of the efforts by emergency workers has shifted away from airborne spraying to ground level and a more extensive use of these firetrucks to try to cool and restore power to the reactors. The aim is to get water back into the pools that house spent nuclear fool rods and avert a major radiation leak.” (BBC)
Even though the situation has been upgraded to level 5 -- defined by the IAEA as a quote -- “accident with wider consequences” -- Japanese officials say it’s due to new information about damage already done, not the current situation. (IAEA)
And Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano assures the international community, their efforts are keeping the reactors stable at least.
YUKIO EDANO, JAPANESE CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY (TRANSLATION): “As for reactor number 4, the situation is not as serious as reactors number 2 and 3, but we need to keep adding water to cool them, and be prepared. This is important.”
Meanwhile, another high priority goal is to restore power to the plant, which would enable crews to restart generators that power the reactor’s cooling systems. (Video: BBC)
The International Atomic Energy Agency says a half-mile power cord has been laid to Fukushima’s reactor number 2 building. But retired nuclear engineer Lake Barrett tells The Washington Post, it won’t be as simple as plugging in a cord.
“‘Existing cabling is probably burned,’ Barrett said, meaning crews in bulky radiation suits will have to engineer a high-voltage solution on the fly by boring through thick outer walls and connecting car-size electrical switches and relays.”
And while the world watches the battle against further nuclear catastrophe, NBC’s Ann Curry reports -- Japan is a country on edge.
ANN CURRY, REPORTER: “Passport centers around the country are full, train stations mobbed. Airlines are scrambling to fly thousands of people out of Tokyo. ... Crowds flocked aboard buses out of Sendai, a city hard-hit by the quake and tsunami, now low on basic necessities. Confusion, anger, and distrust are spreading despite the government’s reassurances about the risks of radiation.”
Experts say for now, wind currents are reportedly driving radiation away from Tokyo, Japan’s most-populated city. But a reporter from Global Radio News tells Fox News, those inside the city have been wary of exposure risks.
GAVIN BLAIR, REPORTER, GLOBAL RADIO NEWS: “Apparently the staff at the Italian embassy there weren’t trustful of the Japanese government’s pronouncements and took a Geiger counter onto the roof themselves and found that the levels of radiation were actually a fifth of what they were in Rome. So while there has been some panic in Tokyo, levels are back to normal there.”
Japan’s National Police Agency has raised the death toll to almost 7,000, and more than 10,000 are still listed as missing. ABC Australia reports there are currently around half a million people living in shelters.
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BY SAMANTHA MCCLENDON
ANCHOR SALEM SOLOMON
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If you’ve been waiting to get your hands on the new iPad 2, you may have to wait a little longer. IHS iSuppli reports the disaster in Japan could cause shortages of Apple's iPad 2 tablet computer. According to the report, there are five components made in Japan, including the touch-screen glass and battery.
Long Island’s News 12 has more.
“Apple admits it could be weeks before they could get those parts so if you didn’t get an iPad 2 last weekend when it debuted, you could wait a bit. Apple sold up to 600,000 in the first weekend.”
MSNBC reports the iPad 2 is already in high demand and sales have greatly exceeded expectations. A reporter for CNN says this demand combined with a short supply could raise the price of the product.
“If those shortages in products happens, we could see prices go higher. It’s simple supply and demand. What it’s really going to depend on is how long these shut downs lasts.”
And the LA Times reports -- consumer panic is already starting to show itself.
“On EBay, the 16-gigabyte iPad 2 models were selling for about $900 on Thursday afternoon, while 64-gigabyte models were listed for more than $1,300.”
A writer for Planet Insane spoke to a quote- “industry insider” who says, it might not be as big of a deal if Apple can find alternative suppliers -- but there’s one thing they won’t be able to get anywhere else.
“The batteries that are made for the iPad2 are thinner than your regular cell phone battery. The companies that made the batteries for the iPad2 are the same ones who pioneered the lithium ion battery and batteries for cell phones. Those batteries would not be able to be made anywhere else except for in Japan.”
Finally, a CNBC reporter says it’s too early to tell how long the tech commodity will be off the shelves.
“Most important, it’s just far too early to draw conclusions about what the impact might be anyway.”
“What you find inside can vary from one iPad 2 to the next. Once you crack it open and you see Toshiba NAND and the next you might find Samsung NAND and looking inside, you can’t tell what the part stockpiles are or really what the preparations have been made.”
So, iPad fans, are you willing to wait out the dry spell -- or are you willing to shell out the extra cash?
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BY MIRANDA WHEATLEY
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Has the nuclear crisis in Japan -- found its way to rainwater in the U.S.?
According to several news outlets, officials say rainwater in Massachusetts has tested positive for Radioiodine-131.
“It is 6,500 miles from Fukishima, Japan to Massachusetts but that’s how far radioactive fallout from the plant has traveled.” CNN
“Trace amounts of that radioactive material from Japan has turned up in rainwater in at least 13 United States, states.” Fox News
“They think the radioiodine may be linked to Japan’s damaged nuclear plant and plan to monitor the state’s drinking water.” HLN
Officials say the amount of Radioiodine is not enough to cause alarm. MIT’s Ian Hutchinson tells WFXT in Boston radiation is a naturally occurring element and harmless in small amounts.
“Radiation is a completely natural part of our background. The human body has a substantial amount of natural radiation in it, the only reason we know that this particular radiation came from the nuclear reactor site is because it’s a particular type of radiation that comes from this particular type of iodine we can identify it through specific tests.”
CNN echoes that response saying spikes in radiation were seen in the U.S. even before the earthquake in Japan.
“Las Vegas, there’s spikes, this is the earthquake, there are spikes before the earthquake, after the earthquake. The sun makes more radiation than what you had there in Massachusetts. A plane ride from California to L.A., from California to New York would give you more radiation than that.”
The public health commissioner tells WCVB drinking water in Boston is safe.
“We want to make clear that here is no health impact. None of the cities and towns rely on rainwater on their primary source of water--that is why we are so comfortable when saying drinking water supplies throughout the states are completely safe.”
The Boston Globe reports the Radioiodine won’t be around for long and the public health commissioner says at these levels even drinking the rainwater directly would have little impact.
“...only half of the level of radiation will be present in eight days, and so on until it dissipates.”
But as Forbes points out - even with reassurance the findings have some Americans worried.
“...some Americans have not been content to take the government at its word. Geiger counters have been selling like popsicles in summer, and traffic has never been higher at websites that display data from radiation monitoring stations.”
For more information on the EPA’s radiation monitoring site, RadNet, check out the link in our transcript section.
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BY TRACY PFEIFFER
Anchor: Jennifer Meckles
You're watching multisource world video news analysis from Newsy.
TEPCO officials have confirmed the discovery of one source of the radioactive water that has been steadily leaking into the Pacific Ocean since Japan’s devastating earthquake and tsunamis three weeks ago.
VOICE OF TRANSLATOR: “The discovery was made this morning at around 9:30 at the foot of reactor number 2, in the reactor cable pit. There was a 20-centimeter crack in the concrete at the base of the pit. The water was leaking out of that crack into the sea.” (France 24)
Reports indicate workers rushed to plug the leak by pouring concrete into the pit, but as NBC’s Lee Cowan explains, questions remain about the tactic’s effectiveness.
“The problem is, is they don’t exactly know where the water was coming from in the first place, so the fear is that if they block it up, that hole may actually fill up with more radioactive water, spill out even further. They gotta still find the source of where all this radioactive water is coming from and at this point, that’s still a mystery.”
Consequently, authorities say they cannot confirm they’ve stopped the leakage of radioactive water into the sea. And as Bloomberg reports, the situation is growing even more dangerous.
“Contaminated seawater near the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant was measured at more than 1,000 millisieverts an hour... Exposure to that level for an hour would trigger nausea and four hours might lead to death within two months, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.”
In an interview with CNN, one physicist says even though contaminating ocean water is an issue -- it has to be put on the back-burner to prevent further catastrophe.
“I think the radioactive water leaking into the pacific is not the primary concern here. Because radioactive water that leaks into the Pacific will become diluted. I'm more concerned about the radioactive water that's leaking into the ground water supplies and I still say the biggest concern is what's going on inside the reactor cores. Keeping those cores cool is still the single-most important task facing the plant operators at the moment.”
The latest reports indicate TEPCO workers have brought in a barge to store contaminated water, and are likely to bring in more sea vessels to help the effort.
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