$470M in aid set for leaks at nuclear plant
The Japanese government announced Tuesday that it will spend $470 million on a subterranean ice wall and other steps in a desperate bid to stop leaks of radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant after repeated failures by the plant's operator. The decision is widely seen as an attempt to show that the nuclear accident won't be a safety concern just days before the International Olympic Committee chooses among Tokyo, Istanbul and Madrid as the host of the 2020 Olympics. The Fukushima Dai-ichi plant has been leaking hundreds of tons of contaminated underground water into the sea since shortly after a massive 2011 earthquake and tsunami damaged the complex. Several leaks from tanks storing radioactive water in recent weeks have heightened the sense of crisis that the plant's owner, Tokyo Electric Power Co., isn't able to contain the problem. The ice wall would freeze the ground to a depth of up to 100 feet through a system of pipes carrying a coolant as cold as minus 40 Fahrenheit. That would block contaminated water from escaping.
Yosemite National Park, Calif.
Evacuation orders lifted at wildfire
Evacuation orders and advisories were lifted Tuesday for several Sierra Nevada communities once threatened by a raging wildfire in and around Yosemite National Park. Officials said they still are investigating the cause of the blaze, which started 18 days ago in an isolated area of the Stanislaus National Forest and has burned nearly 370 square miles — the fourth biggest recorded wildfire in California. The fire reached 75 percent containment.
Charges sought in Nazi-era cases
German justice officials recommended Tuesday that local prosecutors open investigations against 30 surviving guards from the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp on suspicion that they were accessories to murder, part of an effort to bring lower-level perpetrators of the Holocaust to justice. The list came from an original pool of 50 former guards drawn up by authorities this year, after the conviction of John Demjanjuk in 2011 set a precedent in German law. A Munich court found Demjanjuk, a former autoworker who had long lived in the United States, guilty of being an accessory to the murder of all 28,060 people who died at the Sobibor death camp during his time there as a guard, despite a lack of evidence specifically linking him to the deaths.
Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
Fort Hood shooter shaved in prison
The Army psychiatrist sentenced to death for the Fort Hood, Texas, shooting rampage has been forcibly shaved, an Army spokesman said Tuesday. Maj. Nidal Hasan had been allowed to keep his beard during his trial. Now, Hasan is an inmate at the U.S. Detention Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., home to the military death row. Officials at Fort Leavenworth had said Hasan would be subject to Army regulations.
New Mexico: The legal fight over gay marriage in New Mexico broadened Tuesday as a seventh county announced plans to start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The state has 33 counties.