05-21-2018  5:51 am      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Raina Croff to Speak at Architectural Heritage Center

'When the Landmarks are Gone: Older African Americans, Place, and Change in N/NE Portland’ describes SHARP Walking Program ...

Portland Playhouse Presents August Wilson’s ‘Fences’ Through June 10

May 20 performance will include discussion on mental health; June 10 performance will be followed by discussion of fatherhood ...

Peggy Houston-Shivers Presents Benefit Concert for Allen Temple CME

Concert to take place May 20 at Maranatha Church ...

Family Friendly Talent Show, May 18

Family Fun Night series continues at Matt Dishman Community Center ...

3 high school seniors die in crash weeks before graduation

YONCALLA, Ore. (AP) — School officials say three senior girls were killed in a car crash on Interstate 5 in western Oregon, just weeks before graduation.Eagle Point High School said on its Facebook page that Luciana Tellez, Giselle Montano and Esmeralda Nava died Saturday night after their...

The Latest: Cougar that attacked cyclists was underweight

SEATTLE (AP) — The Latest on a cougar attack that killed one mountain biker and wounded another outside Seattle (all times local):4:10 p.m.Authorities say the cougar that attacked two cyclists east of Seattle, killing one of them, appears to have been emaciated.Washington Department of Fish...

Cyclists tried to scare cougar but it attacked, killing 1

SEATTLE (AP) — The two mountain bikers did what they were supposed to do when they noticed a mountain lion tailing them on a trail east of Seattle.They got off their bikes. They faced the beast, shouted and tried to spook it. After it charged, one even smacked the cougar with his bike, and...

The Latest: Cougar that attacked cyclists was underweight

SEATTLE (AP) — The Latest on a cougar attack that killed one mountain biker and wounded another outside Seattle (all times local):4:10 p.m.Authorities say the cougar that attacked two cyclists east of Seattle, killing one of them, appears to have been emaciated.Washington Department of Fish...

OPINION

Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis discusses the DTU Journalism Fellowship & Scholarship Program ...

Will Israel’s Likud Party Ever Respect the Rights of Palestinians?

Bill Fletcher weighs in on the precarious future of the two-state solution between the Israeli government and the Palestinian people ...

The Future of Medicinal Marijuana in Pets

Dr. Jasmine Streeter says CBD-derived products show beneficial therapeutic benefits for pets ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Native American lacrosse teams leagueless in South Dakota

Travis Brave Heart was planning to spend his senior season this spring and summer tuning up to play college lacrosse in the fall. Instead, the 17-year-old standout from Aberdeen, South Dakota, is faced with the prospect of not playing at all.His Lightning Stick Society team was one of three Native...

2018 midterms show start of Democratic scramble for 2020

ATLANTA (AP) — Look closely enough at the 2018 midterm campaign and you'll see the stirrings of a Democratic scramble to reclaim the White House from President Donald Trump.The leading players — from established national figures such as former Vice President Joe Biden and Sens. Bernie...

Black women look to flex power in Georgia governor's race

ATLANTA (AP) — This week's primary election in Georgia presents black women voters with a rare opportunity: To give a Democrat who looks like them a chance at occupying the governor's mansion in a Republican-controlled state.A Democratic primary win Tuesday for Stacey Abrams or Stacey Evans...

ENTERTAINMENT

'Deadpool 2' ends Avengers' box-office reign, rakes in 5M

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Deadpool and his foul-mouthed crew of misfits and malcontents have taken down the Avengers.Fox's "Deadpool 2" brought in 5 million this weekend, giving it the second-highest opening ever for an R-rated movie and ending the three-week reign of Disney's "Avengers:...

Winners in the top categories at Billboard Music Awards

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A list of winners in the top categories at the 2018 Billboard Music Awards, held Sunday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.— Top Hot 100 song: "Despacito" by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber— Top Billboard 200 album: "DAMN." by...

The Latest: Janet Jackson honored at Billboard Awards

The Latest on the Billboard Music Awards (all times local):7:18 p.m.The youngest of the legendary Jackson musical family, Janet Jackson gave her first televised performance in nine years at the Billboard Music Awards.She was honored as the first black woman to receive the Billboard Icon Award on...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

School victims honored at Billboard Awards; Janet, BTS shine

The 2018 Billboard Music Awards paid tribute to the students and teachers affected by recent deadly shootings in...

Economic talks between US and China lead to trade war truce

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States and China are pulling back from the brink of a trade war after the...

In North Korea nuke site closure, spectacle trumps substance

TOKYO (AP) — Foreign journalists will be allowed to journey deep into the mountains of North Korea this...

4 years after coup, Thailand wearies of junta rule

BANGKOK (AP) — Four years after seizing power, Thailand's junta has a singular success it never hoped for:...

LGBT community cheers pope's 'God made you like this' remark

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis' reported comments to a gay man that "God made you like this" have been...

Nurse dead in Congo as Ebola vaccination campaign starts

KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — A nurse has died from Ebola in Bikoro, the rural northwestern town where the...

By The Skanner News

President Barack Obama returns to the Oval Office following a statement on the ongoing crisis in Japan, in the Rose Garden of the White House, March 17. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)



WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will conduct a "comprehensive review" of the safety of all U.S. nuclear plants following what U.S. officials are calling the dangerous and complicated situation at Japan's damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi reactors.

President Barack Obama took the rare step and called upon the independent commission to conduct the review.

"When we see a crisis like the one in Japan, we have a responsibility to learn from this event and to draw from those lessons to ensure the safety and security of our people," Obama said Thursday.

Obama's statement came as he tried to reassure a worried nation that "harmful levels" of radiation from the Japanese nuclear disaster are not expected to reach the U.S., even as other officials conceded it could take weeks to bring the crippled nuclear complex under control.

Meanwhile, the first evacuation flight of U.S. citizens left Japan, the State Department said.

"We've seen an earthquake and tsunami render an unimaginable toll of death and destruction on one of our closest friends and allies in the world," Obama said in brief remarks at the White House after a visit to the Japanese Embassy to offer his condolences.

There are 104 nuclear reactors in the United States, providing roughly 20 percent of the nation's electricity. "Nuclear energy is an important part of our own energy future," Obama said.

A leading industry group agreed with the review.

"A review of our nuclear plants is an appropriate step after an event of this scale, and we expect that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will conduct its own assessment," said Marvin Fertel, president of the Nuclear Energy Institute. "The industry's highest priority is the safe operation of 104 reactors in 31 states and we will incorporate lessons learned from this accident..."

In the U.S., Customs and Border Protection said there had been reports of radiation being detected from some cargo arriving from Japan at several airports, including ones in Chicago, Dallas and Seattle.

Radiation had not been detected in passengers or luggage. And none of the reported incidents involved harmful amounts.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the agency was screening passengers and cargo for "even a blip of radiation."

On Friday, Deputy Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman reiterated that no U.S. land - the West Coast, Hawaii, Alaska and the American territories - is in peril.

Poneman noted that Japan had moved Friday to upgrade the nuclear crisis from a Category 4 to Category 5, and said "the most pressing concern is the fate of the Japanese people as they struggle with this tragedy. Our most important concern is, we're doing everything we can."

"The first thing we've got to do is cool down the reactors and the spent fuel ponds," Poneman said on NBC's "Today" show. "Those are two significant areas of vulnerability."

Asked on ABC's "Good Morning America" how long that process should last, he said, "We're all trying to bring the assets to bear that will help bring the water, cool down the reactors, cool down the spent fuel and in the days and weeks ahead we hope that's going to take us in the right direction."

Obama said he knows that Americans are worried about potential risks from airborne radiation that could drift across the Pacific. "So I want to be very clear," he said. "We do not expect harmful levels of radiation to reach the United States, whether it's the West Coast, Hawaii, Alaska or U.S. territories."

Gregory Jaczko, chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, told reporters at a White House briefing it could be some time before the crisis is brought under control as crews work to cool spent-fuel rods and get the damaged Japanese reactors under control. The activity could continue for days and "possibly weeks," Jaczko said.

He said the U.S. recommendation that American troops and citizens stay 50 miles away from the nuclear complex was "a prudent and precautionary measure to take." But he also said "basic physics" suggested there was little risk to anyone in the United States or its Pacific territories.

Poneman told the briefing that a "very dangerous situation" remains in Japan. Information at the nuclear plant is "genuinely complex and genuinely confusing," he said.

As the officials spoke, Japanese emergency workers sought to regain control of the dangerously overheated nuclear complex, dousing it with water from police cannons, fire trucks and helicopters to cool nuclear fuel rods that were threatening to spray out more radiation.

The U.S. Energy Department said it had conducted two separate aerial tests to measure how much radioactive material had been deposited in Japan. Those data, Poneman said, were consistent with the recommendation for Americans to evacuate a 50-mile radius around the plant.

The U.S. officials declined to criticize the Japanese call for a smaller evacuation zone.

"We're analyzing the information, and we're sharing it with the Japanese," said Poneman. "The preliminary look has indicated that the measures that have been taken (by the Japanese) have been prudent ones. And we have no reason to question the assessment that has been made or the recommendation that has been made by the Japanese authorities."

At his visit to the Japanese Embassy Thursday, Obama signed a condolence book and said: "We feel a great urgency to provide assistance to those ... who are suffering."

In the book he wrote, "My heart goes out to the people of Japan during this enormous tragedy. Please know that America will always stand by one of its greatest allies during this time of need."

White House spokesman Jay Carney said the fact that Obama had taken the rare step of asking the NRC - an independent regulatory agency that is not under the president's control - to undertake a review of U.S. reactor safety in light of the Japanese disaster "only adds to the urgency of that mission."

Representatives of the nuclear energy industry said Thursday that operators of U.S. reactors already had begun taking steps to better prepare for an emergency in this country.

While it will take some time to understand the true dimensions of the nuclear disaster in Japan, "we will learn from them, we will get that operating experience, we will apply it and try to make our units even safer than they are today," said Anthony Pietrangelo, senior vice president of the Nuclear Energy Institute, a Washington-based industry lobbying group.

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