World briefs: Japan seeks help with nuke plant

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TOKYO -- The crippled nuclear plant at Fukushima is losing its two-year battle to contain radioactive water leaks and its owner emphasized for the first time on Wednesday it needs overseas expertise to help contain the disaster.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. is grappling with the worst spill of contaminated water since the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami caused a meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant. The call for help from Zengo Aizawa, a vice president at the utility, follows a leak of 300 metric tons of irradiated water.

The International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said they are prepared to help.

India, Pakistan tensions

NEW DELHI -- The Pakistani army said Indian troops shot dead one of its soldiers just days after an officer was killed, as border tensions threaten to jeopardize efforts to improve relations between the nuclear-armed neighbors.

The soldier was killed near Rawalakot Thursday in the disputed Kashmir region, the Pakistani army said in an e-mailed statement. An army captain was killed near Skardu and a soldier seriously wounded on Aug. 20, a Pakistani military official, said Aug. 21.

Defector acquitted

SEOUL, South Korea -- A North Korean defector was acquitted Thursday by a Seoul district court of espionage charges, accusations initially raised by his sister, who said she and her brother had been recruited to spy by the North's secret police.

Until his arrest eight months ago, Yoo Woo-sung had been among the most well-connected and trusted of the 24,000 defectors from North Korea now living in the South. Mr. Yoo, 32, held a job at Seoul City Hall and coached fresh arrivals about their bustling, sometimes bewildering new country.

U.N. faults Australia

SYDNEY -- Australia's indefinite detention of 46 recognized refugees amounts to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, the United Nations said Thursday, applying more international pressure on the government's tough policies toward asylum seekers.

The Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Committee called on Australia to release the refugees, many of whom have been held as security threats for more than two years, and offer them compensation for what it said was the "serious psychological harm" that had been inflicted upon them.

Rockets hit northern Israel

JERUSALEM -- Four rockets were fired toward northern Israel from southern Lebanon on Thursday for the first time in nearly two years, according to the Israeli military. The rocket fire set off sirens in the western Galilee.

The Israeli military said its Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted one of the rockets between the Israeli coastal towns of Acre and Nahariya. Two fell between buildings in Israeli villages, damaging property but causing no injuries. Another appeared to have fallen in an open area.

Killer lung virus

HONG KONG -- An Egyptian tomb bat was found to harbor a virus genetically identical to the one that caused so- called Middle East Respiratory Syndrome in at least 94 people, killing half of them, scientists at Columbia University said.

The bat's feces tested positive for the virus, known as MERS coronavirus -- the first time researchers have been able to pinpoint a specific animal host for the new pneumonia-causing pathogen. The finding was published Wednesday in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.



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