TOKYO -- Tons of contaminated groundwater from the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant have overwhelmed an underground barrier and are emptying daily into the Pacific, creating what a top regulator has called a crisis.
The water contains strontium -- a particularly dangerous isotope if it gets into the food chain -- as well as cesium and tritium, which are considered less dangerous when released into the ocean. Despite increasing alarm among regulators in recent weeks, the plant's operator says it does not yet pose a health threat because levels of the contaminants are still very low in the open ocean, beyond the plant's man-made harbor -- a contention even critics support.
But regulators and critics alike are worried because the company, Tokyo Electric Power Co., or Tepco, has been unable to stop the flow of the contaminated water, which appears to have started between December and May.
Separatists kill 13
ISLAMABAD -- Baluch separatists on Tuesday claimed responsibility for the killing of 13 people who had been abducted a day earlier in a remote area of southwestern Pakistan.
A separatist insurgency has simmered for decades in southwestern Baluchistan. Baluch nationalists demand greater autonomy and a bigger share of revenue from the mineral-rich province's resources.
Rebels seize Syria air base
ANTAKYA, Turkey -- Syrian rebels said Tuesday they have taken full control of a military air base in Aleppo province, almost a year after they laid siege to the facility, one of the last remaining government holdouts in the northern Syrian province.
The final thrust, they said, was kicked off by two suicide bombers -- foreign fighters with the al-Qaida-linked Islamic State of Iraq and Syria -- who attacked loyalist soldiers with explosives-laden armored vehicles.
State media denied the rebel reports.
Zimbabwe to seize mines
HARARE, Zimbabwe -- President Robert Mugabe's government plans to seize control of foreign-owned mines without paying for them as part of a program to accumulate $7 billion of assets following his July 31 election victory, a minister said Tuesday.
The government will compensate bank owners as it takes control of their companies, said Saviour Kasukuwere, the minister in charge of the program to compel foreign companies to cede 51 percent of their assets to black investors or the government.
Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum Holdings, Barclays and Standard Chartered are among the firms affected by the decree .
Canadian pipeline opposed
TORONTO -- TransCanada Corp., facing opposition to its Keystone XL pipeline in the United States, is encountering challenges at home from environmental groups and provincial lawmakers over a proposed $11.6 billion line to ship oil to the Atlantic Coast.
The country's second-biggest pipeline operator plans to move as much as 1.1 million barrels a day from the oil sands in Alberta to New Brunswick by 2018.
Python kills 2 boys
CAMPBELLTON, N.B. -- A 100-pound python blamed in the strangling deaths of two Canadian boys apparently escaped from its enclosure, slithered through a ventilation system and fell through the ceiling into the room where the young brothers were sleeping, authorities said Tuesday.
Campbellton police are treating the deaths as a criminal investigation.
-- Compiled from news services