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News Wrap: 3 NATO Troops Killed, More Trainers Sought in Afghanistan

November 8, 2010 at 5:57 PM EDT
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HARI SREENIVASAN: NATO forces in Afghanistan sustained more casualties today. A bomb blast killed a soldier in the east, and two other NATO soldiers died Sunday in insurgent attacks in the same region.

Meanwhile, the commander of NATO’s training mission in Afghanistan warned he needs at least 900 more trainers in order for Afghan security forces to take the lead in four years — 1,800 trainers are currently on the job.

The first election in 20 years in Myanmar forced thousands of refugees to flee the country, as political violence escalated. Sunday’s vote was marred by widespread fraud allegations. And President Obama said the government there

was stealing an election. More than 15,000 refugees fled fighting between ethnic rebels and government troops along the border with Thailand. Myanmar has been ruled by the military almost continuously since 1962.

A second journalist was attacked in Russia today after writing about land development issues. Today’s attack followed the brutal Saturday beating of journalist Oleg Kashin, who writes for the popular daily newspaper Kommersant. Kashin is now in a drug-induced coma after two men kicked him in the head, shattered his jaw, broke his leg, and mangled his hands. Today, in Moscow, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ordered the attackers be found and punished.

DMITRY MEDVEDEV, Russian president (through translator): This kind of event is not the first one. It surely shows the level of crime in our country is still very high, and that, second, there are still forces that think they may silence anyone, be it a journalist or a politician, and that, to reach their goals, all means are good. These forces should be abolished, and whoever is involved in this crime, he will be punished.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Russia has seen a wave of assaults on journalists and activists. In most cases, the perpetrators are never found. Since 1992, the Committee to Protect Journalists reports at least 52 journalists have been killed in Russia.

The Australian airline Qantas is grounding its fleet of Airbus A-380 superjumbo jets for another 72 hours. Engineers have discovered oil leaks in three engines on three different A-380s. The engines were all manufactured by Rolls-Royce. Last week, one of the planes blew an engine while en route from Singapore to Sydney. It made a safe emergency landing, but left scattered debris across Indonesia.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security expanded a ban on air cargo to include Somalia, in the wake of last month’s foiled terror plot. The U.S. had already ordered a ban on shipments from Yemen, after bombs were found hidden inside printers on aircraft traveling from Yemen to the U.S. As part of the new rules, printer toner and ink cartridges weighing more than a pound will also be prohibited on all passenger flights to the U.S.

Technicians at a nuclear plant in Vermont got to work today fixing a pipe that leaked radioactive water over the weekend. The Yankee nuclear plant was shut down yesterday, after a leak was spotted during a routine check. Officials with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said the public was in no danger because the levels of radioactivity were so low and agency inspectors were overseeing the shutdown of the plant. Sam Hemingway is covering the story for The Burlington Free Press.

First off, do we know what was leaking? And how significant is it?

SAM HEMINGWAY, The Burlington Free Press: It is this radioactive water. It was from steam from the reactor that had heated up. And it’s collected by a system of pipes, and then fed back in to the reactor core.

It was discovered during a maintenance check yesterday. They had to sort of shut down the plant today. And once it was cooled down enough, they can then go at — go with the job of fixing it. And they tell us it’s going to take about three days to get it fixed.

HARI SREENIVASAN: All right. People in the community have been concerned because this isn’t the first time that this particular plant has had problems, right?

SAM HEMINGWAY: There’s been a lot of problems with this plant. This one is internal to the plant, inside the plant.

The last year — or in the last year, we have had several leaks outside the plant of underground pipes. They began last January. And for a while, the — Entergy, the company that owns this plant, was telling everyone that these pipes didn’t exist. There was a big dispute about it. They eventually admitted they did exist and had plans that show they existed.

That was tritium. There was later on cobalt and strontium found. And then there was a leak even during a very hot gubernatorial campaign this fall outside the plant in an unused drinking well. So, we have had our share of problems up here.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Our thanks to Sam Hemingway from The Burlington Free Press. The 37-year-old nuclear facility is currently up for sale.

Another governor’s race was decided today, this time in Connecticut. Republican candidate Tom Foley conceded to Democrat Dan Malloy. Foley had been considering challenging the use of some photocopied ballots, but ultimately decided there had been no fraud.

One of the rescued Chilean miners is celebrating a new achievement: completing the New York City Marathon. Edison Pena took part in Sunday’s 26.2-mile race less than a month after being freed. The 34-year-old battled knee pain to cross the finish line nearly six hours after the race began. Pena jogged several miles each of the 69 days he was trapped underground.

Stocks had a mixed day on Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 37 points to close above 11406. The Nasdaq rose just over a point to close at 2580.

Those are some of the day’s major stories.