Archive for Tuesday, July 25, 2000

World briefs

July 25, 2000



Chemical dumping brings U.S. apology

The U.S. military issued a public apology Monday for dumping formaldehyde into the Han River, a main source of drinking water for Seoul's 12 million people.

"I officially express to you my deepest apology for the incident," Lt. Gen. Daniel J. Petrosky, commander of the 8th U.S. Army, said in a statement.

The U.S. military command said it believes the formaldehyde caused no harm to public health, since it was treated in the sewage system and diluted with waste water.

South Korean activists say formaldehyde can cause cancer over long exposures. In water, it can kill fish and other aquatic creatures, they say.


Concorde grounded for cracks in wings

British Airways has grounded one of its Concorde supersonic jetliners after small cracks spotted on its wings grew larger, the company said Monday.

Engineers detected 2-inch cracks in the rear-most wings of the entire seven-plane fleet a few months ago, company spokesman Peter Middleton said. After ultrasonic testing and consultations with aviation authorities, all seven planes were allowed to remain in service, he said.

"It was not a major structural element of the wing," Middleton said. "It was declared not safety critical."

But the crack in one of the planes' wings was found to have grown to 2.6 inches last week, forcing the company to ground it for maintenance repairs. It is expected to return to the skies by September.


Harry Potter fans get English version

Harry Potter fans just can't wait for the German translation, and now a few won't have to: A state Education Ministry said Monday its libraries are stocking the English edition of the latest novel about the young wizard.

The books are in such demand that the 16 libraries in the western state of Saarland won't loan out "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." Instead, those wanting to find out what happens in the fourth in the series of books by J.K. Rowling must read the book during library hours.

The state's education minister, Jurgen Schreier, said he hoped enthusiasm for the novel would have a beneficial side-effect.

"Isn't this an exciting opportunity to expand knowledge of English and at the same time satisfy curiosity?" he asked.


Nuclear plant leaks radioactive water

Officials who shut down a nuclear reactor to check an oil leak at a northeastern Japan power plant discovered that a small amount of radioactive water had leaked out, the plant's operator said Monday.

The leak at the Fukushima No. 1 plant injured no one and did not escape from the facility, said Yoshimi Hitosugi, spokesman for Tokyo Electric Power Co., Japan's largest power company. It came four days after an earthquake led to the shutdown of another reactor at the same plant.

The six-reactor plant is in Okuma, a town of 10,900 on the Pacific coast 150 miles northeast of Tokyo.

Hitosugi said plant workers found 40 gallons of radioactive water that had leaked near the plant's No. 2 reactor late Sunday. Plant officials later determined the radioactive water leaked from a joint in a pipe linked to the hydraulic pressure system for controlling rods.

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