Sunday, April 11, 2010

Obama: Al-Qaida Would Use Nuke If It Could

If al-Qaida acquired nuclear weapons it "would have no compunction at using them," President Obama said Sunday on the eve of a summit aimed at finding ways to secure the world's nuclear stockpile.

The Nuclear Security Summit of more than 40 world leaders in Washington this week is aimed at securing "loose nuclear material," Obama said. He was holding one-on-one meetings Sunday with several of those leaders.

He said other world leaders have offered "very specific approaches to how we can solve this profound international problem."

Obama singled out South Africa for giving up its nuclear program, and said it "has been a strong, effective leader in the international community on nonproliferation issues. South Africa has special standing in being a moral leader on this issue."

South African President Jacob Zuma was among the leaders Obama met with Sunday at Blair House, across from the White House. Others included Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Polish Immigrants Worldwide Mourn Crash Victims

Polish immigrants and their descendants around the world shared the anguish of their mother country on Sunday, mourning the 96 victims of a devastating plane crash as they crowded into Polish-language Masses.

Millions of Poles have emigrated over nearly two centuries, establishing large communities in the United States and Britain. They coped with Saturday's death of Polish President Lech Kaczynski and dozens of other military, church and government officials through vigils, prayer and writing.

"It was like losing a family member," said Blanche Wiegand, whose mother immigrated from Poland to Chicago in 1950. "I'm from Chicago, but my heart is in Poland."

Weigand grew up speaking fluent Polish and eating her mother's pierogi, and stays in touch with her Polish cousins each week through Skype.

The nation is in mourning after the crash, which occurred in Russia near Katyn forest. The dignitaries had been on their way to Katyn to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the massacre there of thousands of Polish officers by Soviet forces.

Weigand said the crash makes her want to go to Poland, while her 88-year-old mother hasn't been able to talk about the tragedy at all. Instead, she cries, is plagued by headaches and recounts painful memories of being captured by Nazis.

Police: 31 Haitian Migrants Rescued Off Jamaica

Fishermen rescued 31 Haitian migrants off the eastern coast of Jamaica and towed their overloaded boat ashore in the second-such save in less than a month.

Police Superintendent Mervin McNab said Sunday that the 15 men, five women and 11 children were taken to a hospital for examinations. It is not clear how long they were at sea.

A boat with more than 60 Haitian migrants fleeing the country following the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake was towed to Jamaica's eastern shore by fishermen late last month. They were returned to Haiti within days because the government said it could not afford to let them stay.

US Tourist Apparently Drowns Off Antigua Coast

Antiguan authorities say they have found the body of an American tourist who apparently drowned off an upscale beach resort.

Police Sgt. William Holder says the body of Alberto Mejia, 25, was found by a team of divers in waters near the exclusive Mill Reef Club at the eastern end of the Caribbean island. The search began after friends reported Mejia missing.

Holder said Sunday that Mejia was a resident of New York state, but authorities did not yet know his hometown.

Police Commissioner Thomas Bennett says drowning is suspected and officials have ruled out foul play. He says an autopsy is being conducted.

California Gray Whale-Watchers Fear Dip In Population

Long held as an environmental success story after being taken off the endangered list in 1994, California gray whales draw legions of fans into boats or atop cliffs to watch the leviathans lumber down the coast to spawning grounds in Baja.

But whale-watching skippers became alarmed after sightings dropped from 25 a day in good years to five a day this season. Such anecdotal evidence has left conservationists and state officials worried about the whale's future, especially now.

The federal government's monitoring of the mammals has fallen off in recent years. And the International Whaling Commission in June will consider allowing 1,400 gray whales to be hunted over the next decade. The decision will rely on a report that says the population is flourishing - a study critics say is spotty and outdated.

The study draws on annual population estimates dating from 1967, but in the past decade only three census counts have been released, the most recent in 2006.

Since than, the estimated number of calves has plunged from more than 1,000 in 2006 to 312 in 2009. In addition, the species suffered a die-off of several thousand whales in 2000.

In January, the California Coastal Commission pressed the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for an updated gray whale study. The count is done but the analysis won't be finished until long after the whaling commission's decision.

NOAA scientists say their population estimates are reliable because the numbers have remained relatively consistent over time. They say the drop in calf numbers may reflect nature thinning out the herd.

The population is still more than double what it was in the 1960s and has been fairly stable of the past couple decades, said Paul Wade, one of the study's co-authors and a member of the commission's scientific committee.

Mickelson Wins Masters; Tiger Comes Up Short

Phil Mickelson won the Masters tournament on Sunday as Tiger Woods comes up short in his return to golf. Mickelson kept yanking balls into the trees, and even had an unexpected brush with nature right on the green. He gets his third green jacket.

Woods had received a big cheer as he teed off on Thursday. The four-time Masters champion played for the first time since a Thanksgiving night car wreck led to revelations of numerous extramarital affairs. Still, he had the lead at the Masters.

Reuters; AP; UPI; International Whaling Commission; NOAA; CBS Sports.

No comments: