1. FEARS FOR NURSE HELD BY DAESH FOR 5 YEARS
A New Zealand nurse was abducted by the DAESH five years ago and is now missing. In revealing this, the Red Cross has made a plea for help in finding her.
Louisa Akavi, now 62, was kidnapped in October 2013 by armed men in Syria while doing humanitarian work for the Red Cross and is thought to have been held by DAESH. With victory declared over DAESH in Syria weeks ago, her whereabouts are still unknown and the International Committee of the Red Cross on Monday broke a long-standing silence to make an appeal for information that could help find her and two others – Syrian drivers, Alaa Rajab and Nabil Bakdounes.
New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters earlier said his government was still operating on the basis Akavi was alive, and had during the five-year period continuously worked to find her, including by deploying a non-combat Defence Force team to Iraq to search in Syria.
A spokesman for Akavi’s family, Tuaine Robati, said they were incredibly proud of her work and simply wanted her home. The Red Cross and New Zealand’s government both say they have policies of not paying ransoms.
2. FUEL REMOVAL PROGRESS AT JAPAN’S FUKUSHIMA
The operator of the tsunami-wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant has begun removing fuel from a cooling pool at one of three reactors that melted down in the 2011 disaster, a milestone in the decades-long process to decommission the plant.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Monday that workers started removing the first of 566 used and unused fuel units stored in the pool at Unit 3.TEPCO says the removal at Unit 3 would take two years, followed by the two other reactors where about 1,000 fuel units remain in the storage pools. Plant chief Tomohiko Isogai said he believes everything is going well, and he assured that the progress will prioritize safety first, in order to achieve the goal to not rush the process and carefully proceed with decommissioning work.
Robotic probes have photographed and detected traces of damaged nuclear fuel in the three reactors that had meltdowns, but the exact location and other details of the melted fuel are largely unknown. TEPCO and government officials plan to determine methods for removing the melted fuel from each of the three damaged reactors later this year so they can begin the process in 2021.