Russia denies leak spurred radioactivity
MOSCOW — Russian authorities denied Friday that a radioactivity spike in the air over Europe this fall resulted from a nuclear fuel processing plant leak in the Ural mountains, saying their probe has found no release of radioactivity there.
Vladimir Boltunov of Russia’s Rosatom state nuclear corporation said an inspection of the Mayak nuclear plant has proved that it wasn’t the source of Ruthenium-106, a radioactive isotope spotted in the air over Europe and Russia in late September and early October.
France’s nuclear safety agency said last month that increased levels of Ruthenium-106 were recorded over most of Europe but posed no health or environmental risks.
The Russian panel that involved experts from Rosatom and other agencies failed to identify where the isotope came from but alleged it could have come from a satellite that came down from its orbit and disintegrated in the atmosphere.
Nuclear safety expert Rafael Arutyunian said that Ruthenium-106 could have been used in some satellite equipment.
WHO: Ebola-related outbreak controlled
KAMPALA, Uganda — Uganda has successfully controlled a deadly outbreak of Marburg hemorrhagic fever, an infectious disease related to Ebola, the World Health Organization said.
The U.N. agency said Friday that three people died during the outbreak in eastern Uganda near the Kenya border. It said Ugandan health workers followed up with 316 close contacts of the victims in Uganda and Kenya to ensure that they had not contracted the disease.
Ugandan officials announced the Marburg outbreak Oct. 19.
There is no drug or vaccine for Marburg, which belongs to the same family as Ebola.
The East African nation has faced outbreaks of hemorrhagic fevers in the past, including an Ebola outbreak in 2000 that killed more than 200 people.
China warns citizens of Pakistan danger
BEIJING — China has warned its citizens in Pakistan to be on alert after receiving intelligence reports about possible attacks targeting Chinese.
The Chinese Embassy in Islamabad said Friday on its website that it had information about a “series of terror attacks” planned against Chinese organizations and personnel, without giving details. It urged its citizens to stay inside and avoid crowded places.
China’s exposure to militant attacks has risen in recent years as its overseas footprint expands. The Islamic State militant group said in June that it kidnapped and killed two Chinese teachers in Quetta.
China has invested heavily in Pakistan, where thousands of Chinese workers are employed in $60 billion worth of infrastructure projects under Beijing’s “Belt and Road” initiative. The port and road-building projects in Baluchistan province have come under frequent insurgent attacks.
For decades, a small number of Uighurs, an ethnic minority in western China that has chafed under Beijing’s rule, have sought refuge with the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
S. Africa politico believes rape charge
JOHANNESBURG — South Africa’s deputy president and a top contender to take over the ruling party says he would believe the young woman who accused President Jacob Zuma of rape more than a decade ago.
The rape allegation has haunted Zuma for years despite his acquittal in court and has remained a popular topic in South Africa as the #MeToo movement spreads.
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa told local radio station 702 that he “would believe” Fezekile Kuzwayo, who accused Zuma before he became president in 2009.
The ruling African National Congress party will choose a new leader this month, and that person likely will become South Africa’s next president in 2019. Ramaphosa and Zuma’s ex-wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma are leading candidates for the post.
The president’s office on Friday responded to Ramaphosa’s comments, saying in a statement that the presidency affirms “the primacy of the courts as the final arbiters in disputes in society.”
A Section on 12/09/2017