World briefly 2/23


6 underground tanks at Hanford nuclear reservation leaking

YAKIMA, Wash. — Six underground tanks that hold a brew of radioactive and toxic waste at the nation’s most contaminated nuclear site are leaking, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced Friday.

The leaks raise new concerns about delays for emptying the tanks at south-central Washington’s Hanford nuclear reservation, and they strike another blow to federal efforts to clean up the site, where successes often are overshadowed by delays, budget overruns and technological challenges.

State officials just last week announced one of Hanford’s 177 underground tanks was leaking in the range of 150 to 300 gallons a year, posing a risk to groundwater and rivers.

So far, nearby wells haven’t detected higher radioactivity levels.

The governor said the leaking material poses no immediate risk to public safety or the environment because it would take a while — perhaps years — to reach groundwater.

Inslee traveled to Washington, D.C., this week to discuss the problem with federal officials. He said he received the “very disturbing news” during meetings Friday that six tanks are leaking.

Opposition denounces timing of Egypt parliament election

CAIRO — Egypt’s president set parliamentary elections to begin in April — a decision that an opposition leader denounced Friday as “a recipe for disaster” because of the ongoing political turmoil in the country.

About 15,000 people took to the streets in the Suez Canal city of Port Said to demonstrate against President Mohammed Morsi, hanging effigies of him in the main square.

Residents have been on a general strike for six days, demanding punishment for what they considered a heavy-handed police crackdown during unrest in the city.

Morsi scheduled the staggered, four-stage voting process to begin April 27 and end in June. The newly elected parliament would convene on July 6, according to a decree issued late Thursday night.

He hopes the election will end the political turmoil that has beset Egypt for the past two years, since the ouster of longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak.

The upheaval has scared away foreign investors and dried up tourism, both crucial foreign currency earners that helped the government pay for subsidized goods needed by the poor for survival.

But Mohamed ElBaradei, who leads one of the main opposition groups, the National Salvation Front, wrote on his Twitter account Friday that Morsi’s “decision to go for parliamentary elections amidst severe societal polarization and eroding state authority is a recipe for disaster.”

Families of rapper, taxi driver suffer after Vegas shooting, crash

LAS VEGAS — Kenny Cherry was an aspiring rapper who moved from the Bay Area to Las Vegas to pursue his career. His music videos online show him cruising the Strip in his Maserati.

Michael Boldon was a family man and taxi driver who hailed from Michigan and loved fast cars.

The two men’s lives — along with that of an unidentified passenger in Boldon’s cab — ended in violence normally seen only in movies: gunfire, a fiery crash and an explosion before dawn Thursday on the neon-lit Las Vegas Strip.

As investigators Friday tried to find the gunman in a black Range Rover SUV who triggered the shocking chain of events, families and friends tried to grasp the blink-of-an-eye finality of it all.

“Right now my heart is breaking,” said Cherry’s great aunt, Patricia Sims, of Oakland, Calif. “This has really been a tragedy. Kenny was just a delightful kid.”

By wire sources