NEWS BRIEFS

Poll: Few confident US ready for nuclear emergency

Posted April 08, 2011, at 8:22 p.m.

WASHINGTON — Most Americans doubt the U.S. government is prepared to respond to a nuclear emergency like the one in Japan, a new Associated Press-GfK poll shows. But it also shows few Americans believe such an emergency would occur.

Nevertheless, the disaster has turned more Americans against new nuclear power plants. The poll found that 60 percent of Americans oppose building more nuclear power plants. That’s up from 48 percent who opposed it in an AP-Stanford University Poll in November 2009.

The Associated Press-GfK poll comes as Japan continues to struggle with a nuclear crisis caused by a March 11 earthquake and tsunami. The crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant has leaked radiation into the environment and radioactive water gushed into the Pacific Ocean. Japan was rattled by a strong aftershock and tsunami warning Thursday, but officials reported no immediate sign of new problems.

The poll finds that about a fourth of those surveyed were highly confident that the U.S. government is prepared to handle a nuclear emergency, while almost three-fourths were only somewhat or not confident.

But many people doubt such an emergency will happen in this country.

About three in 10 think such an emergency is extremely or very likely, compared with seven in 10 who think it is only somewhat or not likely. Among people who think a disaster is highly likely, almost eight in 10 lack confidence the government would be ready.

Even among those who think it’s not too likely or not at all likely to happen, almost two-thirds still lacked confidence the government would be ready.

Arkansas park visitor finds 3.86-carat diamond

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Sifting through the dirt at Crater of Diamonds State Park, a regular visitor turned up the biggest find of the year: a 3.86-carat jewel dubbed the “Heart of Arkansas.”

Park interpreter Waymon Cox describes the diamond found Thursday as the size of a piece of candy corn, with a pearly white shine.

The park isn’t sure how much the gem is worth. Cox said a 2-carat diamond found three years ago was later cut and appraised for nearly $22,000.

A longtime visitor to the park from Murfreesboro, where the park is located, found the diamond. He’s asked to remain anonymous.

The park calls itself the world’s only public diamond-producing site. Cox says it usually yields about five to seven large diamonds a year.

Woman, 109, throws 1st pitch at minor league game

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