The Quotes of the Week XI

Sunday 13th

“Today I have seen queues at petrol stations of up to two miles. Some shops are open, but there are queues. It seems like you have to listen to local radio to hear what is opening and then head down there. But I’ve also seen people queuing outside shops that aren’t open. Whether they’ve heard they are going to open, I don’t know. We are quite lucky because we live in a fairly new apartment in the city. By half way through yesterday we had water and they got our electricity on.

We couldn’t stand up. The quake never seemed to stop – such powerful shaking for just over a minute. I had to jump on top of the nearest three kids and try to keep them calm even though they and also I were so terrified. The classroom was totally turned over, bookshelves down, the photocopier also fallen down. There are an estimated 10,000 dead in Miyagi, but that’s just an estimate. Some people can’t get in contact because they can’t phone, so hopefully that number will be less.”

Michael Tonge, an English teacher who was at work in Sendai, Miyagi prefecture, at the time the tsunami hit Japan’s northern coast

Monday 14th

“I am worried about the radiation. My house is around 20km from one of the plants. My mother, father and brother are all worried. The government told us to leave the town. We trust the government but some of the information has been slow to come.”

Tomoko Karaki, a 29-year-old teacher from Minamisoma, who is one of the many Japanese being tested for possible radiation poisoning following the explosions at Fukushima’s Daiichi nuclear plant in north-eastern Japan

Tuesday 15th

“Shortly after take-off, a flight attendant saw what she believed was unusual behaviour from three passengers on board. The three passengers were praying aloud in Hebrew and were wearing what appeared to be leather straps on their foreheads and arms.”

From a statement released by airline spokeswoman Bobbie Egan, after a plane travelling from Mexico City to Los Angeles was locked down after three Jewish passengers were seen conducting a complicated prayer ritual onboard

Wednesday 16th

“I would like to thank RAF Lyneham for their excellent work in supporting the important task of repatriation ceremonies. I am certain that RAF Brize Norton will maintain the standard of solemnity, dignity and respect to our service personnel killed on operations as shown by the personnel at RAF Lyneham.

“I would also like to record publicly my thanks to the people of Wootton Bassett who have chosen to pay their respects in a unique and special way. It is such spontaneous public support that captures the spirit of the British people, and I am very grateful for those who have participated. Such gestures do not go unnoticed by those deployed on operations.”

Defense Secretary Liam Fox, speaking after the announcement that the town of Wooton Bassett is to be granted royal status in recognition of its well-attended parades for fallen soldiers returning to the country

Thursday 17th

“We will temporarily suspend approval of nuclear power projects, including those in the preliminary stages of development. Any hazards must be thoroughly dealt with, and those that do not conform to safety standards must immediately cease construction.”

A statement on the Chinese government’s web site, detailing a rapid reversal in nuclear power policy after the radiation crisis in Japan

Friday 18th

“Please continue to live well. I cannot be home for a while.”

An excerpt from an e-mail sent by one of the ‘Fukushima 50’ to his wife, one of the nuclear power plant workers who stayed behind at the Daiichi plant, braving dangerous levels of radiation in order to prevent it reaching the rest of the country

Saturday 19th

“We unapologetically declare that we will take a critical stand against bad governance and expose it for the entire nation to see.”

A statement printed in the first edition in eight years of Zimbabwe’s Daily News, a newspaper which was banned for its outspoken criticisms of dictator Robert Mugabe

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