The BL News—World News Japan marks tsunami anniversary, and after bombing in Idlib, rescue efforts b
PM Abe leads ceremony marking tsunami anniversary
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the reconstruction effort is "steadily moving forward" as Japan on Monday marked the eighth anniversary of a devastating tsunami and earthquake.
The 2011 quake, a magnitude 9.0, hit Japan's northern coast and crippled the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, leading to a nuclear meltdown.
More than 18,000 people were killed, and the devastated coastline is still not fully rebuilt.
Abe spoke at the anniversary ceremony in Tokyo on Monday and said that the recovery is nearing the final phase.
Despite Abe's words, over 50,000 people still haven't returned home, and it is unclear when - if ever - the zone surrounding the nuclear power plant will be habitable again.
Rescue efforts after shelling in Idlib province
Syrian opposition activists say government forces have bombarded the northern town of Khan Sheikhoun and nearby villages in Idlib province, killing at least three people.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor, said the intense shelling began before midnight on Sunday and continued the next day.
According to the opposition's Syrian Civil Defence, also known as White Helmets, the shelling on Khan Sheikhoun and nearby villages killed three people, including a woman and a child, and wounded six others.
Violence has escalated in northwestern Syria over the past weeks in the province of Idlib, pitting al-Qaida-linked militants against Syrian government forces.
Much of the province, home to some three million people, fell earlier this year to al-Qaida-linked militants of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, after clashes with Turkey-backed opposition fighters.
Since then, government forces have been intensifying their airstrikes and bombardment of towns, leading to the displacement of about 100,000 people who fled to villages deeper in the rebel-held province, according to opposition activists.
The alarming increase in violence is threatening to unravel a truce reached between Turkey and Russia last year that averted a bloody battle in the last major rebel stronghold in the war-torn country.