The disaster in Japan remains the most read story online in New Zealand on Thursday morning, with reports on the nuclear crisis spinning out of control proving the most popular. Other stories featured on the front pages of the main news web sites include Prince William touching down in Auckland this morning on his way to Christchurch and Christchurch losing its Rugby World Cup games.
The Google News New Zealand lead headline is from Reuters and says "France to look for lessons from Japan nuclear crisis." The story says France, the world's most nuclear-dependent nation, acknowledged on Wednesday that lessons should be drawn from the crisis in Japan and inched closer to opening a national debate on how it generates its power. It carries a TVNZ story which says Prince William has touched down in Auckland on his special trip in the wake of the disasters in this country and in Australia. And it features another Reuters story which says President Barack Obama called the kings of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and urged them to exercise "maximum restraint" with protesters and to pursue political dialogue, White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Wednesday. The most popular story is from the Washington Post and says dozens of U.S. nuclear energy experts have joined thousands of troops providing assistance to the Japanese government in the wake of last week's 9.0 earthquake.
The nzherald.co.nz lead headline online says "Emperor: 'Never give up hope'". It says the emperor of Japan has given an historic address to the Japanese people as the death toll continues to rise following last week's devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami.
It says most of the seven Rugby World Cup matches pulled from quake-damaged AMI Stadium are set to be moved to the North Island, despite the Government's desire to keep all the pool games in the South Island. It says had a visitor dropped into the coastal resort of Minamisanriku less than a week ago, they would have seen a beautiful bay, man-made beaches, sports fields and tourist attractions. This week, after the Friday tsunami, the town and half of its population of 17,000 are nowhere to be seen. The most read story says police have this evening confirmed the identities of a further 11 people who died in the Christchurch earthquake, all of whom were at King's Education language school on the third floor of the the devastated CTV building.
The Stuff.co.nz top headline says "Japan tries to pull nuclear plant back from brink." The web site says in the most read story Japan's nuclear crisis appeared to be spinning out of control after workers withdrew briefly from a stricken power plant because of surging radiation levels and a helicopter failed to drop water on the most troubled reactor. It says New Zealand suspects have been involved in the world's "biggest ever" paedophile ring which global police units have just broken, British police say. And it says quake-ravaged Christchurch is set to benefit from Prince William, who visits the city today, and Kate Middleton's wedding after they asked people intending to send them wedding gifts to instead give money to charity.
The Radio New Zealand lead headline online says "Water cannon called in to damaged nuclear plant." The web site says officials in Japan have asked for a water cannon to be sent to the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant after the military was forced to abandon efforts to drop water from helicopters. It says Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully says the Government is still deciding whether to tell New Zealanders in Japan to leave the country. And it says the shifting of Rugby World Cup games away from Christchurch means more tickets can now be sold. However, the Government isn't counting on generating much extra revenue.
The 3 News top story online has the headline "More govts advising citizens to leave Tokyo." The web site says Australia advised its citizens in Japan on Wednesday to consider leaving Tokyo and earthquake-affected areas, joining a growing number of governments and businesses telling their people it may be safer elsewhere. It says Christchurch will have a royal buzz in the air today as Prince William touches down in the garden city. And it says Police said Wednesday they have smashed a huge international paedophile ring, rescuing 230 children from abuse and arresting 184 suspects - including teachers and police officers. The most read story says hundreds are dead in Japanese town of Sendai.
The One News lead headline says "Japan's nuclear crisis 'out of control'". The web site says in the most read story Japan's nuclear crisis appeared to be spinning out of control after workers withdrew briefly from a stricken power plant because of surging radiation levels and a helicopter failed to drop water on the most troubled reactor. It says the head of the UN nuclear watchdog says core damage at reactors 1, 2 and 3 of the plant is confirmed, but reactor vessels seem intact. He says the situation is "very serious". It says Prince William has touched down in Auckland on his special trip in the wake of the disasters in this country and in Australia.
The Newstalk ZB lead headline says "PM rejects Labour's criticism." The web site says the Prime Minister is rejecting claims from the opposition that he knew days ago Rugby World Cup games would not be held in Christchurch. It says Prince William and Catherine Middleton asked on Wednesday for anyone intending to send them wedding gifts to instead give the money to charity, including to the New Zealand Government's earthquake appeal. And it says the official number of dead and missing after a devastating earthquake and tsunami that flattened Japan's northeast coast has topped 12,000, police said on Wednesday, but reports hinted at a much higher toll. The most read story says the Christchurch Central MP is going in to bat for people who still haven't been able to get to their cars after the quake three weeks ago.