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U.N. to analyze nuclear accident

UNITED NATIONS - The United Nations will undertake a systemwide study on the implications of the accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Japan, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Friday.

Several agencies will prepare a report addressing the effects of nuclear safety in areas including environment, health, and food security. It is to be presented at a high-level meeting on nuclear safety and security Sept. 22 during the General Assembly in New York.

"Nuclear safety is a global public good, serving the interests of all the world's people," the U.N. chief said. "Going forward, the effects of a nuclear plant disaster - from prevention to cleanup - should be more fully reflected in the assessment of how to ensure the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and maximum safety."

A March 11 earthquake triggered a tsunami that knocked out cooling systems at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, causing the world's worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl. Fuel rods appear to have largely melted at three of the plant's reactors, and the perilous struggle to contain the reactors is expected to continue into 2012. - AP

Russian warns of new arms race

MOSCOW - The world may face a "mad arms race" if the United States goes ahead with its missile-defense plans without trying to engage Moscow and assuage its security concerns, the top Russian military officer warned Friday.

Gen. Nikolai Makarov, chief of the military's general staff, urged Washington to reshape its plans so the U.S.-led NATO missile shield in Europe did not threaten Russia's nuclear forces. Makarov said at a meeting with foreign military attaches that failing to do that would force Russia to take countermeasures and trigger a arms race.

Makarov's statement echoed a similar warning issued repeatedly by President Dmitry A. Medvedev. "If we fail to agree, Europe will slide back to the early 1980s," Medvedev said at a judicial forum in St. Petersburg. "I don't want to live in such a Europe."

- AP

China links artist to tax evasion

BEIJING - A company that China says is controlled by artist Ai Weiwei was accused Friday of massive tax evasion in the government's clearest disclosure yet about its investigation of the activist detained more than six weeks.

The investigation also found Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd. had intentionally destroyed accounting documents, the official Xinhua news agency said, citing unidentified police investigators. Ai is being held under a form of detention known as residential surveillance somewhere outside Beijing.

Ai's family and supporters have previously dismissed similar accusations. His wife, Lu Qing, says the company in question is registered and belongs to her, not him. The company handles the business aspects of his art career. Ai is among China's best-known artists internationally and helped design the iconic Bird's Nest Olympic stadium.

- AP