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EcoMobility Gaining Ground, Step by Step

CHANGWON, South Korea, Nov 1, 2011 (Tierramérica) - Berlin is a big capital city of a country famed for making excellent automobiles, but it can no longer afford roads and is now moving people by transit, bike and especially through walking.

Berlin is not alone. Paris, Tokyo, Seoul, Bogotá, New York City and other major cities simply cannot afford the cost, the pollution, the noise and the congestion of more cars. They are embracing a new concept called EcoMobility - mobility without private cars.

"EcoMobility is not only walking, cycling and public transportation. It is about these three systems clicking together: connectivity is the key," Gil Peñalosa, former director of parks and recreation in Bogotá, Colombia, told those attending the EcoMobility Changwon 2011 congress.

The congress on Mobility for the Future of Sustainable Cities was organised by the South Korean city of Changwon and ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, an association of local government members from more than 1,220 cities in 70 countries.

"The famous Times Square in New York City is now a permanent pedestrian mall. Who would have believed that could happen just three years ago?" Peñalosa commented to Tierramérica.

"Five years ago who would have thought Paris would have over 22,000 bikes as part of a tremendously successful bike sharing system?" added Peñalosa, who is now the executive director of 8-80 Cities, an NGO based in Toronto that promotes walking, cycling, parks and urban trails to improve the public life of cities. MORE
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Fukushima: It's much worse than you think

"The fuels are now a molten blob at the bottom of the reactor," Gundersen added. "TEPCO announced they had a melt through. A melt down is when the fuel collapses to the bottom of the reactor, and a melt through means it has melted through some layers. That blob is incredibly radioactive, and now you have water on top of it. The water picks up enormous amounts of radiation, so you add more water and you are generating hundreds of thousands of tons of highly radioactive water."

Independent scientists have been monitoring the locations of radioactive "hot spots" around Japan, and their findings are disconcerting.

"We have 20 nuclear cores exposed, the fuel pools have several cores each, that is 20 times the potential to be released than Chernobyl," said Gundersen. "The data I'm seeing shows that we are finding hot spots further away than we had from Chernobyl, and the amount of radiation in many of them was the amount that caused areas to be declared no-man's-land for Chernobyl. We are seeing square kilometres being found 60 to 70 kilometres away from the reactor. You can't clean all this up. We still have radioactive wild boar in Germany, 30 years after Chernobyl."

...



"Units one through three have nuclear waste on the floor, the melted core, that has plutonium in it, and that has to be removed from the environment for hundreds of thousands of years," he said. "Somehow, robotically, they will have to go in there and manage to put it in a container and store it for infinity, and that technology doesn't exist. Nobody knows how to pick up the molten core from the floor, there is no solution available now for picking that up from the floor."MORE
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I, for one, have been thoroughly confused about what to report about the ongoing nuclear crisis and dealing-with-other-aftereffects-of-the-tsumani-and-earthquake in Japan. I have seen lots of articles arguing across the spectrum that Western news articles have been very sensationalistic over the nuclear disaster and have ignored the tsunami victims and that Japanese news articles have been playing it down. So I had adopted a hands-off approach to the whole thing until some confusion cleared.


This is what I've seen so far:

TSUNAMI AND EARTHQUAKE SURVIVORS

Al Jazeera People & Power - Aftermath of a disaster


People & Power looks at Miyako's citizens that survived Japan's devastating earthquake.



and Search for Japan tsunami victims continues: Thousands of troops conduct searches, with less than half those killed in disaster thought to have been found


Read more... )




Meantime Death toll reaches 13,116 from great quake, tsunami in Japan

Read more... )


NHK adds up the dead and missing and adds the prefectures that have confirmed their dead so far: 26,848 dead or missing in March 11th disaster

Read more... )

While sharp aftershocks that are pretty much mini-earthquakes in their own right keep killing people: Death toll from Japan aftershock rises to 3

Read more... )


And another that seems to have happened on Monday, April 11, left this result:Strong aftershock kills 4

Read more... )


Tsunami survivors move into temporary homes

Read more... )




NUCLEAR CRISIS


Radiation from Fukushima 10 pct that of Chernobyl-Japan official

Read more... )


Because 7 is the highest number on the map, and its apparently based on Chernobyl's clusterfuck, raising the situation to 7 elides the situation. There is one hell of a difference between Chernobyl and TEPCO's (the company who runs the plants) disaster, yet a pile of Western journalists are behaving as if they are the same thing. NO Forbes, it's NOT as bad as Chernobyl!!

That being said, the situation is really serious: (via: [livejournal.com profile] ontd_political) Japan raises nuke accident severity level to highest 7 from 5

Read more... )

April 11 TEPCO president apologizes, one month later

Read more... )


Here's an article focusing on the people who are on the frontlines trying to stop the leaks and clean up the mess.Heroes and realists found among the brave 'Fukushima 700'

Read more... )

from [livejournal.com profile] ontd_political Embattled TEPCO now facing a harsh public backlash Note the expressions of remorse. Some of that from the US lords of the universe and BP would be nice don'cha think? also: TEPCO and the Japanese gov't: BFFs no more



ECONOMY

Disaster devastates Japan farmland:Tsunami leaves behind toxic chemicals, making huge swathes of arable land unusable.

Read more... )

via [livejournal.com profile] ontd_political japan tag

Japan's 1st quake reconstruction budget, plus tourism is down lots and lots

Read more... )
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BAHRAIN and SAUDI ARABIA

Saudi soldiers sent into Bahrain
Saudi troops and police from UAE deployed to Gulf neighbour to help protect government facilities after weeks of unrest.

Hundreds of Saudi troops have entered Bahrain to help protect government facilities there amid escalating protests against the government.

Bahrain television on Monday broadcast images of troops in armoured cars entering the Gulf state via the 26km causeway that connects the kingdom to Saudi Arabia.

The arrival of the troops follows a request to members of the Gulf Co-Operation Council (GCC) from Bahrain, whose Sunni rulers have faced weeks of protests and growing pressure from a majority Shia population to institute political reforms.

The United Arab Emirates has also sent about 500 police to Bahrain, according to Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the Emirati foreign minister.

The US, which counts both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia among its allies, has called for restraint, but has refrained from saying whether it supports the move to deploy troops.MORE




Read more... )
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Japan Orders Evacuation Near 2nd Nuclear Plant

WASHINGTON — Japanese officials issued broad evacuation orders on Saturday for people living near two nuclear power plants whose cooling systems broke down as a result of the earthquake. The officials warned that small amounts of radioactive material were likely to leak from the plants.

The power plants, known as Daiichi and Daini and operated by Tokyo Electric Power, experienced critical failures of the cooling systems after the plants were shut down, as they were during the quake.

About 45,000 people were affected by the evacuation order at the Daiichi plant, where those living within a six-mile radius were told to leave. The evacuation of the second plant was for a one-mile radius because “there is no sign that radiation has been emitted outside,” an official said.MORE



Read more... )
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[personal profile] azuirehas links and commentary including ways to help.

Massive tsunami devastates Japan

Coastline swamped and hundreds dead as biggest quake in centuries sends wave crashing ashore and puts Pacific on alert.


Hundreds of people are dead after one of the strongest earthquakes ever recorded struck Japan, triggering a devastating 10-metre-high tsunami along parts of the country's northeastern coastline.

The massive 8.9-magnitude earthquake struck on Friday afternoon local time, creating gigantic waves which swept away cars, boats, homes and people as the surging water overwhelmed coastal barriers.

Widespread fires burned out of control and Japan's nuclear industry was on alert as reactors shut down automatically as a safety precaution. Millions are reported to be without electricity, airports are closed and public transport in Tokyo and other cities has come to a halt as Japan reels amid the twin devastations.

Police said 200 to 300 bodies have been found in the northeastern coastal city of Sendai where hundreds of buildings have collapsed. Japan's NHK television said the victims appeared to have drowned. Police said another 88 were confirmed killed and 349 were missing.

Thousands of people living near a nuclear plant in Fukushima prefecture were ordered to evacuate after the reactor developing a cooling fault. Officials said the move was a precaution and there was no evidence of leaking radiation.

Meanwhile, countries around the Pacific basin are on tsunami alert amid warnings that a wall of water could completely wash over low-lying islands.MORE


Why Japan is prone to earthquakes

Al Jazeera's senior meteorologist Steff Gaulter gives insight into why earthquakes and tsunamis strike the island nation of Japan:

To put the effects of the latest earthquake in Japan in context, it could help to compare it to other recent quakes: the Haiti earthquake was 7.0 magnitude; the Chile one was 8.8 and the New Zealand one was 6.3.

"So, this as an 8.9, bigger than any of those. It is the seventh-most powerful earthquake that has ever been recorded. So we are talking about a massive earthquake there.

The reason for this activity is because of where Japan is situated, on the joint of four different plates.

"So we have got the Pacific plate and the Philippine plate to the east; and to the west, we have got the North America plate and the Eurasian plate. And what is happening is that the Philippine plate and the Pacific plate are heading towards the west; they are going underneath the other two plates and that is what is causing all the problems.MORE
Video too at link


From California to Chile, residents prepare for waves


Nicaragua: The government issued a green alert for the Pacific area, which makes up 427 coastal kilometers and is home to 100,000 people early this morning. The Chief of Civil Defense, Mario Perezcassar mobilized units to the area, though he has not yet ordered evacuation.

(More on TIME.com: See stunning video of the Japan quake)

Ecuador: President Rafael Correa declared a national emergency and ordered evacuation of the entire coastal region as well as the Galápagos Islands, taking a “better safe than sorry” approach. “If nothing happens, then that's great, but we can't take any risks,” Correa told reporters. Ecuador's heavy crude oil pipeline operator suspended oil shipments.

Colombia: Issued an alert, though no evacuation was ordered. Luz Amanda Pulido, the director of the National System for Disaster Attention and Prevention had a higher alert for the four Pacific coastal regions of Chocó, Valle del Cauca, Cauca and Nariño.


MORE
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On wednesday: 7.9 earthquake hits japan

Japan was struck by a magnitude 7.9 earthquake off its northeastern coast Friday, shaking buildings in Tokyo for several minutes and prompting a tsunami warning.

Japan's meteorological agency warned that a tsunami as high as 20 feet (6 meters) could strike the coast near Miyagi prefecture, closest to the epicenter. Smaller tsunamis of up to 50 centimeters reached some coastal communities, the agency said.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii said a tsunami warning was in effect for Japan, Russia, Marcus Island and the Northern Marianas. A tsunami watch has been issued for Guam, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia and U.S. state of Hawaii.MORE



Read more... )
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Road to Hajj-Japan Part One


Al Jazeera meets the man making Hajj possible for Japan's small Muslim community


Road to Hajj - Japan - 26 Nov 09 - Pt 2


The road to Hajj - Azerbaijan - 25 Nov 09 - Pt 1


Al Jazeera follows pilgrims from this former Soviet state as they prepare for Hajj.


The road to Hajj - Azerbaijan - 25 Nov 09 - Pt 2
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Sri Lankan livelihoods on the line - 19 Oct 09


Thousands of jobs in Sri Lanka's garment industry could be under threat because of the country's human rights record.
The European Union is meeting this week to consider changes to special privileges for the country's textile industry.
With 250,000 people still displaced by the fighting between the army and Tamil Tigers earlier this year, the EU says Colombo is not meeting its obligations on human rights.


Okinawa base future uncertain - 20 Oct 09 US troops in Japan


The US defence secretary Robert Gates is visiting Japan as its new government signals it wants to review military ties with Washington.
While Tokyo says it is committed to the strategic alliance, Japan's newly-elected prime minister has said he wants a "more equal" relationship.
One of the key issues is the future of a major US military base on the island of Okinawa.
From there, Al Jazeera's Harry Fawcett takes a look at what's at stake.


Civilians caught up South Waziristan fighting - 20 Oct 09


Al Jazeera has evidence that civilians are increasingly being caught up in Pakistan's attempts to crush the Taliban in South Waziristan.
Exclusive pictures we have received show that those villagers who haven't fled the area, can't escape the shells and bullets.
Imran Khan reports.

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