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Public Eye Awards.

Nominated:

Tepco
Against its better judgement, Tepco, Japan’s largest energy company, grossly neglected the structural safety of its atomic power plants in order to cut costs.

Samsung
In its factories, Samsung uses banned and highly-toxic substances without informing and protecting its workers. The result: cancer.

Barclays
Barclays, banking giant and the world’s fastest-growing food speculator, drives up global food prices at the expense of the poorest.

Vale
In the midst of Amazonas rainforest Vale is constructing the Belo-Monte-Dam. 40’000 people are suffering forced eviction.

Syngenta
Despite being banned in Europe Syngenta markets its herbicide Paraquat in the Global South. Thousands of farmers have already died due to the use of the product.

Freeport
For 45 years the US-mining corporation Freeport McMoran pollutes with its mine the environment in West Papua. Those who raise their voice get tortured or killed.
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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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The 2011 Goldman Environmental Prize for Europe: Ursula Sladek



In response to Germany’s expanded reliance on nuclear energy, Ursula Sladek created her country’s first cooperatively-owned renewable power company.

Nuclear Energy in Europe
Twenty-five years ago, the catastrophic Chernobyl nuclear meltdown in the Soviet Union produced a radioactive cloud that quickly spread across Europe. As news of the event rippled through the continent, questions arose about toxic fallout and its implications for communities thousands of miles from Chernobyl.

At the time, West Germany relied almost exclusively on nuclear and coal energy to power its growing economy. A small handful of companies held a monopoly on the energy market, controlling most of the local grids. An anti-nuclear movement had been active throughout the 1980s and had gained some popular support, but German power companies did not provide opportunities for consumers to opt out of using nuclear-derived power.

Motivation
For Ursula Sladek, a mother of five from the tiny community of Schönau in Germany’s Black Forest region, the Chernobyl disaster served as a serious wake-up call about the dangers of nuclear energy. She and her neighbors were alarmed by reports about radioactive residue detected on playgrounds, backyard gardens, and farmland in Schönau. Suddenly, it was unsafe for Sladek to go about her normal routine of eating locally grown foods and sending her children outside to play.

In response, Sladek, her husband, and a small group of parents began researching the energy industry in Germany to see if there was a way to limit their community’s dependence on nuclear power. They found that power companies were not allowing citizens to have a say in energy production decisions. Chernobyl proved that though nuclear energy could be called “green” by some standards, the safety risks associated with it were cause for deep concern. Sladek also knew that nuclear energy was not the only option. Thus, the group began what would become a 10 year project to take over the local grid, and in a second step, allow people all over Germany to choose safe, reliable, sustainably-produced energy. This project would transform Sladek from a small-town parent trained to be a schoolteacher into the founder and president of one of Europe’s first cooperatively-owned green energy companiesMORE


Audio Interview with See Jane Do
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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




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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



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Inside Story - Reassessing the world nuclear order



On Monday more than 40 nations gather in Washington to attend the nuclear security summit - the biggest gathering outside the UN on US soil since the 1945 San Francisco summit on forming the United Nations. But Iran is not invited and Israel's prime minister decided not to attend. So where is the real threat today? And what of nuclear proliferation and the world nuclear order, is it fair? Does it work?

Taking Action: President Obama's Nuclear Security Summit



Nuclear Summit Wrap-Up

Opinion: Reporting on Iran should seem familiar

Iran reacts to becoming a US nuclear target


Gates Worries about Iranian Nuclear Research, while Khamenei blasts US for Hiroshima

Links

Apr. 9th, 2010 08:54 pm
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Collateral Murder Uncut Version



April 03, 2010 — Wikileaks has obtained and decrypted this previously unreleased video footage from a US Apache helicopter in 2007. It shows Reuters journalist Namir Noor-Eldeen, driver Saeed Chmagh, and several others as the Apache shoots and kills them in a public square in Eastern Baghdad. They are apparently assumed to be insurgents. After the initial shooting, an unarmed group of adults and children in a minivan arrives on the scene and attempts to transport the wounded. They are fired upon as well. The official statement on this incident initially listed all adults as insurgents and claimed the US military did not know how the deaths ocurred. Wikileaks released this video with transcripts and a package of supporting documents on April 5th 2010 on http://collateralmurder.com





Global Vocies:Kyrgyzstan: The “Archived” Revolution

The roots of the present revolution are various: South vs. North clash (Bakiev is from the South, the rebels are from the North), corruption and suppressive government (in recent years Kyrgyz people witnessed all forms of oppression from closings of the newspapers [ENG] to independent journalists' murders [EN]), Russia's Great Game interest, Ortega-y-Gasset'ian “revolt of the masses” etc). Whatever the real reasons of the Kyrgyz revolution of 2010 are it is important to note that it was overwhelmingly immediate, furious, bloody and… well-documented.

The role of the new media changed slightly this time compared to other dramatic events (like the protests in Moldova or Iran). Blogs and Twitter didn't serve as serious means of public mobilization since the Internet penetration rate is relatively small in Kyrgyzstan ( just 15 percent in 2009). However, new media were agile enough to cover all the main events giving detailed footage of initial protests in Talas, rampage in Bishkek and looting that followed. At the same time, new media were efficiently used by the opposition attracting the attention of international community and shifting public opinion to the side of the protesters. The opposition leader Roza Otunbaeva (@otunbaeva), for instance, registered her account as soon as she became the head of the provisional government. On the other day, son of president Bakiev, Maxim opened a LiveJournal account to express the pro-government point of view.

As Gregory Asmolov concluded [RUS], it was not “journalists 2.0″ who were the most efficient in covering Kyrgyz events but the “editors 2.0″. Bloggers who both knew the region and were outside the country to see the big picture and collected the photographs, videos and Twitter confessions. Two most informed bloggers in this situation were people outside the country: US-based Yelena Skochilo (a.k.a. LJ user morrire) and Kazakhstan-based Vyacheslav Firsov (a.k.a. lord_fame). They managed to assemble the most complete collections of photos, videos and timelines


Trinidad & Tobago: Election Fever

With one action, the prorogation of Parliament, Trinidad and Tobago's Prime Minister thrust the country into election mode. (The constitution of the twin island republic states that from the moment Parliament is dissolved, a general election must be held in no fewer than 35 days and no more than 90). As the news broke, the blogosphere was rife with speculation that the move was made to pre-empt a no-confidence motion against Manning that had been scheduled for debate today in the House of Representatives, as well as to avoid the fallout over the report of the Uff Commission of Enquiry into the Construction Sector, which was critical of the modus operandi of the state-owned Urban Development Corporation of T&T (UDeCOTT) - which is not to say that bloggers are not asking other critical questions, some even as basic as “When?

Trinidad and Tobago girls, politics, sports, technology, carnival, and lifestyle, however, starts with the “Why?”:

Why now? Why would the Prime Minister risk losing Government with not even 3 years of his five-year term behind him?
Why? Why when the country can still call on record revenue and a commanding majority in Parliament?

The analysts are pinning it on the no-confidence motion; or Calder Hart. But as Chris Rock asked when speaking on the Columbine shootings, “Whatever happened to crazy?”
It's quite possible Manning is just a nut. A lunatic.


MORE


RIGHTS-US: Love Without Borders – Or Papers

Cuba:Old Havana reaches out to the hearing impaired

Peru: Ongoing Mining Strike

Palestinian Christians barred from Jerusalem for Easter

Our Bodies are shaking now: Rape follows Earthquake in Haiti

Bolivia: Polarization persists:Regional elections confirm political split between the western highlands and eastern lowlands

Guatemala: Despite change to Penal Code, poor, indigenous Guatemalans lack resources to bring discrimination cases to trial.

South Korea insists it atomic program is for energy only



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xposted


Iran and Israel hold first talks since 1979




The Israeli press is reporting that around a fortnight ago Iran and Israel held direct talks in Cairo. They discussed the idea of a nuclear free Middle East.
Israel indicated that in principle, once comprehensive peace is established, it would be ready to discuss proposals for a nuclear free Middle East. Iran assured Israel that it does not seek to endanger Israel.

This seems to be the first time that the State of Israel and the Islamic Republic of Iran have held direct talks. The reports come hot on the heel of other reports regarding Iran's willingness to sign a draft agreement proposed by the IAEA, which affords international recognition of Iran's rights to enrich uranium under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, and at the same time eases concerns about Iran's potential ability to produce a nuclear bomb.
This is a short diary covering this breaking story.MORE
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Juan Cole:Top Things you Think You Know about Iran that are not True

But on this occasion, I thought I'd take the opportunity to list some things that people tend to think they know about Iran, but for which the evidence is shaky.

Belief: Iran is aggressive and has threatened to attack Israel, its neighbors or the US


Reality: Iran has not launched an aggressive war in modern history (unlike the US or Israel), and its leaders have a doctrine of "no first strike." This is true of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, as well as of Revolutionary Guards commanders.

Belief: Iran is a militarized society bristling with dangerous weapons and a growing threat to world peace.

Reality: Iran's military budget is a little over $6 billion annually. Sweden, Singapore and Greece all have larger military budgets. Moreover, Iran is a country of 70 million, so that its per capita spending on defense is tiny compared to these others, since they are much smaller countries with regard to population. Iran spends less per capita on its military than any other country in the Persian Gulf region with the exception of the United Arab Emirates.


Belief: Iran has threatened to attack Israel militarily and to "wipe it off the map."


Reality: No Iranian leader in the executive has threatened an aggressive act of war on Israel, since this would contradict the doctrine of 'no first strike' to which the country has adhered. The Iranian president has explicitly said that Iran is not a threat to any country, including Israel.

Belief: But didn't President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad threaten to 'wipe Israel off the map?'


Reality: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did quote Ayatollah Khomeini to the effect that "this Occupation regime over Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time" (in rezhim-e eshghalgar-i Qods bayad as safheh-e ruzgar mahv shavad). This was not a pledge to roll tanks and invade or to launch missiles, however. It is the expression of a hope that the regime will collapse, just as the Soviet Union did. It is not a threat to kill anyone at all.MORE


Iran: More accomplished in one day of negotiations than in 8 years of threats

Here are two stories from the last 24 hours which provide an interesting and glaring contrast:
McClatchy, reporting on yesterday's meeting with Iran in Geneva:
Iran also pledged that within weeks it would allow the inspection of a previously covert uranium enrichment facility near the holy city of Qom, and the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, announced that he'd head to Tehran to work out the details.
Eli Lake, The Washington Times, this morning:
President Obama has reaffirmed a 4-decade-old secret understanding that has allowed Israel to keep a nuclear arsenal without opening it to international inspections, three officials familiar with the understanding said.
The officials, who spoke on the condition that they not be named because they were discussing private conversations, said Mr. Obama pledged to maintain the agreement when he first hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House in May.
Under the understanding, the U.S. has not pressured Israel to disclose its nuclear weapons or to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which could require Israel to give up its estimated several hundred nuclear bombs.
In addition to agreeing to allow full inspections of its Qom facility, Iran yesterday also did this:
Iran agreed in principle Thursday to ship most of its current stockpile of enriched uranium to Russia, where it would be refined for exclusively peaceful uses, in what Western diplomats called a significant, but interim, measure to ease concerns over its nuclear program. . . .
Under the tentative uranium deal, Iran would ship what a U.S. official said was "most" of its approximately 3,000 pounds of low-enriched uranium to Russia, where it would be further refined, to 19.75 percent purity. That is much less than the purity needed to fuel a nuclear bomb.
French technicians then would fabricate it into fuel rods and return it to Tehran to power a nuclear research reactor that's used to make isotopes for nuclear medicine.
Steve Hynd explains why Iran's willingness to agree to this process was both so surprising and so significant. MORE<./a>


Roll Out The Aluminum Tubes


In the days after the successful talks between Western powers and Iran, which yielded more in one day than eight years of threats by the Cheney Administration, those who profit off of belligerence and confrontation with the world had clearly circled the wagons and planted their stories in the nation's newspapers. If people got the idea that Iran was moving toward cooperation, why, what would the foreign policy "establishment" that thrives off of conflict and military deployment do? Where would the next enemy be found? It's very bad for business.

So out came the links. Helene Cooper typed up the fears of anonymous officials wondering if the agreements in the first round of talks, including a deal where Iran would ship its enriched uranium to Russia to ensure that it would be used for peaceful purposes, were just a tactic by the Iranians to "buy time." Practically the same article popped up in the LA Times, as "experts and government officials" questioned whether the timeline for IAEA inspectors to visit the recently revealed facility at Qom represented another stall tactic. Amid this suspicion, neocon emeritus Elliott Abrams surmised that Iranians would not oppose a military attack on their own country, because there's nothing dissidents enjoy more than bombs raining on their heads (the reformers don't want sanctions either, it will hurt ordinary Iranians rather than the ruling regime).MORE

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