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If USA does not lift sanctions, North Korea could revive nuclear weapons development

North Korea warns it could revive nuclear development if U.S. does not lift sanctions, Global News, The Associated Press, 3 Nov 18  

The statement released by the Foreign Ministry on Friday evening said North Korea could bring back its “pyongjin” policy of simultaneously advancing its nuclear force and economic development if the United States doesn’t change its stance. The North stopped short of threatening to abandon ongoing nuclear negotiations with Washington.

Still, it accused Washington of derailing commitments made by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump at their June summit in Singapore to work toward a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. It was the first time the North said it could potentially resume weapons tests and other development activities since Kim signalled a new state policy in April.

In an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he plans to talk next week with his North Korean counterpart, apparently referring to senior North Korean official Kim Yong Chol. Pompeo did not provide the location and date for the meeting, which will likely be focused on persuading North Korea to take firmer steps toward denuclearization and setting up a second summit between their leaders……


December 8, 2018 Posted by | North Korea, politics international | Leave a comment

UK must explain its plans for civil nuclear power security under ‘no deal’ Brexit scenario

Reeves calls for clarity for nuclear in ‘no deal’ Brexit scenario David Blackman , 7 Dec 18 Rachel Reeves has urged the government to provide greater clarity about its plans for civil nuclear power if the UK leaves the EU without a withdrawal deal.

The chair of the House of Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy committee has written to Richard Harrington, who has responsibility for the nuclear industry in his portfolio as minister for busiUK

In the letter, Reeves acknowledges indications of progress on the civil nuclear relationship between the EU and the UK regarding issues like safeguards and trading arrangements.

The government passed a bill last year outlining plans to create a new safeguarding regime for nuclear material and labour once the UK has to leave its existing arrangements under the Euratom treaty.

The letter seeks more detail on the plans that the government is making to ensure that the civil nuclear sector can continue to function after next March if parliament has been unable to secure a broader separation agreement and whether a side-deal with Euratom is being pursued.

She also quizzes Harrington on whether the UK has received any signals from Euratom about whether it will be possible to maintain the “close association” that the government has said it wanted with the EU-wide nuclear co-operation arrangement.

Reeves also asks whether the government has made any arrangements to overcome possible hitches in the nuclear new build programme if the upcoming migration white paper inhibits the inflow of the migrant labour which has been “essential” for such projects.

Reeves said: “In the event of no deal and no transition period, the ongoing operation of the UK’s nuclear power stations could be put at risk. The government needs to spell out what it is doing to ensure that nuclear power stations continue to function from 29 March 2019 and whether it will seek a separate deal with Euratom in these circumstances.

“The government also needs to be clearer about its plans to facilitate the building of construction of major facilities such as Hinkley Point C if restrictions on migrant labour are introduced in the future.”


December 8, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, politics, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

U.S. preparing to wreck the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START)?

U.S. Preparing Grounds to Scrap Key Nuclear Treaty, Lavrov Says, Bloomberg, By Stepan Kravchenko, December 7, 2018, NATO rejected Russian offer to discuss INF accord, Lavrov says. Huawei official’s arrest shows U.S. ‘arrogance,’ minister says

The U.S. is preparing to wreck the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), a key accord with Russia on limiting nuclear weapons, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

“I have the impression that they are preparing the ground to destroy this document as well,” following the U.S. decision to withdraw from another nuclear accord, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, Lavrov told a televised press conference in Milan on Friday after a meeting of OSCE foreign ministers. Russia has repeatedly sent proposals to the U.S. to begin talks on extending the START agreement but has received no response so far, he said.

The New START treaty signed in 2010, which followed on from a 1991 agreement, is due to expire in 2021. Under the accord, Russian and U.S. arsenals are restricted to no more than 1,550 strategic warheads on no more than 700 deployed strategic missiles and bombers. U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said during a visit to Moscow in October that Washington “does not have a position that we’re prepared to negotiate” on a new START treaty, adding that there’s “plenty of time” before the deal expires…….

December 8, 2018 Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Energy efficiency the starting point for effective climate policies

Colin Hines,  Guardian 6th Dec 2018 : a massive increase in economic activity arising from
environmental policies that are clearly seen to improve prospects for the
majority through an emphasis on green jobs in every community.

The obvious starting point is to make every home, commercial and industrial building
energy efficient worldwide. In the US this is one of the central demands of
the youngest of the new members of Congress, Alexandria Ocasio–Cortez,
with her call for a select committee for a green new deal, an initiative
supported by Bernie Sanders and other elected progressives.

Also key will be the rapid transition to renewables and low-carbon local transport
systems. To reduce political opposition to such a shift will require cash
to help communities initially threatened by such measures, from scrappage
schemes for polluting cars, subsidies for a rapid growth in electric public
and private transport, through to job conversion schemes for Polish coal
miners threatened by the latest climate talks.

December 8, 2018 Posted by | general | 1 Comment

Coal lobby is prominent at COP24 U.N climate change conference

COP24 President defends participation of coal companies at climate talks, ABC, The World By Erin Handley 7 Dec 18, COP24 President Michal Kurtyka has defended displays of coal soap and jewellery at key climate change talks in Poland, saying “it’s good to have everybody on board”.

Key points:

  • The climate talks drew some ridicule for putting coal on display in the foyer
  • New Zealand has named climate change as its biggest security threat
  • Pacific nations are facing an existential threat, Michal Kurtyka said

Conference attendees were confronted with coal displays in the foyer and greeted by a performance from the Polish Coal Miners Band during the talks designed to bring about global action on climate change.

Polish President Andrzej Duda said using coal was not in conflict with climate protection, and with the climate change talks taking place in the city of Katowice — a coal mining stronghold — some observers said the setting undermined the purpose of the talks.

Mr Kurtyka, who is also a secretary of state in the Ministry of Environment, denied that coal companies “sponsored” the event, which he said was publicly funded by Poland — but said there were several partners, including Ikea and energy companies. …….

Richie Merzian, director of the Australia Institute’s Climate and Energy Program, said the coal-heavy setting left “a sour taste in the mouths of those who are committed to climate action”.

“But at the same time it is symbolic of trying to deal with the vested interests and the long history of reliance on fossil fuels in many of these cities and countries.”

Mr Merzian added that coal companies were not on the same page as delegates seeking an ambitious plan to combat climate change.

“Their core business is directly in contrast to … the goal of the Paris Agreement, which is to transition completely away from reliance on fossil fuels,” he said, adding that the influence of coal companies on governments ran deep.

“Stopping that outright, in-your-face sponsorship would definitely help in terms of optics, but a lot of the influence is just strongly embedded into the positions that the countries bring forward.”………

Yesterday New Zealand released a defence policy statement naming climate change as its biggest security threat and stressing the impact of climate change on the Pacific.

“It identifies climate change as one of the most significant security threats of our time, and one that is already having adverse impacts both at home and in New Zealand’s neighbourhood,” said Defence Minister Ron Mark in an emailed statement to Reuters.

Australia, however, has turned its back on its Pacific neighbours in terms of climate change, Mr Merzian said.

“The Pacific are getting desperate, and instead of their friends helping, they’re hurting,” he said.

“Poland is the Australia of the EU — the largest coal user, the largest coal producer — but unlike Australia that can operate in its own bubble, Poland has to marry up its position with its EU colleagues as a bloc, and that’s why they help drag Poland to be better than what it would otherwise be.”

December 8, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, politics international | 2 Comments

Iran-Contra Independent Counsel, 1993: “The Criminal Investigation Of Bush Was Regrettably Incomplete” — Mining Awareness +

“George Bush [Sr.] served as vice president through the Reagan presidency from 1981 to 1989. In January 1989, he succeeded Reagan as President. It was in his capacity as President that Bush committed what will likely become his most memorable act in connection with Iran/contra. On December 24, 1992, twelve days before former Secretary of […]

via Iran-Contra Independent Counsel, 1993: “The Criminal Investigation Of Bush Was Regrettably Incomplete” — Mining Awareness +

December 8, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Questions following the Environment and Health West Cumbria Site Stakeholder Meeting —

The following are a few of the excellent questions and thoughts posed by Neil from RaFL arising from the West Cumbria Site Stakeholder Meeting last week at Cleator Moor on 29th Nov. It takes a strong stomach to look at this stuff without the blinkers on. Those present for Sellafield -Dr Richard Hill, Prof. Paul […]

via Questions following the Environment and Health West Cumbria Site Stakeholder Meeting —

December 8, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

December 7 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “ExxonMobil’s Renewable Energy Commitments Are in the News – Should We Cheer?” • Media outlets have celebrated ExxonMobil’s renewable energy commitments, which now include an agreement with Denmark’s Ørsted A/S to buy 500 MW of wind and solar power. Should we cheer when fossil fuels are renewably extracted? [CleanTechnica] ¶ “Global Climate Financing as […]

via December 7 Energy News — geoharvey

December 8, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The column I didn’t want to write about Julian Assange

Does anyone really think such a system could produce a fair trial?

SMH, By Elizabeth Farrelly, 8 December 2018  This is a piece I had no desire to write. Julian Assange, still holed up after six years in his self-imposed Knightsbridge prison, his fine view of Harrods’ Christmas lights filtered through an encircling fence of bobbies, has so thoroughly fallen from favour that even smart and kind-hearted people (and here I include self) find themselves somewhere between bored and hostile. Yet two questions remain: is this view manufactured? And, either way, should Assange be dumped into the lightless sewers of America’s imperial security system?

Assange’s welcome in the embassy is growing thin. When Ecuador throws him out, as is likely any moment, he’ll be arrested. For what? The only current charge, on an arrest warrant that a British judge recently refused to quash, is for skipping bail on a rape allegation that has since been dropped. The fear, and the reason he skipped, is that he’ll be extradited to the US to be face a secret grand jury indictment on charges of espionage for which Chelsea Manning has already been pardoned. …….
Assange’s welcome in the embassy is growing thin. When Ecuador throws him out, as is likely any moment, he’ll be arrested. For what? The only current charge, on an arrest warrant that a British judge recently refused to quash, is for skipping bail on a rape allegation that has since been dropped. The fear, and the reason he skipped, is that he’ll be extradited to the US to be face a secret grand jury indictment on charges of espionage for which Chelsea Manning has already been pardoned. So the legality of Assange’s transgression is less important than political perceptions of its public-interest value. His defence depends entirely on political intervention and, therefore, on public perception. This is why the public’s desertion of him is so critical. But is it justified?
But counterbalancing all that is the far bigger question of the American security machine, and whether we trust that to safeguard anyone’s interest but its own.  ….
 secrecy has been the anti-Assange campaign’s defining characteristic. Naturally, no one ever conceded that the rape charges were shaky or explained the prosecutor’s refusal to interview Assange in London (generating fear of a ruse to facilitate his extradition to the US). The charges have since been dropped without explanation yet America’s determination to capture Assange remains undiminished.
Back in 2011 a grand jury was convened in Virginia to determine whether Assange was indictable. Grand jury proceedings are inherently secret. Involving neither judge nor jury they are prosecutor-led, with no defendant right to a defence, attendance or even knowledge. Their findings too are secret. Thus, despite years of enduring rumours of a “sealed indictment” against Assange we know only that last month, US prosecutors inadvertently revealed that secret charges had been laid against Assange.

Put it together. An old arrest warrant for skipping bail on a charge that was always feeble and has since been dropped, a refusal to deny extradition intentions, secret charges emerging from a secret court over an act that may not even be illegal and for which the principal culprit has already been pardoned. Does anyone really think such a system could produce a fair trial?

Twitter @emfarrelly

December 8, 2018 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Rallies will demand that Australia insists on Julian Assange’s safe departure from UK

Rallies will demand that the Australian government exercise its undeniable diplomatic and legal powers to insist that the British government immediately and unconditionally allow Assange to leave the United Kingdom and return to Australia if he so chooses. The courageous journalist must be provided with a guarantee, by both the Coalition and Labor, that Canberra will categorically reject any US application for Assange’s extradition

SEP meeting and livestream on December 16: What next in the fight to free Julian Assange?  WSW By the Socialist Equality Party (Australia) , 28 November 2018As this year draws to a close, WikiLeaks publisher and Australian citizen Julian Assange remains effectively imprisoned inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, denied sunlight and medical care, and blocked from communicating with the outside world. A court document, which surfaced in November, confirms that the US government has filed and sealed criminal charges against Assange, on the basis that his media organisation, WikiLeaks, published leaked information revealing US war crimes and anti-democratic imperialist intrigues.

The information vindicates the fight waged by Assange and his defenders against an arrest warrant, issued against him in 2010, obligating him to answer “questions” over false allegations that he had committed sexual assault in Sweden. The allegations were fabricated in order to provide ammunition for various pro-US layers to discredit Assange and to create the conditions for him to be rendered to a country that could rapidly extradite him to the US. The American ruling elite is determined to make an example of Assange by putting him on trial for “espionage” or “conspiracy,” in order to intimidate every journalist and whistleblower. Continue reading

December 8, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

China’s push to take over the abandoned Moorside nuclear project

Chinese nuclear giant flags interest in NuGen’s abandoned Cumbria plant, Building, By Will Ing7 December 2018 China General Nuclear also reveals plans to speed up delivery of nuclear power plant in Essex.China General Nuclear has flagged interest in building on the Moorside site recently vacated by Toshiba subsidiary NuGen as it reveals plans to speed up development of a nuclear power plant in Essex.

China General Nuclear (CGN), who is already developing Hinkley Point C (pictured) with EDF Energy, is carrying out technical assessments with a view to building another plant with the French energy giant in Bradwell, Essex.

Speaking at the Nuclear 2018 conference in London Rob Davies, the UK chief operating officer of CGN, said: “With the demise of NuGen there is a gap in the UK’s nuclear programme; the expected sequence of reactors coming down the line has been interrupted.

“We are confident we can close that gap by bringing Bradwell into operation much sooner.”…….

December 8, 2018 Posted by | China, marketing, UK | Leave a comment

All arms controls treaties threatened as USA prepares to abandon one

As One Arms Treaty Falls Apart, Others Look Shakier, U.S-Russia sparring over Cold War accord on nuclear missiles raises broader concerns on traditional framework for arms control, WSJ, By Michael R. Gordon, Dec. 7, 2018 

The impending collapse of a Cold War-era treaty banning U.S. and Russian intermediate-range missiles is spurring broader concerns about the very future of arms control.

Responding to appeals from its European allies, the Trump administration has given Moscow 60 days to resolve the U.S. allegations that it has punched a hole in the accord by deploying ground-launched cruise missiles.

A central question in the dispute is whether anything can be done to patch up the 1987 accord and, if not, whether a separate treaty limiting long-range nuclear arms, which will lapse in early 2021 unless extended, will be the next domino to fall.………

December 8, 2018 Posted by | general | Leave a comment