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Protests highlight the failure of the ‘leaders’ to lead on climate change

Tom Burke 18th April 2019 Tom Burke: What is really significant is what the protests have already
accomplished, they have changed the conversation. There is no question
about the significance of what they have accomplished by bringing attention
to this issue. I think that we have not understood the urgency of the
climate problem, and how serious the consequences of policy failure in this
area will be.

I think that there has been a real failure of the political
class to give people a good lead on what the nature of this problem is, and
what needs to be done to address it. I think it is flat failure of the
political class to offer decent leadership that has led to the level of
frustration that is being expressed by the Extinction Rebellion campaign
right now.

April 22, 2019 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

U.S. Department of Energy seeks new certification for its Waste Isolation Pilot Plant

Exchange Monitor 18th April 2019 , The Department of Energy is seeking another five-year certification from
the Environmental Protection Agency for its Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
near Carlsbad, N.M. The WIPP Land Withdrawal Act requires DOE to seek
recertification every five years to ensure the site’s compliance with
federal radioactive waste disposal requirements, according to an executive
summary of the application.

The package provides new data on the
underground repository, its waste inventory, and key changes since the last
update. The site was first certified for permanent disposal of transuranic
waste in 1998. The Environmental Protection Agency can “modify, revise,
or suspend” the certification, EPA supervisory environmental scientist
Thomas Peake said Tuesday during a two-day meeting in Washington, D.C., of
the National Academies’ Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board.

April 22, 2019 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Dangerous electioneering: India’s Modi ramps up the nuclear weapons rhetoric

Express Tribune 19th April 2019 During an election rally on April 14, Prime Minister Narendra Modi claimed
that he had called Pakistan’s nuclear “bluff” by carrying out air
strikes within Pakistan. In his exact words, Modi boasted, “Pakistan has
threatened us with nuclear, nuclear, nuclear” and then he asked
rhetorically, “Did we deflate their nuclear threat or not?”

Of course, Modi’s supporters raised chants in an expression of their approval.
Perhaps this was merely a case of aggressive electioneering in which Modi
has focused on national security as the main theme. But such claims have
also been made by several Indian policymakers and defence analysts after
the recent Pulwama crisis which demonstrates that there is a wider
acceptance for such views. In reality this is a dangerous delusion.

April 22, 2019 Posted by | India, politics | Leave a comment

Australian rare earths company Lynas in a pickle over its radioactive wastes in Malaysia

Record result but still no breathing space for Lynas,  The Age, Colin Kruger, April 20, 2019 

It should have been a great week for Lynas Corp…..  Despite soft prices in the rare earths market – and a forced shutdown of its operations in Decemberdue to a local Malaysian government cap on its production limits – Lynas reported a 27 per cent jump in revenue to $101.3 million in the March quarter……

Unfortunately, Lacaze could provide no information on the glaring issue outside the company’s control that imperils its future: the regulatory cloud around the 450,000 tonnes of radioactive waste produced by its Malaysian operations since 2013, which is jeopardising the renewal of its licence to operate in the country. …..

the company was still “seeking clarification” on comments earlier this month by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, which appeared to solve the problem of the licence pre-condition that Lynas says it cannot meet – removal of the radioactive waste by September 2.

Mahathir said Lynas – or any potential acquirer (without explicitly naming Lynas’ estranged suitor, Wesfarmers, whose $1.5 billion indicative offer for the group was rebuffed in March) – would be able to continue to operate in Malaysia if it agreed to extract the radioactive residue from its ore before it reached the country.

Despite two cabinet meetings since that announcement, Mahathir has failed to clarify his comments, or confirm whether it means Lynas might not need to move the existing mountain of radioactive waste that has been accumulating at its $1 billion, 100-hectare processing facility in Kuantan province.

It was the only update that mattered, and the continuing silence has not helped its cause.

The PM’s comments – which have mired Wesfarmers in controversy over what exactly its chief executive, Rob Scott, said to Mahathir in a meeting ahead of this statement – hinted at a path Lynas could have taken instead of processing its ore in Malaysia.

Crown jewel

Lynas’ crown jewel is its world-class rare earths deposit in Mt Weld, Western Australia.

Lynas initially planned to process the ore near its WA mine but was attracted by the infrastructure in Kuantan, including water, electricity, chemical and gas supplies, a skilled labour force and proximity to its customers in the region.

The eventual decision to set up its processing plant in Malaysia meant Lynas also exported the controversy over what happens to the toxic waste produced by the extraction process. And as the water-leached purification (WLP) residue – which contains low-level radioactive waste – has accumulated since production started in 2013, so has the push-back.

It reached its nadir in December last year when the Malaysian government made the export of the radioactive waste a pre-condition of its licence being renewed beyond September.

The Malaysian PM would be well aware that the implications of closing the rare earth processing plant extend well beyond Malaysia and Australia.

Global implications

There are significant global concerns about the fact that China dominates the supply of rare earths – a group of 17 elements crucial to the manufacture of hi-tech products like digital cars, smart phones and wind turbines.

Lynas is the only significant miner and processor of rare earths outside China.

Not that this means anything in Malaysia, where there has been no end to the negative news that has dogged the Lynas operations since it set foot in the country.

Fresh allegations

Lynas was just this week forced to deny fresh allegations it had breached Malaysian environmental regulations by storing more than 1.5 million tonnes of waste on-site for years.  The worry for Lynas is that the latest complaint, by Malaysian MP Lee Chean Ching, related to the 1.13 million tonnes of non-toxic waste produced by its operations, not the 450,000 tonnes of radioactive waste.

The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age also revealed this week that Lynas was warned in a confidential 2011 report, by crisis management group Futureye, that there was an “urgent need” for it to win the local community’s support.

The report presciently warned that its operations in the country could be jeopardised if it did not change the way it dealt with environmental concerns and the government. ….

Concerns pre-date Lynas

Malaysian concerns around rare earth processing pre-date Lynas.

In the 1990s, a subsidiary of Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi closed a rare earths processing plant and spent more than $US100 million cleaning up the waste after residents complained of birth defects and a spike in leukemia cases in the community, according to a New York Times report………

April 22, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, Malaysia, politics international, RARE EARTHS, wastes | Leave a comment

Debunking All The Smears Against Julian Assange

Julian Assange: Within Washington’s grasp? | The Listening Post (Full)

Debunking All The Assange Smears, by Caitlin Johnstone  , Robert Gore, STRAIGHT LINE LOGIC,21Apr19

This is the definitive and comprehensive source for anyone who wants to defend Julian Assange in an argument and win. From Caitlin Johnstone at

Have you ever noticed how whenever someone inconveniences the dominant western power structure, the entire political/media class rapidly becomes very, very interested in letting us know how evil and disgusting that person is? It’s true of the leader of every nation which refuses to allow itself to be absorbed into the blob of the US-centralized power alliance, it’s true of anti-establishment political candidates, and it’s true of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Corrupt and unaccountable power uses its political and media influence to smear Assange because, as far as the interests of corrupt and unaccountable power are concerned, killing his reputation is as good as killing him. If everyone can be paced into viewing him with hatred and revulsion, they’ll be far less likely to take WikiLeaks publications seriously, and they’ll be far more likely to consent to Assange’s imprisonment, thereby establishing a precedent for the future prosecution of leak-publishing journalists around the world. Someone can be speaking 100 percent truth to you, but if you’re suspicious of him you won’t believe anything he’s saying. If they can manufacture that suspicion with total or near-total credence, then as far as our rulers are concerned it’s as good as putting a bullet in his head.

Those of us who value truth and light need to fight this smear campaign in order to keep our fellow man from signing off on a major leap in the direction of Orwellian dystopia, and a big part of that means being able to argue against those smears and disinformation wherever they appear. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find any kind of centralized source of information which comprehensively debunks all the smears in a thorough and engaging way, so with the help of hundreds of tips from my readers and social media followers I’m going to attempt to make one here. What follows is my attempt at creating a tool kit people can use to fight against Assange smears wherever they encounter them, by refuting the disinformation with truth and solid argumentation.

This article is an ongoing project which will be updated regularly where it appears on Medium and as new information comes in and new smears spring up in need of refutation.

Here’s a numbered list of each subject I’ll be covering in this article for ease of reference:

0. How to argue against Assange smears.

  1. “He’s not a journalist.”
  2. “He’s a rapist.”
  3. “He was hiding from rape charges in the embassy.”
  4. “He’s a Russian agent.”
  5. “He’s being prosecuted for hacking crimes, not journalism.”
  6. “He should just go to America and face the music. If he’s innocent he’s got nothing to fear.”
  7. “Well he jumped bail! Of course the UK had to arrest him.”
  8. “He’s a narcissist/megalomaniac/jerk.”
  9. “He’s a horrible awful monster for reasons X, Y and Z… but I don’t think he should be extradited.”
  10. “Trump is going to rescue him and they’ll work together to end the Deep State. Relax and wait and see.”
  11. “He put poop on the walls. Poop poop poopie.”
  12. “He’s stinky.”
  13. “He was a bad houseguest.”
  14. “He conspired with Don Jr.”
  15. “He only publishes leaks about America.”
  16. “He’s an antisemite.”
  17. “He’s a fascist.”
  18. “He was a Trump supporter.”
  19. “I used to like him until he ruined the 2016 election” / “I used to hate him until he saved the 2016 election.”
  20. “He’s got blood on his hands.”
  21. “He published the details of millions of Turkish women voters.”
  22. “He supported right-wing political parties in Australia.”
  23. “He endangered the lives of gay Saudis.”
  24. “He’s a CIA agent/limited hangout.”
  25. “He mistreated his cat.”
  26. “He’s a pedophile.”
  27. “He lied about Seth Rich.”

Wow! That’s a lot! Looking at that list you can only see two possibilities:

  1. Julian Assange, who published many inconvenient facts about the powerful and provoked the wrath of opaque and unaccountable government agencies, is literally the worst person in the whole entire world, OR
  2. Julian Assange, who published many inconvenient facts about the powerful and provoked the wrath of opaque and unaccountable government agencies, is the target of a massive, deliberate disinformation campaign designed to kill the public’s trust in him.

As it happens, historian Vijay Prashad noted in a recent interview with Chris Hedgesthat in 2008 a branch of the US Defense Department did indeed set out to “build a campaign to eradicate ‘the feeling of trust of WikiLeaks and their center of gravity’ and to destroy Assange’s reputation.”

Let’s begin.

How to argue against Assange smears:

Before we get into refuting the specific points of disinformation, I’d like to share a few tips which I’ve found useful in my own experience with engaging people online who are circulating smears against Julian Assange.

A — Be clear that your goal is to fight against a disinformation campaign, not to “win” or to change the mind of the person you’re arguing with………

B — Remember that whoever you’re debating probably doesn’t really know much about the claim they’re making …….

C — Remember that they’re only ever running from their own cognitive dissonance……

D — Remember that the burden of proof is on the one making the claim. ………

E — Never let them trick you into expending more energy than they’re expending. ……

F — When attacking disinformation on Twitter, use this tactic:…….

G — Point out at every opportunity that they are advancing a smear……..

H — Make it about Assange’s imprisonment and extradition…….

I — Familiarize yourself with common logical fallacies…..
J — Rely as much on fact and as little on opinion as possible. …..



April 22, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, civil liberties | Leave a comment

Canada’s Came co Corp slow to clean up groundwater contaminated with uranium at Saskatchewan mill

Saskatoon Star Phoenix 20th April 2019 , Canada’s largest uranium producer says it’s developing a plan to clean
up groundwater contaminated with uranium and radiation four months after it was first discovered at a shuttered mill in northern Saskatchewan.

Cameco Corp. reported in December that a sampling well adjacent to its Key Lake mill “was showing an increasing trend in uranium concentration” after 50,000 litres of water were “released” over the previous year. Carey Hyndman, aspokeswoman for the Saskatoon-based company, said this week that the incident was immediately reported to the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

April 22, 2019 Posted by | Canada, Uranium, water | Leave a comment

India’s Prime MinisterModi boasts of India’s nuclear arsenal

India’s nuclear weapons not for Diwali — Modi, PM accuses Congress party of losing the upper hand after the 1971 war with Pakistan

April 22, 2019 Posted by | India, politics international | Leave a comment

in the 1980s entrepreneurs jumped on the nuclear bunker selling campaign

April 22, 2019 Posted by | history, safety, weapons and war | Leave a comment

China keen to sell nuclear reactor to Bangladesh – an inflated and costly project

Chinese companies lobby for 2nd nuclear power plant in Bangladesh, New Age, Shakhawat Hossain | Apr 21,2019 Chinese companies are showing interest in constructing the planned second nuclear power plant in Bangladesh’s south although the site is yet to be selected.
Two Chinese companies — Dongfang Electric Corporation and China State Construction Engineering Corporation — have already lobbied the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission to win the deal, officials said. …….The officials said that some other Chinese companies, including Guangdong Nuclear Power Group, were making queries about the second nuclear power plant, site of which was likely to be selected in June 2019.

Science and technology secretary Anwar Hossain said that they were considering extending the duration of the site selection programme by six months.

………..Officials said that the Chinese corporation assured the commission of ‘timely commencement and completion’ of the project against the backdrop of criticism that many projects, including Padma Multipurpose Bridge, implemented by Chinese companies in Bangladesh caused cost overrun due to delay in construction.
National committee to protect oil, gas, mineral resources, power and ports member secretary Anu Muhammad said that he was not surprised to find the over enthusiasm of the Chinese companies for the planed second nuclear power plant.
Since the government hardly maintains transparency in the energy related projects, many Chinese companies are active to win projects through the ‘backdoor’, he noted.
He alleged that a ‘nexus between locals and foreigners’ was influencing the government to undertake inflated and costly projects, many of which had no national interest. …….

April 22, 2019 Posted by | China, marketing | Leave a comment