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TEPCO decides not to hire foreign workers at nuclear plant

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May 22, 2019
Workers check the advanced liquid processing system used to treat contaminated water at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant in December. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Tokyo Electric Power Co. announced May 22 it was backtracking on plans to use foreign workers at its crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant after the health ministry urged extreme caution.
The utility said it will not hire foreign workers at the plant “in the immediate future” as it will need “much more time to put a system in place to ensure their safety.”
The company noted that hiring foreign workers at the nuclear plant under a new specified skills visa category that took effect in April could result in work-related accidents and long-term health problems due to their lack of Japanese language skills and understanding of Japanese labor practices.
The announcement followed a health ministry caution May 21 for TEPCO to carefully reconsider its policy of using foreign workers at the complex.
The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare noted that TEPCO was keen to take advantage of a new specified skills visa category and hire foreign workers, but urged the company to exercise “extreme caution.”
The ministry was concerned about foreign nationals with a limited command of Japanese being in an environment contaminated with radioactive substances.
The ministry had said that if TEPCO went ahead with hiring foreign workers, the company and its contractors involved in decommissioning had to take at least the same level of protective measures that apply to Japanese workers to ensure that they fully understand safety sanitation and avoid the health risk of excessive radiation exposure.
Even though eight years have passed since the triple meltdown, radiation levels remain high in many areas of the Fukushima plant, especially around the reactor buildings.
The decommissioning process that is expected to take years will involve a range of gargantuan tasks, one being the removal of melted nuclear fuel debris from the reactors.
Under the recently revised immigration control law, foreign workers with specified skills are permitted to work at nuclear power plants.
The ministry acknowledges that it is ultimately up to individual employers to decide whether or not to accept foreign workers on their payrolls.
But experts in Japan and overseas who are keen for the new visa program to be a success have also voiced concerns about foreign workers at the Fukushima plant developing radiation-related health issues and being able to manage them after they return to their home countries.
Foreign workers arriving in Japan in one of the two categories of specified skills can stay in the country for up to five years.
“Since there are no legal constraints, the ministry moved one step ahead of TEPCO,” said a senior ministry official, referring to the request for a rethink of the policy.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga referred to the ministry’s caution at a May 21 news conference, saying that TEPCO should be prepared to fully address a range of health-related problems that may arise in the future.
The utility notified dozens of its contractors at a meeting in late March that it will accept foreign workers at the Fukushima plant.
Currently, about 4,000 people toil at the plant each day. Most areas of the complex are categorized as controlled areas to guard against radiation exposure.
Under the law, workers at a nuclear facility must not be exposed to more than 100 millisieverts of radiation over five years and 50 millisieverts a year.

 

 

May 27, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

TEPCO urged to be cautious about using foreign workers in Fukushima

21 may 2019
This photo taken from a Kyodo News helicopter shows a trailer (bottom center) thought to be carrying nuclear fuel from one of the reactor buildings at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
May 21, 2019
TOKYO (Kyodo) — The Japanese government on Tuesday urged the operator of the disaster-stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to carefully examine its plan to have foreigners work at the complex under a new visa program, citing difficulties in managing the long-term health risk.
“It is necessary to give very deliberate consideration” to whether foreigners who come to Japan under the new visa program should engage in decommissioning work at the plant, labor minister Takumi Nemoto told reporters.
Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. said last month it plans to accept foreign workers at the facility hit by the 2011 megaquake and tsunami.
The minister expressed concern about the ability to conduct long-term health management for foreign workers after they return to their home countries upon expiration of their visas.
“It is necessary to establish a safety and health management procedure that is equivalent or more advanced than that for Japanese workers,” Nemoto said.
The new visa program launched this April is intended to bring in mainly blue-collar foreign workers to 14 labor-hungry sectors including construction, farming and nursing care in aging Japan. TEPCO has confirmed with the Justice Ministry that holders of visas under the scheme are eligible to work at the Fukushima plant.
The government also urged TEPCO to consider implementing measures to manage the amount of radiation exposure for workers engaged in decommissioning tasks.
It also requested the utility to study whether it can use native languages for safety training and when issuing safety warnings at workplaces for workers who lack general proficiency in the Japanese language and familiarity with the country’s customs.
The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare demanded TEPCO report back to the ministry on the outcome of its deliberations without setting a deadline.
TEPCO said it has told dozens of its subcontractors that foreigners coming to Japan under the new visa program can not only engage in decommissioning work at the plant, but also take up building cleaning roles and work in the provision of food service.
To prevent unsafe levels of radiation exposure, TEPCO has said foreign workers must have Japanese language abilities that enable them to accurately understand the risks and to follow procedures and orders communicated to them in Japanese.
In radiation-controlled areas, workers need to carry dosimeters. On average, approximately 4,000 people work for TEPCO subcontractors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant each day.
To address exploitation fears under the new visa system, the Justice Ministry has issued an ordinance requiring employers to pay wages equivalent to or higher than those of Japanese nationals.

May 27, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Theatre for Fukushima: voices from the silence

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May 20, 2019
Where were you and what were you doing on that fateful day, 11 March 2011?
Eight years have gone by, and the then six to eight-year-old children are now high school students who use theatre as a channel for self-expression. Through their performance, they attempt to tell the story of their home towns and cities. It is also a way for them to assimilate the experience that changed the face of an entire region.
Still Life is the name of the play performed by six girls and six boys from the Futaba Future public high school in Fukushima. Aged between 15 and 17, the parts they play are based on their own life experiences. They tell the story of what the children went through, laying bare the complex web of emotions they have been caught in till this day. It is a tangled tale of love, childhood and suicide, seen through the unadulterated eyes of young people, who were just small children when the triple disaster struck. They are the youngest and will therefore be the last generation to keep a memory of those tragic events. And it is important for them to be able to share it.
The brown colour of the sea. A uniform left behind when a school was hastily closed down following the radiation alert. A teddy bear with a broken heart and the incessant ringing of a telephone searching for missing grandparents. Lampposts swaying dangerously on a hill, while children huddle together, remembering the adults’ instructions not to be left on their own. Innocently playing in a classroom with the water and sand spilt by the earthquake and cleaning it all up before heading for safety. Sleeping in the car with all the family when not a space was left in the sports centre. Memories of an earthquake, a tsunami, of radioactivity and the fear surrounding the decontamination process.
Until she was eight, Ayumi Ota lived in Tomioka, a town that was evacuated in the aftermath of the disaster. The 16-year-old actor was inspired to join the school theatre group by her elder brother. They are both part of the cast. With her inquisitive and lively gaze, Ayumi shines in her part as the likeable classmate spurring on the others, despite her own longing for a place to which she knows she will never be able to return. She enjoyed the experience so much that she is considering joining a theatre group: “When I’m acting, it brings back what we went through, although [acting] has not been so hard for me because I want to express myself. We are all interconnected, Fukushima and Tokyo, we’re not that different.”
Seventeen-year-old Minoru Tomonaga comes from the town of Iwaki. He likes to sing and wants to study in a professional academy. He admits that his main motive for taking part in the play is a girl he likes. Minoru found the whole process much harder to handle: “My mind was on overdrive. It was like hitting a wall, because each one of us had our own experiences. It was difficult to cope with all those feelings. But I do hope that we are listened to, in this time of fake news.”
After its debut in Fukushima, in September 2018, the young actors wanted to take the play to Tokyo. Writer Miri Yu, the soul of the play, recalls how, as the performance ended and the curtain went down, the students seemed to be glued to their desks.
“They had grown attached to their roles, so they had to do it. Audiences in Tokyo hadn’t experienced the earthquake, the tsunami and nuclear accident first-hand. How the play would be received was obviously a worry, but something always gets across.”
Miri Yu, who is also a playwright, has won a number of national literary awards, including the prestigious Akutagawa Award (1996). After a string of back-to-back, sold-out performances in Tokyo, Yu explains to Equal Times the importance of art and creation as a source of comfort and consolation. “The play is a still life that captures the sadness of the disaster-struck children. The pain or suffering we carry deep inside eventually ends up overflowing, like water in a dam. Otherwise, the pain breaks the dam and drags you along with it. To prevent this from happening, I wanted to build a channel in which to pour all this sadness. The play is the vessel in which it is collected. Isn’t sadness what we as human beings have most in common? We all carry certain sorrows in our lives; all of us, in Tokyo too. This play emerged as a beacon of light, a source of solace for young people.”
Kanako Saito works as an English teacher at Futaba Future High School. She is also in charge of the theatre group. This teacher, who supports her pupils and is also part of the cast, explains how theatre helps them. “Back then, they were just small children and were unable to express themselves. Their parents shielded them from what was happening, be it from the radiation or the decision to move. They weren’t allowed to watch television and had to play indoors, never outside the house. They had no way of venting their feelings. Eight years on, they now have the vocabulary to express themselves. As they build the drama, they focus on how they felt, which helps in their healing process. It also helps the families who, by watching their children acting, gain a better insight into what they went through. It helps people to move on.”
Starting over
Futaba Future High School has kept the name of the place where it had stood until radioactivity made it uninhabitable. Futaba is one of the towns nearest to the Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. In 2015, the school relocated to Hirono, a nearby town that was outside the danger zone. Its guiding principle is to prepare global leaders that can contribute to tackling today’s new challenges.
Following the disaster, 470,000 people – which amounts to almost the entire population of cities like Lisbon or Edinburgh – were evacuated. According to the Reconstruction Agency, a body tasked with this unprecedented mission, by February 2019, the number of evacuees had reached 51,778. Places like Namie, Tomioka, Futaba and Okuma were totally or partially evacuated. Their names resonate throughout the play, when the budding actors relive their memories.
“The experience had a strong impact on everyone. The actors, who were little children back then, have barely taken in what they went through. The coast of Fukushima has not yet been fully reconstructed. The young locals and their families continue to be faced with great hardships. They have become displaced persons, constantly being shunted from one place to the next, and even now some of these young actors are still having to live in temporary accommodation,” says Yu.
In 2017, the government lifted evacuation orders – based on the area, the radiation levels and the progress made in the decontamination process – but places like Futaba are still classed as ‘difficult return’ or uninhabitable zones.
The decontamination work has also covered farming areas, 89 per cent of which have been recovered, according to the Reconstruction Agency. Reconstruction tasks have been completed in 64 municipalities over a seven-year period. In Fukushima, an area measuring 371 km², greater than the size of a country like Malta, was affected by the triple disaster.
The writer is currently living in Minamisoma, because of a promise she made and a radio show. In the aftermath of the disaster, under the state of emergency, she started working as a volunteer at a provisional radio station set up by the municipal authority to broadcast information to the population and the armed forces. She used to travel once a week from another part of Japan to do the show. Although only meant to last a year, her stay was successively prolonged until she ended up relocating for good, to fulfil her promise.
Today only 3,000 of the 13,000 residents are still living in her neighbourhood, and more than half of them are over 65 years old. Located 16 kilometres from the nuclear power station, the town now has a bookshop and a theatre. For Yu, culture is an integral part of the reconstruction process.
“In a place where people have lost everything, no one at the neighbourhood meetings organised by the government speaks out to ask for culture. People ask for their basic needs to be covered, such as infrastructure, hospitals or supermarkets. But even if the basic needs are met, can this be called a city? Can this be called reconstruction? Not in my view. Culture is something that enriches you, it is relaxing, enjoyable and valuable in its own right. It can be a book or a secondary role in a play.”
Disasters are also a threat to culture. And yet culture is vital to community identity and expression. In 2015, the United Nations adopted the 2015-2030 Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, which sees culture as playing a key role in reducing vulnerability to disasters, aiding recovery and building peace.
At the end of the performance, the Japanese audience leaves in solemn silence. A young woman from Tokyo says it was important to listen to them. On leaving the theatre, people buy a copy of the book on which the play is based. A dedication penned by the author and playwright stands out as a declaration of intent from Fukushima: “Speak out from the heart of silence.”

May 27, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | | Leave a comment

Fukushima local produce set to feature on Tokyo 2020 Games menus

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May 18, 2019
Dishes made for past Olympics using local Japanese ingredients are offered at Gran-Eat Ginza in Chuo Ward, Tokyo.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics offer a prime opportunity to showcase local Japanese food products to both domestic and international audiences.
Promotion councils have been set up at the prefectural level to supply locally produced fruits, vegetables and marine products to the Olympic Village and competition venues. Preparations are moving ahead, including the provision of support to acquire food safety certifications and compile lists of ingredients.
In March, for example, pig farmers in Izumizaki, Fukushima Prefecture, acquired Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification, which guarantees food safety and other qualities.
GAP is administered in Japan by the Japan GAP Foundation — which was founded by agricultural producers and other entities — and prefectural governments, among other entities. The Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games is asking producers to acquire GAP certification so they can supply agricultural and livestock products to the Olympic Village and other venues. Similar certification is also required to supply marine products to venues.
The Fukushima prefectural government established a promotional council in July 2017 to enhance its reputation following the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant disaster. The prefecture has supported producers through such measures as covering the costs of inspections required to obtain certification.
Sixty-eight products, including peaches and lettuces, have already received certification.
“Supplying our produce for the Olympics is a chance to objectively prove both the delicious taste and safety of Fukushima Prefecture’s foods,” a prefectural official said.
Iwate Prefecture promotes its wakame seaweed, saury and Konjiki no Kaze brand rice, among other products. It has obtained certification for at least 35 products, and plans to hold food fairs targeting business operators so it can expand into its target markets even after the Games end.
Hokkaido has compiled a list that contains information on local producers and agricultural, livestock and marine products, and introduces 67 items on its website.
“We’re able to supply not only summer vegetables such as tomatoes and green peppers, but also produce for a wide range of uses,” a prefectural official said.
Mie Prefecture, famous for its Matsusaka beef and Ise tuna, has invited chefs from hotels in Tokyo and elsewhere, and promotes its products by holding tours of production areas and other events.
Last winter, the Shimane prefectural Izumo Norin agriculture and forestry high school in Izumo, Shimane Prefecture, acquired certification for its grapes. Tsutomu Fujiwara, a teacher at the high school, explained that “if the grapes are used at the Olympics, the students will gain a sense of confidence and achievement.”
Japan is expected to provide 120,000 tons of food from 242 different products during the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.
“We should give priority to domestic products when making selections,” a member of the organizing committee said. The menu for the Olympic Village will be finalized as soon as this autumn, followed by selection of products to be sourced from various areas throughout Japan.
Meals from past and future
Some of the fare expected to be served at the Olympic Village and elsewhere during the Games can already be sampled.
At Gran-Eat Ginza, a restaurant that opened in Tokyo in March, certified products used to make dishes previously served at Olympic Villages can be enjoyed at the restaurant’s buffet.
The restaurant re-created a Brazilian soup served at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games using chicken from Gifu Prefecture, carrots from Chiba Prefecture and rice from Yamagata Prefecture.
A casserole dish served at the 2012 London Games is re-created using pork from Tategamori Ark Farm in Iwate Prefecture and apples from the Kakusho apple growers association in Aomori Prefecture.
Last summer, Gifu and Tokushima prefectures served dishes such as pasta and minced-meat cutlets using GAP-certified ingredients at prefectural government cafeterias.
The Yamagata prefectural government likewise offered “Chisan Chisho Bento” boxed lunches last autumn, promoting the concept of “locally produced and consumed.”

May 27, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

Rice planted in Fukushima town as farming trials begin

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17 May 2019
Rice has been planted in a Japanese town which hosts Fukushima’s damaged nuclear power plant eight years after residents were first evacuated.
Officials and locals in Okuma town planted several crops, including sticky rice and premium quality rice, across more than 17,000 square feet of paddy fields.
The rice planting is the latest sign of life slowly starting to return to Okuma, one of a string of so-called “ghost towns” that were immediately evacuated due to soaring radiation levels after the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis.
Evacuation orders for Okuma – which along with Futaba town, co-hosts nearby Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant – were lifted last month, while its municipal government building also reopened earlier this week.
New public housing for former residents displaced by the disaster is also expected to open next month, while an agricultural manual is being prepared  to encourage people to start growing crops again.
Government officials in Okuma have been monitoring radiation contamination in produce while conducting small-scale farming trials for several years, with test results reportedly showing levels below the national safety standards for food.
 
Fukushima was once famed for its high quality food produce, from peaches and grapes to rice and fish, with the region’s producers hit hard by the 2011 nuclear disaster.
Over the past eight years, the Japanese government has taken numerous steps to attempt to reassure the world that food from Fukushima is safe to eat following a regional clean-up, with rigorous radiation testing in place for all produce.
More than 50 countries introduced import restrictions in the immediate aftermath of the meltdown at the nuclear power plant, with 23 still keeping food limitations from Fukushima in place.
Last month, the Japanese government criticised a World Trade Organisation ruling that supported a continued South Korean ban on imports of a number of Japanese fishery products.
Meanwhile, locals who are slowly starting to return to the region as evacuation orders are lifted are apparently turning to increasingly inventive ways to rebuild local farming businesses.
 
One group of farmers in Hirata village, just under 28 miles from the Fukushima Daiichi plant, who were also hit hard by the disaster, have garnered widespread attention in Japan for their unusually-flavoured habanero soft ice cream, made from locally grown chilli peppers.
Government officials are also pinning hopes on the 2020 Olympics giving local revitalisation efforts a high-profile boost, with a number of baseball and soccer games scheduled to take place in the region.

May 27, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

Fukushima sake top-rated for 7th straight year

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May 17, 2019
Twenty-two brands of sake from Fukushima Prefecture in northeastern Japan have won top prizes in an annual national sake contest. The figure is the highest in the country for a seventh straight year.
 
Judges evaluated the aroma and taste of over 850 brands in this year’s contest.
 
A local Fukushima newspaper issued extra editions announcing the achievement.
 
A man who received a copy said that even though some may still have a negative image of Fukushima, he wants more people to know about the prefecture’s charms through sake.
 
People working at the Fukushima prefectural government office showed excitement about the result.
 
Fukushima Tourism Promotion Bureau head Yasuji Miyamura said high recognition of Fukushima sake gives hope to local people and breweries who’ve faced hard times after the 2011 disaster.
 

May 27, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | | Leave a comment

TEPCO postpones work to remove exhaust stack at Fukushima plant

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The exhaust stack for the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors at Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant will eventually be dismantled using equipment seen on both sides
May 17, 2019
Tokyo Electric Power Co. has delayed the start of work to dismantle a dangerous and highly contaminated exhaust stack at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant because of a calculation error.
The company said May 16 that work on the 120-meter-tall chimney, which was initially scheduled to begin on May 20, will be postponed until June at the earliest.
TEPCO found that the height of special cutting equipment lifted by crane would be 1.6 meters lower than under the original plan, making it unable to reach the top of the stack.
“We believe that the lifting angle of the crane arm turned out to be different from the original plan because of an error in measuring equipment,” a TEPCO official in charge of the operation said.
The company is now considering adjusting the angle and the crane position or extending the arm length after it is lowered.
The exhaust stack was used for the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors at the plant.
When the nuclear disaster unfolded in March 2011, vapor containing highly radioactive substances was released through the stack. Metal poles used to support the chimney were damaged apparently by a hydrogen explosion.
The area around the base of the stack contains levels of radiation that are too dangerous for humans to work in, so the dismantling work will be conducted by remote control.

May 27, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

‘Promotion’ of Fukushima Foods in Brussels

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Group Promotes Fukushima Foods in Brussels
Brussels, May 15 (Jiji Press)–A group of Fukushima Prefecture natives living abroad touted the safety and quality of food products from the northeastern Japan prefecture, at an event held in Brussels on Wednesday.
Foods and beverages made in Fukushima were served at a reception attended by businesspeople, and government officials from Japan and the European Union.
The event was aimed at dispelling wrong information that foods from the prefecture are still contaminated with radioactive materials following the 2011 accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s <9501> tsunami-stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power station.
Representatives from some 50 Japanese and European companies, as well as officials of the Japanese government and the European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, were present at the reception held for a meeting of the EU-Japan Business Round Table.
Among the items served were sake from five Fukushima brewers, including Okunomatsu Sake Brewery Co., “umeshu” plum liquors and peach-based foods.

May 27, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Record -breaking carbon dioxide now in the atmosphere

Carbon dioxide soars to record-breaking levels not seen in 800,000 years, Fox News, 26 May 19, There is more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than there has been for 800,000 years — since before our species evolved.

On Saturday (May 11), the levels of the greenhouse gas reached 415 parts per million (ppm), as measured by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. Scientists at the observatory have been measuring atmospheric carbon dioxide levels since 1958. But because of other kinds of analysis, such as those done on ancient air bubbles trapped in ice cores, they have data on levels reaching back 800,000 years. [8 Ways Global Warming Is Already Changing the World]

During the ice ages, carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere were around 200 ppm. And during the interglacial periods — the planet is currently in an interglacial period — levels were around 280 ppm, according to NASA.

But every story has its villains: Humans are burning fossil fuels, causing the release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, which are adding an extra blanket on an already feverish planet. So far, global temperatures have risen by about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius) since the 19th century or pre-industrial times, according to a special report released last year by the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change……

“We keep breaking records, but what makes the current levels of CO2 in the atmosphere most troubling is that we are now well into the ‘danger zone’ where large tipping points in the Earth’s climate could be crossed,” said Jonathan Overpeck, the dean of the School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan. “This is particularly true when you factor in the additional warming potential of the other greenhouse gases, including methane, that are now in the atmosphere.”

The last time atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were this high, way before Homo sapienswalked the planet, the Antarctic Ice Sheet was much smaller and sea levels were up to 65 feet (20 meters) higher than they are today, Overpeck told Live Science.

“Thus, we could soon be at the point where comparable reductions in ice sheet size, and corresponding increases in sea level, are both inevitable and irreversible over the next few centuries,” he said. Smaller ice sheets, in turn, might reduce the reflectivity of the planet and potentially accelerate the warming even more, he added…….. https://www.foxnews.com/science/carbon-dioxide-soars-to-record-breaking-levels-not-seen-in-800000-years

May 27, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Media freedom now in grave danger, as USA tries to gaol Julian Assange for life

Whatever Assange got up to in 2010-11, it was not espionage. Nor is he a US citizen. The criminal acts this Australian maverick allegedly committed all happened outside the US. As Joel Simon, director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, has observed: “Under this rubric, anyone anywhere in the world who publishes information that the US government deems to be classified could be prosecuted for espionage.”
The new indictment against Assange falls into three parts – each of them attempting to criminalise things journalists regularly do as they receive and publish true information given to them by sources or whistleblowers.
the attempt to lock him up under the Espionage Act is a deeply troubling move that should serve as a wake-up call to all journalists. You may not like Assange, but you’re next.

US efforts to jail Assange for espionage are a grave threat to a free media     https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/may/26/prosecuting-julian-assange-for-espionage-poses-danger-freedom-of-press

Do you remember the Collateral Murder video – the one that showed US air crew in Apache helicopters killing people as though playing computer games, laughing at the dead after slaughtering a dozen people, including two Iraqis working for the Reuters news agency? Do you remember how the US military had lied about what happened in that incident in July 2007 – first claiming that all the dead were insurgents, and then that the helicopters were responding to an active firefight? Neither claim was true. Do you recall that Reuters had spent three years unsuccessfully trying to obtain the video?

Collateral Murder?

Was it in the public interest that the world should have eventually seen the raw footage of what happened? You bet. Was it acutely embarrassing for the US military and government? Of course. Was the act of revelation espionage or journalism? You know the answer.

We have two people to thank for us knowing the truth about how those Reuters employees died, along with 10 others who ended up in the crosshairs of the laughing pilots that day: Chelsea Manning, who leaked it, and Julian Assange, who published it. But the price of their actions has been considerable. Manning spent seven years in jail for her part in releasing that video, along with a huge amount of other classified material she was able to access as an intelligence analyst in the US army. Assange has been indicted on 17 new counts of violating the Espionage Act, with the prospect that he could spend the rest of his life in prison. Continue reading

May 27, 2019 Posted by | civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

USA held a nuclear explosion test in February

May 27, 2019 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

President Rouhani says that Iran might hold a referendum on its nuclear programme

May 27, 2019 Posted by | Iran, politics | Leave a comment

USA’s radioactive dump in the Marshall Islands is leaking

May 27, 2019 Posted by | OCEANIA, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Yucca Mountain nuclear waste plan, and the flawed science of the ‘Total System Performance Assessment’.

May 27, 2019 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Climate change protest action growing

Climate change protests held worldwide to call for government action

A fight for the future as climate change school strikes grow for fourth month running An estimated 4,000 teenagers and young people turn out in Manchester – and another 1.5m around the world – to demand they inherit a planet that is not dying, The Independent, 27 May 19,  Colin Drury, Manchester @colin__drury I t is a hot, sunny day in Manchester and 14-year-old Carmen King is dressed in full black funeral garb, complete with veil and thick white face paint.

“It’s pretty warm,” she says of her outfit. “But then, if adults don’t get it sorted, it’s only going to get hotter anyway.”

The year nine student was one of some 4,000 children, teenagers and young people who flooded into the city centre on Friday to protest against climate change.

They themselves were among an estimated 1.5 million-plus youngsters doing the same in hundreds of towns and cities across the world: in London, Paris and Berlin, of course, but, crucially, in the provinces too, in places – like Manchester – where the battles for hearts and minds are often truly won.

They went on strike from school classes and university lectures, as they have done one Friday a month since February, to demand adults do just one thing: save the planet and their futures…….

Nationally the strikes have been coordinated by the UK Student Climate Networkand come partially in response to a UN report in October, which stated the world’s carbon emissions needed to be halved within 12 years to prevent some of the severest effects of global warming – flooding, droughts, mass displacement – becoming inevitable.

But, because this month’s protest coincided with exam season, there were some expectations that numbers may be down. They decidedly were not……

In conversation, many offered considered and thought-out policies, which they believed would help decarbonise the UK economy: subsidies for renewable energy companies, integrated public transport with Europe to reduce flight numbers, citizens’ assemblies and the reversal of Brexit (inevitably mentioned) were all among ideas suggested.  ……. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/youth-strike-4-climate-manchester-climate-change-global-warming-uk-student-climate-network-a8929636.html

May 27, 2019 Posted by | climate change, UK | Leave a comment