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Need for action on global heating – It’s 38°C in Siberia

June 27, 2020 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change, Russia | 1 Comment

The world must learn to live with Covid-19

The shifting strategies are an acknowledgment that even the most successful countries cannot declare victory until a vaccine is found.

They also show the challenge presented by countries like the United States, Brazil and India, where the authorities never fully contained initial outbreaks and from where the coronavirus will continue to threaten to spread.

How the world is learning to live with a deadly pandemic, https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/world/2020/06/26/coronavirus-pandemic-2/,  Sui-Lee Wee, Benjamin Mueller and Emma Bubola  China is testing restaurant workers and delivery drivers block by block.

South Korea tells people to carry two types of masks for differing risky social situations.

Germany requires communities to crack down when the number of infections hits certain thresholds.

Britain will target local outbreaks in a strategy that Prime Minister Boris Johnson calls “whack-a-mole”.

Around the world, governments that had appeared to tame the coronavirus are adjusting to the reality that the disease is here to stay.

But in a shift away from damaging nationwide lockdowns, they are looking for targeted ways to find and stop outbreaks before they become third or fourth waves.

While the details differ, the strategies call for giving governments flexibility to tighten or ease as needed.

They require some mix of intensive testing and monitoring, lightning-fast response times by authorities, tight border management and constant reminders to their citizens of the dangers of frequent human contact.

They require some mix of intensive testing and monitoring, lightning-fast response times by authorities, tight border management and constant reminders to their citizens of the dangers of frequent human contact.

The strategies often force central governments and local officials to share data and work closely together, overcoming incompatible computer systems, turf battles and other long-standing bureaucratic rivalries Continue reading

June 27, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, health | Leave a comment

Sizewell planning documents reveal higher-than-expected £20bn price tag

June 27, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

UK planning inspectorate accepts Sizewell C nuclear plans for examination

June 27, 2020 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

The Anthropocene, begun in 16th Century colonialism, slavery -? for repair in 21st Century post-Covid-19 recovery

Why the Anthropocene began with European colonisation, mass slavery and the ‘great dying’ of the 16th century, The Conversation, Mark Maslin, Professor of Earth System Science, UCL, Simon Lewis, Professor of Global Change Science at University of Leeds and, UCL June 25, 2020 The toppling of statues at Black Lives Matter protests has powerfully articulated that the roots of modern racism lie in European colonisation and slavery. Racism will be more forcefully opposed once we acknowledge this history and learn from it. Geographers and geologists can help contribute to this new understanding of our past, by defining the new human-dominated period of Earth’s history as beginning with European colonialism.Today our impacts on the environment are immense: humans move more soil, rock and sediment each year than is transported by all other natural processes combined. We may have kicked off the sixth “mass extinction” in Earth’s history, and the global climate is warming so fast we have delayed the next ice age.

We’ve made enough concrete to cover the entire surface of the Earth in a layer two millimetres thick. Enough plastic has been manufactured to clingfilm it as well. We annually produce 4.8 billion tonnes of our top five crops and 4.8 billion livestock animals. There are 1.4 billion motor vehicles, 2 billion personal computers, and more mobile phones than the 7.8 billion people on Earth.

All this suggests humans have become a geological superpower and evidence of our impact will be visible in rocks millions of years from now. This is a new geological epoch that scientists are calling the Anthropocene, combining the words for “human” and “recent-time”. But debate still continues as to when we should define the beginning of this period. When exactly did we leave behind the Holocene – the 10,000 years of stability that allowed farming and complex civilisations to develop – and move into the new epoch?

Five years ago we published evidence that the start of capitalism and European colonisation meet the formal scientific criteria for the start of the Anthropocene.

Our planetary impacts have increased since our earliest ancestors stepped down from the trees, at first by hunting some animal species to extinction. Much later, following the development of farming and agricultural societies, we started to change the climate. Yet Earth only truly became a “human planet” with the emergence of something quite different. This was capitalism, which itself grew out of European expansion in the 15th and 16th century and the era of colonisation and subjugation of indigenous peoples all around the world.

In the Americas, just 100 years after Christopher Columbus first set foot on the Bahamas in 1492, 56 million indigenous Americans were dead, mainly in South and Central America. This was 90% of the population. Most were killed by diseases brought across the Atlantic by Europeans, which had never been seen before in the Americas: measles, smallpox, influenza, the bubonic plague. War, slavery and wave after wave of disease combined to cause this “great dying”, something the world had never seen before, or since.

In North America the population decline was slower but no less dramatic due to slower colonisation by Europeans. US census data suggest the Native American population may have been as low as 250,000 people by 1900 from a pre-Columbus level of 5 million, a 95% decline.

This depopulation left the continents dominated by Europeans, who set up plantations and filled a labour shortage with enslaved workers. In total, more than 12 million people were forced to leave Africa and work for Europeans as slaves. ……….

In addition to the critical task of highlighting and tackling the racism within science, perhaps geologists and geographers can also make a small contribution to the Black Lives Matter movement by unflinchingly compiling the evidence showing that when humans started to exert a huge influence on the Earth’s environment was also the start of the brutal European colonisation of the world.

In her insightful book, A Billion Black Anthropocenes or None, the geography professor Kathryn Yusoff makes it very clear that predominantly white geologists and geographers need to acknowledge that Europeans decimated indigenous and minority populations whenever so-called progress occurred.

Defining the start of the human planet as the period of colonisation, the spread of deadly diseases and transatlantic slavery, means we can face the past and ensure we deal with its toxic legacy. If 1610 marks both a turning point in human relations with the Earth and our treatment of each other, then maybe, just maybe, 2020 could mark the start of a new chapter of equality, environmental justice and stewardship of the only planet in the universe known to harbour any life. It’s a struggle nobody can afford to lose. https://theconversation.com/why-the-anthropocene-began-with-european-colonisation-mass-slavery-and-the-great-dying-of-the-16th-century-140661

June 27, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, civil liberties, climate change, environment, history | Leave a comment

Nuclear developers push UK government for prompt decision on government finance for new construction

Nuclear developers press for ‘prompt’ decision on new UK plants , Ft.com,  Nathalie Thomas in Edinburgh, JUNE 24 2020  

Britain’s nuclear energy industry has said it could cut the price of power from new large power stations by more than half as it presses ministers for a “prompt” decision on government financing to support construction.  ……. 

The NIA argues that supply chain costs would fall further if it can build further scale and experience. But it warns that new projects rely on “prompt decisions” by ministers on an alternative financing mechanism to support nuclear plant construction. Executives at EDF have made clear they will not replicate the model used for Hinkley, which has been beset by cost overruns. A government consultation on alternative funding models, launched last year, is yet to report back.

 The NIA report comes as UK planning authorities are due on Wednesday to rule whether to accept a planning application for Sizewell C, proposed for Suffolk on England’s east coast.
The project, also being developed by EDF and CGN, has magnified concerns among Conservative MPs about Chinese involvement in critical infrastructure. Both Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C use French technology, while CGN is a financing partner. But CGN is hoping to install its own reactors in another proposed plant at Bradwell-on-Sea in Essex.
 EDF and CGN submitted the application for Sizewell C in May without knowing how the plant would be funded.
The government last year launched a consultation on funding future nuclear plants through a regulated asset base (RAB) model, used for other infrastructure projects such as London’s Thames Tideway “super sewer”.

Under a RAB model, households would pay for a plant’s construction through their energy bills long before any electricity is generated, allowing developers to attract cheaper finance from investors such as pension funds. But it also leaves consumers on the hook for cost overruns.

 EDF has said it hopes to take a final investment decision on Sizewell C by the end of next year or early in 2022.
  But nuclear industry executives privately suggest that a decision on financing would be required before the end of December to support new plant construction, given the timescales involved in company boards approving costly projects. Horizon Nuclear Power, which is owned by Hitachi, is also awaiting planning approval this year for a proposed plant at Wylfa on Anglesey.
 “Concerted action [is] needed now,” the NIA said.
 “There is a limit to how long developers can justify continuing to keep options open, and the supply chain can continue to invest in capability to prepare for a thriving nuclear future, without a clear signal that the government is serious about a funded nuclear new-build programme.”
Doug Parr, chief scientist for Greenpeace UK, said Britain had renewable energy technologies, “which are faster and cheaper to deliver [and] . . . leave no toxic legacy”. ………https://www.ft.com/content/e69b62cd-4cd4-49e2-81e6-50fba4d093e1

June 27, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Scientists just now realising how bad this Coronavirus is

Scientists just beginning to understand the many health problems caused by COVID-19
CHICAGO (Reuters) 26 June 20, – Scientists are only starting to grasp the vast array of health problems caused by the novel coronavirus, some of which may have lingering effects on patients and health systems for years to come, according to doctors and infectious disease experts.

Besides the respiratory issues that leave patients gasping for breath, the virus that causes COVID-19 attacks many organ systems, in some cases causing catastrophic damage.

“We thought this was only a respiratory virus. Turns out, it goes after the pancreas. It goes after the heart. It goes after the liver, the brain, the kidney and other organs. We didn’t appreciate that in the beginning,” said Dr. Eric Topol, a cardiologist and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Jolla, California.

In addition to respiratory distress, patients with COVID-19 can experience blood clotting disorders that can lead to strokes, and extreme inflammation that attacks multiple organ systems. The virus can also cause neurological complications that range from headache, dizziness and loss of taste or smell to seizures and confusion.

And recovery can be slow, incomplete and costly, with a huge impact on quality of life.

The broad and diverse manifestations of COVID-19 are somewhat unique, said Dr. Sadiya Khan, a cardiologist at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago.

With influenza, people with underlying heart conditions are also at higher risk of complications, Khan said. What is surprising about this virus is the extent of the complications occurring outside the lungs.

Khan believes there will be a huge healthcare expenditure and burden for individuals who have survived COVID-19.

LENGTHY REHAB FOR MANY

Patients who were in the intensive care unit or on a ventilator for weeks will need to spend extensive time in rehab to regain mobility and strength.

“It can take up to seven days for every one day that you’re hospitalized to recover that type of strength,” Khan said. “It’s harder the older you are, and you may never get back to the same level of function.”

While much of the focus has been on the minority of patients who experience severe disease, doctors increasingly are looking to the needs of patients who were not sick enough to require hospitalization, but are still suffering months after first becoming infected. …….. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-effects/scientists-just-beginning-to-understand-the-many-health-problems-caused-by-covid-19-idUSKBN23X1BZ

June 27, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, health | Leave a comment

European Union countries agreed to exclude nuclear, fossil gas from green transition fund

June 27, 2020 Posted by | EUROPE, politics international | Leave a comment

Trump’s Justice Department drumming up new allegations against Julian Assange

ASSANGE EXTRADITION: Assange Hit With New Superseding Indictment, Reflecting Possible FBI Sting Operation The U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday unveiled the new superseding indictment against the WikiLeaks publisher, adding to existing computer intrusion charges. By Joe Lauria, Consortium News June 24, 2020  The Justice Department on Wednesday said it had filed a second superseding indictment against imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, adding to existing computer intrusion charges.“The new indictment does not add additional counts to the prior 18-count superseding indictment returned against Assange in May 2019,” the DOJ said in a press release.

“It does, however, broaden the scope of the conspiracy surrounding alleged computer intrusions with which Assange was previously charged,” the release said. “According to the charging document, Assange and others at WikiLeaks recruited and agreed with hackers to commit computer intrusions to benefit WikiLeaks.”…….

The indictment quotes Assange at hacking conferences encouraging hackers to obtain a “Most Wanted Leaks” list of classified materials that WikiLeaks sought to publish.

It provides new allegations that Assange instructed a “teenager” from an unnamed NATO country to conduct various hacks “including audio recordings of phone conversations between high-ranking officials” of the NATO nation as well as members of parliament from that country. The indictment claims Manning “downloaded classified State Department materials” about this country.

WikiLeaks has identified the “teenager” as Sigurdur Thordarson, “a diagnosed sociopath, a convicted conman, and sex criminal” who had impersonated Assange to embezzle money from WikiLeaks………..

Thordarson, an Icelander, became an FBI informant, and was flown to Washington in May 2019 for an interview with the FBI.

The superseding indictment says Assange was allegedly able to learn from “unauthorized access” to a website of this government that police from that country were monitoring him. The indictment says the source of this information was a former member of Anonymous who worked with WikiLeaks named Sabu, identified in the press as Hector Monsegur, who became an FBI informant after being arrested in June 2011.

In the same month, Iceland’s Interior Minister Ögmundur Jonasson prevented FBI agents from entering Iceland, testifying that “FBI dirty-tricks operations were afoot against WikiLeaks.” He said the agents had been sent to seek “our cooperation in what I understood as an operation to set up, to frame Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.”  The possibility remains that the new evidence against Assange was obtained in an FBI sting operation.

Jeremy Hammond, a hacker arrested for obtaining the Stratfor files, is named in the new indictment has having revealed information about his activities with Assange to Sabu in December 2011. Last September, Hammond, who was serving a 10-year sentence in Memphis, TN, was brought by prosecutors investigating Assange to Alexandria, VA to compel him to give testimony against Assange. Hammond has refused.

Reiterates Original Charges

The new indictment repeats the existing espionage and computer intrusion charges………

In 2010, Robert Parry, one of the best investigative reporters of his era, and the founder of this website, wrote that the then pending plans of the Obama administration to indict Assange “for conspiring with Army Pvt. Bradley Manning to obtain U.S. secrets strikes at the heart of investigative journalism on national security scandals.”

Parry added:

“That’s because the process for reporters obtaining classified information about crimes of state most often involves a journalist persuading some government official to break the law either by turning over classified documents or at least by talking about the secret information. There is almost always some level of ‘conspiracy’ between reporter and source.” [Emphasis added.]

Parry thus admitted to encouraging his sources to turn over classified information even if it meant committing the lesser crime of leaking classified information if it could help prevent a larger crime from being committed. In this way Assange encouraged Manning to turn over material such as the “Collateral Murder” video in the hope that it could end the illegal war in Iraq…….

The New York Times reported at the time that “federal prosecutors were reviewing the possibility of indicting Assange on conspiracy charges for allegedly encouraging or assisting Manning in extracting ‘classified military and State Department files from a government computer system,’” Parry wrote.

“The Times article by Charlie Savage notes that if prosecutors determine that Assange provided some help in the process, ‘they believe they could charge him as a conspirator in the leak, not just as a passive recipient of the documents who then published them,” wrote Parry.

This is precisely what the Trump Justice Department has done in the first computer intrusion indictment against Assange and now with this superseding one. https://consortiumnews.com/2020/06/24/assange-extradition-assange-hit-with-new-superseding-indictment-broadening-computer-intrusion-charges/?fbclid=IwAR3uZdqQkMLxeheGyUVLpkUYPIo0ywUZwFiQcu6pD9woYSYyPhZtyh3kiw4

June 27, 2020 Posted by | Legal, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Grave concerns in New Mexico about nuclear waste plan

June 27, 2020 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Small modular nuclear reactors fraught with problems

‘Many issues’ with modular nuclear reactors says environmental lawyer 
Jordan Gill
· CBC News ·Dec 03, 2019   Modular nuclear reactors may not be a cure for the nation’s carbon woes, an environmental lawyer said in reaction to an idea floated by three premiers.

Theresa McClenaghan, executive director of the Canadian Environmental Law Association, said the technology surrounding small reactors has numerous pitfalls, especially when compared with other renewable energy technology.

This comes after New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and Ontario Premier Doug Ford agreed to work together to develop the technology……..

The premiers say the smaller reactors would help Canada reach its carbon reduction targets but McClenaghan, legal counsel for the environmental group, disagrees

“I don’t think it is the answer,” said McClenaghan. “I don’t think it’s a viable solution to climate change.”

McClenaghan said the technology behind modular reactors is still in the development stage and needs years of work before it can be used on a wide scale.

“There are many issues still with the technology,” said McClenaghan. “And for climate change, the risks are so pervasive and the time scale is so short that we need to deploy the solutions we already know about like renewables and conservation.”

Waste, security concerns: lawyer

While nuclear power is considered a low-carbon method of producing electricity, McClenaghan said the waste that it creates brings its own environmental concerns.

“You’re still creating radioactive waste,” said McClenaghan.

“We don’t even have a solution to nuclear fuel waste yet in Canada and the existing plans are not taking into account these possibilities.”

McClenanghan believes there are national security risks with the plan as well.

She said having more reactors, especially if they’re in rural areas, means there’s a greater chance that waste or fuel from the reactors could be stolen for nefarious purposes.

“You’d be scattering radioactive materials, potentially attractive to diversion, much further across the country,” said the environmental lawyer.  https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/many-issues-modular-nuclear-1.5381804

June 27, 2020 Posted by | Canada, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

Ontario Power Generation pulls the plug on nuclear waste project

June 27, 2020 Posted by | Canada, wastes | Leave a comment

Marketing man Trump trying to sell U.S. nuclear reactors to Poland

Duda, Trump announce nuclear energy deal, Presidents Andrzej Duda and Donald Trump announced on Wednesday the signing of a deal on development of nuclear energy in Poland, which Duda said would be signed as soon as possible.US President Donald Trump talked of the purchase of American technology.

At a press conference with Duda at the White House, Trump said they were working on a deal that would facilitate the development and building of a nuclear power plant in Poland, adding that it would work with the use of American technology bought from a large US company………  https://www.thefirstnews.com/article/duda-trump-announce-nuclear-energy-deal-13601

June 27, 2020 Posted by | marketing, USA | Leave a comment

USA adds new indictment to charges against Julian Assange

WikiLeaks founder Assange faces new indictment in US,  https://apnews.com/218d39782d70c434533b8faa033eb45e   By ERIC TUCKER, 26 June 20
WASHINGTON (AP
) — WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange sought to recruit hackers at conferences in Europe and Asia who could provide his anti-secrecy website with classified information, and conspired with members of hacking organizations, according to a new Justice Department indictment announced Wednesday.

The superseding indictment does not contain additional charges beyond the 18 counts the Justice Department unsealed last year. But prosecutors say it underscores Assange’s efforts to procure and release classified information, allegations that form the basis of criminal charges he already faces.

Beyond recruiting hackers at conferences, the indictment accuses Assange of conspiring with members of hacking groups known as LulzSec and Anonymous. He also worked with a 17-year-old hacker who gave him information stolen from a bank and directed the teenager to steal additional material, including audio recordings of high-ranking government officials, prosecutors say.

Assange’s lawyer, Barry Pollack, said in a statement that “the government’s relentless pursuit of Julian Assange poses a grave threat to journalists everywhere and to the public’s right to know.”

“While today’s superseding indictment is yet another chapter in the U.S. Government’s effort to persuade the public that its pursuit of Julian Assange is based on something other than his publication of newsworthy truthful information,” he added, “the indictment continues to charge him with violating the Espionage Act based on WikiLeaks publications exposing war crimes committed by the U.S. Government.”

Assange was arrested last year after being evicted from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he had sought refuge to avoid being sent to Sweden over allegations of rape and sexual assault, and is at the center of an extradition tussle over whether he should be sent to the United States.

The Justice Department has already charged him with conspiring with former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in one of the largest compromises of classified information in U.S. history by working together to crack a password to a government computer.

Prosecutors say the WikiLeaks founder damaged national security by publishing hundreds of thousands of classified documents, including diplomatic cables and military files on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, that harmed the U.S. and its allies and aided its adversaries.

Assange maintains he was acting as a journalist entitled to First Amendment protection. His lawyers have argued the U.S. charges of espionage and computer misuse were politically motivated and an abuse of power.

Assange generated substantial attention during the 2016 presidential election, and in investigations that followed, after WikiLeaks published stolen Democratic emails that U.S. authorities say were hacked by Russian military intelligence officials. An investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller revealed how Trump campaign associates eagerly anticipated the email disclosures. One Trump ally, Roger Stone, was found guilty last year of lying about his efforts to gain inside information about the emails. Assange, however, was never charged in Mueller’s Russia investigation.

The allegations in the new indictment center on conferences, in locations including the Netherlands and Malaysia in 2009, at which prosecutors say he and a WikiLeaks associate sought to recruit hackers who could locate classified information, including material on a “Most Wanted Leaks” list posted on WikiLeaks’ website.

According to the new indictment, he told would-be recruits that unless they were a member of the U.S. military, they faced no legal liability for stealing classified information and giving it to WikiLeaks “because ‘TOP SECRET’ meant nothing as a matter of law.”

At one conference in Malaysia, called the “Hack in the Box Security Conference,” Assange told the audience, “I was a famous teenage hacker in Australia, and I’ve been reading generals’ emails since I was 17.”

June 27, 2020 Posted by | legal, USA | Leave a comment

US, Russia nuclear arms talks end with plans for second round

US, Russia nuclear arms talks end with plans for second round, Aljazeera, 26 June 20,

US says any new agreement on curbing nuclear weapons should include China, a condition Russia calls ‘unrealistic’.  US and Russian negotiators have concluded a round of nuclear arms control talks in Austria’s capital, Vienna, aimed at producing a new agreement to replace the New START treaty that expires next year.

US negotiator Marshall Billingslea told reporters on Tuesday that the day of high-level “marathon discussions” ended late on Monday.

Billingslea said the talks had been productive enough to establish several technical working groups to delve deeper into the issues in order to pave the way for a second round of talks by late July or early August…… https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/06/coronavirus-deaths-children-extremely-rare-live-updates-200626000914304.html

June 27, 2020 Posted by | politics international, Russia, USA | Leave a comment