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Ukraine’s high casualty rate could bring war to tipping point

Ukraine is not short on bravery and determination. Western support is still in place, as shown by the UK announcement to supply a handful of – perhaps three – multiple rocket launchers this week, even if Kyiv said almost immediately it wanted many times more. But it is Russia’s forces that have found a way to advance in the Donbas, raising the question of whether the three-month war is at another turning point.  

Ukraine’s high casualty rate could bring war to tipping point

Analysis: Kyiv’s fighting strength is stretched, yet Russia could now benefit from a pause in fighting, Guardian  Dan Sabbagh in Kyiv 10 June 22, ”……………………   The sheer number – more than 20,000 casualties a month – raises questions about what state Ukraine’s army will be in if the war drags on into the autumn. The same is true for the Russians too, of course. But the invaders already control large chunks of Ukraine, and they can pause the fighting with the territorial upper hand.

……………………………………………..Western officials prefer not to discuss the impact of the war on the defenders, instead highlighting the problems for the Russians in their briefings. This week, one of those officials said their estimate was that the invaders had lost “15,000 to 20,000 dead”, out of an invasion force that was 150,000 or more. Yet despite this, Moscow’s army has still not lost its offensive capability.

But they chose not to provide similar estimates for Ukraine, which can create a lopsided impression that the Russians are faring worse. In fact, with an artillery overmatch of 10 or 15 to one, according to the Ukrainians, it may well be that the invaders’ casualty rate is far lower at the moment, because they are able to deal death from a greater distance to defenders who cannot see them.

Ammunition is certainly running short on the Ukrainian side, again by their own admission. Vadym Skibitsky, the deputy head of Ukraine’s military intelligence, has said Ukraine is using 5,000 to 6,000 artillery rounds a day, and has “almost used up” its stockpile of Soviet 152mm standard shells. It is now relying on Nato-standard 155mm howitzers; it is unclear how many of these it has.

Commanders have told the Guardian that Ukraine struggles for some basic equipment such as encrypted radios (where mobile phones work, it is not uncommon to rely on the secure Signal app instead) or advanced sights and optics of the types commonly used by western militaries.

Ukraine is not short on bravery and determination. Western support is still in place, as shown by the UK announcement to supply a handful of – perhaps three – multiple rocket launchers this week, even if Kyiv said almost immediately it wanted many times more. But it is Russia’s forces that have found a way to advance in the Donbas, raising the question of whether the three-month war is at another turning point.  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jun/10/ukraine-casualty-rate-russia-war-tipping-point

June 11, 2022 Posted by | Ukraine, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Another episode in the unlawful spying and harassment of Julian Assange and his legal team, by the UK and USA governments

Julian Assange’s Australian lawyer who counts Amal Clooney and Amber Heard as friends says she has reached settlement with government ‘over breach of her human rights after it admitted she was likely put under covert surveillance’

  • Jennifer Robinson has reached settlement with Government over surveillance 
  • She said it accepted covert surveillance of her ‘likely breached her human rights’
  • She was one of the three lead claimants in a complaint against the Government 
  • She said it raises ‘grave concerns’ over interference with ‘journalistic material

By JESSICA WARREN FOR MAILONLINE, DAILY MAIL, 10 June 2022

One of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange‘s lawyers has reached a settlement with the Government after it accepted it was likely she was the subject of ‘covert surveillance which breached her human rights’, she said.

Jennifer Robinson welcomed a statement by the European Court of Human Rights which she said meant the UK Government has ‘accepted her rights were breached by surveillance’.

She was one of the three lead claimants in a complaint against the UK Government which went to the court.

Ms Robinson said the UK Government has reached a ‘friendly settlement’, admitting there was reasonable cause to believe she was the subject of surveillance.

She said: ‘The UK Government has now admitted that its surveillance and information-sharing arrangements with the US violated my rights. That includes in relation to the protection of confidential journalistic material.

‘This follows a pattern of unlawful spying on Julian Assange and his legal team, and it raises grave concerns about government interference with journalistic material and privilege.

‘It also raises serious questions about what information the UK and US governments have been sharing about Mr Assange’s case against extradition to the US.’

The development came as Mr Assange awaits a decision by Home Secretary Priti Patel on whether he should be extradited to the United States. 

Ms Robinson, who works from the respected Doughty Chambers in London, has represented Assange for some 12 years.

She is the go-to barrister for the rich and famous, and counts the Hollywood elite among her inner circle, travelling to George and Amal Clooney’s wedding on a speedboat with actor Bill Murray.

In 2019, she was named international pro bono barrister of the year and prior to lockdown, was pictured at events with Prince Charles and Cherie Blair.

She has also appeared on BBC Question Time and supported Amber Heard during the Johnny Depp’s libel case against The Sun newspaper in 2020…………………. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10901023/Julian-Assanges-lawyer-reached-settlement-government-breach-human-rights.html

June 11, 2022 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

Japan court: Nuclear plant’s tsunami safeguards inadequate.

TechXplore, 10 June 22,  A Japanese court on Tuesday ordered a utility not to restart a nuclear power plant because of inadequate tsunami safeguards, backing the safety concerns of residents at a time the government is pushing for more reactors to resume power generation after pledging to ban imports of Russian fossil fuels.

The Sapporo District Court ruled that Hokkaido Electric Power Co. must not operate any of the three reactors at its coastal Tomari nuclear power plant in northern Japan because the inadequate tsunami protection could endanger people’s lives.

The utility said it will appeal the ruling, which it called “regrettable and absolutely unacceptable.”………………..

About 1,200 people from the area of the Tomari plant and elsewhere filed a lawsuit in late 2012 demanding that it be decommissioned because of inadequate earthquake and tsunami protections. In its ruling, the court dismissed that demand.

Chief Judge Tetsuya Taniguchi said Hokkaido Electric failed to take steps to address safety concerns and demonstrate the adequacy of the plant’s existing seawall, which was built after the Fukushima disaster but has since faced questions about its weak foundation.

…………  The court also ruled that Hokkaido Electric had failed to adequately explain how it can ensure the safety of spent nuclear fuel inside the reactors. https://techxplore.com/news/2022-05-japan-court-nuclear-tsunami-safeguards.html

June 11, 2022 Posted by | Japan, Legal | Leave a comment

Fresh blow for EDF with probe into practices at Tricastin nuclear plant

  https://www.reuters.com/markets/europe/edf-faces-probe-into-practices-tricastin-nuclear-plant-whistleblowers-lawyer-2022-06-09/

PARIS, June 9 (Reuters) – French power utility EDF faces an investigation into alleged non-disclosure of safety incidents at its Tricastin nuclear power plant, the lawyer of a whistleblower told Reuters on Thursday, in another setback for the state-controlled company.

Last month, EDF said the nuclear outages related to an inspections and repairs program would cost it 4.5 billion euros ($4.82 billion), more than estimated earlier.

The company has been forced to launch checks across its nuclear fleet after discovering corrosion on high-pressure pipes which has prompted outages and repairs.

The whistleblower’s lawyer William Bourdon told Reuters that his client, an EDF employee, filed a complaint against the management of the site in November claiming “endangerment of people’s lives” and violations of civil law.

EDF is not the subject of a probe as yet, but prosecutors have launched an investigation “against X”, Bourdon said, confirming media reports, which allows them to investigate the actions of several parties.

EDF declined to comment, and the Marseille prosecutors leading the investigation in southern France were not immediately available to comment.

EDF, in which the French state owns more than 80%, operates 56 reactors across France and is responsible for about 70% of the country’s power supply.

Despite the news of the probe, EDF shares were up almost 5% shortly after 0830 GMT after business daily Les Echos said the government planned to nationalise the company, a prospect flagged by Emmanuel Macron during his reelection campaign.

June 11, 2022 Posted by | France, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Ukrainian nationalists’ massacre of 100,000 Poles approaching 80th anniversary — Anti-bellum

The First News (Poland)July 11, 2019 Over 100,000 slaughtered with axes, pitchforks, scythes and knives: The Wołyń massacre started 76 years ago today and lasted for two years Today marks 76 years since the coordinated attack by Ukrainian nationalists on 99 Polish towns and villages in Wołyń. Between 1943 and 1945, members of the Ukrainian […]

Ukrainian nationalists’ massacre of 100,000 Poles approaching 80th anniversary — Anti-bellum

June 11, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

China Says It Does Not Want To See Another North Korean Nuclear Test  

NDTV

China’s UN Ambassador Zhang Jun has urged Washington to ease unilateral sanctions on North Korea and end joint military exercises with South Korea in a bid to revive talks with Pyongyang.

WorldReuters: June 10, 2022   United Nations: 

China’s U.N. envoy said on Thursday that Beijing does not want to see North Korea carry out a new nuclear test, which is partly why China vetoed a U.S.-led bid to impose new U.N. sanctions on Pyongyang over renewed ballistic missiles launches.

But Ambassador Zhang Jun warned against making presumptions on how Beijing might react at the United Nations if North Korea goes ahead with its first nuclear test since 2017. Washington has warned such a test could happen at “any time” and it would again push for more U.N. sanctions.

Let’s see what will happen, but I think we should not prejudge what will happen with a nuclear test,” Zhang told Reuters, two weeks after China and Russia vetoed imposing more U.N. Security Council sanctions on North Korea.

“The denuclearization is one of the key goals of China,” Zhang said. “We do not want to see another test.”

The double veto publicly split the 15-member Security Council for the first time since it started punishing Pyongyang in 2006. The body has steadily – and unanimously – ratcheted up sanctions over the years in a bid to cut off funding for North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

However, in recent years China and Russia have been pushing for an easing of sanctions on humanitarian grounds – and in the hope that North Korea can be convinced to return to negotiations with the United States on giving up its nuclear weapons…………………..   https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/china-says-it-does-not-want-to-see-another-north-korean-nuclear-test-3054324

June 11, 2022 Posted by | China, politics international | Leave a comment

Iran removes nuclear watchdog’s cameras after criticism

David GrittenBBC News  Iran has told the global nuclear watchdog it is removing 27 surveillance cameras from its nuclear facilities.

It comes after the International Atomic Energy Agency’s board censured Iran for not answering questions about uranium traces found at three undeclared sites.

IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said 40 cameras would remain, but that the move posed a “serious challenge”.

Unless it was reversed within three to four weeks, he warned, it would deal a “fatal blow” to the Iran nuclear deal.

Under the 2015 agreement with world powers, Iran agreed to limit its nuclear activities and allow continuous and robust monitoring by the IAEA’s inspectors in return for relief from economic sanctions.

However, it has been close to collapse since the US pulled out unilaterally and reinstated sanctions four years ago and Iran responded by breaching key commitments.

The US now wants to rejoin the deal if Iran returns to compliance, but indirect negotiations in Vienna have stalled since March……………………………  https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-61719196

June 11, 2022 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Climate action is going in the right direction, but what now? What is a realistic aim?

 The world’s 1.5°C climate goal is slipping out of reach – so now what?
Scientists say it is still theoretically possible to limit global warming
to 1.5°C, but realistically that now seems practically impossible.

Should we admit our failure and double down on holding warming below 2°C? As
scientists frequently point out, 1.5°C isn’t a cliff edge. It isn’t a
precisely calculated moment at which we know we will hit tipping points
that turn the Amazon into a savannah or commit Antarctica’s ice sheets to
a rapid collapse.

While most scientists maintain that 1.5°C is still
technically possible, the majority of those New Scientist spoke to think
the goal will be missed. The idea of conceding that prospects for hitting
1.5°C are dead might seem irredeemably gloomy.

But it is worth remembering
the path we were on before the world adopted the goal in 2015. Five years
earlier, climate pledges globally had us on track for up to 5°C of warming
by 2100, an apocalyptic level that would be almost impossible to adapt to,
given that we are already struggling to do so after heating Earth by just
over a degree.

Humanity shifted the goalposts at Paris, prioritising 1.5°C
over 2°C. We have made significant progress to even have a chance of
landing somewhere between the two. History may yet judge failure on 1.5°C
as a success, given how much the rallying cry has dragged societies in the
right direction. 

New Scientist 7th June 2022 https://www.newscientist.com/article/2323175-the-worlds-1-5c-climate-goal-is-slipping-out-of-reach-so-now-what/

June 11, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

International Energy Agency stresses that energy efficiency must be at the forefront of climate policies

With the world facing an almost unprecedented energy crisis, the
International Energy Agency (IEA) aims to once again put energy efficiency
at the forefront of policymakers’ agenda. During its 7th Global Energy
Efficiency Conference hosted in Sonderborg, Denmark, the IEA has sought to
convince policymakers worldwide of the merits of energy efficiency policies
while providing a policy toolkit to go with it.

“Energy efficiency is a
critical solution to so many of the world’s most urgent challenges,”
said Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director. According to an IEA
analysis presented during the conference, the world could achieve massive
energy savings by the end of the decade through increased ambition while
simultaneously reducing CO2 emissions.

 Euractiv 8th June 2022 https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy/news/iea-presents-energy-efficiency-push-to-make-russias-gas-oil-obsolete/

June 11, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, ENERGY | Leave a comment

Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) join the call for UK to join the nuclear ban Treaty Summit

The Nuclear Free Local Authorities have joined with campaign groups
opposed to nuclear weapons in calling on the British Foreign Secretary to
ensure that the UK is represented at the forthcoming nuclear treaty ban
conference to be held later this month in Vienna.

Sixty-one member states
of the United Nations have so far signed and ratified the UN Treaty on the
Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the first international law to prohibit the
manufacture, stockpiling, transfer and use of nuclear weapons which entered
force in January 2021. A further twenty-five states have signed the Treaty
in readiness to ratify it.

These member states will meet at the UN in
Vienna between 21 – 23 June to discuss the progress so far in creating a
nuclear weapons free world, and, in light of the recent conflict in
Ukraine, the next best steps to get there. None of the world’s nuclear
weapons states have so far engaged with the treaty, and the UK has
steadfastly refused to recognise it, despite five of the states, including
the UK, making a commitment as signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty to work in ‘good faith’ to achieve global nuclear disarmament at
the earliest possible date. Britain made this commitment as one of the
first signatories to the NPT in 1968. 

NFLA 8th June 2022 https://www.nuclearpolicy.info/news/nuclear-free-local-authorities-join-call-for-uk-to-attend-nuclear-ban-summit/

June 11, 2022 Posted by | politics international, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear power – a renaissance? or another false dawn?

Nick Butler: Nuclear power has been in decline since the Fukushima
disaster in Japan more than a decade ago. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and soaring natural gas prices have led some to argue that nuclear energy can help solve the twin
challenges of energy security and climate change. Is the industry back in
business, or will this prove to be another false dawn?

Until recently, nuclear power’s prospects seemed poor. Plants built in the 1970s and
1980s are nearing the end of their working lives, while Germany and Japan
decided to shut down theirs for political reasons. Of the relatively few
new nuclear plants currently being built, many have been blighted by
management failures and technical faults.

The flagship EPR pressurized
water reactors at Flamanville in northern France and Olkiluoto in Finland
are, respectively, 13 and 12 years behind schedule. Hinkley Point in
southwest England, which was supposed to have provided the power to cook
Britain’s Christmas turkeys in 2023, may now be operational in 2027.

Inevitably, all of these projects are massively over budget. However, there
is significant interest in the potential of nuclear power to replace the
Russian natural gas supplies on which the EU has depended for the past 40
years. French President Emmanuel Macron announced before the recent
presidential election that France would build up to 14 new nuclear
reactors, starting in 2028. And Poland submitted plans in March for the
construction of six new reactors.

Supporting this trend, firms such as
Rolls-Royce in the United Kingdom and NuScale in the US are developing a
new generation of small modular reactors (SMRs) that can be built and
commissioned in under 10 years.

But a nuclear renaissance is far from
certain. Today, more reactors are at risk of closure and decommissioning
than are being built. Although public sentiment has become more favourable
to nuclear power in most countries, entrenched resistance, underpinned by
environmental and safety concerns, continues to impede a renaissance.

Local planning processes are extensive and bitter. Construction takes time, not
least because of the extensive safety assessments required, and time costs
money. As a result, projects will proceed only where there are credible
guarantees regarding future pricing and power purchases. The nuclear
industry is still failing to deal effectively with the problem of waste
disposal. At plants such as Sizewell in eastern England, there is the
additional challenge of securing sufficient water supplies to operate the
reactors. Because of the lead times involved, nuclear energy cannot offer a
solution to today’s challenges. 

Irish Examiner 8th June 2022

June 11, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

EDF delays the scheduled maintenance shutdowns of 7 French nuclear reactors.

EDF has pushed back scheduled shutdowns for next winter of seven French
reactors and plans to delay an eighth, Remit data showed on Wednesday.
These changes concern the shutdowns of the Bugey 5 (880 MW), Cattenom 2
(1,300 MW), Cruas 4 (915 MW), Golfech 2 (1,310 MW), Gravelines 1 (910 MW),
Nogent 2 (1,310 MW) reactors. ) and Paluel 1 (1,330 MW).

The delays vary
from several weeks to about a month. The company also plans to push back
for two weeks, until February 25, the scheduled shutdown of its St Alban 1
reactor (1.3 GW). EDF gave no explanation for these measures. They come
amid fears of a shortage of electricity supply in France next winter, due
to a record drop in nuclear generation. The public nuclear electric company was forced
to unexpectedly shut down several reactors for checks and repairs following
the discovery of corrosion on important safety circuits at the end of last
year.
Last month, EDF revised the dates of thirteen scheduled reactor
outages, citing corrosion-related checks and repairs. 

Montel 8th June 2022, https://www.montelnews.com/fr/news/1326472/edf-retarde-les-arrts-hivernaux-de-7-racteurs-franais

June 11, 2022 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment

World can make massive energy savings, reduce emissions through energy conservation measures

With the world facing an almost unprecedented energy crisis, the
International Energy Agency (IEA) aims to once again put energy efficiency
at the forefront of policymakers’ agenda.

During its 7th Global Energy
Efficiency Conference hosted in Sonderborg, Denmark, the IEA has sought to
convince policymakers worldwide of the merits of energy efficiency policies
while providing a policy toolkit to go with it. “Energy efficiency is a
critical solution to so many of the world’s most urgent challenges,”
said Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director.

According to an IEA analysis presented during the conference, the world could achieve massive
energy savings by the end of the decade through increased ambition while
simultaneously reducing CO2 emissions. 

Euractiv 8th June 2022 https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy/news/iea-presents-energy-efficiency-push-to-make-russias-gas-oil-obsolete/

June 11, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, ENERGY | Leave a comment

Nuclear Free Local Authorities oppose Nuclear Waste Authorities’ seismic testing in the Irish Sea

On World Oceans Day (8 June), the Nuclear Free Local Authorities have
joined environmental and anti-nuclear campaigners in opposing proposals to
carry out seismic testing in the Irish Sea as part of plans to develop an
offshore, undersea nuclear waste dump.

A joint letter, whose signatories
include renowned environmentalist Jonathan Porritt, has been sent to the
head of the Marine Management Organisation opposing an exemption to the
requirement to obtain a Marine Licence which has been claimed by Nuclear
Waste Services to enable them to plough ahead with their summer plans to
carry testing in the waters off West Cumbria.

The NWS, an operating
division of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, is responsible for
finding a site for a so-called Geological Disposal Facility, either below
ground or beneath the seabed. This nuclear waste dump will be filled with
the toxic radioactive waste that is the legacy of Britain’s seven decades
of the civil nuclear power production; much of it will remain radioactive
for many tens of thousands of years.

Three search areas in Cumbria, falling
within the local authority areas of Allerdale and Copeland and offshore up
to 22kms, are under consideration. Seismic testing will enable NWS to
determine if the geology beneath the bed of the Irish Sea is suitable to
host a repository for the nuclear waste. This involves firing blasts of
sound from air guns below the waves every 10 seconds for four weeks or
longer. This sound penetrates under the ocean floor to help scientists
discover more about the suitability of the geology to store nuclear waste.

Seismic testing can seriously impair the health of marine life, which in
the Irish Sea includes whales, dolphins, porpoises, and seals, but some
scientific reports also suggest that even tiny shellfish and plankton can
be adversely impacted, hazarding the whole marine ecosystem. 


NFLA 8th June 2022
, https://www.nuclearpolicy.info/news/nuclear-free-local-authorities-oppose-seismic-testing-on-world-oceans-day/

June 11, 2022 Posted by | oceans, UK | Leave a comment

TODAY. France’s nuclear industry – the world leader, is just as corrupt as the rest of them

Today we learn that French prosecutors are investigating alleged cover-ups of incidents at the Tricastin nuclear power station. Oh dear – France – the poster child for the global nuclear industry!

What a surprise – NOT!

Articles at  https://nuclearinformation.wordpress.com/?s=corruption will cure the reader of any lingering beliefs that the nuclear industry world-wide might be decent and honest. The necessary secrecy in operations so dangerous as nuclear activities makes it so much easier, indeed, inevitable for the entire industry to be crooked – which it is.

June 11, 2022 Posted by | Christina's notes | 1 Comment