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Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz suggests bombing Iran to stop its nuclear program

December 10, 2019 Posted by | Iran, Israel, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Britain, France, and Germany press Iran over its ballistic missile program

December 8, 2019 Posted by | EUROPE, Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Bacteria to consume CO2 – a climate change solution?

Scientists just engineered bacteria to eat CO2,  Right now, biotech companies feed E. coli sugar as they produce everything from insulin to biofuels. Now, a new strain of the bacteria can suck emissions from the air as their food. Fast Company, BY ADELE PETERS 4 Dec 19, Bacteria commonly used in the biotech industry could soon feed on CO2 instead of sugar, turning climate pollution into carbon-neutral biofuels or even food. In a decade-long study, scientists at Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science engineered for the first time a form of E. coli that can consume carbon dioxide……..

Some startups are already beginning to use microbes to transform CO2 into products; Air Protein, launched in November, uses CO2 to make protein for alternative meat. But microbes that these new companies use are proprietary. “They’re using microbes that are much harder to engineer than E. coli, and therefore the variety of products that these microbes can manufacture from the capture of CO2 is very limited compared to E. coli,” he says. ……

If the production process uses renewable energy, “then we will basically have negative emissions of CO2,” says Gleizer. Some products may be carbon neutral—if the bacteria make jet fuel, for example, the planes that use it will still emit greenhouse gases, but no more than the CO2 that was originally used to produce the fuel. The CO2 could potentially come from direct air capture.

Several steps are still necessary before it’s clear that the process is feasible. When the current strain of the bacteria feeds on CO2, it grows much more slowly than if it was eating sugar; the researchers think that future versions can be faster. The E. coli will also have to be further modified to produce specific products. And production equipment in biotech factories might also have to change. “There’s still a long way to optimize this process,” says Gleizer. https://www.fastcompany.com/90438169/scientists-just-engineered-bacteria-to-eat-co2

December 5, 2019 Posted by | climate change, Israel | Leave a comment

Rafael Mariano Grossi, new UN nuclear agency chief, states he will be“firm and fair” stance on Iran 

December 3, 2019 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Big risk factors for Middle East countries in adopting nuclear power

December 2, 2019 Posted by | MIDDLE EAST, safety | Leave a comment

Iran warns EU that it may step back from UN nuclear watchdog

Iran threatens to step back from UN nuclear watchdog
Tehran warns it will reconsider IAEA commitments if EU states trigger possible sanctions,
Guardian, Patrick Wintour Diplomatic editor, Mon 2 Dec 2019
Iran has warned it may “seriously reconsider” its commitments to the UN atomic watchdog if European parties to a nuclear deal trigger a dispute mechanism that could lead to fresh sanctions.

The speaker for the Iranian parliament, Ali Larijani, told a press conference in Tehran on Sunday: “If they use the trigger [mechanism], Iran would be forced to seriously reconsider some of its commitments to the International Atomic Energy Agency. If they think doing so is more beneficial to them, they can go ahead.”

The threat to trigger sanctions has come after the Iranian government has taken a series of deliberate steps away from the 2015 nuclear deal, which it says are intended as a reprisal for Europe’s failure to deliver on commitments to boost trade.

Iran has also been frustrated by Europe’s refusal to defy the threat of US sanctions against any European company that trades with Iran.

A mechanism known as Instex developed by Europe to sidestep sanctions received a boost at the weekend when six more EU countries said they would join. Instex is a bartering system devised to avoid the reach of the US, but Iran is less interested in the number of EU countries signed up than the fact that no deals are being made under the mechanism. A mechanism known as Instex developed by Europe to sidestep sanctions received a boost at the weekend when six more EU countries said they would join. Instex is a bartering system devised to avoid the reach of the US, but Iran is less interested in the number of EU countries signed up than the fact that no deals are being made under the mechanism……. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/dec/01/iran-threatens-to-step-back-from-un-nuclear-watchdog

December 2, 2019 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

New report on Iraqi babies, deformed due to thorium and uranium from U.S. military actions and bases

IRAQI CHILDREN BORN NEAR U.S. MILITARY BASE SHOW ELEVATED RATES OF “SERIOUS CONGENITAL DEFORMITIES,” STUDY FINDS   https://theintercept.com/2019/11/25/iraq-children-birth-defects-military/  Murtaza Hussain, November 26 2019,  MORE THAN A decade and a half after the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, a new study found that babies are being born today with gruesome birth defects connected to the ongoing American military presence there. The report, issued by a team of independent medical researchers and published in the journal Environmental Pollution, examined congenital anomalies recorded in Iraqi babies born near Tallil Air Base, a base operated by the U.S.-led foreign military coalition. According to the study, babies showing severe birth defects — including neurological problems, congenital heart disease, and paralyzed or missing limbs — also had corresponding elevated levels of a radioactive compound known as thorium in their bodies.

“We collected hair samples, deciduous (baby) teeth, and bone marrow from subjects living in proximity to the base,” said Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, one of the study’s lead researchers. “In all three tissues we see the same trend: higher levels of thorium.” Savabieasfahani, who has authored studies on the radioactive footprint of the U.S. military presence in Iraq for years, says that the new findings contribute to a growing body of evidence about the serious long-term health impact of U.S. military operations on Iraqi civilians. “The closer that you live to a U.S. military base in Iraq,” she said, “the higher the thorium in your body and the more likely you are to suffer serious congenital deformities and birth defects.”
The new study piles onto a growing wealth of knowledge about severe ill effects of the U.S. military on the environments in which it operates. All industrialized military activity is bad for ecological systems, but the U.S., with its enormous military engaged in activities spanning the globe has a particular large environmental footprint. Not only does the U.S. military lead the world in carbon output, but its prodigious presence around the globe leaves a toxic trail of chemicals that local communities have to deal with, from so-called burn pits on bases releasing poisonous smoke to the radiation of depleted uranium rounds mutating the DNA of nearby populations.

The suffering of Iraqis has been particularly acute. The results of the new study added to a laundry list of negative impacts of the U.S.’s long war there to the long-term health of the country’s population. Previous studies, including some contributed by a team led by Savabieasfahani, have pointed to elevated rates of cancer, miscarriages, and radiological poisoning in places like Fallujah, where the U.S. military carried out major assaults during its occupation of the country.

The study published in Environmental Pollution was conducted by a team of independent Iraqi and American researchers in Iraq during the summer and fall of 2016. They analyzed 19 babies born with serious birth defects at a maternity hospital in the vicinity of Tallil Air Base, compared with a control group of 10 healthy newborns.
“Doctors are regularly encountering anomalies in babies that are so gruesome they cannot even find precedents for them,” said Savabieasfahani. “The war has spread so much radiation here that, unless it is cleaned up, generations of Iraqis will continue to be affected.”

SOME OF THESE negative health effects of the American war in Iraq can be put down to U.S. forces’ frequent use of munitions containing depleted uranium. Depleted uranium, a byproduct of the enriched uranium used to power nuclear reactors, makes bullets and shells more effective in destroying armored vehicles, owing to its extreme density. But it has been acknowledged to be hazardous to the environment and the long-term health of people living in places where the munitions are used.

“Uranium and thorium were the main focus of this study,” the authors note. “Epidemiological evidence is consistent with an increased risk of congenital anomalies in the offspring of persons exposed to uranium and its depleted forms.” In other words: The researchers found that the more you were around these American weapons, the more likely you were to bear children with deformities and other health problems.

In response to an outcry over its effects, the U.S. military pledged to not use depleted uranium rounds in its bombing campaigns against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, but, despite this pledge, a 2017 investigation by the independent research group AirWars and Foreign Policy magazine found that the military had continued to regularly use rounds containing the toxic compound.

These depleted-uranium munitions are among the causes of hazards not only to the civilians in the foreign lands where the U.S. fights its wars, but also to American service members who took part in these conflicts. The chronic illnesses suffered by U.S. soldiers during the 1991 war in Iraq — often from exposure to uranium munitions and other toxic chemicals — have already been categorized as a condition known as “Gulf War syndrome.” The U.S. government has been less interested into the effects of the American military’s chemical footprint on Iraqis. The use of “burn pits” — toxic open-air fires used to dispose military waste — along with other contaminants has had a lasting impact on the health of current and future Iraqi generations.

Researchers conducting the latest study said that a broader study is needed to get definitive results about these health impacts. The images of babies born with defects at the hospital where the study was conducted, Bint Al-Huda Maternity Hospital, about 10 kilometers from Tallil Air Base, are gruesome and harrowing. Savabieasfahani, the lead researcher, said that without an effort by the U.S. military to clean up its radioactive footprint, babies will continue to be born with deformities that her study and others have documented.

“The radioactive footprint of the military could be cleaned up if we had officials who wanted to do so,” said Savabieasfahani. “Unfortunately, even research into the problem of Iraqi birth defects has to be done by independent toxicologists, because the U.S. military and other institutions are not even interested in this issue.”

November 26, 2019 Posted by | children, Iraq, Reference, thorium, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Rick Perry authorised secret nuclear negotiations with Saudi Arabia, without Congress approval

November 14, 2019 Posted by | Saudi Arabia, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Entire world wants nuclear weapons-free Middle East — except for USA and Israel

US and Israel were lone votes against UN resolutions opposing space arms race, nuclear Middle East, Cuba embargo, The United States and Israel were the only countries that voted against UN General Assembly draft resolutions calling for a nuclear weapons-free Middle East, measures to stop an arms race in outer space, and an end to the blockade of Cuba. THE GRAYZONE, By Ben Norton, 11 Nov 19,

Important breakthroughs have arrived at the United Nations seeking to prevent an arms race in outer space and create a nuclear weapons-free Middle East. There are just two main obstacles: the United States and Israel.

While Washington and corporate media outlets portray China and Russia as aggressive warmongering rogue states, their votes at the UN show which nations are actually expanding dangerous militarism into new frontiers.

China and Russia joined dozens of other countries in sponsoring resolutions at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) that sought to prevent armed conflict in space. Most of the international community supported these historic peace measures. The only consistent outliers were the US and Israel.

Beijing and Moscow have been leading global efforts to stop the use of weapons in space. Meanwhile, Washington has unilaterally blocked the international consensus on preventing the deadly space race.

Moreover, as nearly all UN member states have united in calling for a Middle East free of nuclear weapons, the US and Israel have singlehandedly undermined their peace efforts.

This roguish behavior predates the election of President Donald Trump.

At the UNGA on November 7, almost every country in the world also voted to end the US embargo against Cuba. This was the 28th year in row that the international community united in calling for the American noose to be taken off the neck of the Cuban people.

While 187 member states supported the resolution demanding an end to the blockade, the US, Israel, and Brazil’s far-right government were the lone nations to oppose it. American allies Colombia and Ukraine abstained.

Washington’s UN votes show who truly is a rogue state.

Entire world wants nuclear weapons-free Middle East — except for USA and Israel

The UNGA’s First Committee, which oversees disarmament and international security, voted on November 1 to overwhelmingly approve a draft resolution entitled “Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East.”

A staggering 172 countries voted in support of this resolution. Only two nations voted against it: the US and Israel. Just two more countries abstained: the United Kingdom and Cameroon.

At the same meeting, the First Committee approved a draft resolution on “The risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East,” which called for the region to abide by the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

Given Israel is the only country in the Middle East with nuclear weapons, the UNGA resolution called on Tel Aviv to join the NPT (Israel has long refused to sign the treaty), and demanded that Israeli nuclear facilities be overseen by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards.

The draft resolution was also overwhelmingly approved, with 151 votes in support and a mere six votes against — from the US, Israel, and Canada, along with the tiny island nations of Palau, Micronesia, and the Marshall Islands, which function as vassals of Washington at the UN.

American and Israeli votes against resolutions to prevent an arms race in outer space…….https://thegrayzone.com/2019/11/08/us-israel-un-resolutions-space-arms-race-nuclear/

November 11, 2019 Posted by | Israel, politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Iran building a second nuclear reactor at Bushehr plant

November 11, 2019 Posted by | Iran, politics | Leave a comment

U.S. renews support for foreign companies working with Iran’s nuclear program 

U.S. renews support for foreign companies working with Iran’s nuclear program  CBS News, 1 Nov Washington — The Trump administration is keeping alive one of the last remaining components of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal by extending sanctions waivers that allow foreign companies to work with Iran’s civilian nuclear program without U.S. penalties.

The waivers had been due to expire Tuesday but were extended by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for another 90 days. The extensions were not announced until Thursday.

Pompeo has been a champion of President Trump’s maximum pressure campaign on Iran.

State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said the move “will help preserve oversight of Iran’s civil nuclear program, reduce proliferation risks, constrain Iran’s ability to shorten its ‘breakout time’ to a nuclear weapon, and prevent the regime from reconstituting sites for proliferation-sensitive purposes.”

Pompeo also announced new sanctions on Iran’s construction sector, which he determines to be under the control of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. The IRGC was designated earlier this year as a “foreign terrorist organization.”

Mr. Trump withdrew last year from the nuclear deal and has steadily ramped up sanctions on Iran that had been eased under the agreement. But the so-called “civilian nuclear cooperation” waivers will permit European, Russian and Chinese companies to continue to work at Iranian civilian nuclear facilities……https://www.cbsnews.com/news/u-s-renews-support-for-foreign-companies-working-with-irans-nuclear-program/

November 4, 2019 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Turkey Has Long Had Nuclear Dreams

Ankara has been contemplating developing nuclear weapons since the 1960s.  Foreign Policy,  BY COLUM LYNCH,  NOVEMBER 1, 2019, 

In September, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told members of his party that it is time for his country to acquire its own nuclear bomb.

Such a move would mark a sharp break from previous obligations by Turkey, a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which bars non-nuclear states from acquiring nuclear weapons. But this is not the first time that Turkey—which has played host to U.S. nuclear weapons since the late 1950s—has craved its own nuclear weapons program.

As part of our Document of the Week series, Foreign Policy is posting a copy of a Sept. 26, 1966, memo describing to then-Ambassador Parker T. Hart a troubling conversation Clarence Wendel, the U.S. minerals attache at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, had with a “reliable” Turkish scientist on Turkey’s nuclear ambitions.

The memo, one of 20 previously declassified documents on nuclear weapons in Turkey compiled this week by the National Security Archive, claims the source disclosed that officials from Turkey’s General Directorate of Mineral Research and Exploration “had been asked to cooperate with General [Refik] Tulga and Professor Omer Inonu (Professor of Physics at METU) [Middle East Technical University] in a Turkish program to develop an ‘Atomic Bomb.’”

Wendel, according to the memo, had flagged a number of developments suggesting the claim may be credible, including: “Repeated Turkish assertions that a 200 mega-watt nuclear reactor is planned for Istanbul”; the stockpiling of reserves of 300 to 600 tons of uranium in low-grade ore deposits; and the “delaying and haggling tactics of the Turkish negotiators during discussions of the extension of the bilateral agreement on peaceful uses of atomic energy which primarily concerned the transfer of safeguards responsibility from the U.S.A. to the International Atomic Energy Agency.”……..https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/11/01/turkey-long-nuclear-dreams-erdogan-bomb/

November 2, 2019 Posted by | politics, Turkey | Leave a comment

USA negotiating nuclear sales with Saudi Arabia

October 31, 2019 Posted by | marketing, Saudi Arabia, USA | Leave a comment

Countries vie to market nuclear reactors to Saudi Arabia

October 31, 2019 Posted by | marketing, Saudi Arabia | Leave a comment

U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry says USA and Saudi Arabia negotiating on nuclear sales

U.S. says talks progressing with Saudi on possible nuclear program, DUBAI (Reuters) 27 Oct 19– U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry said on Saturday that conversations with Saudi Arabia on a nuclear program are going forward.The world’s top oil exporter had said it wanted to use nuclear power to diversify its energy mix. It wants to go ahead with a full-cycle nuclear program, including the production and enrichment of uranium for atomic fuel.

In order for U.S. companies to compete for Saudi Arabia’s project, Riyadh would normally need to sign an accord on the peaceful use of nuclear technology with Washington.

Reuters has reported that progress on the discussions has been difficult because Saudi Arabia does not want to sign a deal that would rule out the possibility of enriching uranium or reprocessing spent fuel – both potential paths to a bomb.

“The kingdom and the leadership in the kingdom .. will find a way to sign a 1,2,3 agreement with the United States, I think,” Perry said.

Speaking at a round table in Abu Dhabi, Perry added that the United States was doing everything it could to have a ready global supply of oil…… https://www.reuters.com/article/us-uae-us-energy/us-says-talks-progressing-with-saudi-on-possible-nuclear-program-idUSKBN1X509E

October 28, 2019 Posted by | politics international, Saudi Arabia, USA | 1 Comment