18 August 2015
Volcano near nuclear plant raising concerns in Japan | 17 Aug 2015 | Just under a week after the first nuclear power plant [Reactor Sendai 1] re-opened in Japan, critics are voicing concerns about safety. Oh, and there's a volcano...The Japan Meteorological Agency raised the warning level near Sakurajima from 3 to 4 this past week in light of tectonic plate movement. The highest level is a 5, which means necessary evacuation due to impending eruption. The Japan Times reported all 77 residents who live within a 2-mile radius of Sakurajima had been evacuated by Saturday. The Sendai nuclear plant has not made any changes in light of the volcano warning level.
Japan raises warning level on volcano not far from nuclear reactor | 14 Aug 2015 | Japan warned on Saturday that a volcano 50 km (31 miles) from a just-restarted nuclear reactor is showing signs of increased activity, and said nearby residents should prepare to evacuate. Sakurajima, a mountain on the southern island of Kyushu, is one of Japan's most active volcanoes and erupts almost constantly. But a larger than usual eruption could be in the offing, an official at the Japan Meteorological Agency said. Japanon Tuesday restarted a reactor at the Sendai nuclear plant, some 50 km from Sakurajima.
Fukushima operator's mounting legal woes to fuel nuclear opposition --Judge forces Tepco to disclose internal report | 17 Aug 2015 | Four and a half years after the [beginning of the ongoing] Fukushima disaster, and as Japan tentatively restarts nuclear power elsewhere, the legal challenges are mounting for the crippled plant's operator. They include a judge's forced disclosure of a 2008 internal document prepared for managers at Tokyo Electric Power Co warning of a need for precautions against an unprecedented nuclear catastrophe. Also, class actions against Tepco and the government now have more plaintiffs than any previous Japanese contamination suit and, overruling reluctant prosecutors, criminal charges have been levelled against former Tepco executives for failing to take measures to prevent the 2011 meltdowns and explosions.
Japan's plutonium stockpile worries Oxford specialist | 17 Aug 2015 | The handling of Japan's huge plutonium stockpile remains a challenge for the whole world, an Oxford environmental expert has warned. When Japan marked the 70th anniversary of Nagasaki's obliteration by a plutonium bomb on Aug. 9, its own cache of weapons-usable plutonium was more than 47 metric tons, enough to make nearly 6,000 warheads like the one that flattened the Japanese city, Dr. Peter Wynn Kirby of University of Oxford wrote in an op-ed on Monday's New York Times.
US nuclear site placed in lockdown over explosive scare | 17 Aug 2015 | The US Department of Energy's Savannah River Site nuclear reservation in South Carolina was briefly placed on lockdown Monday after a delivery truck scan prompted an emergency response over potential explosive residue. A "potential security event" was declared after electronic scans and detection dogs discovered a "possibility of explosive residue" on a delivery truck, the Energy Department said in a press release. "Law enforcement agencies from South Carolina and Georgia were called and are on the scene to assist Centerra, the site security contractor," the agency stated.
Pentagon to expand drone flights by 50% in next 4 years | 17 Aug 2015 | The US military will increase the number of drone flights from the current 61 a day to as many as 90 by 2019 while expanding lethal strike capabilities. The expanded drone program, operated mostly by the US Air Force, will allow for broadened surveillance and intelligence gathering from Ukraine and North Africa to Iraq and the South China Sea. The move would mark the most expansion within the drone program since 2011.
US to withdraw Patriot missiles from Turkey in October | 16 Aug 2015 | Turkey and the United States said Sunday that Washington would withdraw its Patriot missile batteries from the country in October after bolstering Ankara's air defences against threats from Syria's [CIA-fomented] civil war. The NATO mandate for the mission will run out in October and will not be renewed, but the US is prepared to return Patriot assets and personnel to Turkey within one week if needed, a joint Turkish-US statement said. A US defence official stressed that the move by the US military was for the purpose of force modernisation.
Spate of bombings kill 24 across Baghdad | 15 Aug 2015 | A spate of bombings across Baghdad killed at least 24 people on Saturday, two days after the deadliest attack in the Iraqi capital since Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi took office one year ago. The deadliest attack took place in the Shi'ite district of Habibiya, where 15 people were killed when a car bomb exploded near an open area where cars are displayed for sale. Saturday's explosion wounded a further 35 people.
AT&T Helped U.S. Spy on Internet on a Vast Scale | 15 Aug 2015 | The National Security Agency's ability to spy on vast quantities of Internet traffic passing through the United States has relied on its extraordinary, decades-long partnership with a single company: the telecom giant AT&T. While it has been long known that American telecommunications companies worked closely with the spy agency, newly disclosed N.S.A. documents show that the relationship with AT&T has been considered unique and especially productive. One document described it as "highly collaborative," while another lauded the company's "extreme willingness to help." AT&T's cooperation has involved a broad range of classified activities, according to the documents, which date from 2003 to 2013.
Sen. Brown blocks Obama nominee for deputy US trade representative over administration's refusal to grant his staff access to key TPP documents | 14 Aug 2015 | Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) is blocking an Obama nominee for deputy U.S. trade representative over the administration's refusal to grant his staff access to key trade documents, reigniting an intraparty battle over the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Brown, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and many other Democratic critics have long maligned the intense secrecy provisions that the administration imposes on negotiation drafts of the controversial trade corporate takeover pact with 11 other Pacific nations. The administration treats the text as classified information, making it a crime for lawmakers to publicly air specific complaints about the deal. Throughout the TPP talks, the administration has continued to impose barriers that have prevented Brown's top trade staffer from reviewing negotiation documents unless Brown himself is physically present in the room with her. Brown has said such standards are stricter than the government's information controls for some Iran sanctions work and CIA briefings.
New Zealand: nationwide actions protest controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership | 17 Aug 2015 | Twelve countries, including the United States and New Zealand, are participating in confidential negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, or the TPP. Activists around the world are ringing the alarm on the TPP, saying it is far from a standard trade agreement and could threaten the sovereignty of countries that sign it. The latest round of TPP negotiations stalled in Maui, and were followed by a week of actions against the controversial trade corporate takeover agreement in New Zealand.
Auckland TPP protest could turn 'confrontational' US citizens told [It's about time!] | 14 Aug 2015 | The United States is warning its citizens in Auckland that a TPP protest planned for Saturdaycould turn ugly, and they should stay away. In an email, the US Consulate General in Auckland urged any US citizens to avoid the march as "even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational." The US State Department email also mentions the risk of a terror threat ay any large gatherings. [LOL!] Up to 8000 protesters are expected to gather on Auckland's Queen St, to march against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free-trade agreement corporate takeover.
Feds give final approval to Shell's Arctic drilling plan | 17 Aug 2015 | The [corporate-owned] Obama administration has given Royal Dutch Shell the final approval it needs to drill into potential oil reserves beneath the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean. The approval, issued by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) on Monday, gives the company the chance to drill deeper for oil than it has before...The Obama administration's approval of Shell's drilling plans has angered environmentalists, who say the Arctic is too sensitive an ecosystem to permit oil drilling and risk a potential spill. Many major green groups released statementsMonday slamming the BSEE's final approval of the company's drilling plan.
On Martha's Vineyard, 'Frostpaw' the Polar Bear to Deliver Climate Message to President Obama | 17 Aug 2015 | The Center for Biological Diversity's Frostpaw the Polar Bear will be in Martha's Vineyard in the coming days urging a vacationing President Obama to call off plans to drill for oil in the Arctic; reject the Keystone XL pipeline; and take powerful action to address the global climate crisis. Frostpaw the Polar Bear and other climate activists will be on Martha's Vineyard urging President Obama to take strong action to curb climate change global warming and slow sea-level rise. Frostpaw is expected to appear at the farmers' market, Gay Head lighthouse, Bunches of Grapes bookstore, ice cream shops, and other places on the island.
How to de-oil a polar bear: Grim outlook for wildlife impacts from an Arctic spill | 15 Aug 2015 | In the event of a large oil spill in Alaska's Arctic, officials say they would have limited ability to clean oiled marine mammals, and in some cases might not be able to clean them at all. Assuming rescuers could reach them, polar bears would have to be cleaned just a few at a time. And the prospects for walruses are even grimmer...If a spill did happen in the Arctic, it could take several days for a U.S. Coast Guard ship to respond, depending on weather and sea ice, because of the region's size.
Another Yosemite National Park campground shuttered due to plague | 18 Aug 2015 | Two dead squirrels, one shuttered campground in the heart of Yosemite National Park, and one devastating disease -- plague. Less than two weeks after announcing that a child who camped at Yosemite's Crane Flat Campground had the plague, the park said this week Tuolumne Meadows Campground was closing because of the same disease. Authorities determined that two squirrels at Tuolumne Meadows had died of plague, prompting the closure.
Plague-infected squirrels found at Yosemite National Park campground | 14 Aug 2015 | About a week ago, officials said a child fell ill with the plague at Yosemite National Park. Now a popular campground there will be closed after several squirrels were killed by the disease. The plague-infected squirrels were found in the Tuolumne Meadows Campground, about 40 miles west of Crane Flat Campground, where the child was camping with family. In an "extremely precautionary public health measure," park officials will apply flea insecticide to rodent burrows.
River pollution 'an emergency' for Colorado's Navajo Nation | 12 Apr 2015 | Leaders of the Native American Navajo community are planning to sue America's Environmental Protection Agency after a toxic discharge from a disused mine pollutes the Animas and San Juan rivers. Over three million gallons of waste water, containing heavy metals such as arsenic, mercury and lead, gushed out of a disused mine and downstream into the Animas River after the accident last Wednesday, turning it bright yellow. The spill was triggered by a crew working for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at the Gold King Mine near Silverton in Colorado.
Tianjin Death Toll at 114 as Rain Portends Poison Gas Release | 17 Aug 2015 | Ten more bodies have been found at the site of last week's massive explosions in the Chinese port city of Tianjin, raising the death toll to 114, municipal officials said Mondaymorning. With storms moving into the area, environmental officials raised concerns that sodium cyanide exposed by the explosions Wednesday could release poisonous hydrogen cyanide into the air. Seventy other people remained missing Monday morning, many of them firefighters, five days after the huge blasts at a warehouse storing hazardous materials, officials said at a news conference in Tianjin.
Western Wildfires: 200 Active-Duty Soldiers Will Help Fight Blazes | 18 Aug 2015 | The government will mobilize 200 active-duty soldiers to help fight the wildfires torching the West -- the first time it has taken that step in nearly a decade. The Defense Department said the soldiers would come from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, in Washington state. They will be divided into 10 crews of 20 soldiers each and sent Sunday to a wildfire to be determined. An estimated 95 wildfires are burning across 1.1 million acres of land in seven Western states, taxing firefighters and budgets.
Two women make history as the first females to complete grueling Army Ranger school | 18 Aug 2015 | Two female soldiers will become the first ever to graduate from the Army's elite Ranger School this week after making history by completing the final agonizing leg of one of the U.S. military's most demanding courses. The women are part of a group of soldiers who hauled packs carrying 100 pounds through the rugged mountains of northern Georgia and the swamps of the Florida panhandle--while getting by on precious little food and sleep. The unidentified women, both of them West Point graduates, began the rigorous course in April along with 380 men and 17 other women as part of the first class to include women.
Bangkok Terror Suspect Identified as Australian Actor by Fans | 18 Aug 2015 | Thai authorities say they are hunting a man shown on security footage strolling into a packed religious shrine and placing a bomb-laden backpack before an explosion that killed at least 20 people. More than 100 other people were injured in Monday's attack as the blast left body parts, shattered glass and incinerated motorcycles strewn across the crushed concrete of a busy intersection...After the CCTV footage was released, Australian actor Sunny Burns went to police after social media users began pointing out similarities between him and the suspect. Burns, who lives in Bangkok, was made aware of the rumors by friends and presented himself to police. [Oh dear. Don't you just hate when you think all of your false flag ducklings are in a row, only to be undone by a pesky tattoo? --LRP]
Police: Explosive device found at Wichita women's clinic | 18 Aug 2015 |Police say a man is in custody after he brought a small [?!] improvised explosive device into a women's health care clinic that provides abortions in south-central Kansas. Wichita Police Department spokesman Doug Nolte says officers responded to the South Wind Women's Center around 3:30 p.m. Monday. He says on-site security inspected a backpack the man brought in and found knives and the explosive device. Clinic staff evacuated the building, and a bomb squad was called to remove the backpack.
Hypocrite and pseudo-tea party candidate Carson seeks ultimate big government, big pharma vaccine enforcement:Ben Carson wants forced vaccines, with schools serving as enforcement checkpoint --Ben Carson Wants Forced Vaccines | 14 Aug 2015 | Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson is making waves yet again, this time because he announced his pro-mandatory stance on vaccines. Carson, who is [horrifyingly] second in the GOP polls behind Donald Trump, also wants schools to be set up to enforce the provisions. This would men no religious or philosophical exemptions. This could also mean proposing stricter checkpoints at schools nationwide if Carson was to be elected.
Nabisco plant worker asks Emanuel, Obama to save Chicago jobs [LOL! TPP*mp Obama doesn't give a d*mn, and Rahm Emanuel is *useless.* Ask Donald Trump - he mentioned the job-killing Nabisco dirt-bags in Iowa.] | 12 June 2015 | A worker at Chicago's Nabisco plant reached out to Mayor Rahm Emanuel and President Barack Obama on Friday, asking for their help to keep hundreds of jobs in Chicago rather than seeing the work go to Mexico. Last month, Mondelez International told union officials representing more than 1,200 workers at its Chicago bakery that it plans to shut down nine of the 16 lines at the facility. It also wants to install four state-of-the-art production lines but said it would cost much more to put them in Chicago than at the company's new facility in Salinas, Mexico...If the company adds capacity in Mexico, Chicago stands to lose about 600 jobs.
Trump saves 1,000 US jobs: Ford announces new U.S. production day after Trump blasts its $2.5 Mexican plant | 12 Aug 2015 | A day after GOP Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump slammed Ford Motor Company for its plan to invest 2.5 billion in plants in Mexico, Ford announced that it is actually moving production out of Mexico to a plant outside of Cleveland. While Trump's comments and Ford's announcement appear to have no connection, the move to build the medium-duty F-650 and F-750 commercial trucks at a plant in Avon Lake, Ohio is the first time that the Detroit-based company has returned its auto-manufacturing operation back to American soil from a foreign country. The shift back to the 41-year-old Ohio plant means that about 1,000 workers represented by the United Auto Workers union will keep their jobs, Jimmy Settles, United Auto Workers vice president, said in a statement released by Reuters.
Latest CNN Republican Poll Has Donald Trump at 24% | 18 Aug 2015 | Support for Donald J. Trump remains robust among Republicans after the first debate, according to a new poll from CNN that shows nearly a quarter of the party's likely voters would support his nomination for president. According to the latest survey, Mr. Trump leads the Republican field by a large margin with 24 percent supporting his White House bid. Former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida, whose standing dipped after the debate, is in second place with 13 percent, and Ben Carson, whose prospects have improved, comes in third at 8 percent.
Donald Trump gives kids helicopter rides at Iowa state fair | 15 Aug 2015 | This weekend, the Iowa State Fair is teeming with presidential hopefuls giving speeches atop a hay bale, stuffing their faces with greasy, fried foods, and enjoying carnival rides. But real-estate tycoon and Republican candidate Donald Trump, true to form, is taking it a step further, becoming perhaps the first candidate to arrive by helicopter. He also fulfilled a promise by offering kids helicopter rides over the fair grounds.
Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders Converge on Iowa State Fair --Three of the biggest 2016 Democratic and Republican presidential contenders arrive within hours of each other | 15 Aug 2015 | Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was midway through his speech at the Iowa State Fair's "soapbox" stage when a helicopter buzzed overhead...Hillary Clinton bit into a pork chop on a stick during her visit to the fairSaturday. Mr. Sanders delivered a red meat speech that skewered the nation's "billionaire class." Yet it was Mr. Trump who turned out to be the scene-stealer, flying in on his personal helicopter and wading through a swarm of fairgoers shouting "Donald!" and pressing him for autographs and selfies.
State Department flags 305 more Clinton e-mails for review[Yeah, too bad the media didn't care when Bush/Cheney had'1,000 days of e-mails' that went missing from January 2003 to 10 August 2005, many of which likely covered their 9/11 drill-gone-live.] | 17 Aug 2015 | A State Department official told a federal judge Monday that 305 more of former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton's e-mail messages have been flagged for further review by intelligence agencies, to see whether they contain classified material that should not be released to the public. Clinton turned 30,000 e-mails over to the State Department in December 2014, and the department now has a team reviewing the correspondence to determine what should be released and what should be redacted under laws that allow the government to withhold public documents from release on a variety of grounds, including national security. A federal judge has ordered the State Department to release the cleared documents to the public on a rolling basis, with all of them to be available by January.
Julian Bond, charismatic civil rights figure, dies at 75 | 15 Aug 2015 | While still in his 20s, Julian Bond was already one of the most charismatic and best-known figures of the civil rights movement. Tall, strikingly handsome and a gifted orator, he won a Supreme Court challenge in 1966 to be seated in the Georgia state legislature, and he remained an outspoken voice against discrimination for more than 50 years as president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, chairman of the NAACP and a professor at American University and the University of Virginia. Mr. Bond died Aug. 15 at a hospital in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., at age 75.
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