Society's Child
Map

Nuke

Frightened to return: A Fukushima father's story

Rates of thyroid problems in children near the nuclear plant are high
Image
Like most fathers, Yoji Fujimoto frets about the health of his young children. In addition to normal parental concerns about the food they eat, the air they breathe and the environment they will inherit, however, he must add one more: the radioactive fallout from a nuclear disaster.

Three days after meltdown began at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant on 11 March 2011, Mr Fujimoto moved his two daughters, then aged four and three, to safety hundreds of kilometres away. Last December, the eldest of the two was diagnosed with adenoidal cysts, the prelude to a type of cancer that often strikes the salivary glands. "I was told by the doctor that it's very rare," he says.

Although Mr Fujimoto and his family were in Chiba Prefecture, over 60 miles (100km) from the plant and in the opposite direction from the worst of the fallout, he believes his daughter inhaled enough radiation to cause her illness. "I'm convinced this is because of the Fukushima accident."

The United Nations said last week it did not expect to see elevated rates of cancer from Fukushima, but recommended continued monitoring. The report by the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation said prompt evacuation meant the dose inhaled by most people was low. Tokyo Electric Power Co, operator of the Daiichi plant, estimates the final tally for escaped radiation at 900,000 terabecquerels, about one-fifth the amount released by the Chernobyl accident in 1986. Most was vented in the first three weeks.

The precise impact of this radiation is bitterly contested, but at least one finding from Chernobyl seems consistent - elevated rates of thyroid cancer in children. The Chernobyl Forum, a 2003-05 UN-led study, cited close to 5,000 cases of thyroid cancers among those exposed under the age of 18 in the most affected areas, probably from drinking contaminated milk. Many scientists believe it takes four to five years for the cancers to develop.

Info

Children around the world with their favorite possessions

© Gabriele Galimberti
Tangawizi – Keekorok, Kenya
Photos taken across the globe by Italian photographer Gabriele Galimberti put life in the modern world into perspective, showing children across the globe with their most beloved toys and other items - the variation of which is truly shocking.

When I saw these photos from Galimberti's 'Toy Stories' project, I felt it was important to share with readers of NaturalSociety for a few very important reasons. It's important to remember that, even with our major struggles against corporate corruption and a food system under attack, the level of comfort that we enjoy in the United States and other first world nations is something that many children (most, in fact) around the world dream of. Children like the ones you will see in the photos below, such as Tangawizi from Kenya, literally live in a clay and wood shelter with a few blankets and a stuffed animal.

What's also interesting is the fact that photographer Galimberti says that there was an extreme difference when it came to sharing and openness. In fact, Galimberti says that poor children were quite open to sharing their toys and allowing him to play with them before the shoot. Richer children, however, were possessive of their toys and were unwilling to share them for quite some time before Galimberti was able to convince them to do so.

Arrow Up

Food prices in South Africa up 49% in 5 years

Image

Food price hikes yet again.
Cape Town - A comparison between a basket of goods by sister publication City Press on how food prices have increased over five years shows that seven basic items alone have increased by an accumulative 49% from January 2008 to April 2013.

The cost of bread, meat, milk, cheese, vegetables, sugar and cooking oil among others in January 2008 were compared with prices for the same products in April 2013. Where consumers had to pay R189.94 in January 2008 for these products, they now had to fork out R283.09 for the same items, a 49% increase from five years ago.

Other items in the basket that were compared, included luxury, "sin" goods chocolates, coffee, beer, wine and cigarettes, which also showed an accumulative 49% increase in the review period.

The price of bread alone skyrocketed 69% in the 5-year period, while meat went up 40%.

Laptop

'Social media and opposition to blame for protests,' says Turkish PM

Image

"You and me baby aint nothin but psychopaths"...
'Social media is the worst menace to society,' says Recep Erdogan after thousands take control of Istanbul's main square

Thousands of protesters have controlled Istanbul's main square once more after two days of violent clashes with rampaging riot police, as Turkey's prime minister vowed to press on with the controversial redevelopment that provoked the clashes.

Calling the protesters an "extremist fringe", Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed the opposition Republican People's party for provoking the protests.

"We think that the main opposition party, which is making resistance calls on every street, is provoking these protests," Erdogan said on Turkish television, as an estimated 10,000 demonstrators streamed into the area waving flags and calling on the government to resign.

Comment: Nice try Erdogan, but unlike the Color Revolutions, the protests that never were in Libya, and the gangs armed by the CIA and friends in Syria, this is no foreign plot to bring down your government. No doubt players in the shadows will try to vector the movement this way then that way, but for now at least it appears that Turkey's uprising is a genuine revolt, much like Egypt's was in 2011.


Che Guevara

Thousands of protesters pack Istanbul's Taksim Square, over 900 arrested across Turkey

Thousands of protesters pack Istanbul's Taksim Square, over 900 arrested across Turkey


Police in Istanbul have withdrawn from Taksim Square, allowing the mass protest to continue unabated, Turkish media report. Istanbul and Ankara are entering the third day of violent protests, with tear gas and water cannon deployed and over 900 arrested.

Minor scuffles broke out after protesters lobbed fireworks at officers as they were drawing back, the state-run Anadolu Agency reports. Police removed barricades around the square, located in the heart of the city, which had previously been erected to prevent the anti-government protests, Private Dogan news agency said.

Despite the authorities decision to allow tens of thousands to flood onto the square, the main subway gateway to Taksim, the central station in the city's metro network, has reportedly been shut down in an effort to keep more people from reaching the ongoing protests.

Image
© Twitter: Stun ☠ @57UN
"This is the voice of the revolution!" #occupyturkey #occupytaksim pic.twitter.com/QZTLKRBaMJ

Che Guevara

900 arrested in 90 demonstrations across Turkey

Outrage over plans to replace a park in Istanbul's Taksim Square with a shopping mall became a flashpoint sparking anger in cities across Turkey over the policies of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government.

Source: CBS News

Heart - Black

Fire in China poultry plant kills 120

Image

Smoke rises from the Jilin poultry farm where up to 120 people died
A fire at a poultry processing plant in China has killed at least 119 people, officials say.

The fire broke out at a slaughterhouse in Dehui in Jilin province early on Monday.

Accounts speak of explosions prior to the fire, which caused panic and a crush of workers trying to escape. Some exits were said to be locked.

The fire is now said to have been mostly put out and bodies are being recovered.

Sources including the provincial fire department suggest there may have been an ammonia leak which either caused the fire or made fighting the blaze more hazardous.

Other reports speak of an electrical fault.

An injured woman lies on a bed at a hospital in Changchun, after fire broke out at a poultry slaughterhouse in Dehui, Jilin province, on Monday Dozens of injured have been sent to hospital

It is China's deadliest fire since 2000, when 309 people died in a blaze in a dance hall in Luoyang, in Henan province. A labour activist told the BBC it was the worst factory fire in living memory.

About 100 workers had managed to escape from the Baoyuan plant, Xinhua said, adding that the "complicated interior structure" of the building and narrow exits had made rescue work more difficult.

It said the plant's front gate was locked when the blaze began.

Bad Guys

Punitive pricing! Samoa Air to charge passengers by body weight

Image
Samoa Air, a small island airline, has become the world's first airline to implement a "pay as you weigh" pricing model that calculates passengers' flight tickets based on their body weight, according to reports.

"This is the fairest way of traveling," Samoa Air chief executive Chris Langton told Australia's ABC Radio. "There are no extra fees in terms of excess baggage or anything - it is just a kilo is a kilo is a kilo."

The airline, which flies domestically and to American Samoa, the Cook Islands and Tonga, will charge rates ranging from $1 a kilogram on the airline's shortest domestic route to about $4.16 per kilogram for travel from Samoa to American Samoa, according to ABC Radio.

Under the new pricing system, passengers of Samoa Air, which operate N2A Islander and Cessna 172 aircraft, will need to enter their estimated weight during online booking and airfare will be calculated using their weight. "You travel happy, knowing full well that you are only paying for exactly what you weigh... nothing more," states the Samoa Air website.

Attention

Explosion of unknown origin in Brussels injures 7

"An explosion of unknown origin in a dwelling quarter has left at least seven people injured in Brussels, Belgian TV reports. The blast caused fire in an accommodation unit; firefighters are currently extinguishing the flames. The cause of the explosion is being investigated."

Alarm Clock

Kindergartener interrogated over cap gun until he pees his pants, then suspended 10 days

© Unknown
In the latest incident of anti-gun hysteria to erupt in a school setting, a kindergarten boy has been suspended from school for 10 days because he showed a friend his cowboy-style cap gun on the way to school.

The incident happened on Wednesday morning at about 8:30 a.m. on a school bus in Calvert County, Maryland, reports The Washington Post.

The kindergartener had brought the toy gun because his friend had brought a water gun the previous day. He later told his mother than he "really, really" wanted his friend to see it.

The suspended boy had acquired the menacing, plastic, orange-tipped weapon at Frontier Town, a western-themed campground with a water park, mini golf and the like.

School officials at Dowell Elementary School in the town of Lusby proceeded to question the five-year-old for over two hours before finally calling his mother, whom The Post also does not name.

The principal eventually called the boy's mother at 10:50 a.m. By that time, the five-year-old had wet his pants (which the mother called highly unusual).

The principal told the boy's mother that the boy had simulated shooting someone on the bus with the offending novelty. However, both the boy and his older sister, a first-grader, say the principal is not telling the truth.