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Nuke

Japan: Thyroid Radiation Exposure Found in Children Near Tepco Plant

Medical tests on children living in three towns near the crippled Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant found 45 percent of those surveyed suffered low-level thyroid radiation exposure, Japan's government said in a statement.

While the statement didn't comment on the source of the contamination, the announcement follows reports of radioactive material found in food after radiation leaks from the meltdown of three reactors at the Tokyo Electric Power Co. plant.

The tests covered 1,080 children aged up to 15 in three towns, Iwaki, Kawamata and Iitate, between 38 to 47 kilometers from the reactors. The tests between March 24 and 30 showed none of the children's thyroid glands exceeded the safety threshold of 0.2 microsievert per hour set by the Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan, according to the Aug. 17 statement.

People

German 'unfairly' sacked for marrying Chinese woman

Image
© BBC
An engineer in northern Germany who was sacked because he married a Chinese woman was unjustifiably dismissed, a court has ruled.

The man was declared a security risk by his employer after his marriage because of his new family ties.

The company acted as a supplier for the German armed forces and feared possible industrial espionage.

But the court said the engineer's employer had violated his right to marry whomever he chose.

The employment tribunal in Kiel in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein was told that the 47-year-old engineer had been employed at the firm on a temporary basis since May 2006.

Nuke

Fukushima Radiation Alarms Doctors

japan, radiation
© EPA
Residents of Ohkuma-cho attend a memorial service for the victims of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami on 24 July 2011 in Ohkuma-cho, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, 20 km from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Scientists and doctors are calling for a new national policy in Japan that mandates the testing of food, soil, water, and the air for radioactivity still being emitted from Fukushima's heavily damaged Daiichi nuclear power plant.

"How much radioactive materials have been released from the plant?" asked Dr Tatsuhiko Kodama, a professor at the Research Centre for Advanced Science and Technology and Director of the University of Tokyo's Radioisotope Centre, in a July 27 speech to the Committee of Health, Labour and Welfare at Japan's House of Representatives.

"The government and TEPCO have not reported the total amount of the released radioactivity yet," said Kodama, who believes things are far worse than even the recent detection of extremely high radiation levels at the plant.

There is widespread concern in Japan about a general lack of government monitoring for radiation, which has caused people to begin their own independent monitoring, which are also finding disturbingly high levels of radiation.

People

UK: Workers baked alive in bread factory horror

david mayes

David Mayes

Two bakery workers died in agony after bosses sent them into a giant oven to carry out repairs on the cheap, a court heard yesterday.

The machine should have been allowed to cool for 12 hours, but was only left for two.

David Mayes and Ian Erickson were unaware of the full danger as they crawled into the oven because fans had cooled its outer reaches to 40c. Its core, however, was still at 100c.

The repair was a delicate procedure in which they had to collect broken parts from along the length of a conveyor belt which carries bread trays slowly through the 75ft-long oven.

Wolf

Rick Perry's Army of God

rick perry, army of god
© illustration by Mario Zucca

Listen to Forrest Wilder speak with KUT's Jennifer Stayton about this story.

A little-known movement of radical Christians and self-proclaimed prophets wants to infiltrate government, and Rick Perry might be their man.

On September 28, 2009, at 1:40 p.m., God's messengers visited Rick Perry.

On this day, the Lord's messengers arrived in the form of two Texas pastors, Tom Schlueter of Arlington and Bob Long of San Marcos, who called on Perry in the governor's office inside the state Capitol. Schlueter and Long both oversee small congregations, but they are more than just pastors. They consider themselves modern-day apostles and prophets, blessed with the same gifts as Old Testament prophets or New Testament apostles.

The pastors told Perry of God's grand plan for Texas. A chain of powerful prophecies had proclaimed that Texas was "The Prophet State," anointed by God to lead the United States into revival and Godly government. And the governor would have a special role.

The day before the meeting, Schlueter had received a prophetic message from Chuck Pierce, an influential prophet from Denton, Texas. God had apparently commanded Schlueter - through Pierce - to "pray by lifting the hand of the one I show you that is in the place of civil rule."

Light Sabers

Kabul attack: Taliban in six-hour gun battle at British compound

Image
© Omar Sobhani/Reuters
Police investigators inspect the site of a suicide attack at the British Council in Kabul.
At least eight Afghan police and one foreigner are believed to have been killed after the Taliban marked the anniversary of Afghanistan's independence from Britain with an elaborate, multi-phased attack on the British Council building in Kabul.

The assault on the compound in the west of the city began when a suicide car bomber detonated a vehicle at the front gate of the compound.

Witnesses in nearby shops said several heavily armed insurgents then rushed out of a side street shouting, firing in the air and racing towards to the open gate. Afghan officials believed the number of attackers was between two and four.

All British nationals affected by the attack on the British Council in Kabul are now safe, said the Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt.

Jumadin, a worker at a nearby petrol station, said the force of the initial blast was enough to throw him across the ground. "I thought I was going to die," he said.

Info

US, Arizona: I'm supersizing to be the world's fattest woman, says 52st mother of two

  • Big Beautiful' fans helping her in her bid
  • Her 4,900 calorie main course at dinner consists of 12 filled tacos
Obese model Susanne Eman is saying 'Supersize Me' for real - in her bid to become the fattest woman ever.

The 52-stone bombshell aims to reach a whopping 115 stone, or 1,600lb, by guzzling at least 20,000 calories a day.

Susanne, 32, from Arizona, USA, hopes to pass the half-way milestone of 57 stones by the end of the year.

Image
© Barcroft Media
Weigh to go: Susanne Eman posing with her two sons, Gabriel, left, 16, and Brendin, right, 12, and their dog Sisco, 6, at their home in Casa Grande, Arizona

Family

US: The Verizon Strike as the Next Wisconsin

verizon workers on strike
© modernsara
Verizon workers on strike on August 9.
The picket lines are up. This past weekend 45,000 Verizon workers on the East Coast, represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), went on strike. The cause of the strike was the company's attempts to win massive concessions from the unions. Verizon argued that the employees should give up gains they had won over many years of struggle and negotiation in previous contract fights.

As the Wall Street Journal put it, "Verizon Communications Inc. is seeking some of the biggest concessions in years from its unions." Demands include the weakening of health-care benefits, cuts in pensions, reduced job security, and elimination of paid holidays such as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. This despite the fact that the company reported billions in profit last year, and that, in the words of New York Times reporter Steven Greenhouse, "Verizon's top five executives received a total of $258 million in compensation, including stock options, over the last four years." The unions argue that Verizon has made some $20 billion in profit in the same time period, and Citizens for Tax Justice has pointed out that the company has done so while paying little to nothing in corporate income taxes.

Light Saber

Throwing America Overboard

tea party tax protest
© Unknown
Time to Cap the Tea Kettle

The Boston Tea Party in December 1773 threw the East India Company's tea overboard. The Republican Tea Party in August 2011 threw America overboard.

Only in Congress, with its rules for minority rule, can a minority of the Republican Party in the House of Representatives impose its havoc on the American people there, then on the Senate side and on Obama's wilting White House.

Leaving aside the psychiatric question of why a clutch of Republican Tea Partiers, many of them freshmen, terrify the veteran Republicans who outnumber them in the House, consider what they just pushed through the House against the American people.

For 150 million workers, Tea Partiers pushed through more cuts in the already starved federal programs that are aimed at diminishing the yearly 58,000 fatalities in workplace-related disease and trauma plus larger numbers injured and wounded.

There are 307 million eaters in America. More than 7,000 of them die from contaminated food and more than 300,000 are hospitalized each year. The Tea Partiers pushed cuts through the House to the already underfunded FDA food safety programs. They did this even though last year Congress strengthened the FDA's authority and expanded its responsibilities, including closer inspection of hazardous foodstuffs increasingly coming from communist China.

War Whore

U.S. border guard pleads guilty to harassing B.C. teen

'I often dream of someone crushing my neck,' says B.C. teen. Surrey, B.C., teen still has nightmares after being physically attacked by an off-duty border guard.

[Editorial note: a video accompanied this story, but it appears the CBC was pressured into removing it]

A U.S. border guard has pleaded guilty to harassment for threatening to kill a Surrey, B.C., teenager during a road rage incident.

Joel J. Helle, 56, who works at the Blaine border crossing, was sentenced last week to one month of partial confinement.

According to court documents filed in Skagit County, the 17-year-old B.C. resident was driving northbound on the I-5 with his parents and two friends on his way back to B.C. from Seattle on April 23.

The teenager had just changed lanes when he noticed a black BMW following closely behind. The teen changed lanes again, away from the BMW, but it also changed lanes and moved in close to the teen's car, forcing him onto the shoulder of the road.

The BMW followed, at which point Helle got out of the BMW, struck the teen's window with his fist, then pulled out a badge and slapped it against the window. He then reached in and grabbed the teenager's neck, making statements like, "You are lucky I didn't shoot you."

Helle then let go of the driver, got back in his car and drove away.