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Off The Record: A Quest For De-Baptism In France

de-partism
© iStockphoto.com
Though marginal, the de-baptism movement is growing, observers say.

In France, an elderly man is fighting to make a formal break with the Catholic Church. He's taken the church to court over its refusal to let him nullify his baptism, in a case that could have far-reaching effects.

Seventy-one-year-old Rene LeBouvier's parents and his brother are buried in a churchyard in the tiny village of Fleury in northwest France. He himself was baptized in the Romanesque stone church and attended mass here as a boy.

LeBouvier says this rural area is still conservative and very Catholic, but nothing like it used to be. Back then, he says, you couldn't even get credit at the bakery if you didn't go to mass every Sunday.

LeBouvier grew up in that world and says his mother once hoped he'd become a priest. But his views began to change in the 1970s, when he was introduced to free thinkers. As he didn't believe in God anymore, he thought it would be more honest to leave the church. So he wrote to his diocese and asked to be un-baptized.

"They sent me a copy of my records, and in the margins next to my name, they wrote that I had chosen to leave the church," he says.

Stormtrooper

Fukushima mothers and activists face eviction

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On Friday, January 27th, the tent occupation in front of METI in Tokyo faces eviction by order of minister Yukio Edano. The eviction order follows a controversial public meeting where government officials met with nuclear industry personnel to discuss nuclear power plant restarts, while attempting to exclude the public from the meeting. Concerned citizens who registered to attend the meeting were forcefully removed and the meeting took place behind closed doors.

The tent occupation in front of METI has lasted over 4 months through the support of women from Fukushima, and many others around Japan who oppose nuclear power. People from all over the world have visited the occupation to show their support and learn about issues surrounding nuclear power post March 11th, including the severe conditions that people in Fukushima continue to face. Currently, women of Fukushima are in the process of a "10 month 10 day" 24-hour sit-in to protest against nuclear power and the government's mismanagement of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster that continues today.

An emergency press conference will be held on January 27th at 1pm at the Japan Federation of Bar Associations' Building, Room 1006. (Access: This will be followed by a demonstration at the tent occupation from 4pm to 6pm, the hours of the eviction deadline. Please email, telephone fax minister Edano and METI ( the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) to retract the eviction order. METI (TEL) +81-3-3501-1609 METI Public Relations (FAX) +81-3-3501-6942. METI Minister Yukio Edano, (TEL) +81-3-3508-7448, (FAX) +81-3-3591-2249. (E-mail) omiya@edano.gr.jp

Nuke

Who Knew What When? - The Fukushima Saga Continues

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© AP Photo
Trade Minister Yukio Edano
Hot on the heels of news that the Japanese government somehow lost its records of its early meetings on the Fukushima disaster comes a leak of a document we previously reported on that outlined a worst-case scenario for the nuclear meltdown that included the evacuation of Tokyo.

The leaked report was obtained by the Associated Press earlier this week and details the recommendations of a team of nuclear experts who concluded "we can not rule out further developments that may lead to an unpredictable situation" and urged the government to prepare for the need to evacuate as many as 35 million people from a region that included Tokyo and its suburbs. Last year, then-Japanese PM Naoto Kan was quoted as saying that the report represented "a crucial moment when I wasn't sure whether Japan could continue to function as a state." Ultimately, he rejected the plan outright and publicly proclaimed that there was no need to prepare for evacuations because it would cause too much chaos.

Lost amidst the leak of this report, however, is the strange drama that unfolded earlier this week when NHK reported that the government's taskforce on the nuclear disaster "did not keep any records of its meetings after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster." As of the writing of this article, the original NHK report has been scrubbed from their website but parts of it have been preserved by the invaluable ENEnews.com.

Nuke

Cancer Risk To Young Children Near Fukushima Daiichi Underestimated

Fairewinds analyzes cancer rates for young children near Fukushima using the National Academy of Science's BEIR (Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation) VII Report. Based on BEIR VII, Fairewinds determines that at least one in every 100 young girls will develop cancer for every year they are exposed to 20 millisieverts [millisievert (1 mSv = 0.001 Sv)] of radiation. The 20-millisievert/ year figure is what the Japanese government is currently calculating as the legal limit of radiological exposure to allow habitation of contaminated areas near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. In this video, Fairewinds introduces additional analysis by Ian Goddard showing that the BEIR VII report underestimates the true cancer rates to young children living near Fukushima Daiichi. Looking at the scientific data presented by Mr. Goddard, Fairewinds has determined that at least one out of every 20 young girls (5%) living in an area where the radiological exposure is 20 millisieverts for five years will develop cancer in their lifetime.

Cow Skull

University of South Florida study finds more sick fish in oil spill area than rest of Gulf of Mexico

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© Steve Murawski, USF - Darla Cameron/Times
A USF survey of the Gulf of Mexico last summer found more sick fish in the area of the 2010 oil spill than in other areas. The dots show areas where fish with skin lesions were found.
A government-funded survey of the entire Gulf of Mexico last summer found more sick fish in the area of the 2010 oil spill than anywhere else, according to the top University of South Florida scientist in charge of the project.

"The area that has the highest frequency of fish diseases is the area where the oil spill was," said Steve Murawski, an oceanographer who previously served as the chief fisheries scientist of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.

That doesn't necessarily mean the red snapper and other fish with nasty skin lesions were victims of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, he said. That same area has lots of oil rigs, leaky pipelines and even natural oil vents in the sea floor that could be the source of any contamination that has affected the fish.

Stormtrooper

California, US: Occupy Oakland march to new headquarters meets resistance

occupy oakland
© John Sasaki?KTVU

Wearing masks and wielding halved garbage cans like shields, roughly 250 Occupy Oakland protesters marched through the city Saturday afternoon on their way to establish a new headquarters at an undisclosed vacant building in Oakland.

Backing up the promises made days before, Occupy Oakland organizers rallied at Frank Ogawa Plaza at noon Saturday in order to march to an undisclosed vacant building that activists said would provide the movement's new home.

Once there, organizers said they would kick off a two-day "Oakland Rise-up Festival" to celebrate the establishment of the movement's new social center, meeting and resting place.

During the rally one of the organizers, Shake Anderson, said, "We are here to protect each other and to be civil disobedient. ... We're doing it to change the world, not just today but every day."

The march started just after 1:30 p.m., with dozens of police nearby in riot gear.

The protesters were walking through Laney College around 2:30 p.m.

2 + 2 = 4

US: Oklahoma High School Student Catches Teacher Napping...Guess Who Was Suspended?

crosswalk sign
© n/a
Students can be punished for sleeping in class, but what happens when a teacher gets caught dozing at his desk? A high school student in Oklahoma City got the answer to that question when he snapped a cell phone picture to prove that his substitute teacher was sleeping on the job.

The first reaction from the school? Suspend the student.

The Oklahoma City School District has a strict policy that prohibits students from using "telecommunications devices during the school day." Apparently, the school is sticking to the letter of the law in this situation.

The identities of the ninth grader at Mustang Mid-High or the slumbering substitute have not been released, but the story has filtered out and the community is responding. Many locals have expressed concerns over the harsh penalty imposed by the school, and some parents wondered if the suspension was appropriate - or a case of the administration trying to intimidate students.

The only official statement from the school district claims that the sleeping teacher will be investigated.

Bad Guys

President Obama Mentions An Energy Company In His Big Speech And It Goes Bankrupt Instantly

Obama
© Courtesy of WhiteHouse.gov
Andrew Restuccia of The Hill is reporting that Ener1, a battery company that President Obama referenced in his State of The Union Speech on Tuesday as an example of successful energy investments, has just filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy.

That's just two days after the speech.

Arrow Down

Economist who foresaw '08 crash warns conflict with Iran could cause global recession

Professor known as 'Dr. Doom' also predicts joblessness in US will remain high in 2012
Image
© Jean-Christophe Bott/AP
Economist Nouriel Roubini speaks during a panel session on the first day of the the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, Wednesday.

Davos, Switzerland - Economist Nouriel Roubini, nicknamed "Dr. Doom" for his gloomy predictions in the run-up to the financial meltdown four years ago, says the fallout from that crisis could last the rest of this decade.

Roubini, widely acknowledged to have predicted the crash of 2008, sees tough times ahead for the global economy and is warning that without major policy changes things can still get much worse.

He also warned that a conflict with Iran over its controversial nuclear program could lead to a global recession.

Until Europe radically reforms itself and the U.S. gets serious about its own debt mountain, Roubini said, the world economy will continue to stumble along to the detriment of large chunks of the world's population who will continue to see their living standards under pressure, even if they have a job.

Meanwhile, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde - speaking Saturday at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland - said Europe was making progress to overcome the euro zone crisis, but need to do more to boost its financial firewall to contain the contagion of the debt crisis and restore trust.

Comment: The IAEA clearly knows what the truth is about Iran's Nuclear ambitions. Iran signed the NNPT and has made it clear, several times that it is NOT seeking a nuclear weapon. The IAEA has the ability to wander around ANYwhere in Iran. The sad fact is, the media spin is directed to the Western public, to gear them toward more War, Death and senseless Destruction.

Elsewhere: "If Iran wants to turn to the production of nuclear weapons, it must leave the NPT, expel the IAEA inspectors, and then it would need at least, considering the number of centrifuges and the quantity of uranium Iran has...It would need at least six months to one year," ElBaradei said.


Laptop

Facebook IPO Could Value it Among Top Companies

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© The Associated Press/Marcio Jose Sanchez
In this May, 26, 2010 file photo, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg talks about the social network site's new privacy settings in Palo Alto, Calif.
When Facebook makes its long-expected debut as a public company this spring, the social-networking company will likely vault into the ranks of the largest public companies in the world, alongside McDonald's, Amazon.com and Bank of America.

The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Facebook is preparing to file initial paperwork for an offering that could raise as much as $10 billion and value the company at $75 billion to $100 billion. The filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission could come as early as Wednesday, with an initial public offering of stock in three or four months.

The targeted amount would slot it among the world's 25 largest IPOs, although as recently as November 2010, General Motors raised $15.8 billion when it shed majority control by the U.S. government.

The IPOs of 14 companies would rank higher than Facebook's, according to investment adviser Renaissance Capital. Among them were Visa Inc.'s $17.9 billion IPO in March 2008, the largest for a U.S. company, and world-topper Agricultural Bank of China Ltd., which raised $19.3 billion in July 2010, not including extra shares issued to meet demand.