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UK: Future of Elderly Below the Poverty Line: 1 in 4 Women Will Retire on Under £10,000

retired woman
© G. Baden/zefa/Corbis
Bleak prospects: Women retiring now are paying the price for taking time out earlier in their careers to look after their families
One in four women will be living below the poverty line when they retire, a study reveals today.

Researchers found that 26 per cent of women who plan to retire this year will have less than £10,000 a year - or under £200 a week - to live on when they stop working.

The findings highlight the nightmare facing women who are paying the price for deciding to give up their jobs to bring up their children instead of staying at work and building up a pension.

An annual sum of £10,000 a year will barely cover the basics such as food, fuel and utility bills.

It is below the minimum income standard set by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, which estimates somebody needs at least £14,400 a year to escape poverty.

By comparison, the average worker in Britain earns around £26,000.

The study, from insurance giant Prudential, which polled more than 10,000 adults, found women are far worse hit than men by pensioner poverty.

Only 12 per cent of men who retire this year will have to try to make ends meet on less than £10,000 a year.

Nuke

Worse Than Chenobyl: When the Fukushima Meltdown Hits Groundwater

Fukushima is going to dwarf Chenobyl. The Japanese government has had a level 7 nuclear disaster going for almost a week but won't admit it.

The disaster is occurring the opposite way than Chernobyl, which exploded and stopped the reaction. At Fukushima, the reactions are getting worse. I suspect three nuclear piles are in meltdown and we will probably get some of it.

If reactor 3 is in meltdown, the concrete under the containment looks like lava. But Fukushima is not far off the water table. When that molten mass of self-sustaining nuclear material gets to the water table it won't simply cool down. It will explode - not a nuclear explosion, but probably enough to involve the rest of the reactors and fuel rods at the facility.

Nuke

Japan Nuclear Crisis: Workers 'Losing Race' to Save Reactor

Greenpeace anti-nuclear activist
© AP
A Greenpeace anti-nuclear activist holds a flower bouquet during a candlelight vigil outside the Japanese Embassy in Jakarta
Workers at Japan's earthquake hit nuclear plant lost ground in the battle to save the plant from meltdown after the radioactive core of one reactor appeared to have melted through the bottom of its containment vessel.

The core at reactor two of the Fukushima plant may have melted on to a concrete floor, according to experts, running the risk of radioactive gases being released into the surrounding area.

Richard Lahey, who was a head of reactor safety research at General Electric when the company installed the units at Fukushima, said the workers, who have been pumping water into the three reactors in an attempt to keep the fuel rods from melting, appeared to have "lost the race" to save the reactor.

"The indications we have ... suggest that the core has melted through the bottom of the pressure vessel in unit two, and at least some of it is down on the floor of the drywell," he told a newspaper.

Question

Criminal Negligence or An Ongoing Experiment? North Carolina, US: Army Investigates Mysterious Baby Deaths at Fort Bragg

Image
© USACE
Are new construction and cheap materials to blame for a dozen Army base deaths?
With the death of a four-month-old last month at Fort Bragg, the number of baby deaths at the Army base in just four years reached 12. The baby boy wasn't suffering from any illnesses and was fine one minute on the morning of Feb. 24. The next minute, though, he was no longer breathing.

According to the The News & Observer, the Army has been investigating mysterious baby deaths going back to 2007, when Jaden Willis, a healthy two-month-old, died suddenly. His mother Pearline Sculley, still doesn't know why her baby died, though his death certificate lists Sudden Infant Death Syndrome as the cause.

But after two other babies died in the same home, Sculley just isn't buying it.

Investigators have reviewed medical records and autopsy reports of the now dozen deaths at Fort Bragg. They have also performed countless environmental tests in the homes of some of the families whose children died. No common cause has been found.

People

Syrian Cabinet Resigns Amid Unrest

crowds in Syria
© AP Photo/Muzaffar Salman
Damascus - Syria's Cabinet resigned Tuesday to help quell a wave of popular fury that erupted more than a week ago, threatening President Bashar Assad's 11-year rule in one of the most authoritarian nations in the Middle East.

Assad, whose family has controlled Syria for four decades, is trying to calm the growing dissent with a string of overtures. He is expected to address the nation in the next 24 hours to lift emergency laws in place since 1963 and moving to annul other harsh restrictions on civil liberties and political freedoms.

Mass protests exploded nationwide on Friday, touched off by the arrest of several teenagers who scrawled anti-government graffiti on a wall in the southern city of Daraa. Security forces launched a swift crackdown, opening fire in at least six locations around the country - including the capital, Damascus, and the country's main port of Latakia.

More than 60 people have died since March 18 as security forces cracked down on protesters, Human Rights Watch said.

State TV said Tuesday Assad accepted the resignation of the 32-member Cabinet headed by Naji al-Otari, who has been in place since September 2003. The Cabinet will continue running the country's affairs until the formation of a new government.

The resignations will not affect Assad, who holds the lion's share of power in the authoritarian regime.

Nuke

Japan on 'Maximum Alert' Over Nuclear Plant

searchers in hazmat
© Reuters
Japan said Tuesday the government is on "maximum alert" over a crippled nuclear plant where highly radioactive water has halted repair work and plutonium has been found in the soil.

The earthquake and tsunami that ravaged Japan's northeast coast and left over 28,000 dead or missing also knocked out reactor cooling systems at the Fukushima plant, which has leaked radiation into the air and sea.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan conceded that the situation at the coastal atomic power station remained "unpredictable" and pledged that his government would "tackle the problem while in a state of maximum alert".

Emergency crews braving the radiation threat have used fire engines and pumps to pour thousands of tons of water onto reactors where fuel rods are assumed to have partially melted, and also topped up pools for spent fuel rods.

Handcuffs

French vegans in dock over baby's death

Two vegans who fed their 11-month-old daughter only mother's milk went on trial in northern France on Tuesday charged with neglect after their baby died suffering from vitamin deficiency.

Sergine and Joel Le Moaligou, whose vegan diet forbids consuming any animal product including eggs and cow's milk, called the emergency services in March 2008 after becoming worried about their baby Louise's listlessness.

When the ambulance arrived at their home in Saint-Maulvis, a small village 150 kilometres (90 miles) north of Paris, the baby was already dead.

The ambulance workers called the police because the child was pale and thin, weighing 5.7 kilos (12.5 pounds) compared to an average eight kilos for her age.

Comment: For more information concerning vegetarianism and veganism, see this Sott link:

The Naive Vegetarian


Radar

Over 3,700 Burmese Fishermen Still Missing, Presumed Dead

Image
© Unknown
Of the 7,000 fishermen that were swept into the Andaman Sea during a tropical storm on March 14-16, a total of 3,374 have now been rescued, according to a source close to the Myanmar Marine Fishing Association (MMFA).

The remaining 3,700 are still missing. Nearly two weeks since 400 fishing vessels were overturned or destroyed in 70mph winds, little hope remains of anyone else surviving.

"There are currently about 400 fishing vessels at sea trying to rescue survivors of the storm," said the source. "So far, more than 3,700 fishermen have been rescued and brought to Rangoon."

Burma's state media reported on March 22 that naval ships, large fishing vessels and local fishing boats had jointly rescued 3,374 fishermen. While 3,152 have already gone home, 222 fishermen remain under government care, the report said, adding that the rescued fishermen had been provided medicine, clothes and food.

Nuke

Canada: Radiation from Japan 'not harmful': British Columbia scientist


Jet stream carries iodine-131 across Pacific to Lower Mainland

A research team at Simon Fraser University has detected an increase in a radioactive isotope they say reached British Columbia from the damaged nuclear station in Japan.

SFU nuclear scientist Kris Starosta said he's confident the beleaguered Fukushima Daiichi station, which was struck by a devastating tsunami following a magnitude 9.0 earthquake on March 11, is responsible for the increase in iodine-131 in rain and seawater samples detected in their studies.

"The only possible source of iodine-131 in the atmosphere is a release from a nuclear fission," Starosta said. "Iodine-131 has a half life of eight days. Thus we conclude the only possible release which could happen is from the Fukushima incident."

However, he said, there is no immediate danger to the public.

"As of now, the levels we're seeing are not harmful to humans. We're basing this on Japanese studies following the Chernobyl incident in 1986 where levels of iodine-131 were four times higher than what we've detected in our rainwater so far," Starosta said.