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Nuke

Japan to freeze the ground at Fukushima to prevent contaminated water leakage

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© EPA
In order to stop contaminated groundwater from leaking at the Fukushima nuclear power station, the Japanese are planning to use artificial permafrost there. They're going to drill 30-metre-deep pipes with liquid nitrogen. The construction of the huge underground fridge will start soon and is scheduled to end next year.

The situation with the crippled Fukushima nuclear reactors still remains very serious. Three years have passed since the time when an earthquake and tsunami caused a disaster at the power plant, but a great deal of experts still describes the situation as a crisis which might transform into a catastrophe if continuous leaks of radioactive water are not stopped.

At the moment, the radiation level at the power station and in its neighborhood breaks all the records. In fact it's so high that can kill a person over a period of a few hours.

The amount of radioactive substances in water samples collected on January 17 from a well, situated on the territory of the second unit of the Fukushima power plant, exceeded 24 million Bq per liter with the standard of 150 million Bq per liter. In order to put an end to the leaks at the wrecked power station, Japanese want to freeze earth around all four damaged reactor buildings.

The ice wall will run circa 1.5 kilometers. Vertical pipes with coolant will be drilled into the radioactive ground. This technology is rather costly and hasn't been used on such a large scale ever, Oleg Dvoynikov, the editor-in-chief of Pro atom magazine, told the Voice of Russia.

"As far as the cooling of earth is concerned, surely, it's possible to do it from a technical point of view. But they will need a nitrogen unit, practically, a plant working non-stop. It's bad the Japanese won't let any foreign experts visit the station. And there were offers of help, not only from Russia but from many other countries too," he says.

No Entry

Out-of-control car runs over woman and her five-year-old grandson's head - yet they get up unscathed

At first it seems like there is no way the woman and child seen mown down in this video could possibly survive the incident.

In footage which played out on local Brazilian TV and has since been viewed thousands of times online, Vilma Nascimento and her five-year-old grandson Joao can be seen walking along the street hand-in-hand.

Up ahead of them a car tries to pull out of a side road at the same time as another vehicle comes speeding towards the camera - and as the two crash, the second is sent swerving out of control.

It crashes into a parked Chevrolet, making it plough strait into the woman and child as they try to run to the side.


Pistol

Breaking news: three dead in Maryland mall shooting

maryland mall shooting
© Jim Watson/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Maryland State Police officers put on their gear as shoppers left The Mall at Columbia after a fatal shooting there on Saturday
Three people have been killed in a shooting at Columbia Mall in Howard County, Md. Saturday, police confirmed.

The suspect was among those found dead. His body was located near a gun and ammunition, police said. Three witnesses described the gun as a shotgun, though police have not yet confirmed the weapon used.

Police said they were "confident" that there was no other shooter involved in the shooting, which was first reported just after 11 a.m.

Two other people reportedly have been transported to hospitals with injuries that were not directly connected to the shooting, though they may have been related to the chaotic scene that followed.

The scene is now secure, though police are asking shoppers who took shelter in the mall to wait for police to evacuate them. There are believed to be "many, many people still in the mall," said Howard County Police Chief Bill McMahon at a press conference this afternoon.

No other information has been released about the other victims. McMahon would not speculate on the shooter's motive and said he did not know how many total shots were fired, though none came from police.

Eyewitnesses described a nightmarish scene inside the popular mall, crowded with weekend shoppers. One woman said she heard what sounded like "something being dropped" and then realized the sound was gunshots.

Comment: See this video from youtube poster YouHotNews:




Piggy Bank

Clampdown on Bitcoin sales with eBay

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© Niall Carson/PA
eBay's European headquarters in Dublin, Ireland.
eBay UK is to limit sales of bitcoin to its classified advertising platform from February 10, banning the currency from its auction and buy-it-now formats.

After the change comes into force, merchants will only be able to sell bitcoin through the classified ads format, which requires the buyer to contact the seller directly, without obligation.

"To promote a trustworthy marketplace and ensure compliance with applicable regulations, eBay is currently updating its currency policy," the site said in a statement. "The updated policy will clarify that listings for Bitcoin and other similar virtual currencies must be listed in the virtual currency category in the classified ad format.

"The virtual currency category is expected to be available on the UK site on February 10th."

Bitcoin transactions are unusual in that they are (comparatively) instantaneous and irreversible. Under eBay's normal auction rules, this could leave the site open to fraud, with a buyer purchasing bitcoins and then refusing to pay, or initiating a credit-card chargeback. By switching to the classified ads model, where users pay for an ad up front and eBay takes no part in settling the deal, the site removes itself from the risky end of the transaction.

Bitcoin is not currently covered by any of the site's policies, and since the site does not specify items which are allowed to be sold, only those which are prohibited or restricted from sale, that means that until now the currency has been traded relatively freely. One merchant is selling bitcoins in 0.02 BTC increments for £15.99; another, claiming to be the "cheapest on eBay", sells the same for £24.99.

Snakes in Suits

Psycho Joe Arpaio: 38 Arizona inmates who defaced flag to eat only bread, water

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© Unknown
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said the punishment is for defacing American flags in the cells.
A diet of bread and water is the punishment for dozens of Arizona inmates who allegedly defaced American flags placed in their jail cells.

The 38 male inmates are part of the Maricopa County jail system, which is under the control of controversial sheriff Joe Arpaio.

For their alleged unpatriotic acts, the sheriff said Thursday, they'll survive on bread and water for seven days.

"These inmates have destroyed the American flag that was placed in their cells," Arpaio said. "Tearing them, writing on them, stepping on them, throwing them in the toilet, trash or wherever they feel. It's a disgrace ... this is government property that they are destroying, and we will take action against those who act this way."

The flags are part of a push for patriotism in county jail cells that includes listening to the "Star-Spangled Banner" every morning and "God Bless America" every night over the intercom system.

Comment: Read more about this psycho 'lawman' here.


Smoking

Jordan to enforce smoking ban despite public fury

Smoking fascism
© Unknown
In Jordan, a country where smoking is so popular that motorists can be seen puffing away on miniature water pipes in traffic, the kingdom's government now wants to enforce a Western-style smoking ban in restaurants, cafes and other public places.

The ban, coming from a law passed in 2008 but not full enforced, also would see the government revoke the licenses of all 6,000 coffee shops that serve shisha by the end of this year.

But business owners and smokers are criticizing the push, saying it goes against the culture of a country where smoking is seen as an attractive sign of manhood and elderly Bedouins roll their own cigarettes in public.

"We are caught between a rock and a hard place whereby the government is trying to force a closure of our businesses," said Mazen Alsaleh, who owns 14 coffee and hookah shops around the country. "I am not defending the hookah or smoking, but we must defend our investments."

The pastime of smoking shisha - also known as nargile, hubbly bubbly, hookah or by other names across the Middle East - is engrained in Jordanian culture from the time of the Ottoman Empire. Mourners receive cigarettes at wakes, while delivery companies only supplying hookahs have sprouted across the country.

Comment: The main goal of tobacco smoking bans is "to change societal behavior" by stigmatizing smoking, making it less convenient and less socially acceptable. By raising the stakes, it helped transform a complaint into a right, so that people annoyed by tobacco smoke now felt justified in demanding that it be eliminated everywhere they might want to go, including other people's property.

In short, they have conditioned the majority of the people on the planet to behave like Nazis and think it is normal.

See also:

The devious plan of anti-smoking campaigns to control people and stop them from using their brain

Let's All Light Up!

5 Health Benefits of Smoking

Nicotine Lessens Symptoms Of Depression In Nonsmokers

Nicotine helps Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Patients

Brain Researchers: Smoking increases intelligence


Light Saber

Flashmob protests sweep across Brazil

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Daltson Takeuti is not how you would picture one of the leaders of Brazil's flashmob movement that is sweeping across shopping centres, sparking violent clashes with police. The soft-spoken 55-year-old teaches piano for a living and has never organised a protest in his life.

But around 1,000 people are expected to turn up at São Paulo's upmarket JK shopping centre on Saturday for a gathering - known as a 'rolezinho' - which he has organised over Facebook.

Mr Takeuti was motivated to act by a crackdown on other flashmobs, which began last month as parties but have become more political. "I couldn't bear to see the criminalisation of poor, black kids," he says.

Similar protest-cum-rampages are planned in at least eight other states across Brazil this weekend, with more than 8,000 expected at one shopping centre in Rio de Janeiro. Popular among poor, largely black, Brazilians, the flashmobs have begun to snowball into a nationwide movement against racism and inequality, threatening the government with further violent mass protests just as the country prepares to host the football World Cup, academics say.

In June the biggest protests in 20 years spread across Brazil following complaints over a bus fare increase, bringing businesses in Latin America's biggest economy to a standstill and prompting a plunge, albeit temporary, in President Dilma Rousseff's popularity.

Ms Rousseff called an emergency meeting with ministers this week to discuss the rolezinho "phenomenon", concerned it would spiral out of control, local media reported. As well as steering Brazil through a trouble-free World Cup, Ms Rousseff will have to battle for her re-election during presidential elections in October.

"The government has good reason to be worried," says Rafael Alcadipani, at the Getúlio Vargas Foundation (FGV), an academic institution. "The rolezinhos can be seen as a remodelling of last year's protests but this time by the people from the city's periphery," he says, pointing to a similarity with the London riots of 2011.

Mr. Potato

Unbebiebable! MSNBC cuts Congresswoman during NSA LIVE to report... Justin Bieber

Screenshot from youtube video
© Unknown
Screenshot from youtube video by user jonmanization

A US government privacy board dubs the NSA's phone calls hoarding illegal and calls to shut... wait, it's Justin Bieber. And so the Congresswoman being interviewed was dumped mid-sentence to report the "breaking news" of Bieber's DUI arrest.

On Thursday, the MSNBC put out a report by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) slamming NSA hoarding of phone data, calling it 'illegal.' The privacy watchdog, established by US Congress in 2004, also urged President Barack Obama to end the NSA surveillance program.

Congresswoman Jane Harman was called in to discuss the recommendation of the US government privacy watchdog. But as Harman got round to urging Congress to "seriously consider discontinuing section 215", matters of national importance were put aside.

"...We've got some breaking news out of Miami, stand by if you will. Right now in Miami Justin Bieber has been arrested on a number of charges," announced Andrea Mitchell, the MSNBC news anchor, interrupting the congresswoman.

Comment: And the soap opera culture called America continues...


Pistol

Florida man hops fence to shoot and kill 21-year-old in a hoodie - then claims self defense

gun
© koi88/Shutterstock.com
Does 'stand your ground' include chasing someone?

On Thursday, an Orlando man shot and killed a 21-year-old who was fleeing his yard. He didn't appear to be stealing anything, according to witness accounts. He didn't appear to be threatening anybody. But Claudius Smith said he feared he was a burglar, followed him over the fence to a neighboring apartment complex, where he shot him after he said he felt threatened, according to a confession documented in an Orlando Police Department report. Smith even said he feared victim Ricardo Sanes was armed "because his pants were falling down" and his hands were in his hoodie pockets, according to a report obtained by the Orlando Sentinel.

Now, questions are emerging about whether Smith will also invoke the state's Stand Your Ground law, which gained notoriety over the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, shot in a Florida residential development while wearing a hoodie. Law enforcement officials don't seem to believe Stand Your Ground applies. Smith has already been charged with second-degree murder. But that doesn't stop a judge from granting Stand Your Ground immunity later. In one of the most recent Florida court decisions on Stand Your Ground, an appeals court granted Stand Your Ground immunity to a man who went to his car to get a gun before the fatal incident.

Cheeseburger

McDonald's is losing customers

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© JOERG KOCH/AFP/Getty Images
McDonald's is losing customers, as the world's biggest hamburger chain struggles to attract diners with its higher-priced sandwiches and new offerings like Mighty Wings.

"We've lost some of our customer relevance," CEO Don Thompson conceded Thursday on a call with analysts.

The Oak Brook, Ill.-based company reported disappointing sales for its fourth quarter, as fewer customers visited its established restaurants. Guest counts at those locations fell nearly 2 percent globally and 1.6 percent in the U.S. in 2013, according to a regulatory filing. And McDonald's expects some challenges to persist this year.

To win back traffic, Thompson said the chain will focus on speedier service, better value offerings and raising "awareness around McDonald's as a kitchen and a restaurant" that prepares high-quality food. It's expanding prep tables and plans to beef up staff during peak hours for better execution. It is also bringing in a new U.S. marketing chief, Deborah Wahl, formerly with homebuilder PulteGroup and automakers Chrysler and Ford.