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Sat, 30 Sep 2023
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Japan Says it May Take Months to End Radiation Leaks

worker wearing a protective suit
© Reuters
A worker wearing a protective suit points at a cracked concrete pit near its No. 2 reactor of the Tokyo
Japan's government warned on Sunday it may take months to stop radiation leaking from a nuclear plant crippled by a huge earthquake and tsunami three weeks ago, as more bodies were recovered in devastated areas of northeast Japan.

An aide to embattled Prime Minister Naoto Kan said the government's priority was to stop radiation leaks which were scaring the public and hindering work on cooling overheated nuclear fuel rods.

"We have not escaped from a crisis situation, but it is somewhat stabilized," said Goshi Hosono, a ruling party lawmaker and aide to Kan.

"How long will it take to achieve (the goal of stopping the radiation leakage)? I think several months would be one target," Hosono said on a nationwide Fuji TV programme on Sunday.


Plant disease raises questions on modified crops

© Seth Perlman / Associated Press
Bob Hogan climbs back into his combine while harvesting soybeans in Pawnee, Ill., in October. A disease called sudden death syndrome has plagued the heartland and the nation's soybean industry.

Bouncing down a dirt road a couple of summers ago, past a gentle patchwork of barnyards and soybean fields in central Iowa, farmer Kent Friedrichsen strained over the steering wheel of his van and stared through the windshield in dismay.

His soybean fields, where he'd used seeds developed by Monsanto Co. and sprayed with its popular glyphosate weed killer Roundup Ready, were littered with yellowed leaves and dead plants. Four days earlier, the plants had been waist high and emerald green.

Nearby, in fields where he had planted seeds that weren't genetically engineered and didn't use glyphosates, the soybean plants were still healthy and lush.

Black Cat

Rat 'Epidemic' Could Invade New York City This Summer


Rats "bigger than kittens" are set to lay siege to New York City, according to people who used to be paid to get rid of them.

They told AM New York that deep cuts to the city's pest control staff could cause a spike in rat infestations.

From AM New York:
Citywide, the 311 hotline received about 10,500 rodent complaints in 2010, up more than 5 percent from 2009. In 2011, complaints are up 9 percent through the beginning of March compared to the same period a year ago.
"There's going to be a major epidemic during the summer with the rodents," said Rosemarie Vasquez, a former city pest control aide.


US: DOH confirms 4 cases of dengue fever on Oahu, more pending

sarah park
© Unknown
Dr. Sarah Park
The Department of Health says: it's an outbreak. There are now FOUR confirmed cases of dengue fever on Oahu - with results of 12 more suspected cases still pending. But, health officials are hoping this epidemic can be contained to small numbers.

Hawaii health officials have an all-points bulletin out for the aedes albopictus. It's a type of mosquito that has bitten at least four adults - three from the same family, plus their neighbor - who all live in Pearl City.

"I'd sent a medical alert to all Oahu physicians, letting them know about what we were investigating and to basically heighten their awareness," says state epidemiologist, Dr. Sarah Park.

Health officials don't want to release the specific area in Pearl City because they don't want to give others a false sense of security that the outbreak can't happen elsewhere. In fact, the 12 suspected cases of dengue come from all over Oahu.

Bad Guys

Transocean Hails 'Best Year' in Safety, Gives Execs Bonuses, Despite Gulf Spill

The company that owns the now-infamous
Deepwater Horizon ablaze
The BP/Transocean Deepwater Horizon oil rig ablaze.
Deepwater Horizon, the oil rig that caused immeasurable damage to the Gulf, recently applauded itself for the "best year in safety performance in our Company's history." The company, Transocean Ltd., rewarded its executives millions in bonuses for the achievement, according to the annual report it released yesterday.

Steven L. Newman, Transocean's president and CEO, awarded himself $4.3 million in cash bonuses, stocks and options.

Eleven people died as a direct result of the disaster in the Gulf, nine of them Transocean employees, according to Forbes.

"Notwithstanding the tragic loss of life in the Gulf of Mexico, we achieved an exemplary statistical safety record as measured by our total recordable incident rate and total potential severity rate. As measured by these standards, we recorded the best year in safety performance in our Company's history, which is a reflection on our commitment to achieving an incident free environment, all the time, everywhere," the company wrote in their annual statement to shareholders.

Transocean leased the Deepwater Horizon to BP, so it contends it has no liability for the spill and explosion.

2 + 2 = 4

The Truth About Vegetarianism

© Unknown
The vegetarian myth tells us that not eating meat leads to a sustainable diet. But eating plants won't solve the planet's problems.

I was a vegan for almost 20 years.

I know the reasons that compelled me to embrace an extreme diet, and they are honorable - even noble. Reasons such as justice, compassion and a desperate, all-encompassing longing to set the world right. To save the planet - the last trees bearing witness to ages and the scraps of wilderness still nurturing fading species, silent in their fur and feathers. To protect the vulnerable, the voiceless. To feed the hungry. At the very least, to refrain from participating in the horror of factory farming.

These political passions are born of a hunger so deep it touches on the spiritual. They were for me, and they still are. I want my life - my body - to be a place where the Earth is cherished, not devoured; where the sadist is granted no quarter; where the violence stops. And I want eating - the first nurturance - to be an act that sustains rather than kills. This is an effort to honor our deepest longings for a just world. And I now believe those longings - for compassion, for sustainability, for an equitable distribution of resources - are not served by the philosophy or practice of vegetarianism. Believing in this vegetarian myth has led us astray.

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

The Naive Vegetarian


Lucky escape as dogs plunge 150ft down cliff

Two pet dogs had a miraculous escape after plunging over a 150ft-high cliff after chasing a rabbit.

Excited playmates Sasha and Moby were enjoying a walk at Southerndown when they spotted the rabbit.

Owner Lyndsey Rudd was horrified to see the pair disappear over the edge of the cliff, which is known as a notorious suicide spot.

She feared the two dogs would be killed but the pair survived the fall.

Both Sasha and Moby were lying injured but were still breathing and are expected to make a full recovery.

Lyndsey, 28, lives in Oxford but was visiting her parents in the Vale of Glamorgan.

She was walking her spaniel-cross Sasha and her friend Dannii Thomas' border collie Moby, when the accident happened.

Comment: For more information on situations in Bridgend, see this Sott link:

More Weirdness in 'Suicide County'! Bridgend, South Wales: Town terrorised by 250 wild horses 'abandoned by gypsies who can't afford to feed them'

Bizarro Earth

Fighting rages in Ivory Coast with 800 dead in west

© Reuters/Emmanuel Braun
Forces loyal to presidential claimant Alassane Ouattara ride on the back of a pickup about 20 km (12 miles) north of Abidjan April 1, 2011.
Soldiers of Ivory Coast's rival leaders battled for the presidential palace, military bases and state TV in the main city Abidjan Saturday, in a conflict becoming so brutal that it killed 800 people in one town alone.

Advancing soldiers backing Alassane Ouattara, who U.N.-certified results show won a November 28 presidential election, met stiff resistance from fighters remaining loyal to incumbent Laurent Gbagbo, who has refused to step down.

State television came back on air after fighting took it down for a day, showing Gbagbo drinking tea, saying the pictures were from his city residence Saturday. It was not possible to verify if the images were recent recordings.

A Reuters reporter heard sporadic gunfire and explosions from heavy shelling near the presidential palace throughout the morning, and clashes also raged around the office of state broadcaster RTI, back in Gbagbo's hands after the rebels had initially seized it, and some military bases in the city.

After a brief lull, heavy fighting also resumed outside Gbagbo's residence, though military sources on both sides said his forces remained in control and showed no signs of giving up.

"We are going to fight to the death to defend our territory. We die or we win," Noel Dago, a pro-Gbabgo militia fighter outside his house told Reuters by phone.

"There are a lot of deaths in both camps, but the most determined is the one who will win."


US: Brooklyn teacher Sabrina Milo held on $100K bail, threatened it would be 'Columbine all over again'

© Marino for News
Sabrina Milo a teacher at Fort Hamilton High School in Bay Ridge Brooklyn, was arrested for making terrorist threats.
A Brooklyn high school teacher was held Saturday on $100,000 bail after prosecutors revealed she had threatened a machine-gun rampage that would be "Columbine all over again."

A handcuffed Sabrina Milo, 34, kept her head down during her arraignment in Brooklyn Criminal Court.

According to prosecutors, the art teacher was weeping inside the teachers lounge at Fort Hamilton High School last Tuesday when she delivered the threat.

Three teachers heard her mention bringing a machine gun to school beneath a trench coat before she warned it would be "Columbine all over again," prosecutors said.

Defense attorney Andrew Stoll asked for Milo's release without bail, insisting she was no threat to anyone.

"She does not own any firearms," Stoll said. "She needs to be medicated."


US: Teacher suspended for Facebook post: called kids future criminals, parents say

© Facebook
The New Jersey teacher is the second this year to be involved in a controversy over a post on Facebook. Experts say cases like this are multiplying.

Once again, a Facebook post has gotten a teacher into trouble.

The Paterson, N.J., school district suspended a first-grade teacher Friday to investigate charges from parents that she wrote on Facebook about feeling like a "warden" and referred to her students as future criminals, the Record newspaper reports.

"We are seeing more of these cases," says Francisco Negrón, general counsel of the National School Boards Association.

Whether or not a district has a specific social media policy, he says, "the question is one about teacher judgment." District officials will need to consider the details, but the types of comments alleged in this case "show not only bad judgment, but are also hurtful to students and simply inappropriate."

Paterson school board president Theodore Best told the Record: "You can't simply fire someone for what they have on a Facebook page; but if that spills over and affects the classroom, then you can take action."

In February, the suspension of Pennsylvania high school teacher Natalie Munroe for Facebook posts about unnamed students sparked widespread debate about what's appropriate when teachers use social media.