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Wed, 19 Jan 2022
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US, Louisiana: Waterford 3 nuclear plant is not immune to ground-fault concerns, some geologists say

Recent advances in geological study have uncovered an array of deep-seated regional faults, long thought to be dormant, that have shown surface movement throughout southeast Louisiana. And in the wake of Japan's nuclear crisis, some local geologists and environmental activists are warning that the levees along the Waterford 3 nuclear plant in St. Charles Parish should be evaluated for potential fault hazards.

"It's not that you would have an earthquake at the time of a flood, but it creates a natural hazard that you should either avoid or take special precautions in your design for, and I think the troublesome thing is that Taft when it was built, that wasn't a concentrated risk," said Woody Gagliano, a geologist with Coastal Environments Inc., a Baton Rouge environmental consulting firm, who has studied the effects of geological faults on levee failures.

Three months after Hurricane Katrina roared through New Orleans in 2005, Gagliano testified before the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee that geological faults were known to underlie the levees at "many, if not most" of the breaches that occurred in hurricane levees and floodwalls in southeast Louisiana.


Google fined over Street View privacy breach

© AP/Paul Sakuma
In this photo taken March 7, 2011, Matt Potter of Google pedals Goggle's new Street View Tricycle at Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. France's privacy watchdog has handed down its largest fine ever against Google Monday, March 21, 2011, for improperly gathering and storing potentially sensitive data from Wi-Fi networks for its Street View application.
Paris - Google received its first ever fine for improperly gathering and storing data for its Street View application on Monday when it was penalized by France's privacy watchdog.

The 100,000 euro ($141,300) penalty - the largest ever by French body CNIL - sanctions Google for collecting personal data from Wi-Fi networks - including e-mails, web browsing histories and online banking details - from 2007 to 2010 through its roaming camera-mounted cars and bicycles.

The fine is the first against Google over the data-gathering, which more than 30 countries have complained about. At least two other European countries are considering fines, while some others have ruled against penalizing Google.

Google Inc. has apologized and says it will delete the data.

"As we have said before, we are profoundly sorry for having mistakenly collected payload data from unencrypted Wi-Fi networks," Google's Global Privacy Counsel Peter Fleischer said in an e-mailed statement. "As soon as we realized what had happened, we stopped collecting all Wi-Fi data from our Street View cars and immediately informed the authorities."


Crippled Japanese nuclear plant evacuates workers after smoke rises from complex

© Associated Press
Ko Nakamura, a victim of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, walks around his devastated home area searching for missing people with his dog in Otsuchi, northern Japan, Monday, March 21, 2011.
Fukushima, Japan - Plant operators evacuated workers from Japan's tsunami-stricken nuclear complex Monday after grey smoke rose from one of its reactor units, the latest of persistent troubles in stabilizing the complex after it was damaged in a quake and tsunami.

Smoke rising from the spent fuel storage pool of the plant's Unit 3 prompted the evacuation, Tokyo Electric Power Co. spokesman Hiroshi Aizawa said. The problem-plagued Unit 3 also alarmed plant officials over the weekend with a sudden surge of pressure in its reactor core.

Japanese officials had reported some progress over the weekend in their battle to bring the radiation-leaking Fukushima Dai-ichi plant under control after it was damaged during the massive March 11 earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeast Japan. But the crisis was far from over, with the discovery of more radiation-tainted vegetables and tap water adding to public fears about contaminated food and drink.

The toll of Japan's triple disaster came into clearer focus Monday after police estimates showed more than 18,000 people died in the quake and tsunami, and the World Bank said rebuilding may cost $235 billion.


Portugal's government fights for survival amid unpopular measures to ease financial crisis

© The Canadian Press
Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates, right, looks at Pedro Passos Coelho, leader of the main opposition party the center-right Social Democratic Party, PSD, as they meet Monday March 21, 2011
Lisbon, Portugal - Just as Portugal appeared to have dodged a bailout like those taken by Greece and Ireland, a domestic political spat was set Monday to worsen its financial troubles and possibly spoil Europe's efforts to put the sovereign debt crisis behind it.

Portugal's main opposition parties told the beleaguered minority government they won't budge from their refusal to endorse a new set of austerity measures designed to ease a huge debt burden that is crippling the economy.

The new steps are likely to be rejected in a parliamentary vote expected Wednesday and the timing could not be worse. A defeat in the vote, Prime Minister Jose Socrates warned, would trigger his government's resignation, consigning Portugal to at least two months of political limbo just as officials were hoping to boost investor confidence in the country's future.

"At this point, a political crisis is a big push towards the country resorting to outside help," Finance Minister Fernando Teixeira dos Santos said.

Heart - Black

Libyans offer new graves as proof of civilian dead


Tripoli - At a clifftop cemetery overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, Libyans buried their dead, killed, government officials said, by Western bombs.

At an event for escorted foreign reporters, pro-government Libyans raged against western warplanes and missiles they said had spewed death over the Libyan capital at the weekend.

The mourners themselves spoke in quieter tones and the conflicting accounts they gave for the circumstances surrounding the deaths of their loved ones made it difficult to assess the veracity of the official version.


US: Mother Sues Preschool for Damaging Daughter's Shot at the Ivy League

colorand shapes
© Wikimedia commons

Think the rush to get your kids into Ivy League schools starts in high school? Think again.

Nicole Imprescia is suing York Avenue Preschool, a private preschool in New York, claiming that they may have damaged her four-year-old daughter's chances of getting into an elite private school.

Imprescia also alleges that the school may have hurt her daughter's chances of acceptance at an Ivy League institution such as Harvard, "citing an article that identifies preschools as the first step to The Ivy League, the New York Daily News reports.


Muammar Gaddafi calls on Libyans to resist colonialists

Defiant Libya leader promises to wage long war as officials in Tripoli say 64 people died in coalition air strikes

© Mohamed Messara/EPA
Libyans loyal to Muammar Gaddafi shout slogans during the funeral of people who, according to authorities, died after air strikes.
Muammar Gaddafi has pledged to arm the Libyan people to resist what he called a "crusader colonialist" onslaught after UN-mandated forces used missiles and bombs to destroy the country's air defences and, according to Tripoli, killed up to 64 people it called "martyrs" to foreign aggression.

Gaddafi, defiant from the moment the attacks began on Saturday night, said Libyans had the patience to wage a "long war" against a coalition that includes Britain, France, the US, Italy and Arab states.

"We will fight if you continue your attacks on us," he vowed in a radio address. "It is now necessary to open the arsenals and arm all the masses with all types of weapons to defend the independence, unity and honor of Libya."

Explosions and anti-aircraft fire were heard again shortly after darkness fell over Tripoli, though there were no air-raid sirens. Traffic continued to move normally and there was little sign of panic.

Comment: With all the Human tragedy (Earthquakes, Hunger, Tsunami's..) going on in the world, it's a sad state of affairs when supposed elected leaders do nothing about those tragedies and instead go to war. It is blatantly obvious the world needs a better understanding of Psychopathy.


Koran burnt in Florida church

Koran Burnt
© The Raw Story

A controversial US evangelical preacher oversaw the burning of a copy of the Koran in a small Florida church after finding the Muslim holy book "guilty" of crimes.

The burning was carried out by pastor Wayne Sapp under the supervision of Terry Jones, who last September drew sweeping condemnation over his plan to ignite a pile of Korans on the anniversary of September 11, 2001 attacks.
Sunday's event was presented as a trial of the book in which the Koran was found "guilty" and "executed."

The jury deliberated for about eight minutes. The book, which had been soaking for an hour in kerosene, was put in a metal tray in the center of the church, and Sapp started the fire with a barbecue lighter.


Book review: Moral Landscape examines science behind human values

© Sam Harris
The goal of this book is to begin a conversation about how moral truth can be understood in the context of science. There is an epidemic of scientific ignorance in the United States. This isn't surprising, as very few scientific truths are self-evident and many are deeply counter-intuitive."

So writes Sam Harris in his latest best-seller, "The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values." Harris is co-founder and CEO of Project Reason, a nonprofit foundation that advocates for science and secular values; he has degrees in philosophy and neuroscience from Stanford University and UCLA. His previous books include "The End of Faith," which won the PEN Award for Nonfiction in 2005, and "Letter to a Christian Nation."

At the heart of "The Moral Landscape" is the notion that all human values have their genesis in the natural order and, as such, we do not need "God" or anything else to define concepts of right and wrong or to otherwise make judgments about the inherent efficacy of different behaviors. To illustrate this point, he examines a number of values that tend to be common to people in most societies. For instance, acting in one's own self-interest has often been characterized as being beneficial from an evolutionary perspective. Conversely, most religions tend to articulate, in one way or another, that cooperation and empathy for others are higher-order aspirations that allow us to transcend our more primal tendencies.


Bahrain hospitals under siege as soldiers maintain Manama crackdown

© Hamad I Mohammed / Reuters
We can just imagine the meeting that took place between the psychopaths-in-chief of Bahrain: "So, they keep meeting at this landmark monument... even though we shoot at them, they keep returning... what can we do to prevent it turning into another Tahrir Square?... We could blow it up?... That's a brilliant idea!..."
Doctors arrested or prevented from working as martial law in tiny Gulf state approaches second week

Bahrain's two main hospitals remain surrounded by masked soldiers despite demands from America that the kingdom must ease its violent crackdown on demonstrators and the medical workers treating them.

Soldiers also continue to patrol all main roads in the capital Manama and have cordoned off access to the former hub of the protest movement, Pearl Roundabout, which was destroyed under government orders on Friday, denying the restive demonstrators a focal point.

The tiny Gulf state has the feel of a nation under siege as it approaches a second week of martial law imposed for three months by its besieged rulers. In addition to the troop presence, neighbourhoods remain largely empty; large, glitzy shopping malls have been virtually abandoned and helicopters regularly buzz over the debris-strewn scenes of recent street clashes.

Hospitals, particularly the Salmaniya medical clinic near the centre of town, have received extra attention, largely because of the significance they have taken on since the protests began in January.

As well as being used to treat hundreds of casualties, nearly all of them unarmed protesters, the hospitals served as rallying points for protesters, who took refuge from riot police in the relative safety of their grounds.

Salmaniya was one of several hospitals attacked by security forces during the week. Their entrances clearly show scuffs from rubber bullets and teargas canisters, as well as sound grenades were found well inside hospital grounds.