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Ebola ‘nightmare’ for nurses as union demands protection for its members

Source: Washington Post


As more patients are diagnosed with Ebola, the nurses caring for them may be at risk for contracting the illness. In an attempt to protect them, the nation’s largest union of registered nurses is asking President Obama and Congress for help.

“This month has been a nightmare, frankly, for the nurses across the nation,” said RoseAnn DeMoro, executive director of National Nurses United, representing 185,000 nurses, at a national conference call on Ebola preparedness Oct. 15. Another nurse, who called in, put it even more forcefully: describing Ebola as the “nurse-killer disease.”

Deborah Burger, RN, co-president of National Nurses United, or NNU, speaks before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Friday. She wants Congress to mandate that all hospitals in the U.S. follow protocols to protect not only nurses but other health care workers and patients.

National Nurses United has also sent a letter to Obama requesting he issue an executive order mandating standard protocols as well. “We would not send soldiers to the battlefield without armor and weapons,” wrote DeMoro, and the group is asking for signatures on a petition as well.


We’ve all seen photos of health care workers lumbering about in hazmat suits, but not all hospitals have such equipment available for their staff. Although the Centers for Disease Control has issued guidelines regarding protective wear, they’re only guidelines without the weight of law behind them, Burger said in a phone interview Thursday. “Even with the new CDC guidelines, they’re still not mandated and 5,000 hospitals in the U.S. get to pick and choose” what to do.


“This is really a female profession,” she said, with at least 90 percent of registered nurses women. “But look at the protective gear worn by fire fighters and paramedics, even what the workers at the CDC wear when they’re dealing with a single vial of the Ebola virus.”


Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/she-the-people/wp/2014/10/24/ebola-nightmare-for-nurses-as-union-demands-protection-for-their-members/

Sign the petition at http://www.nationalnursesunited.org/page/s/national-nurses-united-urges-you-to-take-action-now

(You don't have to be a nurse to sign the petition)

50 Years Ago, the Anti-Nuclear Movement Scored Its First Major Victory in CA


50 Years Ago, the Anti-Nuclear Movement Scored Its First Major Victory in CA
by Woody Hastings – October 23, 2014

An interview with Bill Kortum, who helped lead the opposition to a nuke plant at Bodega Bay

Fifty years ago, on October 30, 1964, the American environmental movement scored a major victory when California utility Pacific Gas & Electric said it was abandoning plans to construct an atomic energy plant at Bodega Bay, about 70 miles north of San Francisco.

The struggle to protect Bodega Head is widely viewed as the launch point of the US anti-nuclear movement. The mass demonstrations at the Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant, the opposition to PG&E’s development of the Diablo Power Station on the California Coast, the long-running American Peace Test actions against the Nevada nuclear test, the massive Nuclear Freeze marches – all of them came in the wake of the struggle against building a nuclear plant outside this small fishing village that would soon become better known as the setting of the Alfred Hitchcock thriller, The Birds.

To many Northern California residents today, it is amazing that such a proposal ever existed; that otherwise sane people thought it was a good idea to build a nuclear power plant at the Bodega Head. At the time, however, most Americans were pro-nuclear, including most self-indentified “conservationists” or “environmentalists,” a word that was just then coming into use. So it fell to an ad-hoc band of citizen-activists to raise the alarm about the power plant and to spearhead the opposition to it. If those concerned citizens had not risen up to oppose this ill-conceived plan, we would be living in a different Northern California today, saddled no doubt with an aging industrial forbidden zone on what had once been a beautiful rocky outcropping on the coast.


Beyond Nuclear statement regarding NRC Chairman Macfarlane's announced resignation


Beyond Nuclear statement regarding NRC Chairman Macfarlane's announced resignation
October 23, 2014

Beyond Nuclear has issued the following statement regarding NRC Chairman Allison Macfarlane's announced resignation, just a year and a half into her current five-year term:

"Chairman Macfarlane took some principled and important steps toward restoring the NRC’s integrity and upholding its public safety mission statement, but failed to fulfill them.

Unfortunately, the 'go along to get along' strategy is inherently hamstrung, particularly given the many ferocious industry policy fights raging throughout the agency.

For example, her minority vote to stand with the agency’s staff recommendation to promptly require all U.S. Fukushima-style reactors be equipped with filtered hardened containment vents took the side of public safety margins over industry financial margins.

Wrestling that Order to the mat would have fortified nearly one-third of the US nuclear fleet, for when the next accident occurs, to significantly contain the release of radioactivity while venting these fragile containments of explosive hydrogen, high pressure and extreme heat.

Her academic positions did not translate into public safety realities. Academically, Chairman Marfarlane has endorsed the 'expedited transfer' of high-level radioactive waste, from dangerous high-density storage pools into dry casks, at reactor sites. But her sole dissent only meant that the agency defied such efforts.

Sometimes there is no successful righting of any ship of state after its credibility has sunk just so low.

An especially disappointing vote cast by Chairman Macfarlane was her August, 2014 vote -- with the rest of the Commissioners -- to endorse so-called Nuclear Waste Confidence under a new name, 'Continued Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel.' Although she disapproved of NRC staff's assumption that institutional control would be maintained forever into the future -- an impossibility -- she nonetheless voted the wrong way. Beyond Nuclear has already filed contentions in numerous new and old reactor licensing proceedings challenging this unanimous NRC Commissioners vote. Beyond Nuclear is part of a broad environmental coalition that may very well take this matter back to federal court, if necessary.

We thank her for her service and wish her success in her future endeavors."

First Private Moon Mission to Launch on Chinese Rocket Today

Source: Space.com

The first privately funded mission to the moon is scheduled to blast off Thursday (Oct. 23), hitching a ride on a Chinese Long March rocket.

The 4M mission, a project developed by Luxembourg-based company LuxSpace, will piggyback on a Chinese moon flyby unofficially dubbed Chang'e 5-T1, which aims to test out technology for a future lunar sample-return mission. Liftoff is set for 1:59 p.m. EDT (1759 GMT) Thursday from China's Xichang Satellite Launch Center.

If all goes according to plan, the Chang'e 5-T1 spacecraft will zoom around the moon and back toward Earth, ultimately sending a test capsule barreling into our planet's atmosphere on Oct. 31. The main purpose is to try out tech that could get moon dirt and rocks to Earth — the goal of China's Chang'e 5 mission, currently slated to blast off in 2017.

The 31-pound (14 kilograms) 4M payload is attached to the Long March's upper stage, which will also perform a close lunar flyby and return to Earth's neighborhood. 4M will transmit signals continuously during its space journey, and LuxSpace hopes amateur radio operators around the world will listen in. Indeed, the company will offer prizes to people who participate.


Read more: http://www.space.com/27518-private-moon-mission-4m-luxspace.html

Via http://medicineinspace.blogspot.com/2014/10/first-private-moon-mission-to-launch-on.html

Where Is the Surgeon General?


Where Is the Surgeon General?
Gregory D. Curfman, M.D., Stephen Morrissey, Ph.D., and Jeffrey M. Drazen, M.D.
October 22, 2014DOI: 10.1056/NEJMe1412890

As an unchecked Ebola epidemic moves out of West Africa to touch the United States and the rest of the world, we should rightfully ask, “Where is the Surgeon General?” The answer is, quite simply, that we do not have one. We face a growing crisis of confidence in our ability to protect patients and health care workers, and the position of the chief public health officer of the United States remains unfilled.

How did this happen?

President Barack Obama nominated a highly qualified candidate, Vivek Murthy, to be the nation's next Surgeon General, but the nomination was not advanced to a confirmation vote in the Senate because conservative lawmakers and the National Rifle Association found his very reasonable views on firearm regulation unacceptable. A highly respected physician with impressive credentials who would have been an outstanding Surgeon General was turned away solely for political reasons.

That was in March, and nothing has happened since. Although we believe that Vivek Murthy would bring much to the job, the harsh political environment in Washington is unlikely to allow his confirmation. Given this impasse, and in these critical times, the Obama administration should select another candidate to be the nation's public health leader. Although the Acting Surgeon General, Boris Lushniak, is well qualified, he has not been confirmed and lacks the authority to actively pursue a public health agenda for the nation. We have heard little from him during the Ebola outbreak. Now, more than ever, we need a confirmed Surgeon General who can speak to the public with authority.


Nuclear weapons plant protester sentenced to 60 hours of community service

Source: Nuclear Resister

Two folks who crossed a forbidden line, all to say they oppose nuclear weapons, came to Municipal Court in Kansas City, Mo., for a hearing Oct. 21. Mark Bartholomew, of Holy Family Catholic Worker House, pleaded “guilty” of stepping across the line, and Judge Elena Franco sentenced him to 60 hours of community service. Henry Stoever, peace lawyer, pleaded “not guilty,” and Franco will try him for his resistance Friday, Dec. 19, at 1:30 p.m.

Mark and Henry spoke to about 20 supporters at the rally before the court hearing.

Explaining why he did not bail out after being arrested for trespass Aug. 22 at KC’s new nuclear weapons parts plant, Mark said, “I work with folks who don’t have the resources to bail out.” At Holy Family he feeds the hungry, befriends them. As he was being driven to the downtown police station to be held overnight in the summer heat, police asked him, “Are you sure you want to go there?” It was as if he didn’t belong there, as if his life were more valuable than those of others to whom police would never pose that question.


When it was Henry’s turn to submit a plea to Franco, he said “not guilty” and received the Dec. 19 trial date. Franco asked him about an earlier trial he had appealed to the state level, also for line-crossing at the new nuke-parts plant, and Henry said the charges were dropped, so he had no jury trial, which he had wished to have. Franco replied, “That was one shot.” It seems she, for one, expects Henry to take the same tack in December.

During the rally, Henry welcomed people, including those from PeaceWorks, All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church, and friends of Holy Family Catholic Worker. He said, “It matters what we are doing here! These weapons have consequences!” Duty and truth are essential focuses of a court, he said, and attorneys are supposed to elevate the law and improve the practice of justice. “There’s no disputing the facts” of the line-crossing, he said. “Yet there’s no acknowledgment by the city that these are weapons of mass destruction, part of a global threat,” that producing these WMDs violates the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and that making these weapons has consequences of illness and death from the contaminants involved. “Only through activism will we bring truth to the public,” he added.


Read more: http://www.nukeresister.org/2014/10/22/nuclear-weapons-plant-protester-sentenced-to-60-hours-of-community-service/

Nuclear fraud figures back on job (South Korea)


Nuclear fraud figures back on job
NPAD lawmaker says three who quit in parts scam rehired in months
Oct 21,2014

Three high-level officials at a state-run energy company who resigned from their posts last year after a corruption scandal involving counterfeit parts in nuclear plants are back on the job, according to an NPAD lawmaker.

One of the three was re-employed in two months, while the other two had their jobs back within nine months.

The findings were presented by New Politics Alliance for Democracy Rep. Chun Soon-ok during a National Assembly audit hearing yesterday for Kepco E&C.

Chun said she found out about the rehirings while reviewing a document submitted by the company, a subsidiary of the Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco).

“Rehiring these executives is a fraudulent action against the public,” said Chun. “These people resigned on their own will after the company was found to have been involved in an illicit activity that allowed faulty parts to be installed in nuclear plants.”


Government responds to Y-12 protesters’ appeal; argues that sabotage convictions were jusitified

Source: Knoxville News-Sentinel

On Wednesday evening, the federal government responded to the appeal seeking to overturn the conviction of three Y-12 protesters on sabotage charges. The response was filed in the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeff Theodore, who led the prosecution of the case in U.S. District Court in Knoxville and argued in his response to appeal that the Y-12 intruders did try to injure or interfere with the nation’s defense and that their convictions were justified.

In their motion filed with the federal appeals court in early August, attorneys for the Plowshares protesters — Michael Walli, Sister Megan Rice and Greg Boertje-Obed — said it was only through “distorted and unmoored interpretation of the Sabotage Act” that the government was able to obtain convictions on the most serious felony charge related to the July 28, 2012 intrusion at Y-12.

Theodore refuted that statement and others in a point-by-point, 53-page response to the appeal.

“Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the government, the evidence was sufficient for a rational trier of fact to find that the defendants intended to injure, interfere with, or obstruct the national defense,” Theodore said in the response summary.

“The evidence at trial clearly established that Defendants wanted nuclear disarmament generally and wanted Y-12’s operations to cease; they sought to advance that objective by breaking into and damaging property at Y-12, a nuclear weapons production facility that is a unique and critical part of the United States’ national defense,” he wrote. “The jury could reasonably infer that Defendants knew and intended that their actions would disrupt operations at Y-12 in some way, whether by delaying construction of the UPF, by diverting resources for security and repairing damage, or by drawing publicity to the intrusion.


Read more: http://knoxblogs.com/atomiccity/2014/10/22/federal-prosecutor-responds-y-12-protesters-appeal-argues-sabotage-convictions-jusitified/

Prosecutors set to rule on Fukushima indictments against TEPCO execs

Source: Reuters

Japanese prosecutors must decide this month whether to charge former Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) executives for their handling of the 2011 Fukushima disaster, in a process that could drag the operator of the stricken nuclear plant into criminal court.

The judicial review is unlikely to see TEPCO executives go to jail, legal experts say, but rehashing details of the meltdowns and explosions that followed an earthquake and tsunami will cast a harsh light on the struggling utility and will not help Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s unpopular effort to restart Japan’s nuclear reactors.

The Tokyo’s District Prosecutors Office last year declined to charge more than 30 TEPCO and government officials after investigating a criminal complaint from residents, who said officials ignored the risks to the Fukushima Daiichi plant from natural disasters and failed to respond appropriately when crisis struck.

But a special citizens’ panel opened another legal front in July, asking prosecutors to consider charges of criminal negligence against three executives over their handling of the nuclear disaster.

Under the review system, the prosecutors must respond by Thursday.


Read more: http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/prosecutors-set-to-rule-on-fukushima-indictments-against-tepco-execs

NYC practices emergency response to nuclear explosion

Source: Associated Press

The voice over the speakers at New York City’s emergency command center calmly stated the unthinkable: a nuclear explosion had gone off in Times Square.

More than 100,000 people are feared to have died instantly. A massive radiation cloud is being blown north by the wind, toward Westchester County and Connecticut. The city’s subway system has been shut down and the region’s cellphone service has largely failed.


The nightmare scenario was part of a region-wide training exercise that was conducted Wednesday by the city’s Office of Emergency Management to rehearse communications with the federal government and local law enforcement agencies in New York and New Jersey.


All of the city agencies have representatives under one roof, with direct links to the power companies, the transit system and Washington. In the drill on Wednesday, portions of which were open to the press, Esposito helped conduct a conference call with state officials as to the best way to decontaminate citizens exposed to radiation.


Read more: http://www.oneidadispatch.com/general-news/20141022/nyc-practices-emergency-response-to-nuclear-explosion
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