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Member since: Tue Nov 9, 2004, 11:55 PM
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Tepco ordered to pay over suicide linked to nuclear evacuation

Source: Kyodo

Tokyo Electric Power Co. on Tuesday was again held responsible for a suicide linked to the 2011 nuclear crisis and ordered to pay damages.


It is the second time that a court has determined there was a link between the nuclear disaster and a suicide, and ordered the utility to pay damages.


Although more than four years have passed since the powerful earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011, triggered the country’s worst nuclear crisis, suicides linked to the event continue as more than 100,000 people remain evacuated in and around Fukushima.

Sixty-nine suicides in Fukushima Prefecture committed by the end of May have been deemed linked to the earthquake-tsunami or nuclear disasters, according to the Cabinet Office.


Read more: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/06/30/national/crime-legal/tepco-ordered-pay-suicide-linked-nuclear-evacuation/#.VZKp59Hn9dg

Quick: Read The Planetary Society Mars Plan While It Is Free


Quick: Read The Planetary Society Mars Plan While It Is Free
By Keith Cowing on June 29, 2015 7:06 PM. 4 Comments

In April 2015 the Planetary Society held an invitation-only "Humans Orbiting Mars" workshop wherein they unveiled their idea for a mission to Mars. At a quick press conference after the event (no media were allowed to attend the workshop) the Planetary Society promised more detail would be made public - later. Since then nothing but crickets. Well, it now looks like the Planetary Society Mars plan is now online - but only for a few weeks - then you will have to pay to read it. An article on the grand plan by Scott Hubbard will only be online here until 29 July 2015. I do not see any mention of this report's availability on the Planetary Society website. I am not sure how far a mission concept like this is going to get if no one can read the details. Given that most of these new space policy ideas have been semi-secret lately it would seem that the authors are not really interested in any meaningful public engagement.

- Stealthy Humans Orbiting Mars Workshop Update, earlier post
- Making Space Policy In Secret (Again), earlier post
- Good News Everyone: Another Closed Door Humans to Mars Thing, earlier post

The plan is at http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/space.2015.0018

U.S., Iran trade accusations of backtracking in nuclear talks

Source: Los Angeles Times

As negotiators battle over the final terms of a nuclear agreement, Iran and six world powers have begun bickering over an important side issue: who gets the blame if the deal falls through.

In recent days, as diplomats have huddled in a porticoed 19th century palace in Vienna, the Austrian capital, Western officials have accused the Iranians of backtracking on commitments they made in a preliminary deal reached April 2 in Lausanne, Switzerland. Officials have pointed to comments by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who last week appeared to lay down tough new terms that contradicted what U.S. officials say had been agreed to three months ago.

Iranian officials countered, saying U.S. officials also have been backtracking, but they seem increasingly worried that if the talks break down this week, the international community will hold their side primarily responsible.


If Iran is held responsible for a breakdown of the 2-year-old talks, many countries would be far more willing to continue — or even intensify — economic sanctions that have badly battered Iran’s economy. Iran has been hoping that the United States would get blamed for intransigence and the world community would drop sanctions and start doing business again with the long-isolated Islamic Republic.


Read more: http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-iran-talks-20150629-story.html

The finger-pointing has begun.

SpaceX rocket explosion: 'It's space and it's difficult'

SpaceX rocket explosion: 'It's space and it's difficult'
Published on Jun 28, 2015

An unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying supplies for the International Space Station broke apart minutes after liftoff. As engineers analyze flight data to pinpoint what went wrong, NASA and SpaceX officials emphasize no negligence was involved.

Pope Francis Slams GMOs and Pesticides for Destroying the Earth's 'Complex Web of Ecosystems'


Pope Francis Slams GMOs and Pesticides for Destroying the Earth’s ‘Complex Web of Ecosystems’
Lori Ann Burd, Center for Biological Diversity | June 26, 2015

Pope Francis’s encyclical didn’t just cover climate change, he also denounced pesticides and genetically engineered (GE) crops, declaring “the spread of these crops destroys the complex web of ecosystems, decreases diversity in production and affects the present and the future of regional economies.”


The Pope observed that pesticide use “creates a vicious circle in which the intervention of the human being to solve a problem often worsens the situation further.” He said, “many birds and insects die out as a result of toxic pesticides created by technology … [and this] actually causes the Earth we live in to become less rich and beautiful, more and more limited and gray …”


Like Pope Francis, I believe protecting the Earth is our moral imperative. With this encyclical, the Pope reminds us that our fates are intertwined with all species, and calls us to action.

Growing Up as a Species: Accepting the Worst, Realizing the Best - by Frances Moore Lappé


Growing Up as a Species: Accepting the Worst, Realizing the Best
Frances Moore Lappé
Cofounder – Small Planet Institute

All of my life’s work has, in a sense, been a journey to help enable mind and morality to meet and, even more, to live and cocreate together—happily.

I was born during the Holocaust and grew up in Texas in the 1950s surrounded by a racist, religiously narrow culture. As a young adult my heart was grabbed by one question: Why does humanity tolerate the cruelty of hunger in a world of plenty?

Over decades of asking “why” and “why” again, I’ve come to define the core challenge that humanity has yet to meet: it is to understand that we can evolve as “moral” societies—by this I mean life-serving—only as we accept the good, the bad, and the ugly in our own nature, in every person’s nature! To this end, we can put our minds to work on the moral task of creating those identifiable, specific conditions that have proven over our lengthy social evolution to bring forth the best in our species and to keep the worst in check. I think of this primary task as “growing up as a species.”

For most of us, embracing such complexity in our nature is difficult because a very different framing of social progress—the “good guys” defeating the “bad guys”—is entrenched in the worldviews that most cultures propagate. A variant of this dichotomous perspective is the notion of the good inside us defeating the evil inside us



Mind and Morality: Where do they meet?
June 15, 2015

The Center for Humans & Nature has just published a frame-shifting essay by Small Planet Institute cofounder Frances Moore Lappé. “I’ve finally gotten my worldview down to 1,000 words!” says Frances. She argues that the breakthrough for humanity, lies in accepting all aspects of our nature; then basing our social rules on hard evidence about what brings out the best and the worst in our species. The great news, she stresses, is that we don’t have to change human nature to build the world we want.


How To Livestream The Grateful Dead 'Fare Thee Well' Concerts

Source: Decider

After fifty years, six keyboardists, countless acid tests, a journey to Egypt, record-breaking runs at Madison Square Garden, a Top Ten single, numerous spinoff bands, many good trips, a few bad ones, and nearly 3000 concerts, the Grateful Dead are closing the curtain on a spectacular, half-century (!) run over the next two weekends.

The core four surviving original members—Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann, and Mickey Hart—will be performing five shows over two weekends. The first will take place tonight, Saturday, June 27 (at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m PT), and the second tomorrow, Sunday, June 28 (at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT); both are being held at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA, not too far from the Palo Alto locales where they first came together.

The third, fourth, and fifth shows will go down at Soldier Field in Chicago (on July 3rd, 4th and 5th), where the Dead played their final two shows as the Grateful Dead in July 1995, a month before guitarist and de facto leader Jerry Garcia died, effectively ending the band.

All five ‘Fare Thee Well’ shows will be available to stream in a wide variety of packages and options.


Read more: http://decider.com/2015/06/27/grateful-dead-fare-thee-well-livestream/

Saudi Arabia, France finalizing $12 billion in deals for ships, helicopters, nuclear reactors

Source: Associated Press

Saudi and French officials are finalizing negotiations on contracts for patrol ships, border guard helicopters, planes and two possible nuclear reactors worth more than $12 billion.

The announcement comes during a high-level Saudi visit to France on Wednesday, as Saudi Arabia is leading a military campaign against extremists in neighbouring Yemen.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Wednesday that the two have agreed to sell French patrol boats "to enhance the capability of the Saudi Coast Guard, which is today facing growing threats."

A French government statement says the two countries are finalizing contracts for 23 helicopters for the Saudi Interior Ministry, 50 Airbus jets, and a study for two new-generation nuclear reactors, and nuclear waste and nuclear safety training.

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Saudi+Arabia+France+finalizing+billion+deals+ships+helicopters/11162663/story.html

Saudi Arabia said they would match Iran's nuclear weapons capabilities, and now they're creating the infrastructure to do that.

Analyst: New savings erode as cost of nuclear plant grows


Analyst: New savings erode as cost of nuclear plant grows
By: Associated Press
Posted: 7:14 AM, Jun 24, 2015

ATLANTA - The rising cost of building a new nuclear plant in Georgia will swallow most of the $2.7 billion in newfound savings that Southern Co. has publicly touted, a state analyst said Tuesday.

Southern Co. and its partners are building two more nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle, a project running more than three years behind schedule. Time is money. The longer it takes to build, the more Southern Co. subsidiary Georgia Power must pay in construction and finance charges.

Since state regulators approved the plant in 2009, power company executives said they secured $2.7 billion in newfound savings, making the project more financially attractive. For example, the utility benefited from cheaper-than-expected borrowing and inflation costs, received government loans and expects to get tax credits.

But the actual savings could be as small as $208 million after subtracting new costs related to the delays, according to financial analyst Philip Hayet, who monitors project finances for the state Public Service Commission. By comparison, Georgia Power now expects to spend $7.5 billion on its share of construction expenses.

"It's now virtually negligible," Hayet said, describing the value of the savings identified by the utility.


China ratifies nuclear-weapon-free Central Asia protocol

Source: Xinhua

China has ratified a protocol to the Treaty on Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (NWFZ) in Central Asia and will soon hand the ratification paper to Kyrgyzstan through diplomatic channels, a spokesman said.

"China's top legislature ratified the protocol in April and President Xi Jinping signed the ratification paper recently," Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said on Wednesday at a daily news briefing.

The treaty which came into force in 2009, commits its signatories -- Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan -- to refrain from developing, acquiring or possessing nuclear weapons.

In May, 2014, China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States signed a protocol with the five countries at UN headquarters pledging not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices against any party to the treaty.


China is willing to work with all parties to completely prohibit and destroy nuclear weapons, the spokesman added.

Read more: http://www.ecns.cn/2015/06-25/170568.shtml
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