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Member since: Wed Nov 10, 2004, 12:55 AM
Number of posts: 27,505

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Japan's 'peace constitution' under pressure at 70

Source: Agence France-Press

Japan's American-written "peace constitution" has survived unchanged for 70 years, but nationalists seeking an overhaul are gearing up for a major new push as concerns grow over North Korean belligerence.

Conservatives have long called for the document they see as a national humiliation to be amended, but current political alignments and growing security concerns suggest they now have their best chance of success.

"The time is ripe," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday in a speech to supporters of change. "We will take a historic step towards the major goal of revising the constitution in this milestone year."

The constitution, which took effect 70 years ago on Wednesday, renounced Japan's sovereign right to wage war. It has been championed by progressives as a pacifist symbol born out of the country's World War II defeat.


Read more: https://www.yahoo.com/news/japans-peace-constitution-under-pressure-70-073958617.html

China demands halt to US missile shield in S.Korea

Source: Agence France-Press

China demanded on Tuesday an immediate halt to a controversial US missile shield hours after Washington announced that the defence system was now operational in South Korea.

Washington and Seoul agreed to the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery deployment in July in the wake of a string of North Korean missile tests.

But its deployment has infuriated China, which fears it will weaken its own ballistic missile capabilities and says it upsets the regional security balance.

"We oppose the deployment of the THAAD system in (South Korea) and urge relevant sides to immediately stop the deployment. We will firmly take necessary measures to uphold our interests," foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular press briefing.


Read more: http://www.france24.com/en/20170502-china-demands-halt-us-missile-shield-skorea

Why isn't this video showing on the home page?

I posted this to the Video forum: https://www.democraticunderground.com/1017435965

A few minutes later, it's not on the home page, even though videos posted after mine are on the home page.

This has happened before.

Dorothie & Martin Hellman: "Peace, True Love.... and Cryptography" - Talks at Google

Published on Apr 13, 2017

Turing Award winner Martin Hellman, along with his wife Dorothie, discuss their book, “A New Map for Relationships: Creating True Love at Home & Peace on the Planet,” and how they went from being madly in love at first, to heading for divorce, then madly in love again--explaining how the same lessons they had to learn in their marriage can help avert worldwide catastrophes such as global warming and nuclear war.

Former US Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry has referred to the Hellman’s work as, “the most thoughtful, unique, and fascinating book I have ever read on personal and international diplomacy.” Stories from Marty’s work in cryptography help illustrate ethical dilemmas and the importance of “getting curious, not furious.”

“A New Map” can be downloaded for free at: https://anewmap.com/

Dorothie Hellman worked as a CPA at Touche Ross, later becoming a full-time volunteer and VP for Financial Support at the Beyond War Foundation from 1982-87. Since then, she has devoted her life to studying how to improve the human condition.

Martin Hellman is best known for his invention, with Diffie and Merkle, of public key cryptography, to enable secure Internet transactions. He currently works on reducing existential risks posed by technology, with an emphasis on nuclear weapons. He is Professor Emeritus of EE at Stanford University, and was awarded the Turing Award in 2015.

The Chemical-Weapons Attack In Syria: Is There a Place for Skepticism?


The Chemical-Weapons Attack In Syria: Is There a Place for Skepticism?

The American media has excluded dissenting expert opinions in its rush to embrace Trump’s war on Syria.

By James Carden
APRIL 19, 2017


The Nation spoke to Postol over the weekend.

“What I think is now crystal clear,” he said, “is that the White House report was fabricated and it certainly did not follow the procedures it claimed to employ.”

“My best guess at the moment is that this was an extremely clumsy and ill-conceived attempt to cover up the fact that Trump attacked Syria without any intelligence evidence that Syria was in fact the perpetrator of the attack…. It may be,” he continued, “that the White House staff was worried that this could eventually come out—a reckless president acting without regard to the nation’s security, risking an inadvertent escalation and confrontation with Russia, and a breakdown in cooperation with Russia that would cripple our efforts to defeat the Islamic State.”

“If that is not an impeachable offense,” Postol told The Nation, “then I do not know what is.”


NASA Sets New Human Launch Gap Record


NASA Sets New Human Launch Gap Record Today
By Keith Cowing on April 18, 2017

Record today: 2091 days since STS-135 breaks record between ASTP and STS-1 longest gap in human launches from US soil. Soyuz is our ticket.

— Wayne Hale (@waynehale) April 18, 2017

First evidence found that LSD produces 'higher' level of consciousness, scientists claim

Source: The Independent

Scientists claim to have found the first evidence that psychedelic drugs create a “higher level of consciousness”.

LSD, the "date rape" drug ketamine and psilocybin, the active ingredient of magic mushrooms, were all found to increase the tiny magnetic fields produced by the brain.

This is used to create a mathematical measure of the complexity of brain activity, with people who are asleep having a lower level than people who are awake.


“Since this measure has already shown its value as a measure of ‘conscious level’, we can say that the psychedelic state appears as a higher ‘level’ of consciousness than normal – but only with respect to this specific mathematical measure.”


Read more: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/lsd-first-evidence-higher-level-consciousness-hallucinogenic-drug-scientists-a7690366.html

Nuclear arms abolition negotiations begin

Nuclear arms abolition negotiations begin
NHK World News
Published on Mar 27, 2017

The conference to negotiate a legally binding treaty to ban nuclear weapons begins at the United Nations headquarters in New York on Monday. But all the nuclear states will not participate.

The UN General Assembly voted to start negotiations last December. More than 50 non-nuclear countries submitted the proposal and 113 states supported the resolution.

The treaty is to ban nuclear weapons based on the interpretation they are in breach of international laws.

More than 100 countries are expected to take part in the negotiations. They will likely focus on how to substantiate the illegality of nuclear weapons.

The United States and Russia say the negotiations lack the realistic perspective of international security.

Japan is the only country to have experienced atomic bombings, but has also been against the treaty. The government's position is that disarmament should occur in stages with cooperation of both nuclear and non-nuclear states.

Japan is arranging to send an envoy to speak at the conference, but is unlikely to take part in the negotiations.

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom told NHK at the UN on Thursday that the negotiations are timely. She said there have recently been comments flaunting nuclear arms. She added that many countries are frustrated with the stalemate in nuclear arms reduction.

Former US President Barack Obama called for "a world without nuclear weapons." His successor Donald Trump has indicated he wants to strengthen US nuclear power.

Toshiba wants Westinghouse to file for bankruptcy as early as Tuesday: source

Source: Reuters

Toshiba Corp wants its U.S nuclear unit to file for Chapter 11 protection from creditors as early as Tuesday, according to a source with direct knowledge of the matter, seeking a quick ringfencing of losses before the Japanese parent's financial year ends.

While a Westinghouse bankruptcy filing would help limit future losses for Toshiba, it still falls far short of drawing a line under its problems.

Any filing would trigger complex negotiations between Toshiba, the nuclear unit and creditors, and could embroil the U.S and Japanese governments given the scale of the collapse and U.S. state loan guarantees for new reactors. A worry for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is that a bankruptcy would give President Donald Trump cause to criticize Japanese firms operating in the United States.

"Westinghouse is a major employer and nuclear industry company with ongoing nuclear new build projects in two different states, one of which is supported by U.S. Department of Energy loan guarantees," said George Borovas, the global head of nuclear at law firm Shearman & Sterling.


Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-toshiba-accounting-idUSKBN16X12P

UN to kick off talks on global nuclear weapons ban

Source: Agence France-Press

More than 100 countries are set to launch the first UN talks on a global nuclear weapons ban on Monday over objections from the major nuclear powers.


No major powers have commented on the start of the talks so far, although the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, is expected to issue a statement on the sidelines of opening day.

US and French representatives explained their countries' opposition in October citing a need to make progress in stages, without disturbing the current strategic balance of weapons or jeopardizing nuclear deterrence.

Fihn compares such arguments to the logic of chain smokers: "It's never the right time to quit."


Read more: https://www.yahoo.com/news/un-kick-off-talks-global-nuclear-weapons-ban-053518198.html
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