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Kosovo Protocol

Executive Producers: Earl of Silicon Valley, Sir Gene Lord Viscount of Austin, Barry Hanna, Lew Ayotte Sir Wordpress Plugins

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No Agenda: In The Morning! REDDIT

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Mon, 26 Aug 2013 16:39

create a new accountall it takes is a username and password

privacy philosophywe limit data collected about you and your use of the platform,your personal information is never for sale,we use and disclose information to prevent people from abusing the platform, butwe never disclose it for any other reason unless required by law.for more information, see our privacy policy.

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Miley Cyrus' Twerktastic 'VMA' Performance Tops Weekly Ratings - Deadline.com

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Tue, 27 Aug 2013 19:53

Memo to anyone who has suggested heads will roll at MTVover Miley Cyrus' exuberant twerking of teddy bear and Robin Thicke at Sunday's VMAs: The VMAs clobbered all competition for the week, with a 5.2 rating in the key 18-49 demo. The closest thing to actual competition faced by Cyrus and her Fantastic Foam Finger '-- who continued to be a hot topic among morning infotainment programs two days later '-- was the Robertson clan on A&E's Duck Dynasty. It clocked a 4.5 rating. NBC's Sunday Night Football, though tops among broadcasters, trailed far behind with a 2.7 rating.

Among all viewers, CBS' Under The Dome reigned, despite the Time Warner Cable blackout in three of the country's Top 5 markets, with 10.639 million viewers. That said, Dome didn't beat Duck Dynasty by much (10.07 million).

More to come'....

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MTV VMA's Where are the protests?

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'I Have A Dream' Speech Copyrighted For Another 25 Years CBS DC

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Thu, 29 Aug 2013 01:37

The civil rights leader Martin Luther KIng (C) waves to supporters on Aug. 28, 1963 on the Mall in Washington D.C. (credit: AFP/AFP/Getty Images)

Filed underDistrict, NewsLatest NewsPhotosLANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) '-- There's a lot of talk about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s ''I Have A Dream'' speech circulating this week, due to the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.

But have you actually heard the 17-minute speech in its entirety recently? Or ever?

If not, that's not too surprising. As it turns out, the iconic piece of American history is copyrighted.

King copyrighted it himself a few months after first reciting it, and his estate has maintained control over the copyright since his death in 1968, the Washington Post reports.

The words won't enter public domain until 2038. Until then, using or reproducing the speech without a licensing fee will be a crime, the report says.

Of course, you can always read the speech in full on the National Archives website. You can also purchase an audio copy.

Follow WNEW on Twitter.

Did You Know MLK's "I Have a Dream" Speech is Copyrighted? - Hit & Run : Reason.com

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Thu, 29 Aug 2013 01:38

Via Brit Kenan Malik's great Twitter feed, I came across this story about copyright issues surrounding Martin Luther King's most-famous speech, the one delivered 50 years ago today in Washington, D.C. From The Drum:

This week's 'tales from the excesses of copyright' comes from the estate of Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King who continue toput restrictions on the use of the civil rights' leader words, images and sounds. The speech, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this week, cannot be found legally in the public domain, unless express permission has been granted by King's estate. The only licensed version of the famous civil rights speech is found in its entirety on the Martin Luther King historical site which hosts almost all of his archives.

His speech ''I have a Dream'' is considered one of the most important cultural and historical moments of the 20th Century, yet is in incredibly difficult to find, listen to, or watch in its entirety when King addressed several hundred thousand people before the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. The speech, which won't be in the public domain until 2038, can only be used if a commercial entity pays the King estate a hefty fee....

King had not copyrighted the text before delivering several versions of it or before his assassination; his family secured the copyright after his death.

Read the whole article for more information about the court case between CBS and the King estate over whether a performance of the speech counted as publishing it.

And here's a Wash Post article on the same topic.

The MLK Foundation site includes an amazing array of artifacts, including a draft of the Dream speech.

Reason on civil rights.

Reason on copyright.

Here's a version of the speech that is up on YouTube. Fifty years on, it remains nothing less than stunning.

Nick Gillespie is the editor in chief of Reason.com and Reason TV and the co-author of The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong With America, just out in paperback.

Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Thu, 29 Aug 2013 01:52

Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence is an anti-Vietnam war speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4, 1967. The major speech at Riverside Church in New York, New York, followed several interviews[1] and several other public speeches in which Dr. King came out against the war in Vietnam and the policies that created the war. Some, like civil rights leader Ralph Bunche, the NAACP, and the editorial page writers of the Washington Post[2] and the New York Times[3] called the Riverside Church speech a mistake on King's part. Others, including Dr. King's partner and strategist in the Civil Rights Movement, James Bevel, called it Dr. King's most important speech.

Dr. King delivered the speech, sponsored by the group Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam, after committing to participate in New York's April 15, 1967 anti-Vietnam war march from Central Park to the United Nations sponsored by the Spring Mobilization to End the War in Vietnam.

In 2010 PBS commentator Tavis Smiley said the speech was the most controversial speech of Dr. King's career, and the one he "labored over the most".[4]

Syria

Chemical Weapons Convention - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Tue, 27 Aug 2013 20:21

Chemical Weapons ConventionConvention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their DestructionDrafted3 September 1992[1]Signed13 January 1993[1]LocationParis and New York[1]Effective29 April 1997[1]ConditionRatification by 65 states[2]Signatories165[1]Parties189 (as of June 2013)[1]Complete ListSeven UN states are not party: Angola, Burma, Egypt, Israel, North Korea, South Sudan, SyriaDepositaryUN Secretary-General[3]LanguagesArabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish[4]The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) is an arms control agreement which outlaws the production, stockpiling, and use of chemical weapons. Its full name is the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction. The agreement is administered by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which is an independent organization based in the Hague, in the Netherlands.

The main obligation under the convention is the prohibition of use and production of chemical weapons, as well as the destruction of all chemical weapons. The destruction activities are verified by the OPCW. As of January 2013, around 78% of the (declared) stockpile of chemical weapons has thus been destroyed.[5][6] The convention also has provisions for systematic evaluation of chemical and military plants, as well as for investigations of allegations of use and production of chemical weapons based on intelligence of other state parties.

As of June 2013, 189 states are party to the CWC, and another two countries (Israel and Myanmar) have signed but not yet ratified the convention.[1]

Intergovernmental consideration of a chemical and biological weapons ban was initiated in 1968 within the 18-nation Disarmament Committee, which, after numerous changes of name and composition, became the Conference on Disarmament (CD) in 1984.[7] On 3 September 1992 the Conference on Disarmament submitted to the U.N. General Assembly its annual report, which contained the text of the Chemical Weapons Convention. The General Assembly approved the Convention on 30 November 1992, and The U.N. Secretary-General then opened the Convention for signature in Paris on 13 January 1993. The CWC remained open for signature until its entry into force on 29 April 1997, 180 days after the deposit of the 65th instrument of ratification (by Hungary). The convention augments the Geneva Protocol of 1925 for chemical weapons and includes extensive verification measures such as on-site inspections. It does not, however, cover biological weapons.

Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)[edit source |edit]The convention is administered by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which acts as the legal platform for specification of the CWC provisions (the Conference of State Parties is mandated to change the CWC, pass regulations on implementation of CWC requirements etc.). The organisations furthermore conducts inspections at military and industrial plants to ensure compliance of member states.

Key points of the Convention[edit source |edit]Prohibition of production and use of chemical weaponsDestruction (or monitored conversion to other functions) of chemical weapons production facilitiesDestruction of all chemical weapons (including chemical weapons abandoned outside the state parties territory)Assistance between State Parties and the OPCW in the case of use of chemical weaponsAn OPCW inspection regime for the production of chemicals which might be converted to chemical weaponsInternational cooperation in the peaceful use of chemistry in relevant areasParticipation in the Chemical Weapons Convention Signed and ratified

Acceded

Signed but not ratified

Non-signatory

Almost all countries in the world have joined the Chemical Weapons Convention. Currently 189 of the 196 states recognized by the United Nations are party to the CWC.[1] Of the seven states that are not, two have signed but not yet ratified the treaty (Burma and Israel) and five states have not signed the treaty (Angola, North Korea, Egypt, South Sudan and Syria).

Key organizations of member states[edit source |edit]Member states are represented at the OPCW by their permanent representative. This function is generally combined with the function of Ambassador. For the preparation of OPCW inspections and preparation of declarations, member states have to constitute a national authority.

World stockpile of chemical weapons[edit source |edit]The total world declared stockpile of chemical weapons was about 30,308 tons in early 2010.[8] A total of 71,315 tonnes of agents, 8.67 million munitions and containers, and 70 production facilities were declared to OPCW before destruction activities began. In addition, several countries that are not members are suspected of having chemical weapons, especially Syria and North Korea, while some member states (including Sudan and the People's Republic of China) have been accused by others of failing to disclose their stockpiles.

Timeline of destruction[edit source |edit]The treaty set up several steps with deadlines toward complete destruction of chemical weapons, with a procedure for requesting deadline extensions. No country reached total elimination by the original treaty date although several have finished under allowed extensions.

Reduction PhasesPhase% ReductionDeadlineNotesI1%April 2000 II20%April 2002Complete destruction of empty munitions, precursor chemicals,filling equipment and weapons systemsIII45%April 2004 IV100%April 2007No extensions permitted past April 2012Progress of destruction[edit source |edit]By May 2012, a total of 50,619 tonnes or 71.10% of declared chemical weapons (of Category 1, which is the main category) had been destroyed as well as all Category 3 declared chemicals. Category 2 remained at 52% complete. More than 45% (3.95 million) of chemical munitions and containers have been destroyed.[9] (Treaty confirmed destruction totals often lag behind state-declared totals.) Only about 50% of countries had passed the required legislation to outlaw participation in chemical weapons production.[10]

Three state parties, Albania (included 16,678 kilograms of mustard agent, lewisite, adamsite, and chloroacetophenone),[11] an unspecified state party[11] (widely believed to be South Korea)[12] and India[12] have completed the destruction of their stockpiles. Russia and the United States, which declared the largest amounts of chemical weapons are in the progress of destruction and had processed 57% and 90% of their respective stockpiles.[6][13] The deadline set for both countries of April 2012, however, was not met.[6]Libya has started destruction and has destroyed 54.46% of its stockpile (as well as 39.64% of its Category 2 chemical weapons). Iraq has yet to start destruction. Japan and China have started in October 2010 the destruction of chemical weapons abandoned by Japan in China by means of mobile destruction units and reported destruction of 35,203 chemical weapons (75% of the Nanjing stockpile).[13][14]

Expected complications with the Iraq stockpile[edit source |edit]When Iraq joined the CWC in 2009, it declared "two bunkers with filled and unfilled chemical weapons munitions, some precursors, as well as five former chemical weapons production facilities" according to OPCW Director General Rogelio Pfirter.[12] No plans were announced at that time for the destruction of the material, although it was noted that the bunkers were damaged in the 2003 war and even inspection of the site must be carefully planned. Most of Iraq's chemical weapons were previously destroyed under a United Nations reduction program after the 1991 Gulf War. Approximately five hundred degraded chemical munitions have been found in Iraq since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, according to a report of the US National Ground Intelligence Center.[20] These weapons contained sarin and mustard agents but were so badly corroded that they could not have been used as originally intended.[21]

Financial support for destruction[edit source |edit]Financial support for the Albanian and Libyan stockpile destruction programmes was provided by the United States. Russia received support from a number of nations, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Canada; some $2 billion given by 2004. Costs for Albania's program were approximately 48 million U.S. dollars. The U.S. had spent $20 billion and expected to spend a further $40 billion.[22]

Known production facilities (of chemical weapons)[edit source |edit]Thirteen countries declared chemical weapons production facilities:

1 non-disclosed state party (referred to as "A State Party" in OPCW-communications; said to be South Korea)[23]As of the end of March 2012, all 70 declared facilities had been deactivated and 92% (64) have been certified as destroyed or converted to civilian use.[24] In 2009, Iraq declared five production sites which were put out of commission by damage in the 1991 and 2003 wars; OPCW inspections were still required.[12]

The convention distinguishes three classes of controlled substance,[25] chemicals which can either be used as weapons themselves or used in the manufacture of weapons. The classification is based on the quantities of the substance produced commercially for legitimate purposes. Each class is split into Part A, which are chemicals that can be used directly as weapons, and Part B which are chemicals useful in the manufacture of chemical weapons.

Schedule 1 chemicals have few, or no uses outside of chemical weapons. These may be produced or used for research, medical, pharmaceutical or chemical weapon defence testing purposes but production above 100 grams per year must be declared to the OPCW. A country is limited to possessing a maximum of 1 tonne of these materials. Examples are mustard and nerve agents, and substances which are solely used as precursor chemicals in their manufacture. A few of these chemicals have very small scale non-military applications, for example minute quantities of nitrogen mustard are used to treat certain cancers.Schedule 2 chemicals have legitimate small-scale applications. Manufacture must be declared and there are restrictions on export to countries which are not CWC signatories. An example is thiodiglycol which can be used in the manufacture of mustard agents, but is also used as a solvent in inks.Schedule 3 chemicals have large-scale uses apart from chemical weapons. Plants which manufacture more than 30 tonnes per year must be declared and can be inspected, and there are restrictions on export to countries which are not CWC signatories. Examples of these substances are phosgene, which has been used as a chemical weapon but which is also a precursor in the manufacture of many legitimate organic compounds, and triethanolamine, used in the manufacture of nitrogen mustard but also commonly used in toiletries and detergents.The treaty also deals with carbon compounds called in the treaty Discrete organic chemicals.[26] These are any carbon compounds apart from long chain polymers, oxides, sulfides and metal carbonates, such as organophosphates. The OPCW must be informed of, and can inspect, any plant producing (or expecting to produce) more than 200 tonnes per year, or 30 tonnes if the chemical contains phosphorus, sulfur or fluorine, unless the plant solely produces explosives or hydrocarbons.

Related international law[edit source |edit]Worldwide treaties for other types of arms[edit source |edit]Chemical weapons[edit source |edit]Restricted substances[edit source |edit]^ abcdefghUnited Nations Treaty Collection. Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction. Accessed 14 January 2009.^Chemical Weapons Convention, Article 21.^Chemical Weapons Convention, Article 23.^Chemical Weapons Convention, Article 24.^Demilitarisation, Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, accessed 29 April 2012^ abcGlobal Campaign to Destroy Chemical Weapons Passes 60 Percent Mark. OPCW. 8 July 2010 (Accessed 19 August 2010)^The 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention, THE HARVARD SUSSEX PROGRAM ON CBW ARMAMENT AND ARMS LIMITATION^The Chemical Weapons Ban Facts and Figures, Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, 28 February 2010^counters are available at the lower-right corner on the [www.opcw.org OCPW website]^"The Chemical Weapons Convention at 10:An Interview With OPCW Director-General Rogelio Pfirter", http://www.armscontrol.org/pdf/CWC2008_READERWEB.pdf, Interviewed by Oliver Meier. Accessed 29 April 2008^ abc"Review of the Operation of the Chemical Weapons Convention since the First Review Conference", Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Conference of the States Parties, Second Review Conference, 31 March 2008, available at [1]^ abcdeIndia Completes Chemical Weapons Disposal; Iraq Declares Stockpile, Chris Schneidmiller, Global Security Newswire, 27 April 2009^ abcd"Opening Statement by the Director-General to the Conference of the States Parties at its Sixteenth Session". OPCW. 28 November 2011. Retrieved 1 May 2012. ^Executive Council 61, Decision 1. OPCW. 2010^Albania '' First Country to Destroy All of Its Chemical Weapons, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2007/88378.htm, U.S. Department of State, 13 July 2007^"Global Chemical Weapons Disarmament Operations Approach Halfway Mark", Global Security Newswire, National Journal Group, 20 February 2009^http://www.opcw.org/news/article/libya-completes-destruction-of-its-bulk-sulfur-mustard-stockpile/^ ab"Libya: Facts and Figures". Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Retrieved 8 December 2012. ^http://www.opcw.org/fileadmin/OPCW/CSP/RC-3/national-statements/rc3nat20__e_.pdf^Hundreds of chemical weapons found in Iraq : US intelligence, breitbart.com, 21 June 2006^Munitions Found in Iraq Meet WMD Criteria, Military.com, report filed by American Forces Press Service, 29 June 2006^"Russia, U.S. face challenge on chemical weapons", Stephanie Nebehay, Reuters, 7 August 2007, accessed 7 August 2007^"Confidentiality and verification: the IAEA and OPCW". VERTIC. May''June 2004. Retrieved 2012-12-03. ^43 facilities were destroyed while 21 were converted for civilian purposes Chemical Weapons Production Facilities^Chemical Weapons Convention Treaty: Annex on chemicals^Chemical weapons at Chemlink.comChemical Weapons Convention Website, United StatesChemical Weapons Convention Website, SingaporeChemical Weapons Convention: Full TextChemical Weapons Convention: Ratifying CountriesAnnex on Chemicals, describing the schedules and the substances on them, OPCW websiteThe Chemical Weapons Convention at a Glance, Arms Control AssociationChemical Warfare Chemicals and Precursors, Chemlink Pty Ltd, AustraliaIntroductory note by Michael Bothe, procedural history note and audiovisual material on the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction in the Historic Archives of the United Nations Audiovisual Library of International LawLecture by Santiago O±ate Laborde entiteld The Chemical Weapons Convention: an Overview in the Lecture Series of the United Nations Audiovisual Library of International Law

List of parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Wed, 28 Aug 2013 21:40

Participation in the Chemical Weapons Convention Signed and ratified

Acceded

Signed but not ratified

Non-signatory

The member states of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons encompasses the states who have signed and ratified or acceded to the Chemical Weapons Convention, an international agreement outlawing the production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons.

On January 13, 1993, the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) was opened for signature.[1]Fiji became the first state to ratify the treaty on January 20, 1993.[1] The treaty entered into force on April 29, 1997,[1] after it had been ratified by 65 states.[2] The treaty was closed for signature on the preceding day, and states that did not sign the convention can now only accede to it.[3] For states that ratified or acceded to the treaty after this date, the convention entered into force for them 31 days after their deposit of the instrument of ratification or accession.

A total of 196 states may become members of the Chemical Weapons Convention, including all 193 United Nations member states, the Cook Islands, Holy See and Niue. As of June 2013, 189 states have ratified or acceded to the treaty (most recently Somalia on 29 May 2013)[4] and another two states have signed but not yet ratified the treaty.[1][5][6] Of the remainder, both Angola and Myanmar have committed to ratifying the CWC.[7][8][9] According to its own statements, the Republic of China (Taiwan) also abides by the treaty.[10]

Ratified or acceded states[edit source |edit]State[1]SignedDepositedInstrument MethodEntered into Force Afghanistan01993-01-14Jan 14, 199302003-09-24Sep 24, 2003Ratification02003-10-24Oct 24, 2003 Albania01993-01-14Jan 14, 199301994-05-11May 11, 1994Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Algeria01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301995-08-14Aug 14, 1995Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Andorra02003-02-27Feb 27, 2003Accession02003-03-29Mar 29, 2003 Antigua and Barbuda02005-08-29Aug 29, 2005Accession02005-09-28Sep 28, 2005 Argentina01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301995-10-02Oct 2, 1995Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Armenia01993-03-19Mar 19, 199301995-01-27Jan 27, 1995Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Australia01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301994-05-06May 6, 1994Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Austria01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301995-08-17Aug 17, 1995Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Azerbaijan01993-01-13Jan 13, 199302000-02-29Feb 29, 2000Ratification02000-03-30Mar 30, 2000 Bahamas01994-03-02Mar 2, 199402009-04-23Apr 23, 2009Ratification02009-05-22May 22, 2009 Bahrain01993-02-24Feb 24, 199301997-04-28Apr 28, 1997Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Bangladesh01993-01-14Jan 14, 199301997-04-25Apr 25, 1997Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Barbados02007-03-07Mar 7, 2007Accession02007-04-06Apr 6, 2007 Belarus01993-01-14Jan 14, 199301996-07-11Jul 11, 1996Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Belgium01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301997-01-27Jan 27, 1997Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Belize02003-12-01Dec 1, 2003Accession02003-12-31Dec 31, 2003 Benin01993-01-14Jan 14, 199301998-05-14May 14, 1998Ratification01998-06-13Jun 13, 1998 Bhutan01997-04-24Apr 24, 199702005-08-18Aug 18, 2005Ratification02005-09-17Sep 17, 2005 Bolivia01993-01-14Jan 14, 199301998-08-14Aug 14, 1998Ratification01998-09-13Sep 13, 1998 Bosnia and Herzegovina01997-01-16Jan 16, 199701997-02-25Feb 25, 1997Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Botswana01998-08-31Aug 31, 1998Accession01998-09-30Sep 30, 1998 Brazil01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301996-03-13Mar 13, 1996Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Brunei01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301997-07-28Jul 28, 1997Ratification01997-08-27Aug 27, 1997 Bulgaria01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301994-08-10Aug 10, 1994Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Burkina Faso01993-01-14Jan 14, 199301997-07-08Jul 8, 1997Ratification01997-08-07Aug 7, 1997 Burundi01993-01-15Jan 15, 199301998-09-04Sep 4, 1998Ratification01998-10-04Oct 4, 1998 Cambodia01993-01-15Jan 15, 199302005-07-19Jul 19, 2005Ratification02005-08-18Aug 18, 2005 Cameroon01993-01-14Jan 14, 199301996-09-16Sep 16, 1996Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Canada01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301995-09-26Sep 26, 1995Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Cape Verde01993-01-15Jan 15, 199302003-10-10Oct 10, 2003Ratification02003-11-09Nov 9, 2003 Central African Republic01993-01-14Jan 14, 199302006-09-20Sep 20, 2006Ratification02006-10-20Oct 20, 2006 Chad01994-10-11Oct 11, 199402004-02-13Feb 13, 2004Ratification02004-03-14Mar 14, 2004 Chile01993-01-14Jan 14, 199301996-07-12Jul 12, 1996Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 China (only Mainland and Hong Kong)[11]01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301997-04-25Apr 25, 1997Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Colombia01993-01-13Jan 13, 199302000-04-05Apr 5, 2000Ratification02000-05-05May 5, 2000 Comoros01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301993-08-18Aug 18, 1993Ratification02006-09-17Sep 17, 2006 Congo01993-01-15Jan 15, 199302007-12-04Dec 4, 2007Ratification02008-01-03Jan 3, 2008 Cook Islands01993-01-14Jan 14, 199301994-07-15Jul 15, 1994Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Costa Rica01993-01-14Jan 14, 199301996-05-31May 31, 1996Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Ivory Coast01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301995-12-18Dec 18, 1995Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Croatia01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301995-05-23May 23, 1995Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Cuba01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301997-04-29Apr 29, 1997Ratification01997-05-29May 29, 1997 Cyprus01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301998-08-28Aug 28, 1998Ratification01998-09-27Sep 27, 1998 Czech Republic01993-01-14Jan 14, 199301996-03-06Mar 6, 1996Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Democratic Republic of the Congo01993-01-14Jan 14, 199302005-10-12Oct 12, 2005Ratification02005-11-11Nov 11, 2005 Denmark01993-01-14Jan 14, 199301995-07-13Jul 13, 1995Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Djibouti01993-09-28Sep 28, 199302006-01-25Jan 25, 2006Ratification02006-02-24Feb 24, 2006 Dominica01993-08-02Aug 2, 199302001-02-12Feb 12, 2001Ratification02001-03-14Mar 14, 2001 Dominican Republic01993-01-13Jan 13, 199302009-03-27Mar 27, 2009Ratification02009-04-26Apr 26, 2009 Ecuador01993-01-14Jan 14, 199301995-09-06Sep 6, 1995Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 El Salvador01993-01-14Jan 14, 199301995-10-30Oct 30, 1995Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Equatorial Guinea01993-01-14Jan 14, 199301997-04-25Apr 25, 1997Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Eritrea02000-02-14Feb 14, 2000Accession02000-03-15Mar 15, 2000 Estonia01993-01-14Jan 14, 199301999-05-26May 26, 1999Ratification01999-06-25Jun 25, 1999 Ethiopia01993-01-14Jan 14, 199301996-05-13May 13, 1996Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Federated States of Micronesia01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301999-06-21Jun 21, 1999Ratification01999-07-21Jul 21, 1999 Fiji01993-01-14Jan 14, 199301993-01-20Jan 20, 1993Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Finland01993-01-14Jan 14, 199301995-02-07Feb 7, 1995Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 France01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301995-03-02Mar 2, 1995Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Gabon01993-01-13Jan 13, 199302000-09-08Sep 8, 2000Ratification02000-10-08Oct 8, 2000 Gambia01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301998-05-19May 19, 1998Ratification01998-06-18Jun 18, 1998 Georgia01993-01-14Jan 14, 199301995-11-27Nov 27, 1995Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Germany01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301994-08-12Aug 12, 1994Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Ghana01993-01-14Jan 14, 199301997-07-09Jul 9, 1997Ratification01997-08-08Aug 8, 1997 Greece01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301994-12-22Dec 22, 1994Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Grenada01997-04-09Apr 9, 199702005-06-03Jun 3, 2005Ratification02005-07-03Jul 3, 2005 Guatemala01993-01-14Jan 14, 199302003-02-12Feb 12, 2003Ratification02003-03-14Mar 14, 2003 Guinea01993-01-14Jan 14, 199301997-06-09Jun 9, 1997Ratification01997-07-09Jul 9, 1997 Guinea-Bissau01993-01-14Jan 14, 199302008-05-20May 20, 2008Ratification02008-06-19Jun 19, 2008 Guyana01993-10-06Oct 6, 199301997-09-12Sep 12, 1997Ratification01997-10-12Oct 12, 1997 Haiti01993-01-14Jan 14, 199302006-02-22Feb 22, 2006Ratification02006-03-24Mar 24, 2006 Holy See01993-01-14Jan 14, 199301999-05-12May 12, 1999Ratification01999-06-11Jun 11, 1999 Honduras01993-01-13Jan 13, 199302005-08-29Aug 29, 2005Ratification02005-09-28Sep 28, 2005 Hungary01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301996-10-31Oct 31, 1996Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Iceland01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301997-04-28Apr 28, 1997Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 India01993-01-14Jan 14, 199301996-09-03Sep 3, 1996Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Indonesia01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301998-11-12Nov 12, 1998Ratification01998-12-12Dec 12, 1998 Iran01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301997-11-03Nov 3, 1997Ratification01997-12-03Dec 3, 1997 Iraq02009-01-13Jan 13, 2009Accession02009-02-12Feb 12, 2009 Ireland01993-01-14Jan 14, 199301996-06-24Jun 24, 1996Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Italy01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301995-12-08Dec 8, 1995Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Jamaica01997-04-18Apr 18, 199702000-09-08Sep 8, 2000Ratification02000-10-08Oct 8, 2000 Japan01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301995-09-15Sep 15, 1995Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Jordan01997-10-29Oct 29, 1997Accession01997-11-28Nov 28, 1997 Kazakhstan01993-01-14Jan 14, 199302000-03-23Mar 23, 2000Ratification02000-04-22Apr 22, 2000 Kenya01993-01-15Jan 15, 199301997-04-25Apr 25, 1997Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Kiribati02000-09-07Sep 7, 2000Accession02000-10-07Oct 7, 2000 Kuwait01993-01-27Jan 27, 199301997-05-29May 29, 1997Ratification01997-06-28Jun 28, 1997 Kyrgyzstan01993-02-22Feb 22, 199302003-09-29Sep 29, 2003Ratification02003-10-29Oct 29, 2003 Laos01993-05-13May 13, 199301997-02-25Feb 25, 1997Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Latvia01993-05-06May 6, 199301996-07-23Jul 23, 1996Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Lebanon02008-11-20Nov 20, 2008Accession02008-12-20Dec 20, 2008 Lesotho01994-12-07Dec 7, 199401994-12-07Dec 7, 1994Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Liberia01993-01-15Jan 15, 199302006-02-23Feb 23, 2006Ratification02006-03-25Mar 25, 2006 Libya02004-01-06Jan 6, 2004Accession02004-02-05Feb 5, 2004 Liechtenstein01993-07-21Jul 21, 199301999-11-24Nov 24, 1999Ratification01999-12-24Dec 24, 1999 Lithuania01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301998-04-15Apr 15, 1998Ratification01998-05-15May 15, 1998 Luxembourg01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301997-04-15Apr 15, 1997Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Macedonia01997-06-20Jun 20, 1997Accession01997-07-20Jul 20, 1997 Madagascar01993-01-15Jan 15, 199302004-10-20Oct 20, 2004Ratification02004-11-19Nov 19, 2004 Malawi01993-01-14Jan 14, 199301998-06-11Jun 11, 1998Ratification01998-07-11Jul 11, 1998 Malaysia01993-01-13Jan 13, 199302000-04-20Apr 20, 2000Ratification02000-05-20May 20, 2000 Maldives01993-10-01Oct 1, 199301994-05-31May 31, 1994Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Mali01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301997-04-28Apr 28, 1997Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Malta01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301997-04-28Apr 28, 1997Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Marshall Islands01993-01-13Jan 13, 199302004-05-19May 19, 2004Ratification02004-06-18Jun 18, 2004 Mauritania01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301998-02-09Feb 9, 1998Ratification01998-03-11Mar 11, 1998 Mauritius01993-01-14Jan 14, 199301993-02-09Feb 9, 1993Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Mexico01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301994-08-29Aug 29, 1994Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Moldova01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301996-07-08Jul 8, 1996Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Monaco01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301995-06-01Jun 1, 1995Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Mongolia01993-01-14Jan 14, 199301995-01-17Jan 17, 1995Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Montenegro02006-10-23Oct 23, 2006Succession(from Serbia and Montenegro)02006-06-03Jun 3, 2006 Morocco01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301995-12-28Dec 28, 1995Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Mozambique02000-08-15Aug 15, 2000Accession02000-09-14Sep 14, 2000 Namibia01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301995-11-27Nov 27, 1995Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Nauru01993-01-13Jan 13, 199302001-11-12Nov 12, 2001Ratification02001-12-12Dec 12, 2001 Nepal01993-01-19Jan 19, 199301997-11-18Nov 18, 1997Ratification01997-12-18Dec 18, 1997 Netherlands01993-01-14Jan 14, 199301995-06-30Jun 30, 1995Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 New Zealand01993-01-14Jan 14, 199301996-07-15Jul 15, 1996Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Nicaragua01993-03-09Mar 9, 199301999-11-05Nov 5, 1999Ratification01999-12-05Dec 5, 1999 Niger01993-01-14Jan 14, 199301997-04-09Apr 9, 1997Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Nigeria01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301999-05-20May 20, 1999Ratification01999-06-19Jun 19, 1999 Niue02005-04-21Apr 21, 2005Accession02005-05-21May 21, 2005 Norway01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301994-04-07Apr 7, 1994Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Oman01993-02-02Feb 2, 199301995-02-08Feb 8, 1995Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Pakistan01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301997-10-28Oct 28, 1997Ratification01997-11-27Nov 27, 1997 Palau02003-02-03Feb 3, 2003Accession02003-03-05Mar 5, 2003 Panama01993-06-16Jun 16, 199301998-10-07Oct 7, 1998Ratification01998-11-06Nov 6, 1998 Papua New Guinea01993-01-14Jan 14, 199301996-04-17Apr 17, 1996Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Paraguay01993-01-14Jan 14, 199301994-12-01Dec 1, 1994Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Peru01993-01-14Jan 14, 199301995-07-20Jul 20, 1995Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Philippines01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301996-12-11Dec 11, 1996Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Poland01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301995-08-23Aug 23, 1995Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Portugal01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301996-09-10Sep 10, 1996Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Qatar01993-02-01Feb 1, 199301997-09-03Sep 3, 1997Ratification01997-10-03Oct 3, 1997 Romania01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301995-02-15Feb 15, 1995Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Russia01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301997-11-05Nov 5, 1997Ratification01997-12-05Dec 5, 1997 Rwanda01993-05-17May 17, 199302004-03-31Mar 31, 2004Ratification02004-04-30Apr 30, 2004 Saint Kitts and Nevis01994-03-16Mar 16, 199402004-05-21May 21, 2004Ratification02004-06-20Jun 20, 2004 Saint Lucia01993-03-29Mar 29, 199301997-04-09Apr 9, 1997Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines01993-09-20Sep 20, 199302002-09-18Sep 18, 2002Ratification02002-10-18Oct 18, 2002 Samoa01993-01-14Jan 14, 199302002-09-27Sep 27, 2002Ratification02002-10-27Oct 27, 2002 San Marino01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301999-12-10Dec 10, 1999Ratification02000-01-09Jan 9, 2000 S£o Tom(C) and Pr­ncipe02003-09-09Sep 9, 2003Acceptance02003-10-09Oct 9, 2003 Saudi Arabia01993-01-20Jan 20, 199301996-08-09Aug 9, 1996Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Senegal01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301998-07-20Jul 20, 1998Ratification01998-08-19Aug 19, 1998 Serbia02000-04-20Apr 20, 2000Accession02000-05-20May 20, 2000 Seychelles01993-01-15Jan 15, 199301993-04-07Apr 7, 1993Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Sierra Leone01993-01-15Jan 15, 199302004-09-30Sep 30, 2004Ratification02004-10-30Oct 30, 2004 Singapore01993-01-14Jan 14, 199301997-05-21May 21, 1997Ratification01997-06-20Jun 20, 1997 Slovakia01993-01-14Jan 14, 199301995-10-27Oct 27, 1995Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Slovenia01993-01-14Jan 14, 199301997-06-11Jun 11, 1997Ratification01997-07-11Jul 11, 1997 Solomon Islands02004-09-23Sep 23, 2004Accession02004-10-23Oct 23, 2004 Somalia02013-05-29May 29, 2013Accession02013-06-28June 28, 2013 South Africa01993-01-14Jan 14, 199301995-09-13Sep 13, 1995Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 South Korea01993-01-14Jan 14, 199301997-04-28Apr 28, 1997Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Spain01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301994-08-03Aug 3, 1994Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Sri Lanka01993-01-14Jan 14, 199301994-08-19Aug 19, 1994Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Sudan01999-05-24May 24, 1999Accession01999-06-23Jun 23, 1999 Suriname01997-04-28Apr 28, 199701997-04-28Apr 28, 1997Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Swaziland01993-09-23Sep 23, 199301996-11-20Nov 20, 1996Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Sweden01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301993-06-17Jun 17, 1993Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Switzerland01993-01-14Jan 14, 199301995-03-10Mar 10, 1995Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Tajikistan01993-01-14Jan 14, 199301995-01-11Jan 11, 1995Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Tanzania01994-02-25Feb 25, 199401998-06-25Jun 25, 1998Ratification01998-07-25Jul 25, 1998 Thailand01993-01-14Jan 14, 199302002-12-10Dec 10, 2002Ratification02003-01-09Jan 9, 2003 Timor-Leste02003-05-07May 7, 2003Accession02003-06-06Jun 6, 2003 Togo01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301997-04-23Apr 23, 1997Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Tonga02003-05-29May 29, 2003Accession02003-06-28Jun 28, 2003 Trinidad and Tobago01997-06-24Jun 24, 1997Accession01997-07-24Jul 24, 1997 Tunisia01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301997-04-15Apr 15, 1997Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Turkey01993-01-14Jan 14, 199301997-05-12May 12, 1997Ratification01997-06-11Jun 11, 1997 Turkmenistan01993-10-12Oct 12, 199301994-09-29Sep 29, 1994Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Tuvalu02004-01-19Jan 19, 2004Accession02004-02-18Feb 18, 2004 Uganda01993-01-14Jan 14, 199302001-11-30Nov 30, 2001Ratification02001-12-30Dec 30, 2001 Ukraine01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301998-10-16Oct 16, 1998Ratification01998-11-15Nov 15, 1998 United Arab Emirates01993-02-02Feb 2, 199302000-11-28Nov 28, 2000Ratification02000-12-28Dec 28, 2000 United Kingdom01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301996-05-13May 13, 1996Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 United States01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301997-04-25Apr 25, 1997Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Uruguay01993-01-15Jan 15, 199301994-10-06Oct 6, 1994Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Uzbekistan01995-11-24Nov 24, 199501996-07-23Jul 23, 1996Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 Vanuatu02005-09-16Sep 16, 2005Accession02005-10-16Oct 16, 2005 Venezuela01993-01-14Jan 14, 199301997-12-03Dec 3, 1997Ratification01998-01-02Jan 2, 1998 Vietnam01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301998-09-30Sep 30, 1998Ratification01998-10-30Oct 30, 1998 Yemen01993-02-08Feb 8, 199302000-10-02Oct 2, 2000Ratification02000-11-01Nov 1, 2000 Zambia01993-01-13Jan 13, 199302001-02-09Feb 9, 2001Ratification02001-03-11Mar 11, 2001 Zimbabwe01993-01-13Jan 13, 199301997-04-25Apr 25, 1997Ratification01997-04-29Apr 29, 1997 State Parties which are currently member of the Executive Council

States that have signed but not ratified[edit source |edit]

Syria warns against foreign involvement in conflict; Hagel says US prepared for 'all contingencies' | Fox News

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Archived Version

Sun, 25 Aug 2013 14:33

US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has said that President Obama has asked the military to "prepare options for all contingencies" as the crisis in Syria deepens following reports of a chemical weapons attack by that country's government earlier this week.

Speaking in Malaysia Sunday, where he was starting a planned one-week tour of Asia, Hagel said that the administration was still weighing whether or not to use military force against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Among the factors being discussed, Hagel said, were an intelligence assessment of the attack as well as possible international support for a military operation and what he described as legal issues.

"President Obama has asked the Defense Department to prepare options for all contingencies. We have done that and we are prepared to exercise whatever option -- if he decides to employ one of those options,'' Hagel said.

Obama had met earlier Saturday with top national security advisers, but will continue to gather facts before deciding on a course of action, the White House said.

Meanwhile Fox News has confirmed that four U.S. Navy Destroyers are being pre-positioned in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, although no immediate instructions beyond deployment have been issued.

A senior State Department official also told Fox News that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke Saturday with the foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Turkey, as well as the Secretary of the Arab League to discuss the allegation of a chemical weapons attack by the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Kerry also spoke to Syrian foreign minister Walid al-Muallim Thursday to say that the Syrian government should allow an international weapons inspection team to visit the site in the eastern suburbs of Damascus, rather than continue to attack the area, thus blocking access and destroying any potential evidence. Kerry also told Muallim that he had received assurances from the rebel Free Syrian Army that the UN inspectors would receive safe conduct to and from the area.

Syria's government has warned that any U.S.-led military action would be "no picnic," as Syrian Information Minister Omran Zoabi told the country's official news agency, SANA. Zoabi added "U.S. military intervention will create a very serious fallout and a ball of fire that will inflame the Middle East," according to Reuters. Zoabi also told SANA that the Assad government would not allow inspectors to visit the site as it was not on a previously agreed list of sites where allegations of chemical warfare had been made against Assad's troops.

However, Iranian state TV reported Sunday that the Syrian government had told Tehran it would allow inspectors to visit the site of the reported attack. According to Reuters, Iran's Press TV reported that Mohammed Javad Zarif spoke to his Italian counterpart Emma Bonino by phone Saturday and said "We are in close contact with the Syrian government and they have reassured us that they had never used such inhumane weapons and would have the fullest cooperation with the U.N. experts to visit the areas affected."

Also Sunday, the deputy chief of staff of Iran's armed forces appeared to warn the US against taking military action in Syria. Massoud Jazayeri was quoted by the Fars news agency as saying "America knows the limitation of the red line of the Syrian front and any crossing of Syria's red line will have severe consequences for the White House,'' according to Reuters.

Also Sunday, prominent Israeli Cabinet ministers called for a US-led response, though the type of response they sought was not specified. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the alleged chemical attack a "terrible crime," and told his Cabinet Sunday that "this situation cannot continue", according to the Associated Press. Justice Minister Tzipi Livni told Israel Radio that a US response to the alleged poison gas attack would help discourage future chemical weapons use, but also have security implications for Israel.

Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz told Army Radio the attack required a response. He said the chances that Syria would attack Israel as a result of US action were slim but that the army should be prepared for such an eventuality.

The reports of thousands killed or stricken by chemical weapons Wednesday near Damascus are merely the latest allegations about such tactics in the Middle East country's roughly 2-year-long civil war.

The president said last year that the use of chemical weapons by Syrian President Bashar Assad would "cross a red line." But the White House has been reluctant to take direct military actions, instead supplying rebel forces with non-lethal aid, weighing military options and trying to garner innernational support.

In Saturday's meeting, the president and his National Security Council considered eyewitness accounts and medical-records reports but "the U.S. intelligence community continues to gather facts to ascertain what occurred," the White House said.

Obama also discussed the Syria situation Saturday with British Prime Minister David Cameron.

According to the White House, the leaders expressed their "grave concern" about the reported use of chemical weapons and promised to continue to consult closely about "possible responses by the international community."

The White House meeting was attended by at least 15 members of the president's security council including Vice President Joe Biden, Kerry, and Hagel, who participated via video conference from Kuala Lumpur.

Hagel suggested Friday that the Pentagon might move Naval forces closer to Syria in preparation for a possible decision by Obama to order military strikes.

However, a senior U.S. defense officials told the Associated Press that the Navy has already sent a fourth warship armed with ballistic missiles into the eastern Mediterranean Sea, but without immediate orders for any missile launch into Syria.

U.S. Navy ships are capable of a variety of military action, including launching Tomahawk cruise missiles, as they did against Libya in 2011 as part of an international action that led to the overthrow of the Libyan government.

Syrian state media accused rebels of using chemical arms against government troops in clashes Saturday near Damascus, while Doctors Without Borders said it has tallied 355 deaths from the purported chemical weapons attack on Wednesday.

The international aid group said three hospitals it supports in the eastern Damascus region reported receiving roughly 3,600 patients with "neurotoxic symptoms" over less than three hours on Wednesday morning when the attack in the eastern Ghouta area took place. Of those, 355 died.

The state media said Saturday the army offensive in Jobar, near Damascus, had forced the rebels to resort to chemical weapons "as their last card." State TV broadcast images of plastic jugs, gas masks, vials of an unspecified medication, explosives and other items that it said were seized from rebel hideouts. It did not, however, show any video of soldiers reportedly affected by toxic gas in the fighting.

Obama acknowledged in a CNN interview earlier this week that the episode is a "big event of grave concern" that requires American attention. He said any large-scale chemical weapons usage would affect "core national interests" of the United States and its allies. But nothing he said signaled a shift toward U.S. action.

During an interview earlier this week with CNN, the president made no mention of the red line that U.S. intelligence officials say has been breached at least on a small scale several times since.

U.S. confirmation took more than four months after rebels similarly reported chemical attacks in February, though in this instance a U.N. chemical weapons team is already on the ground in Syria. Assad's government, then as now, has denied the claims as baseless.

James Rosen and Jennifer Griffin of Fox News, The Associated Press, and Reuters contributed to this report.

Bugs and Gas from Agent Orange

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Archived Version

Wed, 28 Aug 2013 17:22

Syria:Update. The mainstream media headlines with slight variations predict that an attack against Syrian targets by US missiles could occur as early as Thursday. The UK and France are lobbying hard for action because of the alleged chemical attack.

Special Comment: Numerous pundits and experts have expounded on the need for the US to take action, the consequences of inaction, and the potential for a US attack to generate a regional conventional war. Curiously, they have not mentioned the probability of Iranian-instigated terrorist attacks in the US.

NightWatch has little to add to all that "wisdom," but prefers to comment on matters not covered.

Feedback from one of the finest analysts alive provided a reminder that the "bugs and gas" (biological and chemical warfare) lobby in US intelligence contains fine people who get few opportunities to shine. That's because of the limits of intelligence on bugs and gas. Next to nukes (nuclear weapons) they are the most protected weapons a country, such as Syria and North Korea, has.

As a result, studies of national capabilities and stock piles of bugs and gas are notoriously suspect, but err on the side of caution because a little goes a long way. As a result, the record of predictive accuracy tends to be poor. That record includes the inaccurate judgments about various weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in 2003.

The detection of actual use of bugs and gas agents and of the specific agents used, as during the last year of the Iran-Iraq War, is even harder. It always requires reliable and competently educated and specially trained investigators on the ground at the site. Actual use cannot be inferred from radio intercepts or any other indirect or remotely collected information source.

A second observation derives from the Russian use of a chemical agent in 2002 when Chechen terrorists held more than 700 Russian hostages in a Moscow theater. The Russians used a crowd suppression agent that killed 116 people, but enabled 650 to be rescued. The agent is not banned by the Geneva convention on chemical warfare.

If the Syrians used such an agent, which can be delivered by mortars and artillery as well as aircraft, there would be no international legal justification for attacking Syria based on the Geneva convention. It would not have been violated. The possibility that a non-banned substance was used makes it all the more urgent that competent investigators inspect the sites to identify the agent as well as the culprit.

A third observation is that the use of lethal gas is notoriously and inherently dangerous, often depending on the weather and the delivery system. It can blow back, in some instances, for miles. That is why military forces do not use it.

A fourth observation from Feedback from chemical warfare experts is that lethal gas kills effectively. There are no large numbers of people left alive but suffering. Victims die by the thousands. Survivors are few, if any. That is the lesson of Iraq's use of such weapons at Hallabjah against the Kurds and later against the Iranians. Casualty reports from Syria are precisely opposite of the lethality pattern in a chemical weapon attack.

A fifth observation is that US media have given Syrian forces more than enough warning to enable them to protect themselves and their weapons. Leaks about US attack plans represent either monumental incompetence in operational security or a deliberate effort to tip off the Syrians for arcane political purposes.

In either event, the leaks ensure that Syrian military forces will suffer no significant damage from a US attack. An attack under these conditions must be considered entertainment for the benefit of the international press instead of a serious military operation.

As for Syrian defense capabilities, Syria has a respectable integrated air defense system, but the Israelis have defeated it thrice in the past year. It poses no serious impediment to a missile or air attack except to the unwary or unlucky.

Syria has supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles that have a range of 300 nm. Syria will use them if it can acquire the US destroyers off its coast.

As for the value of limited punitive strikes, Syria already has shown that it can withstand limited, genuinely surgical, punitive attacks by the Israeli air force. The Israelis have attacked three times in the past 18 months and the Syrians have not retaliated. Apparently that is because the Israeli attacks have had no demonstrable impact on Hizballah's operations or Syria's prosecution of the fight against the opposition.

Syria is in an existential battle. Surgical, pin prick NATO attacks are trivial compared to the prospect of Syrian forces destroying the rebel concentrations east of Damascus. This means Syria might not retaliate for a US attack, but just continue to prosecute the fight. Iran and Lebanese Hizballah are the more dangerous sources of retaliation.

As for ripple effects, Iran is so heavily invested in the survival of the government in Syria that US and NATO planners must plan for retaliatory attacks in Western Europe, in the US, in the Persian Gulf states and everywhere the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force has a presence. Iran's responses will depend on the damage inflicted on Syria.

Concerning leading from behind, American audiences apparently are not aware that in Libya and in Mali, Western European air forces were unable to sustain combat flight and logistics operations without comprehensive US support, from intelligence to mission planning to all types of resupply. Some US military personnel are resentful because they received so little recognition for so much effort to compensate for European NATO lack of capabilities.

The notion of leading from behind is a political and media myth. NATO is incapable of sustaining any but the most elementary level of air combat for a minimal amount of time without comprehensive US support. That means the feel-good notion of a coalition of the willing is actually a cover term for US military operations with minimal NATO help for window dressing. This is not a criticism, it is a fact of European economics.

A second observation derives from the Russian use of a chemical agent in 2002 when Chechen terrorists held more than 700 Russian hostages in a Moscow theater. The Russians used a crowd suppression agent that killed 116 people, but enabled 650 to be rescued. The agent is not banned by the Geneva convention on chemical warfare.

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Was Cyprus Planned for Staging Ships etc? UK gathers warplanes, military hardware in Cyprus base near Syria '' report '-- RT News

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Archived Version

Wed, 28 Aug 2013 17:04

Published time: August 27, 2013 00:27Edited time: August 28, 2013 11:41C-130 Hercules cargo plane (Reuters / Tech. Sgt. Brian E.)

''Warplanes and military transporters'' have reportedly been moved to Britain's Akrotiri airbase in Cyprus in the latest sign of the allied forces' preparations for a military strike on Syria amid bellicose rhetoric against the Syrian government.

Two commercial pilots who regularly fly from Larnaca, Cyprus, claim to have spotted C-130 transport planes from their own aircraft and small formations of possibly European fighter jets from their radar screens, according to the Guardian.

Akrotiri airbase is less than 100 miles from Syria, making it a likely hub for a bombing campaign. Residents near the airfield confirmed to the Guardian that ''activity there has been much higher than normal over the past 48 hours.''

The upsurge in flight activity has been denied by a spokesman for Britain's airbases in Cyprus, Reuters reported, also citing Cyprus's Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides as saying that he doubted the airbases would be used if Western powers did take action against Syria.

''I have the impression that the British bases won't play any primary role... because they are not needed, but we will have to see," Kasoulides told Cypriot state radio.

Downing Street says armed forces are drawing up contingency plans for military action in Syria, Reuters reported.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron on Tuesday recalled members of parliament from their summer break for an urgent discussion. The session is due to be held on Thursday to vote on a possible military response to the alleged chemical attack in Syria.

The Prime Minister said no decision has yet been taken on possible responses to the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria. Cameron has also called for ''specific'' military action against Syria, saying the UK is not considering getting involved in a Middle East war.

Meanwhile, top military officials from ten Western and Middle Eastern nations '' led by US Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey and his Jordanian counterpart '' met in Amman, Jordan, to discuss potential military action in Syria. This follows reports that Dempsey presented potential military options to the White House over the weekend.

On Friday, Reuters revealed the US Navy was expanding its Mediterranean presence with a fourth ship capable launching long-range, subsonic cruise missiles to reach land targets in Syria.

British military assets already near Syria include four warships, the Navy's flagship HMS Bulwark, a helicopter carrier and two frigates near Albania. Meanwhile France '' another key player in the possible conflict '' has its jet fighters stationed in the United Arab Emirates if needed.

On Tuesday French President Francoise Hollande vowed to increase military support to the Syrian opposition. He said France is ''ready to punish'' those behind the ''chemical massacre'' in Syria, adding that his government believes Damascus carried out the attack.

The Obama administration has little doubt the regime of Assad deployed chemical weapons on the outskirts of Damascus last week, killing hundreds, US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday.

Reports from Syria of chemical warfare ''should shock the conscience of the world,'' Kerry said, adding that the indiscriminate slaughter of women and children carried out by the Assad regime constitutes a ''moral obscenity.''

President Barack Obama has yet to make a determination about how the US will respond, Kerry said, but a decision would be forthcoming.

US officials told the Washington Post late Monday such an attack would likely be limited to no more than a couple of days. According to the sources, determining when the attack would take place depends on an intelligence report on Syria's culpability for the chemical attack, consultation with allies and the US Congress and a determination that an attack by US and its allies follows international law.

''While investigators are gathering additional information on the ground, our understanding of what has already happened in Syria is grounded in facts, informed by conscious and guided by common sense,'' Sec. Kerry said. ''The reported number of victims, the reported symptoms of those who were killed or injured, the first-hand accounts from the humanitarian organizations on the ground . . . these all strongly indicate that everything these images are already screaming at us are real: that chemical weapons were used in Syria.''

While top US officials hint at some unequivocal evidence implicating the Syrian government in the chemical attack, anonymous sources told NBC News late Monday the US is planning to release evidence as soon as Tuesday ''to prepare the public for a possible military response.''

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday during a phone call with British Prime Minister David Cameron that there is no evidence such an attack had occurred. ''President Putin said that they did not have evidence of whether a chemical weapons attack had taken place or who was responsible,'' a British government spokesperson said after the meeting.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov confirmed during an emergency press conference in Moscow that the US, Britain and other countries have assembled a ''powerful force'' and are ''readying their ships and planes'' for a possible invasion in Syria.

''Official Washington, London and Paris say they have incontrovertible evidence that the Syrian government is behind the chemical attack in Damascus, but they have not yet presented this evidence,'' Lavrov said, expressing particular outrage with the newly introduced possibility of NATO staging a strike on Syria without a United Nations mandate.

UN investigators were in the Damascus area Monday, taking samples from the site of Wednesday's alleged chemical attack in an eastern suburb. The UN team was quickly forced to return to the government checkpoint to replace their car, which ''was deliberately shot at multiple times by unidentified snipers in the buffer zone area," a spokesman for the UN secretary-general, Martin Nesirky, said.

The United Nations assured that it was still possible for the team of experts to gather necessary evidence despite the time elapsed since the alleged attack. Ban Ki-moon added that the UN will ''register a strong complaint'' to both the Syrian government and opposition forces as a result of the attack in an effort to stem future aggression against investigation teams.

Back in Washington, White House press Secretary Jay Carney weighed in with a statement of his own Monday, saying use of chemical weapons on a widespread scale outside of Damascus on August 21 was "undeniable."

''As Ban Ki-moon said last week, the UN investigation will not determine who used these chemical weapons, only whether such weapons were used '' a judgment that is already clear to the world," Carney said, adding that it is ''profoundly in the interest of the United States and the international community that that violation of an international norm be responded to.''

Further, neither Sec. Kerry nor Carney stated what countries agree or disagree with the American narrative of Assad's alleged chemical attack. Carney did say the president is seeking guidance from members of the US Congress on using force against Syria.

Pursuant to the War Powers Resolution, passed in the US in 1973, use of military force is limited to instances when a formal declaration of war has been declared, specific statutory authorization is granted or during a national emergency. Without immediate congressional approval, the President can commit troops without a declaration of war. In that case, the President must submit a report to Congress on the details of that action. Then after the 60-day period, Congress must approve further action, though the War Powers Resolution has been violated by US presidents in the past. The White House posited in 2011 that US military action without congressional approval in Libya did not violate the War Powers Resolution based on US forces' supposed limited role in the NATO-led campaign.

While western forces appear ready for possible military action against Syria, Obama said in an interview Friday the United States should be wary of ''being drawn into very expensive, difficult, costly interventions that actually breed more resentment in the region.''

Obama went on to express reservations for becoming involved in the 30-month Syrian conflict due to a lack of international consensus.

"If the US goes in and attacks another country without a UN mandate and without clear evidence that can be presented, then there are questions in terms of whether international law supports it, [and] do we have the coalition to make it work?'' said Obama.

US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel confirmed late last week that US military forces are preparing for the possibility that President Obama would order a strike.

"The Defense Department has a responsibility to provide the president with options for contingencies, and that requires positioning our forces, positioning our assets, to be able to carry out different options '-- whatever options the president might choose," Hagel said Friday, adding a decision must be made quickly given ''there may be another (chemical) attack.''

Britain sends six Typhoon fighter-bombers to Cyprus

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Source: DEBKAFile

Thu, 29 Aug 2013 11:39

Britain sends six Typhoon fighter-bombers to CyprusDEBKAfileAugust 29, 2013, 2:10 PM (GMT+02:00)

The Royal Air Force has posted six Typhoon fighter-bombers at the Akrotiri airbase in Cyprus to defend British sovereignty at its facilities, but not to take part in a military operation against Syria. DEBKAfile: The UK appears concerned about a potential Syrian raid on its bases in reprisal for an American attack.

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Twitter, NYTimes and Huff Po Whois and DNS records altered, Syrian Electronic Army takes responsibility - The Next Web

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Wed, 28 Aug 2013 00:39

At approximately 3pm PST, the Syrian Electronic Army seemingly hacked into Twitter, Huffington Post and NY Times' registry accounts altering contact details, and more significantly, DNS records. Modifying DNS records of a domain will allow SEA to redirect visitors to any site of their choosing.

First reported by Matthew Keys, this is the latest of many attacks by the pro-Syrian government computer hackers who align themselves with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

The flurry of DNS hacks began when the group initially posted a tweet with a screenshot of the whois records for Twitter.com and a link for others to verify its authenticity:

The SEA followed up with a screenshot of a list of Twitter accounts the group presumably had access to:

Contact details for the Twitter.com domain were changed, but it's reasonable to assume that if the SEA had the ability to change contact information, they may very well have had the ability to change DNS records and point the Twitter.com domain elsewhere, redirecting visitors and users.

The SEA also altered the DNS records for twimg.com which Twitter uses for virtually all CSS, JS, images, cookies and more. This means for many users, Twitter.com wouldn't load correctly and avatars were unavailable across many Twitter clients.

For the NY Times, the situation was (and remains) equally serious with subdomains being created and even reports of the homepage being redirected. The NY Times has since issued a statement claiming the issues were related to an attack on the company's domain name registrar Melbourne IT.

''The New York Times Web site was unavailable to readers on Tuesday afternoon following an attack on the company's domain name registrar, Melbourne IT. The attack also required employees of The Times to stop sending out sensitive e-mails.''

HuffingtonPost UK also had its DNS records altered but as 4pm PST both HuffingtonPost UK's whois and DNS records as well as those of Twitter's appears to have been corrected. Twimg and NY Times' still include records pointing to the SEA.

Twitter has issued a statement on the matter, only addressing the twimg.com downtime.

''At 20:49 UTC, our DNS provider experienced an issue in which it appears DNS records for various organizations were modified, including one of Twitter's domains used for image serving, twimg.com. Viewing of images and photos was sporadically impacted. By 22:29 UTC, the original domain record for twimg.com was restored. No Twitter user information was affected by this incident.''

If you've not heard of the Syrian Electronics Army, then you might find it interesting to know that this is the group that is responsible for cyber attacks against the BBC, the Associated Press, the Guardian, and, obviously, Twitter. It says that its aim is to go after those that oppose Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, although in some attacks, the motives are questionable. The Verge recently analyzed the group and says that the SEA frequently departs from its original message and shifts towards a more comedic front, akin to something you might see from Lulzsec.

In its report, The Verge quoted Eva Galperin, global public policy analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

While it may seem a little bit like they're doing it for the lulz because it is kind of random, it is ideologically motivated in the sense that these are all supporters of the Assad regime. And they're looking to get a message out about what they feel is bias in the media against Assad.

Why exactly did the SEA attack Twitter, the New York Times, and the Huffington Post via MelbourneIT? It's not entirely sure, but one could speculate that it's because of what some may believe to be an impending strike by the United States against Syria. The proposed missile strike is said to last for three days and is in response to Syria's supposed use of chemical weapons on its civilians.

See related:

Domain registrar Melbourne IT at center of SEA meddling with New York Times, TwitterThe New York Times website is offline for some due to alleged 'external attack'

Photo credit: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

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NATO Secretary General Statement on North Atlantic Council Meeting on Syria

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Source: DVIDS Unit RSS Feed: Natochannel

Wed, 28 Aug 2013 22:33

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The North Atlantic Council has just discussed the situation in Syria and in particular the horrific use of chemical weapons around Damascus on 21 August. We condemn in the strongest possible terms these outrageous attacks, which caused major loss of life. NATO Allies expressed their full support to the ongoing UN investigation. They deplored that the Syrian regime failed to provide immediate and secure access for the United Nations inspectors to the sites of the attacks. The Syrian regime maintains custody of stockpiles of chemical weapons. Information available from a wide variety of sources points to the Syrian regime as responsible for the use of chemical weapons in these attacks. This is a clear breach of long-standing international norms and practice. Any use of such weapons is unacceptable and cannot go unanswered. Those responsible must be held accountable. We consider the use of chemical weapons as a threat to international peace and security. We will continue to consult and keep the situation in Syria under close review, and NATO continues to assist Turkey and protect the Alliance's south-eastern border.

XTerms of ServiceOn the DVIDS social media sites, we strive to provide a variety of news related to all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces with the assistance of military public affairs produced content.While this is an open forum, it's also a family friendly one, so please keep any comments clean. In addition to keeping it family friendly, we ask that you follow our posting guidelines here. Posts will be removed if they violate the guidelines listed below.

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Kosovo Force - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Wed, 28 Aug 2013 22:30

The Kosovo Force (KFOR) is a NATO-led international peacekeeping force which was responsible for establishing a secure environment in Kosovo[a].[1]

KFOR entered Kosovo on 12 June 1999 under a United Nations mandate, two days after the adoption of UN Security CouncilResolution 1244. At the time of UN Security Council Resolution 1244, Kosovo was facing a grave humanitarian crisis, with military forces from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) and the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in daily engagement. Ethnic tensions were at their highest and the death toll had reached a historic high. Nearly one million people had fled Kosovo as refugees.[2]

KFOR has gradually transferred responsibilities to Kosovo police and other local authorities.[3] As of November 30, 2012, KFOR consists of 5,565 troops.[4]

NATO's initial mandate was:[5]

to deter renewed hostility and threats against Kosovo by Yugoslav and Serb forces;to establish and maintain a secure environment in Kosovo, including public safety and civil order;to demilitarise the Kosovo Liberation Army;to support the international humanitarian effort;to coordinate with and support the international civil presence.Today, KFOR focuses on building a secure environment in which all citizens, irrespective of their ethnic origins, can live in peace and, with international aid, democracy and civil society are gradually gaining strength. KFOR tasks have included:

assistance with the return or relocation of displaced persons and refugees;reconstruction and demining;medical assistance;security and public order;security of ethnic minorities;protection of patrimonial sites;border security;interdiction of cross-border weapons smuggling;implementation of a Kosovo-wide weapons, ammunition and explosives amnesty programme;weapons destruction;support for the establishment of civilian institutions, law and order, the judicial and penal system, the electoral process and other aspects of the political, economic and social life of the province.The Contact Group countries have said publicly that KFOR will remain in Kosovo to provide the security necessary to support the provisions of a final settlement of Kosovo's status.[6]

KFOR contingents were originally grouped into 4 regionally based multinational brigades. The brigades were responsible for a specific area of operations, but under a single chain of command under the authority of Commander KFOR. In August 2005, the North Atlantic Council decided to restructure KFOR, replacing the four existing multinational brigades with five task forces, to allow for greater flexibility with, for instance, the removal of restrictions on the cross-boundary movement of units based in different sectors of Kosovo.[6] Then in February 2010, the Multinational Task Forces became Multinational Battle Groups and in March 2011, KFOR was restructured again, into just two multinational battlegroups; one based at Camp Bondsteel, and one based at Peć.[7]

At its height, KFOR troops numbered 50,000 and came from 39 different NATO and non-NATO nations. The official KFOR website indicated that in 2008 a total 14,000 soldiers from 34 countries were participating in KFOR.[8]

The following is a list of the total number of troops which have participated in the KFOR mission. Much of the force has been scaled down since 2008, and so current numbers are reflected here as well:[4]

Contributing NATO countries[edit source |edit]Contributing non-NATO countries[edit source |edit]Withdrawn countries[edit source |edit]Mike Jackson (United Kingdom, 12 June 1999 - 8 October 1999),Klaus Reinhardt (Germany, 9 October 1999 - 18 April 2000),Juan Ortu±o Such (Spain, 19 April 2000 - 16 October 2000),Carlo Cabigiosu (Italy, 17 October 2000 - 6 April 2001),Thorstein Skiaker (Norway, 7 April 2001 - 3 October 2001),Marcel Valentin (France, 4 October 2001 - 4 October 2002),Fabio Mini (Italy, 5 October 2002 - 3 October 2003),Holger Kammerhoff (Germany, 4 October 2003 - 31 August 2004),Yves de Kermabon (France, 1 September 2004 - 31 August 2005),Giuseppe Valotto (Italy, 1 September 2005 - 31 August 2006),Roland Kather (Germany, 1 September 2006 - 31 August 2007),Xavier de Marnhac (France, 1 September 2007 - 31 August 2008),Giuseppe Emilio Gay (Italy, 1 September 2008 - 7 September 2009),Markus J. Bentler (Germany, 8 September 2009 - 31 August 2010),Erhard B¼hler (Germany, 1 September 2010 - 8 September 2011),Erhard Drews (Germany, 9 September 2011 - 7 September 2012),Volker Halbauer (Germany, 8 September 2012 '' Present).Since the establishment of the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) in 1999, according to some international organizations Kosovo became a major destination country for women and young girls trafficked into forced prostitution, in part as a result of the presence of peacekeeping forces. According to Amnesty International, most women trafficked into Kosovo from abroad are from Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria and Ukraine.[13][14][15]

Since the KFOR entered Kosovo in June 1999, 168 NATO soldiers have been killed, mostly in accidents.

On October 19, 2004, it was confirmed that 115 NATO soldiers had been killed during the operation.[16] After that 50 more NATO soldiers were confirmed to have died, including 42 Slovak soldiers in a military plane crash in Hungary.

The fatalities by country are: 42 Slovak, 26 German,[17] 34 Unidentified, 18 American, 12 Russian, 8 British, 7 Swedish, 6 Italian, 5 French, 5 Polish, 4 Spanish, 3 Ukrainian, 2 Turkish, 1 Austrian, 1 Danish, 1 Dutch, 1 Greek, 1 Hungarian,[18] 1 Norwegian, 1 Romanian, 1 Slovenian, 1 Swiss, 1 United Arab Emirates and 1 Portuguese.[original research?]

Eight UNMIK police officers have been killed in Kosovo since 1999, in addition to the KFOR fatalities.[19] The fatalities by country are: 3 American, 1 Indian, 1 Jordanian, 1 Nigerian, 1 Ghanaian and 1 Ukrainian police officer.[original research?]

After the 2008 Kosovo declaration of independence the commander of NATO forces in Kosovo said on 20 February 2008 that he did not plan to step up security in the tense north despite Kosovo Serbs forcing the temporary closure of two boundary crossings between Kosovo and uncontested Serbia.[20]

In July 2011, following the Kosovo Police's attempts to seize two border outposts and consequent clashes that followed, KFOR troops intervened.[21]

In 2013, KFOR was involved in a rescue operation of the last restaurant bears in Kosovo. The bears are now kept at the Bear Sanctuary Prishtina.[22]

Notes[edit source |edit]References[edit source |edit]^"NATO's role in Kosovo". Nato.int. 10 June 2010. Archived from the original on 2010-06-11. Retrieved 13 June 2010. "Today, just under 10,000 troops from the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR), provided by 31 countries (24 NATO and 7 non-NATO), are still deployed in Kosovo to help maintain a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement for all citizens, irrespective of their ethnic origin." ^"NATO Topics: NATO in Kosovo". Nato.int. Archived from the original on 2011-06-05. Retrieved 2010-04-28. ^Linda Karadaku (08/12/2010). "KFOR commander Buhler vows to protect "global treasures"". setimes.com (Southeast European Times). Retrieved 9 October 2012. ^ ab"Kosovo Force (KFOR)". NATO. Archived from the original on 2013-05-17. Retrieved Mar 22, 2013. ^"NATO Topics: Kosovo Force (KFOR)". Nato.int. Retrieved 2010-04-28. ^ ab"NATO Topics: Kosovo Force (KFOR) - How did it evolve?". Nato.int. 20-Feb-2008. Archived from the original on 2011-06-05. Retrieved 2010-04-28. ^Muhamet Brajshori (29/12/2010). "US troops to guard Kosovo's border". setimes.com (Southeast European Times). Archived from the original on 2012-11-03. Retrieved 2011-01-02. ^"KFOR Press Release". Nato.int. Retrieved 2010-04-28. ^"Kosovo International Force Protection (KFOR)". fuerzaaerea.mil.ar. Archived from the original on 2012-04-19. Retrieved 2010-04-28. ^"GALERAS DE FOTOS DE KFOR". www.jef3op.ejercito.mil.ar. Archived from pictorial the original on 2009-03-10. ^"RIA Novosti - World - Georgia announces withdrawal of peacekeepers from Kosovo". en.rian.ru. 2008-04-14. Archived from the original on 2012-10-08. Retrieved 2010-04-28. ^Mu Xuequan, ed. (2008-03-05). "Azerbaijan to withdraw peacekeepers from Kosovo". News.xinhuanet.com. Archived from the original on 2012-10-15. Retrieved 2010-04-28. ^"Kosovo UN troops 'fuel sex trade'". BBC News. May 6, 2004. Retrieved 2008-02-23. ^"Amnesty International". 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-23. ^Traynor, Ian (7 May 2004). "Nato force 'feeds Kosovo sex trade'". The Guardian (London). Archived from the original on 2013-03-10. Retrieved 23 February 2008. ^"British soldier killed in a car accident in Kosovo". Spacewar.com. Archived from the original on 2004-12-24. Retrieved 2010-04-28. ^Todesf¤lle im Auslandseinsatz. Stand: Mai 2013 (Berlin, 06.06.2013.) www.bundeswehr.de^http://index.hu/kulfold/2013/05/22/meghalt_egy_magyar_katona_koszovoban/^"UN officer dies after Kosovo riot". BBC News. 18 March 2008. Archived from the original on 2013-06-10. ^"No added NATO security in Kosovo". cnn.com (CNN). Archived from the original on 2012-10-08. ^b92 "KFOR blocks Kosovo police unit in tense neighborhood". NOVEMBER 22, 2012. ^"Restaurant bears in Kosovo rescued". openPR (in German). Retrieved 2013-08-21.

North Atlantic Council - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Wed, 28 Aug 2013 22:31

North Atlantic Council is the most senior political governing body of NATO established by Article 9 of the North Atlantic Treaty. The NAC can be held at the Permanent Representative Level (PermReps), or can be composed of member states' Ministers of State, Defense, or Heads of Government. The NAC has the same powers regardless of the formation it meets under. The NAC meets twice a week, every Tuesday for an informal lunch discussion, and every Wednesday for a decision-taking session.

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Arab newspapers reporting Assad's plane flew to Teheran

LNG

BBC News - 'Worrying' decline in oil and gas production

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Tue, 27 Aug 2013 20:46

21 August 2013Last updated at06:14 ETThe sharp decline in production of oil and gas from under British waters is "worrying" industry leaders.

Trade body Oil and Gas UK says there is record investment this year of £13.5bn.

But its annual report on the industry's economic impact highlights the sharp fall in output of 19% during 2011 and 14% in 2012.

It says the industry's latest estimates of the continuing decline suggest a further fall of at least 8.5% during this year, with no recovery next year.

Only from 2015 should the current high level of investment begin to have an impact on raising output.

However, the level of investment will fall from £13.5bn this year to between £8bn and £10bn from 2015.

'Premature decommissioning'Continue reading the main storyIf the full potential for extraction is to be reached, then the fields become more expensive to develop and run.

Oil and Gas UK thinks total expenditure could be between £600bn and £1,000bn, in 2012 money.

That's right: a trillion pounds.

The annual report also raises concerns the cost of extracting the average barrel of oil is rising rapidly.

The proportion extracted of each potential barrel of oil or its gas equivalent (boe) fell to 60% last year. Only seven years ago, the production efficiency rate was above 80%.

Because of challenging geology and unplanned shutdowns on offshore platforms, the unit cost per barrel for extracting oil from British waters, known as the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS), has gone up four-fold over the past decade.

This is described by UK Oil and Gas as "a worrying trend that could have a major influence on the longevity of the UK Continental Shelf".

The cost differs across oil and gas fields. It can cost as little as £5 per boe, with an average cost rising to £13.50, but it can rise, in one case, to £70 per barrel, which is roughly what the barrel is worth on the market.

Several fields now cost more than £40 per barrel to operate.

Continue reading the main story''Start QuoteThe general trend for unit operating costs is rising markedly and this will not change unless the decline in production is reversed''

End QuoteOil and Gas UK report"Oil and Gas UK has found that much of the cost escalation is concentrated in a small number of fields, but the general trend for unit operating costs is rising markedly and this will not change unless the decline in production is reversed," says the report.

"If there were to be a fall in commodity prices, the more expensive assets would have to be shut down and could face premature decommissioning".

'Worrying decline'Malcolm Webb, chief executive of Oil and Gas UK, said: "There is much more that needs to be done. Despite impressive investment in new developments, the production efficiency of existing assets has been in worrying decline, with a number of fields failing to produce as expected.

"The Department of Energy and Climate Change (in Whitehall) and the industry are working to tackle this serious concern through a joint task group."

Another group has been set up, led by industry veteran Sir Ian Wood, to take an independent look at the recovery of the UK's offshore oil and gas.

In other data in this year's economic impact report, the industry body says it is supporting about 450,000 jobs.

The report says the offshore sector generates almost £40bn a year, including £7bn in export earnings.

Investment last year rose to £11.4bn, and during 2011 and 2012, the DECC gave approval for projects that will require £22bn of capital expenditure, yielding two billion barrels of production over time.

Mr Webb said: "The recent sharpening of focus within government and industry has given investors confidence."

Continue reading the main story''Start QuoteIn time, the record levels of investment that we are currently seeing will raise production, which will see the sector continue to make a significant contribution to the public finances''

End QuoteJohn SwinneyFinance Secretary"With 15 to 24 billion barrels of oil or the gas equivalent still remaining to be developed, the UKCS possesses great potential for contributing to economic growth for decades to come".

'Volatile commodity'Political reaction to the latest figures focused on the level of investment and the implications for next year's independence referendum.

Finance Secretary John Swinney said: "In time, the record levels of investment that we are currently seeing will raise production, which will see the sector continue to make a significant contribution to the public finances.

"With up to 24 billion recoverable barrels with a potential wholesale value of £1.5 trillion, more than half of the resources in the North Sea, by value, still to be extracted, it is clear that the industry will make an important contribution to the Scottish economy for decades to come.

"This latest report suggests that the industry will be active beyond 2050".

The UK government's Energy and Climate Change Minister, Greg Barker, welcomed the report which he believed showed the industry in "excellent health".

He added: "The report shows the positive impact the government's fiscal policy has had on the UK Continental Shelf.

"Field allowances and providing certainty over decommissioning relief will unlock billions of pounds of investment that would otherwise not have taken place.

"The report makes it clear that the UK's targeted tax regime will help ensure that we maximise the economic production of the country's oil and gas reserves.

"The UK government can afford to provide this support, even at the expense of short-term revenues, because of the size and diversity of the UK economy."

Fake-a-shima

Fukushima Commentary | Fukushima Accident | Fukushima Disaster

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Mon, 26 Aug 2013 00:13

Fukushima Commentary

These postings generally address four questions. What Japanese decisions border on the irrational? Is the Fukushima accident ongoing? Does Fukushima have the potential for world-wide apocalyptic disaster? Are the Fukushima radiation levels health-threatening? To find the possible answers, one can begin by reading these posts.

"Fukushima : The First Five Days"...is a book taken from the records kept by the operating staff at Fukushima Daiichi during the first crucial days of the crisis. It is now available at most E-book outlets, including Amazon, Barnes&Noble and Koble. For the PDF and bundle, click here... http://www.hiroshimasyndrome.com/fukushima-the-first-five-days.html

August 24, 2013

Japan's Disastrous Flirtation with Worst-Case Scenarios

On July 26, Tepco's president Naomi Hirose vowed to improve Tepco's public disclosure policy, saying ''even if the evaluations do not show enough evidence, we will swiftly and honestly mention risks and worst-case scenarios without fearing the impact.'' Following Tepco's admission that there was contamination found in a groundwater observation well at Fukushima Daiichi, the company was immediately hit with a barrage of ''non-transparency'' criticisms in the Press, by the Tokyo government's watchdog (NRA) and even their own in-house PR consultants from abroad, Dale Klein and Lady Barbara Judge. In effect, Hirose was saying that if everyone wants worst-case scenarios, that's what they will get. It seems the NRA has decided to join Tepco in bringing worst-case speculations to the Press as well, spawning shocking news articles world-wide.

Although extreme Tepco and NRA speculations have been tempered with terms like ''might'', ''may'' and/or ''possibly'', the Japanese Press reported them as statements of certainty. In turn, the historically-nuclear-adverse Press outlets outside Japan have taken these news reports, added a few scary ''spins'' of their own, and have created an international nuclear brou-ha-ha. Both inside and outside Japan, most of the news-hungry public has no idea of the realities involved. In many ways, it's as bad as the first week's Press concerning the Fukushima accident. Speculations wrapped in embellishment abound, and it can be traced back to Hirose's worst-case scenario promise.

Let's look at the record since July 26. We begin with August 7th when the NRA estimated that as much as 300 tons per day of radioactive contamination may be flowing into the Pacific Ocean due to groundwater flow. Subsequently, the Press reported that 300 tons of toxic, highly-contaminated groundwater is pouring into the ocean daily. However, there was and still is no evidence of the Pacific actually being polluted. If contamination were coming out with the groundwater, the only place it could be happening is inside the station's quay (F. Daiichi's inner port). The radioactive isotopic concentrations in the quay's salt water have remained essentially constant for a year-and-one-half. One of the many sampling points in the quay'...just one'...showed an increase of one isotope (Tritium) three weeks ago. It has since dissipated. In hindsight, it was probably a singular event. Regardless, this statistical outlier has been used as proof that the Pacific-itself is being polluted. The exception should never be taken as a rule. In this case it is especially true.

Here's why.

The quay is completely barricaded from the station's outer harbor area. Although often called ''makeshift'' by the Japanese Press, the barricading has worked extremely well. The water-proofing of the quay's stone break-walls was completed and the quay's access-opening was closed by a silt dam in January, 2012. The silt dam was briefly opened a few times through the early spring of 2012 to allow equipment barges to be brought in, but has remained shut since. The quay has been isolated from the open sea by these barricades for about a year and a half. Thus, it is likely that any Cesium or Strontium that may have leaked into the quay since the spring of 2012 has remained in there and naturally precipitated onto the mud bottom. Beyond the quay, samples have been routinely taken within the outer port's break-wall, at 5 kilometers distance, and as far away as 15 kilometers. Tepco records of sea-sampling at all these locations date back to mid-December, 2011. There has been no detectible contamination at any of these sampling points over the 20 month period.

In other words, there is no evidence supporting the headlines purporting that the Pacific Ocean is being polluted with huge amounts of toxic, highly radioactive contamination. On August 11, Japan's Industry Ministry (home-base of the NRA, for all administrative intents and purposes) admitted the statement of highly-contaminated groundwater flowing into the sea was an assumption. The Ministry official who made the announcement further qualified the Ministry's position when he said, ''But, we're not certain if the water is highly contaminated.'' In addition, yesterday the NRA said the contamination might be moving toward the shoreline at a rate of four meters per month and it may reach the sea the next month'...but it hasn't reached there yet. Both statements show the government watchdog knows that, up to this point, the Pacific has not been ''tainted'' with groundwater contamination. The only Japanese Press outlets to point this out have been NHK World and The Japan News (nee Yomiuri Shimbun).

Next, on August 6th, the head of the NRA's Fukushima Task Force, Shinji Kinjo, said that in his estimation the F. Daiichi station was in a ''state of emergency''. He based this on the ''rather high possibility'' that contaminated groundwater was entering the station's quay. Kinjo's personal speculation was spun by the Japanese Press into a firm conclusion issued by the NRA-itself. But, it wasn't. Back in Tokyo the NRA's response was'...nothing! I was stunned. How could such a sensational, headline-spawning statement made by anyone other than an NRA commissioner result in no comment by the home office?

I remained incredulous until a few days ago. On August 21, the NRA said they might declare a level-3 state of emergency (on the INES scale) at Fukushima Daiichi because of the recent discovery of a tank leak, plus the possibility that some of the other several hundred similar water-laden tanks might also be leaking. Regardless, the Japanese Press took the NRA's statement to mean that they have actually done it. It has subsequently been reported as a ''fact'' in many international news reports. As of this posting, F. Daiichi officially remains at INES level-1 (an ''anomaly'').

INES level-3 means ''severe incident'', define as the contamination of an area not expected by design, with a low probability of ­significant public exposure. Groundwater never flows inland along the ocean's coast, so there is no risk of public exposure in Fukushima Prefecture. Further, actual Pacific Ocean contamination seems unlikely given the barricading of the quay, if Fukushima's contamination ever actually gets there. The Pacific is currently as clean as it gets. Unless any future contamination gets into the quay and then somehow spreads into the open sea, there will be no rational reason to go to INES level-3. If the NRA must upgrade, a level-2 declaration (classified as an ''incident'') makes much more sense at this point in time.

The most recent use of a worst-case scenario occurred on August 22nd when Tepco announced that 30 trillion Becquerels of radioactive Cesium and Strontium may have leaked into the Pacific Ocean since May 2011. The company has not posted a record of these release estimates during the last 20 months in order to show the trends involved. I think it is because no such record exists. It seems Tepco assumed that the persistent, albeit very low levels of Cesium and Strontium detected inside the Fukushima Daiichi quay since late 2011 are not due to residuals from the accident itself, suspended in the stagnant water. Rather, it appears the company assumed there has been a perpetual flow of contamination into the quay for the past 20 months, with the quantities of invading radioactive isotopes unwavering from day-to-day, in order to keep the inner port's concentration astonishingly constant for more than a year-and-a-half. This would be a record of relentless constancy within the ever-changing natural environment which defies words to describe. In fact, Tepco admited they are literally grasping at straws. Tepco spokesman Yoshimi Hitosugi says, ''So far, we don't have convincing data that confirm a leak from the turbine buildings. But we are open to consider any possible path of contamination.'' Thus, Tepco is reporting another worst-case scenario, based on assumption taken to the extreme.

Cleverly-cereated worst-case scenarios relative to nukes have historically been the domain of hardened nuclear critics. To date, none of their tacit ''guarantees'' have come to fruition. Regardless, the Tokyo Electric Company and Japan's Nuclear Regulatory Authority have joined them in waltzing with the worst-case scenario. Transparency means ''telling it like it is'' in a timely fashion. The ''official'' creation of worst-case scenarios makes a mockery of transparency.

August 17, 2013

A Suggested Answer to Fukushima's Wastewater Question

The build-up of stored wastewater at Fukushima Daiichi is a serious problem, at least as far as the Japanese press is concerned. Currently, there is almost 360,000 tons of Cesium-stripped water being stored in above-ground tanks. The rate of build-up is about 400 tons per day. Eventually, at some point in the future Tepco will run out of room for more tanks and fill them all. I would like to suggest a way to possibly stop the build-up of stored waters, and not diminish the rate of decontamination in the process. Why not set up a closed loop through the Cesium-stripping system?

Let me explain. Currently, about 770 tons per day is pumped out of the highly-contaminated waters in the basements of units #1 through #4, and run through the Cesium absorption system. About 370 tons of the Cesium-stripped water is sent into the three damaged reactor cores to keep them cooled, and subsequently finds its way back into the basement volume through as-yet-unidentified pathways from the Reactor Pressure Vessels. The remaining 400 tons is pumped into available above-ground tanks. The basement water levels ought to be dropping at a rate of about 400 tons per day. But to the contrary, the water levels remain constant. It means that groundwater is somehow leaking into the basements, keeping the water levels from changing. Why not put the 400 tons per day of Cesium-stripped water back into the basements from where it originated? By sending the cleansed waters back into the basements, Tepco would be utilizing what is known (in the vernacular) as a ''closed loop''.

It is likely the top of the water in the basements is parallel to the top of the groundwater in the earth outside the basements. There are several reasons why this is likely. For one thing, Tepco did not discover the groundwater in-leakage until they lowered the basement waters down to the now-existent levels, and could not get them to reduce further. Not only does this indicate at point of internal/external equilibrium had been reached, but it also suggests that the in-leakage is significant and would accelerate if Tepco increased the rate of flow to the Cesium absorbers. Next, water naturally ''seeks its own level''. Finally, groundwater level in the earth remains relatively constant over time and levels in the basements have been relatively constant since late 2011. It thus seems that sending the same volume of cleansed waters back to the basements as the volume now being supplied by groundwater in-leakage should keep the system in equilibrium. In other words, sending the cleansed waters back to their source will not cause the water levels in the basements to increase above where they have been for more than 18 months.

A closed loop would provide several positive benefits. First, the build-up of tank-stored water at Fukushima Daiichi would effectively cease, possibly ending concerns of Tepco running out of space in the future. This has been a concern of nuclear critics and antinuclear politicians for more than a year. Ridding themselves of this constant news story would do Tepco's public information staff a world of good. Next, once the new decontamination system for the ~60 remaining isotopes (ALPS) is in full operation, there will be more than enough tanks to hold the Tritiated effluvia until the ocean discharge issue is resolved. After a currently-filled tank is emptied, it could be flushed of any residuals that remain and re-filled with water that has had all radioactive isotopes removed, other than Tritium, by ALPS.

In addition, a closed loop would continue diluting of the Cesium concentration in the basement waters at about the same rate as with the groundwater in-leakage. The Cesium absorption system is actually working better than initially expected. Tepco estimated (in 2011) that the system would lower the Cesium content by a factor of up to 1,000. It's actually lowering Cesium content by about a factor of 10,000 (from 55,000 Becquerels per milliliter down to 5.5 Bq/ml). That's 10-times better than its design. Not bad for a ''makeshift'' technology, eh? In fact, if the groundwater outside the basement walls is as Cesium-contaminated as a few recently-discovered-to-be-contaminated test wells indicate, the Cesium-stripped water would be lower in concentration than the groundwater now entering through the basement walls! If this is the case, then the Cesium-cleansed waters from the ''makeshift'' system will actually reduce the Cesium content in the basements faster than the current groundwater in-leakage.

This not-so-immodest proposal puts Tepco into a Pascalean dilemma. Should they recycle the cleansed waters back to the turbine building basements or should they not? They have nothing to lose and everything to gain by switching to a Cesium-stripping closed loop. However, they have nothing to gain and (inevitably) everything to lose by maintaining the status quo. It seems to me that the answer is a virtual slam-dunk.

August 9, 2013

Fukushima Groundwater Contamination is Not an Actual Emergency

This past Monday, a Nuclear Regulatory Authority inspector at F. Daiichi told the Press that the contaminated groundwater problem places the station in a ''state of emergency''. The official, Shinji Kinjo, admitted his personal opinion was based on a ''rather high possibility'' that contaminated groundwater is leaching into the barricaded inner port (quay) at F. Daiichi, and his estimate was not based on NRA calculations! Regardless, his ''state of emergency'' declaration is being treated like a serious nuclear crisis at Fukushima. It doesn't matter that the NRA-itself has not made a formal emergency declaration. It doesn't matter that there is no evidence of the actual leakage of Cesium and Strontium into the quay. All that matters is Kinjo's assertion.

The explanation of the situation is complicated. A month ago, some elevated levels of Cesium, Strontium and Tritium (an isotope of Hydrogen) were discovered inside a groundwater testing well. To stop the possible flow into the quay, Tepco drilled a large number of holes deep into the earth and injected a chemical to solidify the ground along the shoreline. This was designed to block groundwater flow to the quay. Over a period of 20 days, the water level in another testing well rose 70 centimeters (approx.. 28 inches). This spawned speculation that the water had risen a bit above the solidified earth below and was flowing into the quay. When Tepco announced the solitary well's rising water level, the NRA sent a team to F. Daiichi to investigate, headed by Kinjo. Meanwhile, Tepco tested the essentially stagnant water inside two sets of cabling and piping tunnels between the basements of units #2 and #3 and their seawater intake structures, and found quite high Cesium, Strontium and a mix of some 60-other isotopes. The concentrations were similar to the highly radioactive water now in the four damaged unit's basements.

Contaminated tunnels (Asahi Shimbun)

Tepco speculated that some of the waters had seeped through the tunnel's gravel floors and into the nearby soil, plus some had possibly made it into the quay directly from the tunnels through the water intakes. These worst-case speculations have generated extremely heavy Press coverage inside Japan, and it has gained considerable traction in the international press. But, at this point it's all based on speculation'...swathed in assumption and wrapped in exaggeration. There are a number of reasons why I say this!

To begin, only one of the dozen sampling locations inside the quay has shown an elevated level of radioactivity. Also, it's just one specific isotope'...Tritium'...and not Cesium or Strontium or any of the other ~60 isotopes of concern. The rest of the quay's sampling locations show no discernible. We'll come back to Tritium-itself later. What's most important is that that the quay is completely barricaded from the rest of the F. Daiichi station's seaport.

F. Daiichi quay (Kyodo News)

In the above picture, please note the thin red line snaking across the quay's opening. This is a ''silt dam'' that drops all the way to the floor of the quay, intended for opening and closure to admit equipment barges into and out of the inner port. It has not been opened for more than a year. It keeps the inner and outer waters from mixing when closed. Nothing, not even Tritium, has been detected outside the quay. This includes sampling as far as 10 kilometers beyond the outer break-wall of the entire port area (part of this can be seen stretching beyond the quay at the top-left of the picture).

What does this tell us? Contrary to the implications common to all Press reports and NRA statements, the Pacific Ocean is obviously not being polluted! Whether or not the quay-itself is being polluted is a matter of opinion.

Next, let's look at what is happening with the groundwater that is allegedly flowing into the sea, speculated at 300 tons per day (the NRA's most recent estimate). Tepco has filtered at least one sample from the contaminated testing well that started everything. After filtering the sample water, the level of Tritium did not change, which should come as no surprise. Tritium is hydrogen and is thus part of the water molecule which passes through any type of filter. But, the activity of Cesium, Strontium and the ~60 other isotopes dropped to pre-emergency levels. This means the Cesium and the other non-Tritium isotopes are most likely being filtered out by the soil the groundwater is flowing through. Quay water tests confirm this. None of the non-Tritium materials are detected in the quay. The only isotope detected in the quay, at but one location near the unit #1 seawater intake structure, is Tritium.

As said before, Tritium is the radioactive isotope of Hydrogen. It is also one of the numerous radioactive isotopes produced by Mother Nature, in this case caused by upper atmospheric collisions between energetic molecules and cosmic rays. Tritium has one proton in its nucleus, like all Hydrogen. But, it also has two neutrons attached to the proton, which is symbolized as H-3. The two neutrons cause the nucleus to be a bit unstable. It may be counter-intuitive to some, but here's what happens next. One of the neutrons spits out an electron and the Tritium instantly becomes Helium, which harmlessly goes its own gaseous way. The electron is called a Beta particle, incorrectly called a ''Beta ray'' by the Press. Microwave and X-ray are ''rays'' because they are a continual flow of energy. Betas are sub-atomic particles. Betas are also about the weakest of all the various forms of radiation. The most energetic Beta's known to man cannot penetrate thin cellophane. Tritium's Betas are among the weakest of the lot (~6 KeV)'...the weakest of the weak, if you will. Tritium's Betas are relatively ineffectual. That's why the annual release limits for Tritium sound enormous.

Japan's Tritium limit is the lowest in the world at 22 trillion Becquerels* per year. Tepco's estimate of the maximum amount of leakage to the sea over the past 27 months is 40 trillion Becquerels. That's less than the limit, folks. It should be noted that 40 trillion Becquerels should be compared to the ~million-trillion Becquerels of naturally occurring Tritium already in the Pacific. What Tepco says is the upper bound of their Tritium releases is million times less than what Mother Nature has put in the Pacific.

However, the sheer magnitude of the Tritium estimate'...in the trillions'...sounds like we have something extremely serious going on'...something worthy of speculating that an actual ''state of emergency'' exists at Fukushima Daiichi. Is the Pacific Ocean actually being polluted? It doesn't seem that it is. Is F. Daiichi actually in a ''state of emergency''? It's a speculative state of emergency, to be sure, but not actual.

* A Becquerel is one radioactive release from the nucleus of an atom every second. The human body contains a constant activity of 5,000 Becquerels due to naturally-occurring Potassium-40 and 4,000 Becquerels from Carbon-14. Each person also contains about 25 Becquerels of natural Tritium activity'...just for the record.

August 3, 2013

168th Carnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers

The Hiroshima Syndrome's Fukushima Commentary is proudly hosting the 168th Carnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers. For the full reports, please click on the individual links. Blog topics include '' why nuke plants are a compelling option, whether or not former anti-nukes are trustworthy pro-nukes, the potential for robotics with nuclear energy, why more nuclear energy would be beneficial, and the latest news about the groundwater contamination problem at Fukushima Daiichi.

From NewsOK: Science and Technology ''

Why would anyone consider nuclear power for making electricity?

Dr. Robert Hayes argues that since nuclear science is used in medicine and manufacturing, it should all be defined as nuclear technology along with nuke power plants. The case for nuclear power is truly compelling from a scientific point of view, but politically it is viewed quite poorly. http://newsok.com/why-would-anyone-consider-nuclear-power-for-making-electricity/article/3868619

From American Thinker ''

Nuclear Power's New Friends?

Joseph Somsel addresses the message transmitted by the new documentary ''Pandora's Promise'', and asks if former foes of nuclear energy can become the technology's new best friends. After more than four decades of environmentalists condemning all things nuclear, Somsel finds the notion of them suddenly embracing nuclear power to be personally unsettling.. http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/08/nuclear_powers_new_friends.html

From ANS Nuclear Caf(C) ''

Robotics, Remote Systems, and Radiation

Reid L. Kress discusses the use of robotics and remote systems in nuclear environments, with examples of past applications and radiation levels typically encountered. http://ansnuclearcafe.org/2013/07/30/robotics-remote-systems-radiation/

From Next Big Future (4) ''

What is ''Business as Usual'' in terms of now to 2030? 2050?

The world should shift to a lot more usage of nuclear energy, and would also benefit from more solar and wind generation. It would be better to shift to non-carbon based energy production than remain in ''Business as Usual''. http://nextbigfuture.com/2013/08/what-is-business-as-usual-in-terms-of.html

Energy Return for Nuclear Energy

The recent Lenzen paper on energy return has many problems with its approach to nuclear. The report more than doubles the actual cost of enrichment, underestimates the lifetime of nuclear plants and often references the biased van Leeuwen and Smith which is littered with agenda. http://nextbigfuture.com/2013/08/energy-return-for-nuclear-energy.html

Molten Salt Reactor review with benefits'...

A German court has overturned the Greentec Awards disqualification of a dual fuel molten salt reactor. The DFR was winning the German public voting for the Aug 30 2013 awards. Now an appeals court has overturned that disqualification. http://nextbigfuture.com/2013/08/molten-salt-reactor-review-with.html

Greentec Awards could not handle the truth that Molten Salt Reactors would be good for the environment'...

MSR technology is winning German public opinion on best green technology. Green group could not handle it and disqualified them. German court overrules the disqualification.

From Atomic Insights ''

Nuclear less risky than natural gas '' for customers

People who get most of their electricity-related economic analysis from the current executives at companies like Exelon, EDF, Dominion, Duke Energy, or SCE would be shocked to learn that nuclear power plants produce electricity for approximately the same long term cost as natural gas-fired, combined cycle gas-turbine power plants. On a fair comparison basis, the natural gas option creates ''significantly higher long-term investment risk''. http://atomicinsights.com/nuclear-less-risky-than-natural-gas/

From Nuke Power Talk ''

Nuclear Power and regulation, Part 2: Is Regulation Needed in the First place?

Dr. Gail Marcus responds to a comment posted on an earlier blog by an anonymous reader who questioned the need for regulation. This time, Gail points out that most regulations were initially promulgated because of problems or abuses. What is needed is not a lack of regulation, but rather a smarter breed of regulation. http://www.nukepowertalk.blogspot.com/2013/08/nuclear-power-and-regulation-part-2.html

From James Conca (Forbes.com) ''

Who's Gonna Pay for Global Warming?

Implementing a new energy mix of 45% gas, 35% nuclear and 20% renewable by 2040 would reduce CO2 emissions by 40% and only cost $7.4 trillion over the next 30 years. $3.4 trillion would be infrastructure and construction, and the rest fuel and operations, a major advantage over the present mix. http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2013/08/04/whos-going-to-pay-for-global-warming/

From Hiroshima Syndrome/Fukushima Updates ''

Fukushima Accident Updates (7/29 and 8/1/13)

A webpage that posts summaries of each week's nuclear news articles from Japan with source links. This past week's Japanese news reports focus on the continuing groundwater contamination saga, Tepco's efforts to keep radioactive material out of the sea, and criticisms of their efforts. http://www.hiroshimasyndrome.com/fukushima-accident-updates.html

July 27, 2013

Fukushima Groundwater Issue Poses Many Questions

On July 23, Tepco revealed that contamination is leaching into their inner port (quay) at Fukushima Daiichi. Tepco and the Nuclear Regulatory Authority make it seem as if the contamination is going into the Pacific Ocean. There are many unanswered questions with the groundwater issue, but one thing seems certain'...the material is not reaching the open sea, at least not yet. Tepco's recent revelation validates the NRA conjecture of 10 days ago. Tepco's bases their belief on the water level in the near-shore sampling wells fluctuating with the tide. However, the data Tepco has posted over the past four months raises a considerable number of questions.

First we might ask'...what is the source of the contamination? Since the groundwater contains Cesium isotopes 134 and 137, it cannot be coming from any of the waste water storage tanks or underground reservoirs at F. Daiichi. This is because those waters have been effectively stripped of their Cesium content by the station's ''makeshift'' filtration system. There are several possible sources. (1) The radioactivity may be coming from basements of the four units holding 70,000 tons of water literally loaded with Cesium. (2) It could be what Tepco has said for more than a month and be residual isotopes already in the plant's soil from a rather significant leak into a trench between unit #1 and unit #2 reactor buildings in April, 2011. (3) Could it have something to do with another trench from unit #3? Tepco quietly posted a Press handout concerning the possibility of a unit #3 leak on July 11. (http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/handouts/2013/images/handouts_130711_04-e.pdf ) Or, could it be a combination of all three?

If we assume the contamination is coming from the basements, it poses a pair of over-lapping questions. To begin, Tepco knows that 400 tons of groundwater is seeping into the basements every day. How's the groundwater getting in there? Cracks in the concrete walls? Broken piping penetrations? The flowpath into the basements has not been stated. Whatever the path of seepage, groundwater is leaking into the basements and there's no reason to think the contaminated waters are not leaking out via the same pathways. The Nuclear Regulatory Authority wants to freeze the ground surrounding the turbine buildings using an earth-freezing technology that does not yet exist. While the mere suggestion puts the technical competence to the NRA in question, if it works it will merely lower the in-flow of groundwater by 100 tons per day. Tepco already has what seems to be a better methodology to stanch the groundwater influx. They are drilling holes deep in the ground along the shoreline and inserting a chemical to harden the soil itself. (http://210.250.6.22/en/nu/fukushima-np/handouts/2013/images/handouts_130708_03-e.pdf ) Why not do the same thing around the basements of the turbine buildings, too? If it is good enough to keep contaminated groundwater from getting into the station's near-shore quay, it will surely be better than the NRA's pie-in-the-sky concoction to freeze the soil. Water-proofing the soils surrounding the basements, and around the suspect cable trench coming out of unit #2 should eliminate it as a source of possible leaks. Then there's the unit #3 trench, but we'll come back to it later.

Next, how bad is the groundwater contamination? Is it really ''highly radioactive''? The highest groundwater Cesium reading to date is 11,000 Becquerels per liter inside one of the now-numerous sampling wells at F. Daiichi. Sounds like a lot, doesn't it. Want to know what's actually highly radioactive? The water in one of the trenches connected to the unit #2 turbine basement! The Press reports Tepco has found it to contain 2.35 billion Bq/liter of Cesium. That can be called ''highly radioactive'' by any standard. If 11,000 Bq/liter is ''highly radioactive'', then what descriptive term should the Press use for 2.35 billion Bq/liter?

To continue, three of the groundwater sampling wells have elevated levels of Tritium (more on this later), but only one has shown increases in both Cesium isotopes over the past 2 weeks. (see the Tepco handout, above, for well locations). Well no. 1-2has readings of 11,000 Becquerel per liter for Cs-137 and 5,400 Bq/liter for Cs-134. (http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/f1/smp/2013/images/2tb-east_13072301-e.pdf ) These are the contamination levels that are always cited in the Press, both inside and outside of Japan, even though the Cesium in the rest of the wells is about 100 times lower. But here's the important point'...when the sample water from well #1-2 has the suspended solids filtered out, the cleansed water has readings of 50 Bq/liter of Cs-134 and 71 Bq/liter of Cs-137. (http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/f1/smp/2013/images/2tb-east_13072303-e.pdf ) These readings are higher than the other four near-shore sampling wells, but more than 99% lower than unfiltered. This demonstrates that the vast majority of the Cesium in the unfiltered sample is contained in the suspended sediment, probably stirred up by the fluctuating water level in the well. So, why doesn't Tepco post the filtered sample data along with the unfiltered for well #1-2? It seems they only posted the unfiltered data only once on July 22nd. Further, has Tepco attempted to filter the sample waters taken from the other near-shore wells? If not, why not? This could be significant.

Here's why it is important. Since the filtering of suspended solids removes more than 99% of the radioactivity, the Cesium is clearly bonded with the soil. The only way the high levels of Cesium in the groundwater can get into the station's quay would be if the soil itself is being spilled into the seawater. Is it? With the station's quay effectively isolated from the outer port area, and the outer port surrounded by some massive break-walls, there is no shore erosion. There might be a tiny loss of Cesium-impregnated soil leaving the shore, but the vast majority is staying put. We can say this with confidence when we look at the Cesium level inside the essentially stagnant quay. We find that all sampling points have not demonstrably changed in Cs-134 and Cs-137 concentrations since early April. (http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/f1/smp/2013/images/intake_canal_130726-e.pdf ) The levels have fluctuated over the past four months, but that is to be expected with activity levels as low as these in full liter samples. The range of upper and lower fluctuation points has stayed quite constant for all 12 sampling points along the quay's shoreline. If there is a ''highly radioactive'' leak coming out of unit #3, there does not seem to be an increased Cesium level to prove it. It should be noted that the Cesium levels inside the quay have not changed significantly since March, 2012, but the above link back to April 2013 should suffice for this commentary.

Next we have the detected Tritium (H3), which raises more questions. Well number 1-2 has an H3 level of 350,000 Bq/liter, well number 1-3 is at 270,000 Bq/liter, and well #1 has 420,000 Bq/liter. (Wells 1-2 and 1-3 are between units 2&3 reactor buildings, and well #1 is next to reactor building #1) The Cs-134 levels in both well #1 and well 1-3 are'...undetectable! The Cs-137 in both is less than 1Bq/liter. Why is the well with the highest level of Tritium not showing any Cesium? There is no correlation between H3 concentrations and the Cesium concentrations. There ought to be a correlation, but there isn't. Why is there no correlation between isotopic concentrations? On a related note, why is there an elevated level of H3 (1,100 Bq/liter) at the unit #1 near-shore sampling point, but less than 400 Bq/liter everywhere else in the quay? If there is a leak to the quay is out of the unit #3 trench, why isn't the quay water adjacent to unit #3 showing an increase over the levels detected in April?

Finally we get to the ultimate question. Is any of this contamination going out to sea? The inner Quay is sealed off from the waters which are inside the heavy stone break-walls that surround the station. The break-wall has a single opening to the open sea. Seawater sampling outside the quay, but inside the break-wall shows nothing. No detectible Tritium'...no detectible Cesium. It appears the contamination in the quay is not getting into the outer port area. The silt dam that seals the entrance to the quay seems to be doing its job quite well. In addition, samples taken from the open sea surrounding F. Daiichi also show nothing. In other words, there seems to be no groundwater-borne contamination going into the Pacific Ocean from Fukushima Daiichi. So, why do the Nuclear Regulatory Authority and Tepco both make it sound like the Pacific Ocean is being ''tainted''?

Many might question the veracity of the data posted by Tepco's staff at F. Daiichi, given the general level of distrust relative to the company. But, there is no-one else's data to analyze. Keep in mind that Tepco discovered the problem with groundwater contamination. No-one else did. They are the ones who have reported it to the world, albeit belatedly'...and there-in lies the problem. The company's level of transparency relative to public disclosure is not perfect, and some of their statements may be tainted with paranoiac twists, but their radiological data should not be distrusted. We have no other data to go on.

Questions'...questions'...questions'...

July 20, 2013

Naoto Kan: Japan's Pinocchio

This past Tuesday, Naoto Kan submitted a defamation suit against Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. It is very unusual for a former prime minister to sue an incumbent. The suit is because Abe posted an Email on March 20, 2011, saying Kan fabricated his part in the infamous seawater cooling dispute during the Fukushima accident. Abe also said Kan's trying to stop Tepco from cooling with seawater is a case of severe mismanagement and that he should resign. Kan charges Abe with keeping ''erroneous'' information on his website and ignoring Kan's repeated entreaties to remove the Email from archives. Kan also charges Abe with making a ''false accusation'' that defames the former PM. Since the Email has not been deleted, Kan has filed the suit, along with $110,000 in damages. In response'...well'...there is no response from Mr. Abe. He refuses to comment.

On March 12, 2011, Kan did in-fact order Tepco and plant manager Yoshido to stop cooling with seawater because it contained some natural uranium and he feared it might cause a recriticality. Yoshida ignored Kan's orders, which was the correct thing to do. It is a prime example of Kan meddling in F. Daiichi's emergency operations during the hectic early days of the crisis. Kan is suing because Abe's Email makes him look bad and negatively impacts the Democratic Party of Japan's chances in the upcoming national election. It is also yet another example of Kan trying to manipulate the facts and possibly shed responsibility for the mistakes he made during the nuclear accident. If he were Pinocchio, Kan's nose would be growing.

This is not the first time Kan has besmirched the truth. Remember that this is the man who says he single-handedly saved Tokyo from evacuation because he kept Tepco from abandoning F. Daiichi. All government investigations into the accident conclude that Kan did no such thing. Oh, there's no doubt that he descended on Tepco's home office and commanded them to not abandon the stricken plant-site. However, there was no actual reason for him to have done such a thing. Tepco never intended abandonment. Never! (For a detailed explanation of what happened, see my book ''Fukushima: the First Five days''.)

After Kan resigned , he told the Press his non-abandonment order was based on his nightmare of evacuating Tokyo, predicated on a phantasmagorical what-if scenario which he-himself ordered to be formulated by his emergency staff's nuclear representative from NISA! It went something like this'... If all six units at F. Daiichi melted away (only three were operating at the time), and if all six spent fuel pools suddenly collapsed and the more than 2,500 all-metal fuel bundles somehow burned themselves to a crisp (an assumption of exceptional improbability, at best), and if the wind blew directly towards Tokyo (250 kilometers distant) for several days with minimal dispersion, then it might be possible that Tokyo would have to be abandoned. All of this, of course, was dependent on the entire staff at F. Daiichi fleeing the plant-site and never returning.

Now, here's the most ridiculous part. Kan believed every bit of the science-fiction fantasy that he literally created for himself. Kan never saved Tokyo! But, in his warped way of thinking, it seems he believed he did. He has been preaching this ridiculous gospel of fantasy for the last two years.

Should we take the lawsuit seriously? I've been scanning the Japanese Press every day for more than two years, and I've come to understand that lawsuits of questionable substance are not uncommon in Japan. For example, an elderly man recently filed a suit against NHK World because they are using more and more foreign jargon in their reports and he could not understand much of what was being reported. The man filed for psychological damage due to NHK's use of jargon. I kid you not! Personally, I'm filing Kan's lawsuit in the drawer labeled ''Believe it or Not''.

Kan is not above twisting the truth for personal gain. He is a political opportunist who has lost face with the people of Japan. It seems he is trying to regain some modicum of respect with his former party, the DPJ. His is not a lawsuit of material substance and should be dismissed by every court in Japan. What frightens me is that the courts might find in Kan's favor or a settlement might be negotiated. Both thoughts give me nightmares.

July 12, 2013

Japan's nuke watchdog is blatantly biased

This week, The Japan News criticized the Nuclear Regulatory Authority for being ''blatantly biased'', while holding a ''self-righteous mind-set'' in its dealings with nuclear utilities. (1) The News takes the new watchdog to task for ''hastily concluding that topographic strains under some facilities are active faults'', ignoring the scientific data of the affected companies. In addition, the editorial says the NRA has ''often lacked fairness in making decisions'' and it must ''shed its self-righteous mind-set and hold constructive and repeated dialogue with the utilities'' in the forthcoming review of applications for restarts. Unfortunately, it seems the newspaper's wish for fairness and objectivity will be unfulfilled, as this week's F. Daiichi groundwater issue demonstrates.

To place the situation in perspective, Tepco discovered elevated contamination levels in one, solitary well used to sample groundwater. There are more than 20 other such wells at F. Daiichi, and all showed no increasing contamination. At the station's seaport, one of the four near-shore sampling points has had an increased level of but one isotope'...Tritium'... but not any others. The port has several barriers installed to prevent any contamination reaching the sea. The inner ''quay'' is about 300 meters long by roughly 75 meters wide. It is totally enclosed on the east and south sides with thick walls of heavy stone and clay. The northern side of the quay is closed by a ''silt dam''. The floor of the quay is ''paved'' with several layers of impervious material. How good are these barriers? Samples of seawater taken outside the quay show no detectible activity. There is also an outer break-wall which runs the length of the F. Daiichi property which is roughly a kilometer in length and connects to the shore at either end. Outside the break-wall, no contamination has been detectible for nearly two years.

Getting back to the sampling well in question'...the location is quite close to the cabling trench which had a considerable leak pour into it from the unit #2 turbine building basement back in April, 2011. After several failed attempts, the leak was plugged by the end of that month. Regardless, many tons of raw, contaminated water had poured into the trench. Most of it found its way directly into the sea, but a goodly amount also drenched the surrounding soil. Tepco says the source of the one well's contamination is likely residual from the April, 2011 leak. When pressured by the Press, Tepco said they cannot say with absolute certainty that the contamination is totally due to residuals in the soil. Clearly, Tepco is embracing Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. Regardless, it all sounds reasonable, right? Case closed?

Absolutely not! The NRA says they believe the contamination is also coming from somewhere else. The NRA also ''strongly suspects'' the contamination is finding its way to the ocean, even though the suspect sampling point is 25-30 meters from the sea'... even though none of the other groundwater sampling points show parallel increases in radioactivity. Also, the NRA fails to consider that groundwater flow is extremely slow. It has taken more than two years for the trench contamination to move a few meters, with the exception of one isotope'...Tritium. A small amount of the hydrogen isotope has reached one location in the quay, shows up in none of the other quay sampling locations and has been steadily decreasing since last Friday'...nearly a week. It is possible the elevated Tritium was a spurious spike.

The NRA's believes the sea is being contaminated because Tepco because there is no absolute assurance of no other sources and the Tritium detected inside the quay. NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka told a press conference, "TEPCO's explanation is open to question. I think the contamination of seawater is continuing to a greater or lesser extent.'' The NRA's proof is essentially rhetorical and not based of the data at hand. Further, they obviously believe that Tepco cannot be trusted. As far as the Press is concerned, the NRA guarantees that the sea is being contaminated. This is abject use of pure speculation and adds further proof to the NRA's blatant bias.

In addition, the NRA ordered Tepco to install barriers to keep the contamination from reaching the sea. No credit was given for the quay and break-wall barriers already in place. No credit was given to Tepco's current work; drilling holes deep in the soil every 80 centimeters along the shoreline and injecting chemicals solidifying the dirt and clay. It doesn't matter that Tepco may have found that the reason for the high sample activity being dirt dissolved in the water. Simple filtering before analysis brings the level back to what it was a week ago. The NRA acts like the staff at F. Daiichi is doing nothing. Further, Tepco's plan for burying steel and glass barriers along the shoreline, to be completed in 2015, isn't good enough. The NRA has concocted the bizarre idea of freezing the ground around the reactor and turbine buildings, using a technology that does not yet exist and will not insure zero leakage even if it works! All of this shows a self-righteous mindset with the NRA. It in no way demonstrates a constructive dialogue with the utility. It's the NRA's way, or the highway.

The bottom line is this'... the NRA thinks contamination is leaking to the sea, and they are unabashedly trumpeting their claim in the face of considerable evidence to the contrary. It's blatant, arrogant and hasty. The NRA was created to be an independent watchdog making decisions based on science and logic. To date, the agency has failed miserably in meeting this mandate. They leave science and logic at the door and base their decisions based speculation and negativism.

1. http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0000367823

Earlier Posts >>

Radioactive Bluefin Tuna Caught Off California Coast | Liberals Unite

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Tue, 27 Aug 2013 16:08

Every bluefin tuna tested in the waters off California has shown to be contaminated with radiation that originated in Fukushima. Every single one.

Over a year ago, in May of 2012, the Wall Street Journal reported on a Stanford University study. Daniel Madigan, a marine ecologist who led the study, was quoted as saying, ''The tuna packaged it up (the radiation) and brought it across the world's largest ocean. We were definitely surprised to see it at all and even more surprised to see it in every one we measured.''

Another member of the study group, Marine biologist Nicholas Fisher at Stony Brook University in New York State reported, ''We found that absolutely every one of them had comparable concentrations of cesium 134 and cesium 137.''

That was over a year ago. The fish that were tested had relatively little exposure to the radioactive waste being dumped into the ocean following the nuclear melt-through that occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in March of 2011. Since that time, the flow of radioactive contaminants dumping into the ocean has continued unabated. Fish arriving at this juncture have been swimming in contaminants for all of their lives.

Radioactive cesium doesn't sink to the sea floor, so fish swim through it and ingest it through their gills or by eating organisms that have already ingested it. It is a compound that does occur naturally in nature, however, the levels of cesium found in the tuna in 2012 had levels 3 percent higher than is usual. Measurements for this year haven't been made available, or at least none that I have been able to find. I went looking for the effects of ingesting cesium. This is what I found:

When contact with radioactive cesium occurs, which is highly unlikely, a person can experience cell damage due to radiation of the cesium particles. Due to this, effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and bleeding may occur. When the exposure lasts a long time, people may even lose consciousness. Coma or even death may then follow. How serious the effects are depends upon the resistance of individual persons and the duration of exposure and the concentration a person is exposed to.

The half life of cesium 134 is 2.0652 years. For cesium 137, the half life is 30.17 years.

The Fukushima disaster is an ongoing battle with no signs that humans are gaining the upper hand. The only good news to come out of Japan has later been proven to be false and was nothing more than attempts by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) to mislead the public and lull them into a sense of security while the company searched vainly for ways to contain the accident. This incident makes Three Mile Island and Chernobyl pale in comparison. Those were nuclear meltdowns. A nuclear melt-through poses a much more serious problem and is one that modern technology doesn't have the tools to address. Two and a half years later and the contaminants are still flowing into the ocean and will continue to for the foreseeable future.

The FDA assures us that our food supply is safe, that the levels of radiation found in fish samples are within safe limits for consumption. But one has to question if this is true and, if it is true now, will it remain true? Is this, like the statements issued from TEPCO, another attempt to quell a public backlash in the face of an unprecedented event that, as yet, has no solution and no end in sight?

As for me, fish is off the menu.

Fukushima in freefall: radioactive water filters taken offline, Tepco in desperation as leaks just won't stop

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Tue, 27 Aug 2013 16:18

(NaturalNews) After a 29-month cover-up, the Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) is now calling for international help and has all but admitted Fukushima's radiation leaks are spiraling out of control. In addition to the leaking water storage units that are unleashing hundreds of tons of radioactive water each day, Tepco now says 50% of its contaminated water filtration capability has been taken offline due to corrosion.The result is that radiation leaks are escalating out of control and attempted remediation efforts are faltering. This is in addition to the fact the Japanese government's attempted brainwashing propaganda campaign has also been exposed. It attempted to convince people that if they drank beer or smiled, they would be immune to radiation poisoning. (Yes, this is how desperate they've become...)

From day one, the Fukushima fiasco has been all about denial: Deny the leaks, shut off the radiation sensors, black out the news and fudge the science. Yet more than two years later, the denials are colliding with the laws of physics, and Tepco's cover stories are increasingly being blown wide open.

As Businessweek.com now reports, Japan seems to have no practical interest in solving this problem:

Russia's nuclear company, Rosatom, of which Rosenergoatom is a unit, sent Japan a 5 kilogram (11 pound) sample of an absorbent that could be used at Fukushima almost three years ago, Asmolov said. It also formed working groups ready to help Japan on health effect assessment, decontamination, and fuel management, among others, Asmolov said. The assistance was never used, he said.

That's because for Tepco to welcome any assistance, it would first have to admit it has a problem. And that's unacceptable in a business culture where egos run rampant and the idea of taking responsibility for your actions is considered abhorrent.

To save their own careers, Tepco experts would gladly sacrifice the health of millions of Japanese citizens.

The problem with denial in the face of a world-class radiation disaster is that sooner or later the body bags start to pile up. Now, 74 people from 27 families are filing suit in the Osaka District Court, seeking 15 million Yen each for psychological and physical damage. (And they are the lucky ones who are still living.)As Japan Times reports:

The group will argue that Tepco should have taken stronger measures to protect the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant from earthquakes and tsunami after the government's Headquarters for Earthquake Research Promotion warned in 2002 that there was a 20 percent chance of a magnitude 8 or so quake occurring in the Japan Trench in the Pacific Ocean within 30 years.

Part of the Fukushima denial was the claim that fish were somehow not being irradiated by the numerous leaks of highly radioactive water. This cover-up was further enforced by lifting a fishing ban that had been announced in the days following the original Fukushima meltdown event in 2011.Now that fishing ban has been reinstated. Australian reporter Mark Willacy visited the fishermen to get their reaction to the news, and what he reported sounds right in line with what we're seeing, too:

[The fishermen] are very angry. They've obviously believed that Tepco has been lying to them for weeks, if not months. You know, they seem to suggest that that the cover-ups get worse... They believe Tepco's probably sitting on more secrets that they don't want anyone to know about. So there's a feeling that Tepco just cannot be trusted and that these fisherman probably don't really feel like they have a future anymore.

Tepco lying? Say it isn't so!

In desperation, Tepco is now trying to figure out how to stop thousands of tons of radioactive water from leaking into groundwater supplies (and ultimately into the ocean).Those ideas, according to CTV News in Canada, include things like "freezing" the soil around the leak, creating an underground ice barrier that would require ongoing freezing, presumably for hundreds of thousands of years. You'd probably need to build another nuclear power plant to power the freeze cores, come to think of it.

Another idea, put forth by Arnie Gundersen, arguably the most sane observer in all this, involves digging a 2-meter-wide trench all the way down to bedrock, then filling the trench with zeolites which scientists now reluctantly admit trap radioactive isotopes. Note carefully that when people talk about consuming zeolites as a detox liquid, many modern-day doctors call it "quackery." But when push comes to shove, even they have to admit zeolites absorb radioactive elements. (You can't argue with the laws of physics. Zeolites work!)

Tepco "...does not directly answer to any regulatory bodies, including the country's nuclear watchdog," reports CTV. Sounds a lot like Big Pharma and the FDA, doesn't it? Industry is running the regulators.Gunderson goes on to explain in that same CTV article:

The Japanese government under Abe doesn't want to admit (to the cost) because they are trying to restart a nuclear energy program and the last thing they need to do is tell the Japanese people that 'oh by the way, you're on the hook for another half trillion dollars.'

The article goes on to reveal something rather startling:

Some experts believe some of the radioactive material from the damaged core has moved into the earth. The recent spike in radiation levels in the water may therefore be coming from groundwater coming into contact with the melted cores.

Finally acknowledging over two years of utter bureaucratic failure and delusional propaganda, the Japanese government is now taking over the Fukushima cleanup effort. Today, Trade Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told the international press, "We've allowed Tokyo Electric to deal with the contaminated water situation on its own and they've essentially turned it into a game of 'Whack-a-Mole,'" reports Business WeekWhat's wrong with Whack-a-Mole? It's the wrong game, of course, Tepco would prefer we all played Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) instead so that everyone hops around like maniacs to avoid all the radiation.

Or better yet, how about the game of Hide-and-Seek? Where did all the radiation go? It's hiding! Oh, that's so much better, thank you!

"From now on, the government will move to the forefront," uttered Motegi, not realizing he was paraphrasing the anti-government derogatory phrase used in the USA: "We're from the government, and we're here to help."

Because when industry reaches a point of total bureaucratic failure resulting in a global disaster that threatens all life on the planet, everybody knows the obvious solution is to put the government in charge!

The government, you see, can simply pass a new law that says radiation is no longer considered dangerous. In an instant, the entire problem is solved and Japan saves hundreds of billions of dollars in cleanup costs. After all, if Obama can declare America's jobs disaster to be a "success," and if doctors can declare methyl mercury injected into children a "vaccine treatment," then why not allow the Japanese government to declare Fukushima solved?

Better yet, Japan should turn Fukushima into a cancer radiotherapy clinic where Americans can receive "radiation treatments" for cancer, because we all know that radiation prevents cancer, right? That's what the cancer clinics tell us, anyway.

Fukushima can become the world's newest medical tourism hot spot for cancer patients. Walk in with cancer and you'll walk out with so many other symptoms that you won't even notice the cancer anymore! That's the miracle of modern medical science. Sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline, of course.

"We have to stop calling these events nuclear disasters," I'd imagine a Japanese government official uttering any day now. "They are actually nuclear opportunities for job creation," he'll probably explain.

Sources for this article include:http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/08/26/national/more-fukushima-e...

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-08-25/russia-offers-to-help-cle...

http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2013/s3833333.htm

http://www.ctvnews.ca/sci-tech/japan-s-fukushima-nuclear-plant-leaks-...

About the author: Mike Adams is a consumer health advocate and award-winning journalist with a strong interest in personal health, the environment and the power of nature to help us all heal He has authored and published thousands of articles, interviews, consumers guides, and books on topics like health and the environment, and he has authored and published several downloadable personal preparedness courses including a downloadable course focused on safety and self defense. Adams is an independent journalist with strong ethics who does not get paid to write articles about any product or company. In 2010, Adams co-founded NaturalNews.com, a natural health video sharing site that has now grown in popularity. He also launched an online retailer of environmentally-friendly products (BetterLifeGoods.com) and uses a portion of its profits to help fund non-profit endeavors. He's also the founder of a well known HTML email software company whose 'Email Marketing Director' software currently runs the NaturalNews subscription database. Adams volunteers his time to serve as the executive director of the Consumer Wellness Center, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, and regularly pursues cycling, nature photography, Capoeira and Pilates. Known on the 'net as 'the Health Ranger,' Adams shares his ethics, mission statements and personal health statistics at www.HealthRanger.org

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Fear mongering over WATER leaks at Fukushima Dai-ichi

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Source: Atomic Insights

Tue, 27 Aug 2013 21:02

I'll start with the bottom line first: despite all word to the contrary, there is no reason for anyone to be concerned that ''contaminated'' water from the damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station is going to cause them any physical harm, now or in the future. The only way my bottom line statement could possibly be wrong is if some really nutty activists decide to occupy the site and drink directly from the water tanks that have been assumed to be leaking. Those nutty activists would have to be very patient people, because they would have to drink that water for many years before any negative effects might show up.

Fish swimming in the harbor have nothing to worry about; people who eat fish that swam in the harbor have nothing to worry about; people who decide to swim in the harbor would have nothing to worry about. A basic tenant of radiation protection is that the farther from the source you are, the less you have to worry about, but I am not sure how I can state that you have less than nothing to worry about.

Nearly all of the fear mongering stories I have read about the water leaking from the large number of tanks on the site of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station contain few, if any facts that allow an accurate risk assessment. A long time ago, I learned that there were several ways to respond to a report of ''contaminated'' water. The most effective way was to make a fairly quick determination of the level of contamination so the appropriate resources could be applied to the problem.

Radioactive contamination is not a ''go; no go'' question, there is an infinite spectrum of possible concentrations and total sizes; the top end of that spectrum should generate a flight response, the bottom end of the spectrum should generate a yawn. A quantity of radioactive material that is small enough to generate a yawn should not rise on the scale just because more clean water is added to the mix to make the problem seem larger.Unlike biological pathogens, radioactive material does not reproduce. A fixed quantity never grows; it decays and gradually gets less and less dangerous. In fact, a perfectly rational, but long ago discouraged response mantra is ''the answer to pollution is dilution.''

Aside: I will remain focused on the topic at hand and not discuss why that useful mantra has been actively discredited and discouraged. End Aside.

I probably should have written more about this a long time ago, but I have never understood why there were so many tanks being built at the Fukushima Dai-ichi power station to hold treated water. From everything I have read, water that is used to cool the damaged reactors is contaminated to a level that might be of concern, but then it is run through treatment systems that remove essentially all of the isotopes that would harm to the heath of any living creature. The very best place to put that treated water is the same place where most treated sewage ends up '' into the vast ocean where it will never again be a source of worry or harm to anyone.

An effective, low cost solution to alleviate any concerns of local fishermen would be bringing an occasional tanker to the site. The contents of a limited number of holding tanks could be put on the tanker, which could then take the water a few miles out to sea. At that point, the treated water could be diluted into an enormously large ocean.

Warning: From here out, there is going to be a little math and some units that you might need to look up.

According to the scary stories I have read, the reason we are all supposed to be concerned is that bone-seeking strontium-90 has been detected in the contaminated water. The level has been reported as ''thirty times'' the drinking water standard.

Unfortunately, most ''news'' sources these days have a very low opinion of their readers and seem to think that using internationally accepted scientific units will confuse them. In my opinion, attempting to avoid using standard units is what confuses people.

Here is my attempt at helping you understand why I yawn when someone thinks we should all be frightened by the news that 300 tons of water contaminated with Sr-90 at 30 times the drinking water standard might have leaked out of a storage tank and might soon reach the Pacific Ocean.

According to Chapter 9 (Radiological Aspects) of the World Health Organization's document titled ''Guidelines for Drinking-Water Quality'', radiation standards for drinking water are set with some extremely conservative assumptions.

The levels are established so that a person drinking two liters of water at the limit every day for an entire year (a total of 730 liters) will receive a ''committed effective dose'' of just 0.1 mSv.

Note: The calculation of the ''committed effective dose'' value recognizes that the dose will occur over a period long after the drinking has stopped due to internal accumulation and biological half life of the isotope of concern. Because the dose is in Sieverts, it takes into account the biological damage caused by ingesting Sr-90, which emits a high energy beta particle. End note.

A dose of 0.1 mSv is 10% of the maximum allowed additional dose (1 mSv) to a member of the general public. The average background dose rate from all sources of radiation has been calculated to be 2.4 mSv/year.

For strontium-90, the drinking water standard is 10 Bq/l. The water of concern is contaminated to 30 times that standard and there are 300 tons of it. There are one thousand liters in a metric ton of water. Determining the amount of Sr-90 that might flow into the Pacific Ocean is a simple multiplication problem.

10 Bq/l x 30 x 300 tons x 1000 l/ton = 90,000,000 Bq

Written in scientific notation on a blog where I dislike making the effort to use exponents, that can also be written as 9E+7 or 9 x 10^7.

That might sound like a lot of material, but each gram of Sr-90 contains approximately 5,000,000,000,000 Bq. That can also be written as 5E+12 or 5 TBq (terabecquerels)

If someone drank two liters per day of the water that we are supposed to be afraid of for an entire year, their committed effective dose would be just 3 mSv; it would slightly more than double their annual background dose. If the entire amount of that water entered the Pacific Ocean, it would contain less than 0.00002 grams (0.02 milligrams) of strontium-90.

Now can you see why I am not worried and why I think you need to stop worrying? Of course, I expect that most of the people who have made it this far were never worried in the first place, but you might have family, friends or acquaintances who have been losing sleep in fear of the Blob '' in the form of water leaking from Fukushima '' coming to get them.

One more thing '' the most recent stories have included concerns that additional groundwater is flowing onto the power station site an might become contaminated on its normal path to the ocean. Remember what I wrote earlier; a limited amount of radioactive material does not get any larger just because more clean water is added.

Recommended readingFukushima Commentary August 24 Japan's Disastrous Flirtation with Worst-Case Scenarios

The Register '' Oh noes! New 'CRISIS DISASTER' at Fukushima! Oh wait, it's nothing. Again: But hey, let's soil ourselves repeatedly anyway

New Scientist '' Should Fukushima's radioactive water be dumped at sea?

Atoms in Japan '' METI Panel Clarifies Approach to Stop Contaminated Water from Leaking at Fukushima Daiichi

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Playing into the very hand that wants to inviade syria for gas

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Nuclear Energy Institute - Defense Department Did Not Request or Validate Nuclear Plant Security Report

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Wed, 28 Aug 2013 15:40

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Aug. 27, 2013'--The U.S. Department of Defense did not request or validate a recent study on security at America's nuclear energy facilities by the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Project, a DOD official said.

''The Department of Defense did provide funding to the University of Texas at Austin, but did not request a report on that specific topic, nor did we validate its findings,'' the Defense Department official said.

The NPPP is based in the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.

The report, written by a University of Texas graduate research assistant, reviews various threats to commercial nuclear reactors and other nuclear energy facilities. It concludes that the basis for each facility's security plan'--the design-basis threat'--should ''be made more rational'' and modified so that it is ''the same for all U.S. nuclear facilities.''

Notably, the research assistant did not have the security clearance necessary to access the design-basis threat.

The report's authors said it was ''prepared as part of a larger inter-disciplinary study at the University of Texas at Austin for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, which provided financial support for the research.'' Publicity for the report stated that ''the report was prepared under a contract for the Pentagon.'' In a later statement, Alan Kuperman, coordinator of the NPPP, said that the ''working paper was written for, submitted to, and partially funded by the Department of Defense.''

In a blog post last week, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said its regulations require nuclear power plants to be secure against potential seaborne and aircraft attacks.

''First, both new and existing reactors must mitigate against potential attacks using commercial aircraft; in fact our Aircraft Impact Assessment Rule requires design features for new plants to mitigate the effects of an airplane crash, and the NRC's post-September 11 orders require existing plants to implement similar mitigating measures,'' the NRC said. ''Second, NRC regulations, based upon the design basis threat, do in fact require licensees to guard against waterborne attacks or explosives.''

The NRC also said it appeared that the NPPP used only public information in creating the report. ''[The] report '... used non-sensitive ''open-source'' information to assess the protections in place to counter terrorist threats to nuclear facilities in the United States,'' the NRC said.

This means the authors of the report did not have access to safeguarded information that they would need to make a full security assessment.

''Nuclear power plants are widely acknowledged to be the best-defended facilities among the nation's critical infrastructure,'' NEI said in a statement responding to the NPPP report. ''Independent security experts share the industry's belief that nuclear power plants are well-defended and secure, including assessments by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Progressive Policy Institute.''

''[The NPPP report] is not a full assessment of security, nor does the author of the report have access to the safeguarded information that she would need to make such as assessment,'' NEI said.

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Nuke PR = The Hastings Group

SnowJob

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Laura Poitras on British Attacks on Press Freedom and the NSA Affair - SPIEGEL ONLINE

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Mon, 26 Aug 2013 21:45

I woke up last Sunday in Berlin to an email from Glenn Greenwald with only one sentence: "I need to talk to you ASAP."

For the past three months, Glenn and I have been reporting on the NSA disclosures revealed to us by Edward Snowden.

I went online to the encrypted channel that Glenn and I use to communicate. He told me that he had just received a call telling him that his partner David Miranda was being detained at London's Heathrow airport under the Terrorism Act. David was traveling from Berlin where he had come to work with me. For the next six hours I was online with Glenn as he tried to find out what was happening to the person he loves most in the world.

Glenn's reporting on the NSA story is made possible by the love and courage of David. When Glenn and I traveled to Hong Kong to meet Edward Snowden, Glenn and David spoke daily. Reporting on the most secret abuses of governments does not come without moments of fear. There was a turning point in Hong Kong before Glenn published the first story about the Verizon court order that exposed the NSA's spying on Americans. It was David who told Glenn: "You need to do this. If you don't do this, you will never be able to live with yourself."

As Glenn and I exchanged messages between Rio and Berlin, David was being interrogated in London about our NSA reporting. Glenn said several times: "I actually cannot believe they are doing this." I kept thinking I wish it were me. Having documented and reported on abuses of government power post 9/11, we both thought we'd reached a point where nothing would shock us. We were wrong -- using pernicious terrorism laws to target the people we love and work with, this shocked us.

Attack on Press Freedom

Reporting on this story means some things can only be said in person, and still it is hard to know you can escape surveillance. David was traveling to meet me on behalf of the Guardian newspaper, which has taken the lead on publishing the NSA stories. We now know that David's detention was ordered at the highest levels of the British government, including the Prime Minister. We also know the US government was given advance warning that David would be detained and interrogated.

The NSA has special relationships with the spy agencies from the so-called "Five-Eyes" nations, which include Britain's GCHQ. Weeks before David was detained, agents from GCHQ entered the offices of the Guardian newspaper and oversaw the destruction of several hard drives which contained disclosures made by Snowden. This action was also authorized at the highest levels of the UK government. Included on those drives were documents detailing GCHQ's massive domestic spying program called "Tempora."

This program deploys NSA's XKeyscore "DeepDive" internet buffer technology which slows down the internet to allow GCHQ to spy on global communications, including those of UK citizens. Tempora relies on the "corporate partnership" of UK telecoms, including British Telecommunications and Vodafone. Revealing the secret partnerships between spy agencies and telecoms entrusted with the private communications of citizens is journalism, not terrorism.

The UK government's destruction of material provided by a source to a news organization will surely be remembered as of the most blatant government attacks on press freedom.

Border Interrogations

As the hours went by on Sunday, Guardian lawyers searched to find where David was being held; the Brazilian ambassador in London could get no information; and Glenn struggled with whether he should go public or work behind the scenes to make sure David would be released and not arrested. I have never been through a hostage negotiation, but this certainly felt like one. David was finally released after nine hours. He was forced to hand over all electronics.

Using border crossings to target journalism is not new to me. I experienced it for the first time in 2006 in Vienna, when I was traveling from the Sarajevo Film Festival back to New York. I was put in a van and driven to a security room, searched, and interrogated. The Austrian security agents told me I was stopped at the request of the US government. When I landed in New York I was again searched and interrogated.

Since then I have lost count of how many times I have been interrogated at the US border all because of my reporting on post 9/11 issues. I've had electronics seized, notebooks photocopied, and have been threatened with handcuffs for taking notes. I moved to Berlin to edit my next film because I do not feel I can keep source material safe in my own country.

At the moment I live in what used to be East Berlin. It feels strange to come to the former home of the Stasi to expose the dangers of government surveillance, but being here gives me hope. There is a deep historical memory among Germans of what happens to societies when its government targets and spies on its own citizens. The public outcry in Germany to the NSA disclosures has been enormous.

Threat To Democracy

Because of the disclosures made by Edward Snowden, we have for the first time an international debate on the scope of government surveillance. Almost daily for the past three months citizens learn of new unlawful surveillance programs being secretly run by their governments. All of our reporting has been in the public interest, and none has caused harm.

David's detention and the destruction of the hard drives in the Guardian's basement reveal one thing: Our governments do not want citizens to be informed when it comes to the topic of surveillance. The governments of the United States, Britain, Germany, and others would like this debate to go away. It won't.

Glenn and I, with the full support of David and others, will continue to work on the disclosures made by Snowden, as will the Guardian, SPIEGEL, the Washington Post, their reporters and their loved ones, and many other news organizations who believe vast unchecked secret government surveillance powers are a threat to democracy.

(C) SPIEGEL ONLINE 2013All Rights ReservedReproduction only allowed with the permission of SPIEGELnet GmbH

Muslim Brotherhood Groups and Their Jewish Friends | FrontPage Magazine

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Wed, 28 Aug 2013 05:15

An organizer of a Muslim Brotherhood-linked rally explicitly acknowledged its ''friendship'' with both the Brotherhood and ''the Jewish Voice for Justice and Peace,'' apparently referring the Jewish Voice for Peace. The organization is at the forefront of activism against Israel and the ''Islamophobes'' that stand against American Islamists, earning the affection of the Brotherhood's allies.

The statement was made at a rally in Washington, D.C. led by Egyptian Americans for Democracy and Human Rights. The event was not only linked to the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. It was linked directly to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.

One of the speakers was Abdul Mawgoud Dardery, a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party in Egypt. A receptionist at the news conference was even recorded by the Investigative Project on Terrorism saying, ''This is a Muslim Brotherhood meeting.''

One of the organizers of this ''Muslim Brotherhood meeting'' was especially fond of its non-Muslim partners, but only one name came to mind: Jewish Voice for Justice and for Peace.

''[W]e are very proud, very proud of our friendship with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Christian Brotherhood, and the Jewish Voice for Justice and for Peace. There is nothing wrong to have a relationship, a friendly relationship, with other organizations across the world,'' said Oussama Jamal, chairman of the Muslim American Society'--Public Affairs and Civic Engagement.

The Muslim American Society that Jamal is a senior official of has well-documented Brotherhood links.

In a 2008 court filing, federal prosecutors said MAS ''was founded as the overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in America.'' This was confirmed by Abdurrahman Alamoudi, a convicted terrorist who is now known to have been a secret U.S. Muslim Brotherhood operative. He said just last year, ''Everyone knows that MAS is the Muslim Brotherhood.''

The Investigative Project found that the president of Egyptian Americans for Democracy and Human Rights is listed as a high-level member of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood in an internal 1992 document. Another organizer, Shaker Elsayed, is the imam of the radical Dar al-Hijrah Mosque. He and his mosque are linked to the Brotherhood, as well. On January 26, he was videotaped preaching armed jihad at a Virginia high school.

No group named ''Jewish Voice for Justice and for Peace'' exists, but the closest match is Jewish Voice for Peace and its record of activism is something that can be appreciated by Islamist allies.

The Anti-Defamation League published a list of the Top 10 Anti-Israel Groups in America and the Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) made the list, as did the Muslim American Society, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Al-Awda and Students for Justice in Palestine.

Technically, JVP made the list twice. Another ranking member is the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. Four JVP chapters are members of the coalition. Its Interfaith Boycott Coalition has JVP as an official component.

In January, JVP helped organize a ''No Blank Check for Israel'' rally in Washington, D.C. that compared its activism to the civil rights struggle. The organization wants U.S. aid to Israel severed until there is an ''end to the Occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.''

One of JVP's Advisory Board members is Noam Chomsky. This summer, JVP sponsored a ''We Divest Campaign Student Leadership Team Summer Training Institute.'' It was a five-day training program for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions activists that included ''non-violent direct action planning'' and ''anti-oppression analysis workshops.''

''In solidarity with the Palestinian Boycott National Committee and other Israeli and Palestinian civil society organizations, JVP has initiated and sustained the largest divestment campaign mounted in the United States for Palestinian human rights,'' the JVP website boasts.

JVP most recently joined the Muslim American Society, Council on American-Islamic Relations and other groups in pressuring the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles into canceling a speaking engagement with Pamela Geller.

''We are witnessing an insidious new wave of demonization of Arabs and Muslims in this country. We are particularly concerned about right-wing Christian and Jewish groups dedicated to denying the fundamental rights of Palestinians, who are deliberately fueling fear of Muslims and Arabs to push their unfair agenda in the Middle East,'' the website for JVP's Standing Against Islamophobia campaign states.

JVP has allied with Jews Say No! and Jews for Racial and Economic Justice to form the Jews Against Islamophobia Coalition. One of its main objectives is stopping Pamela Geller from speaking for Jewish organizations. It also condemned the NYPD for showing the Clarion Project documentary The Third Jihad to about 1,500 police officers. The film is narrated by anti-Islamist Muslim activist Dr. Zuhdi Jasser and exposes radical Islam around the world, including the Islamist networks in the U.S. that JVP is close to.

Jews Against Islamophobia and American Jews for a Just Peace came together on September 16, 2010 to protest the Simon Wiesenthal Center for its opposition to Park51, more commonly known as the Ground Zero Mosque. The anti-Israel beliefs of the project's lead imam, Feisal Abdul Rauf, made no difference.

Considering this record, it's not surprising that an Islamist organizer of a Muslim Brotherhood-linked rally would say he is ''very proud of our friendship'' with JVP. The organization has worked hard to earn that praise.

This article was sponsored by the Institute for Religion and Democracy.

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.

tabatznik Jewish Voice for Peace - Google Search

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Wed, 28 Aug 2013 05:17

Jewish Voice for Peace - Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaJewish Voice for Peace (JVP) (קו×' ××--ו×'× ×'×(C)×'ו×' Kol Yehudi la-Shalom) is a UnitedStates organization which describes itself as "a national Jewish organization" ...JEWISH SHIT LIST...7000+ Self-Hating Israel-Threatening JewsTabatznik, Tony British multi-millionaire Pharmaceuticals mogul. Tabb, William K...... He is also active in A Jewish Voice for Peace and a member of Brit Tzedek.About Jewish Voice for Peacejewishvoiceforpeace.org/about- CachedThrough grassroots organizing, education, advocacy, and media, Jewish Voicefor Peace works to achieve a lasting peace that recognizes the rights of both ...Signatories | Jews for Justice for PalestiniansJews for Justice for Palestinians is a network of Jews who are British or live inBritain, ..... Szekely; Beth Tabatznik; Risa Tabatznik; Tony Tabatznik; Rabbi LarryTabick ....Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) · Jewish Women Watching · Jews OnFirst ...Times ad in support of the Goldstone Report, 1st December 2009 ...2 Dec 2009... Times supported by 565 individual signatories and the following groups:Independent Jewish Voices, ...Jewish Socialists' Group, Jewish Writers Againstthe Occupation and Scottish Jews for a Just Peace. ... Tony TabatznikBlair's Jewish paymasters - Radio Islamwww.radioislam.org/islam/english/jewishp/britain/paymast.htm- CachedBelow is a list of Jews who have been revealed by the media as regularly ... £200,000; Tony Tabatznik of Amerpharm pharmaceuticals, whose family is worthover .... of force for the express purpose of restoring international peace andsecurity. ... Kofi Annan, the UN secretary general, added his voice to the debate,saying in ...IJV Letters & Statements | Independent Jewish Voicesijv.org.uk/ijv-letters-statements/- CachedBRITISH JEWS DO NOT SPEAK WITH ONE VOICE... Group, Jewish WritersAgainst the Occupation and Scottish Jews for a Just Peace. .... Tony Tabatznik[PDF] Press kit (Acrobat PDF file, 520Kb) - Killing Kasztnerkillingkasztner.com/movies/press-3/Killing_Kasztner_Press_info.pdf- CachedExecutive Producer Tony Tabatznik/DOCFACTORY ...Voice of Kasztner LarryPine. Sound ... Film Festival (Budapest) Berlin Jewish Film Festival; Special .....Caris Corfman who lost her short term memory, working title CARIS PEACE.Killing Kasztner - the Movie"a narrative that rivals any Hollywood political thriller: Jews literally sold intofreedom, an explosive trial, high-level political ..... a film on Yale Drama actressCaris Corfman who lost her short term memory, working title CARIS PEACE.TONY TABATZNIK Executive Producer /DOCFACTORY ...Voice of KasztnerLarry Pinego here - IsraCampus.Org.ilisracampus.org.il/.../Petitions%20- %20Israeli%20Academics%20in%20Jews%20for%20Justice%20for...- CachedMerseyside Jews for Peace and Justice '' via info@jfjfp.org ... It is sometimesdifficult for us to make our voices heard within formal Jewish structures. .....Edward Szekely; Beth Tabatznik; Risa Tabatznik; Tony Tabatznik; Rabbi LarryTabick ...Jewish voicewww.jwa.org/blog

Jewish women dish on the JWA blog. Check it out!

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Obama pick for NSA review panel wanted paid, pro-government shills in chat rooms.

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Sun, 25 Aug 2013 13:20

In a 1975 hearing, Sens. Frank Church (D-Idaho) and John Tower (R-Tex.) examine a dart gun designed by the CIA to be used in assassinations. The Church Committee also investigated the infiltration of activist groups by government agents. (AP)

The Obama administration is reportedly proposing Cass Sunstein as a member of a panel to review the surveillance practices of the National Security Agency (NSA), among other former White House and intelligence staffers. Sunstein was the head of the White House's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs until last year, when he returned to teaching at Harvard Law School.

As one of our intrepid commenters pointed out yesterday, while at Harvard in 2008, Sunstein co-authored a working paper that suggests government agents or their allies ''cognitively infiltrate'' conspiracy theorist groups by joining ''chat rooms, online social networks or even real-space groups'' and influencing the conversation.

Sunstein's paper defined a conspiracy theory as ''an effort to explain some event or practice by reference to the machinations of powerful people, who have also managed to conceal their role,'' and acknowledges that some conspiracy theories have turned out to be true. It also specifically notes that his plan of ''cognitive infiltration'' should only be used against false conspiracy theories that could be harmful to the government or society.

But even the suggestion that the government should infiltrate groups that are not actively participating in criminal acts is troubling. In fact, it recalls the abuses uncovered by the Church Committee in the 1970s, when the FBI infiltrated such subversive groups as the feminist and civil rights movements. To his credit, Sunstein's infiltration suggestion is different in nature:

By this we do not mean 1960s-style infiltration with a view to surveillance and collecting information, possibly for use in future prosecutions. Rather, we mean that government efforts might succeed in weakening or even breaking up the ideological and epistemological complexes that constitute these networks and groups.

But while it's nice to assume that the government would limit that ''cognitive infiltration'' authority to false conspiracies, history suggests that it would be also used against activists trying to expose actual government misconduct.

The paper also suggests that the government ''formally hire credible private parties to engage in counterspeech.'' That sounds an awful lot like the 50 Cent Party of online commentators who are paid per comment by the Chinese communist party to sway public opinion.

A man with such a credulous view of government power might not be the best choice to review allegations of NSA privacy abuses.

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government. She also delves into the societal impacts of technology access and how innovation is intertwined with cultural development.

Cass Sunstein's New Presidential Appointment Is Almost Hard to Believe'...Especially Considering a Paper He Once Wrote | TheBlaze.com

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Tue, 27 Aug 2013 15:43

President Barack Obama named his controversial former regulatory czar '' who as an academic advocated government infiltration of conspiracy theorists '' to serve on the NSA oversight panel.

Cass Sunstein, former Director of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the Office of Management and Budget. (Source: AP)

Cass Sunstein, who served as the administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs throughout most of the Obama's first term, advocated numerous policies as an academic '' including the government infiltrating conspiracy theorist groups by joining ''chat rooms, online social networks and real space groups,'' in a 2008 paper he co-wrote at Harvard, as recently reported by The Washington Post.

''Those who subscribe to conspiracy theories may create serious risks, including risks of violence, and the existence of such theories raises significant challenges for policy and law,'' the 2008 paper said.

''The first challenge is to understand the mechanisms by which conspiracy theories prosper; the second challenge is to understand how such theories might be undermined.'' It continues, ''Because those who hold conspiracy theories typically suffer from a crippled epistemology, in accordance with which it is rational to hold such theories, the best response consists in cognitive infiltration of extremist groups. Various policy dilemmas, such as the question whether it is better for government to rebut conspiracy theories or to ignore them, are explored in this light.''

The website ZeroHedge.com went so far as to ask if Sunstein is ''America's Goebbels?''

The National Security Agency oversight panel is mostly made up of national security experts such as former Central Intelligence Agency Acting Director Michael Morell and former White House anti-terrorism official Richard Clarke.

In another controversial stance, Sunstein advocated in a 2003 paper titled ''Lives, Life-Years, and Willingness to Pay'' for the University of Chicago that the government assign a higher monetary value to the lives of young people than to senior citizens with regards to health care spending. That's a position he backed away from during testimony to the House Energy and Commerce Committee in June 2011.

''I'm a lot older now than the author with my name was, and I'm not sure what I think about what that young man wrote,'' Sunstein, 56, told the House committee when asked if he would apply that view to the Independent Payment Advisory Board. ''Things written as an academic are not a legitimate part of what we do as a government official. So I am not focusing on sentences that a young Cass Sunstein wrote years ago. So the answer is no.''

The 2008 book ''Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness'' that Sunstein wrote with co-author Richard H. Thaler, argued for the government policy of ''presumed consent'' for organ donations. ''Presumed consent preserves freedom of choice, but it is different from explicit consent because it shifts the default rule. Under this policy, all citizens would be presumed to be consenting donors, but they would have the opportunity to register their unwillingness to donate.''

Sunstein is the husband of newly named ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power.

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Obama's 'outside experts' for NSA review are former intel and White House staffers

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Tue, 27 Aug 2013 15:43

Outside experts, you say? (SAUL LOEB / Getty Images)

ABC reports that the Obama administration's surveillance review panel will include former intelligence and White House staffers, including Michael Morell, Richard Clarke, Cass Sunstein and Peter Swire. An official announcement of the members of the panel is expected soon.

The review panel was first announced in a White House press conference on Aug. 9, when Obama said the administration would form ''a high-level group of outside experts to review our entire intelligence and communications technologies.''

Privacy advocates aren't happy with the composition of the group revealed so far. Some privacy groups believe that the White House will insist on all members having top secret clearances, effectively barring most independent privacy watchdogs from consideration for the panel.

Amie Stepanovich, director of the domestic surveillance project at the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) found the choices reported by ABC troubling:

An independent evaluation of the NSA's surveillance programs is needed. But a worthwhile review requires an independent team of evaluators. We continue to learn how each of the oversight mechanisms that the Administration has pointed to have continuously failed. The background of this panel indicates that it, too, is unlikely to be meaningful or effective.

Michael Morell was a career intelligence officer, serving in the CIA for 33 years. He retired from his position as deputy director of the CIA earlier this year after serving two stints as the agency's acting head during President Obama's tenure.

Sunstein and and Swire are both former Obama administration White House staffers. Cass Sunstein left his position as the administrator of the White House's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in 2012, while Swire served on the Obama-Biden Transition team and as special assistant to president Obama for economic policy. Swire currently teaches at the Scheller College of Business at Georgia Tech. He previously worked in the Clinton White House where he chaired a working group on how to update wiretap laws for the Internet and has a high profile in privacy policy circles.

Richard Clarke is a former national coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism for the United States. He worked for the State Department during the Reagan administration and served on the National Security Council during the presidencies of George H.W. Bush, Clinton and George W. Bush. Clarke also endorsed then-Sen. Obama's presidential campaign in 2007.

It's not known if the ABC list represents the full panel, or if additional names will be added in the future. The White House declined to comment on the makeup of the panel.

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Guardian teams up with New York Times over Snowden documents.

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Sun, 25 Aug 2013 13:21

1 of 2. Copies of the Guardian newspaper are displayed at a news agent in London August 21 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Suzanne Plunkett

WASHINGTON | Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:29pm BST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Guardian has agreed with the New York Times to give the U.S. newspaper access to some classified documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, the British newspaper said on Friday.

In a brief story posted on its website, the Guardian said it "struck a partnership" with the Times after the British government threatened the Guardian with legal action unless it either surrendered or destroyed files it received from Snowden about Government Communications Headquarters - Britain's equivalent of NSA.

"In a climate of intense pressure from the UK government, the Guardian decided to bring in a US partner to work on the GCHQ documents provided by Edward Snowden. We are working in partnership with the NYT and others to continue reporting these stories," the Guardian said in a statement.

Representatives of the Times did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Reuters.

However, a source familiar with the matter said the partnership deal had been struck several weeks ago and that Jill Abramson, the Times' executive editor, was personally involved in negotiating it.

The website Buzzfeed reported that Scott Shane, a Times reporter who covers national security and intelligence, was working on a series of stories expected to be published next month jointly with the Guardian.

The Guardian said in its story that its partnership with the Times would enable it to "continue exposing mass surveillance by putting the Snowden documents on GCHQ beyond government reach."

It said Snowden, who disclosed documents on U.S. internet and phone surveillance programs in June and has obtained asylum in Russia, was aware of the deal.

The Guardian's editor, Alan Rusbridger, revealed earlier this week that under the supervision of representatives of GCHQ, Guardian staffers had destroyed computer equipment containing Snowden files after the newspaper was threatened with possible legal action by senior British government officials.

Rusbridger said he had put British officials on notice that copies of material which had been destroyed had been sent outside British government jurisdiction.

British authorities say they launched a criminal investigation this week following the temporary detention and questioning at London's Heathrow Airport of David Miranda, domestic partner of Glenn Greenwald, a Brazil-based Guardian writer who has led coverage of leaks from Snowden and communicated directly with the former NSA contractor.

British officials have said that Snowden's leaks have gravely damaged national security and could put lives in jeopardy if more secrets are disclosed.

The Times and the Guardian previously collaborated on stories related to alleged phone hacking by British tabloid newspapers and on coverage of secret U.S. military and diplomatic documents made available by U.S. Army soldier Bradley Manning to the WikiLeaks website.

(The story was refiled to delete reference to representatives of the Guardian in paragraph 4)

(Reporting By Mark Hosenball; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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Who's Worried About Security of Personal Information? | Customer Experience Matters

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Mon, 26 Aug 2013 16:06

There's been a lot of discussion about personal information security lately, so I decided to dig into Temkin Group's Consumer Benchmark Studies. In our Q1 2013 study of 10,000 U.S. consumers, 68.7% of consumers agree with the statement ''I worry about the security of my personal information'' and 29.0% strongly agree. It turns out that this level of concern has declined from our Q1 2012 study which showed that 69.6% agreed and 32.6% strongly agreed with the statement.

We examined the 2013 data by different demographic segments and found that:

Consumers with the lowest level of education are the most worried across all segments (73%)Consumers earning between $100K and $150K are the least worried across all segments (65%)Consumers between the ages of 45 to 64 year-olds are the most worried (72%)Consumers younger than 35 and older than 75 are the least concerned (66%)Caucasians are the least worried ethnic group (68%)

We also examined the data by groups of consumers who had recently interacted with 272 organizations. This analysis shows that:

Companies have between 66% and 83% of their customers who are worried about the security of their personal information.Companies that have 80% or more of their consumers worried about security are: CellularOne, Fujitsu, AirTran Airways, Jeep, Electrolux, Advantage Rent A Car, Buick, National Car Rental, Ameriprise Financial, and Haier.Companies that have less than 70% of their consumers worried about security are: SunTrust Bank, Trade Joe's, Piggly Wiggly, DirecTV, Regions, Citigroup, Liberty Mutual,credit unions, The Hartford, US Bank, Sprint, Gateway, ING Direct,Amazon.com,Medicare, and Charter Communications.Download data for 272 organizations

The bottom line: Two-thirds of consumers are worried about personal information security

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To make journalism harder, slower, less secure >> Pressthink

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Mon, 26 Aug 2013 16:40

Last week, the novelist and former CIA operative Barry Eisler published one of the most important posts I have read about what's happening to the press since the Snowden revelations began in early June. In it, he tries to explain why authorities in the UK detained Brazilian national David Miranda for nine hours at Heathrow airport and confiscated all the technology he had on him. (Miranda, as everyone following the story knows, is the spouse of The Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald. He had been acting as a courier, bringing documents on encrypted thumb drives back and forth between Greenwald in Brazil and his collaborator, Laura Poitras, in Germany.)

Eisler's explanation of this pivotal event is the most persuasive I have seen.

1. Sand in the gears

''Put yourself in the shoes of the National Surveillance State,'' he writes. You've already commandeered the internet for state use and you have most of the world's communications monitored and stored. Journalists are beginning to realize than none of their means is secure, so they're retreating to face to face meetings, traveling backwards in technological time to evade your reach. But you find out about one of these meetings: Greenwald's spouse is visiting Berlin. Eisler explains:

The purpose was to demonstrate to journalists that what they thought was a secure secondary means of communication '-- a courier, possibly to ferry encrypted thumb drives from one air-gapped computer to another '-- can be compromised, and thereby to make the journalists' efforts harder and slower.

Recognizing that you can't bring journalism to a complete halt, you try to throw sand in the gears. David Miranda was detained and questioned under a terrorism statute in Britain. What's the connection? As Eisler says, ''Part of the value in targeting the electronic communications of actual terrorists is that the terrorists are forced to use far slower means of plotting. The NSA has learned this lesson well, and is now applying it to journalists.'' He writes:

To achieve the ability to monitor all human communication, broadly speaking the National Surveillance State must do two things: first, button up the primary means of human communication '-- today meaning the Internet, telephone, and snail mail; second, clamp down on backup systems, meaning face-to-face communication, which is, after all, all that's left to the population when everything else has been bugged. Miranda's detention was part of the second prong of attack. So, incidentally, was the destruction of Guardian computers containing some of Snowden's leaks. The authorities knew there were copies, so destroying the information itself wasn't the point of the exercise. The point was to make the Guardian spend time and energy developing suboptimal backup options '-- that is, to make journalism harder, slower, and less secure.

2. Working together

The day after Eisler's post appeared, Ben Smith of Buzzfeed found out '-- and the Guardian then announced '-- that some of the Snowden documents had been shared with the New York Times, which will report in partnership with the Guardian on some NSA stories. Britain's equivalent of the NSA, the GCHQ, had forced the Guardian editors to halt work in London on the Snowden leaks. But'...

Journalists in America are protected by the first amendment which guarantees free speech and in practice prevents the state seeking pre-publication injunctions or ''prior restraint''.

It is intended that the collaboration with the New York Times will allow the Guardian to continue exposing mass surveillance by putting the Snowden documents on GCHQ beyond government reach. Snowden is aware of the arrangement.

Sunday night, Ben Smith broke more news: another skilled newsroom, the investigative non-profit site, ProPublica, is also working on Snowden stories with The Guardian. This is the right move. They are trying to make journalism harder, slower and less secure by working together against you. You have to work together against them to publish anyway and put the necessary materials beyond their reach.

As I wrote in my last post, the surveillance state is global, so the struggle to report on its overreach has to move about the globe, as well. Another good sign:

In an open letter to David Cameron published in today's Observer, the editors of Denmark's Politiken, Sweden's Dagens Nyheter, Norway's Aftenposten and Finland's Helsingin Sanomat describe the detention of David Miranda, the partner of the Guardian's Glenn Greenwald, as harassment.

They say that the ''events in Great Britain over the past week give rise to deep concern'' and call on the British prime minister to ''reinstall your government among the leading defenders of the free press''.

The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers wrote a similar letter to Cameron. They understand this is a global fight. The rest of the British press is only beginning to wake up to it.

3. ''Give me the box you will allow me to operate in.''

In an appearance last month on Charlie Rose, former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden was asked about the ''appropriate balance'' between secrecy and transparency.

Hayden said that if it were up to him, he would ''keep it all secret'' because NSA could best operate that way. But: ''I know I live in a modern democracy,'' which won't allow anyone to operate for long without a ''national consensus'' underpinning the program. You can't have a national consensus without a national discussion, he admitted. And you can't have such a discussion ''without a significant portion of the citizenry'' knowing something about what you're doing. And so, Hayden said, he had come to accept that the NSA would have to ''shave points off of our operational effectiveness'' in order to become ''a bit more transparent to the American people.''

As a former head of the CIA and the NSA, Hayden said he understood that he would be constrained by what American democracy thought acceptable. All he wanted from Congress was clear guidance. ''Tell me the box,'' he said, making a square with his hands as he talked. ''Give me the box you will allow me to operate in. I'm going to play to the very edges of that box.'' He said he would be ''very aggressive,'' and probably ''get chalk dust on my cleats'' but still:

You, the American people, through your elected representatives, give me the field of play and I will play very aggressively in it, as long as you understand what risk you are embracing by keeping me and my colleagues in this box, Charlie, we are good to go. We understand. We follow the guidance of the American people.

Hayden's sketch of a surveillance state properly constrained by a wary public left a few things out, of course. When the Director of National Intelligence can lie to Congress in open session and keep his job, Hayden's system has broken down. When United States senators, alarmed about what they are told, cannot alert the American people because of secrecy requirements, Hayden's ''through your elected representatives'' becomes a hollow phrase. Over-classification makes ''national consensus'' impossible on its face. A ''secret body of law giving the National Security Agency the power to amass vast collections of data on Americans'' is not likely to generate much discussion'... is it? Hayden's descriptions sound reasonable '-- reasonable enough that Charlie Rose didn't push back on them '-- but the behavior of the surveillance state doesn't match up with his soothing words.

WHICH IS WHY WE NEED JOURNALISTS! In fact, we can go further. Without including in the picture an aggressive press that is free to operate without fear or coercion, the surveillance state cannot be made compatible with representative democracy. Even then, it may be impossible.

4. The establishment press is beginning to get it

Barry Eisler concluded his compelling post with this:

The authorities want you to understand they can do it to you, too. Whether they've miscalculated depends on how well they've gauged the passivity of the public.

Making journalism harder, slower and less secure, throwing sand in the gears, is fully within the capacity of the surveillance state. It has the means, the will and the latitude to go after journalism the way it went after terrorism. News stories alone are not going to make it stop. There are signs that the establishment press is beginning to get it. Sharing the work of turning the Snowden documents into news is one. David Carr's column in today's New York Times is another. ''It is true that Mr. Assange and Mr. Greenwald are activists with the kind of clearly defined political agendas that would be frowned upon in a traditional newsroom,'' Carr wrote. ''But they are acting in a more transparent age '-- they are their own newsrooms in a sense '-- and their political beliefs haven't precluded other news organizations from following their leads.''

Only if they can turn a mostly passive public into a more active one can journalists come out ahead in this fight. I know they don't think of mobilization as their job, and there are good reasons for that, but they didn't expect editors to be destroying hard drives under the gaze of the authorities, either. Journalism almost has to be brought closer to activism to stand a chance of prevailing in its current struggle with the state.

Julian Assange Reveals "Google's Covert Role In Foaming Uprisings"

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Source: Zero Hedge

Mon, 26 Aug 2013 17:07

Authored by Julian Assange, originally posted at The Stringer,

Google and the NSA: Who's holding the 'shit-bag' now?

It has been revealed today, thanks to Edward Snowden, that Google and other US tech companies received millions of dollars from the NSA for their compliance with the PRISM mass surveillance system.

So just how close is Google to the US securitocracy? Back in 2011 I had a meeting with Eric Schmidt, the then Chairman of Google, who came out to see me with three other people while I was under house arrest. You might suppose that coming to see me was gesture that he and the other big boys at Google were secretly on our side: that they support what we at WikiLeaks are struggling for: justice, government transparency, and privacy for individuals. But that would be a false supposition. Their agenda was much more complex, and as we found out, was inextricable from that of the US State Department. The full transcript of our meeting is available online through the WikiLeaks website.

The pretext for their visit was that Schmidt was then researching a new book, a banal tome which has since come out as The New Digital Age. My less than enthusiastic review of this book was published in the New York Times in late May of this year. On the back of that book are a series of pre-publication endorsements: Henry Kissinger, Bill Clinton, Madeleine Albright, Michael Hayden (former head of the CIA and NSA) and Tony Blair. Inside the book Henry Kissinger appears once again, this time given pride of place in the acknowledgements.

Schmidt's book is not about communicating with the public. He is worth $6.1 billion and does not need to sell books. Rather, this book is a mechanism by which Google seeks to project itself into Washington. It shows Washington that Google can be its partner, its geopolitical visionary, who will help Washington see further about America's interests. And by tying itself to the US state, Google thereby cements its own security, at the expense of all competitors.

Two months after my meeting with Eric Schmidt, WikiLeaks had a legal reason to call Hilary Clinton and to document that we were calling her. It's interesting that if you call the front desk of the State Department and ask for Hillary Clinton, you can actually get pretty close, and we've become quite good at this. Anyone who has seen Doctor Strangelove may remember the fantastic scene when Peter Sellers calls the White House from a payphone on the army base and is put on hold as his call gradually moves through the levels. Well WikiLeaks journalist Sarah Harrison, pretending to be my PA, put through our call to the State Department, and like Peter Sellers we started moving through the levels, and eventually we got up to Hillary Clinton's senior legal advisor, who said that we would be called back.

Shortly afterwards another one of our people, WikiLeaks' ambassador Joseph Farrell, received a call back, not from the State Department, but from Lisa Shields, the then girlfriend of Eric Schmidt, who does not formally work for the US State Department. So let's reprise this situation: The Chairman of Google's girlfriend was being used as a back channel for Hillary Clinton. This is illustrative. It shows that at this level of US society, as in other corporate states, it is all musical chairs.

That visit from Google while I was under house arrest was, as it turns out, an unofficial visit from the State Department. Just consider the people who accompanied Schmidt on that visit: his girlfriend Lisa Shields, Vice President for Communications at the CFR; Scott Malcolmson, former senior State Department advisor; and Jared Cohen, advisor to both Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice, a kind of Generation Y Kissinger figure '-- a noisy Quiet American as the author Graham Greene might have put it.

Google started out as part of Californian graduate student culture around San Francisco's Bay Area. But as Google grew it encountered the big bad world. It encountered barriers to its expansion in the form of complex political networks and foreign regulations. So it started doing what big bad American companies do, from Coca Cola to Northrop Grumman. It started leaning heavily on the State Department for support, and by doing so it entered into the Washington DC system. A recently released statistic shows that Google now spends even more money than Lockheed Martin on paid lobbyists in Washington.

Jared Cohen was the co-writer of Eric Schmidt's book, and his role as the bridge between Google and the State Department speaks volumes about how the US securitocracy works. Cohen used to work directly for the State Department and was a close advisor to both Condolezza Rice and Hillary Clinton. But since 2010 he has been Director of Google Ideas, its in-house 'think/do' tank.

Documents published last year by WikiLeaks obtained from the US intelligence contractor Stratfor, show that in 2011 Jared Cohen, then (as he is now) Director of Google Ideas, was off running secret missions to the edge of Iran in Azerbaijan. In these internal emails, Fred Burton, Stratfor's Vice President for Intelligence and a former senior State Department official, describes Google as follows:

''Google is getting WH [White House] and State Dept support and air cover. In reality they are doing things the CIA cannot do'...[Cohen] is going to get himself kidnapped or killed. Might be the best thing to happen to expose Google's covert role in foaming up-risings, to be blunt. The US Gov't can then disavow knowledge and Google is left holding the shit-bag''

In further internal communication, Burton subsequently clarifies his sources on Cohen's activities as Marty Lev, Google's director of security and safety and.. Eric Schmidt.

WikiLeaks cables also reveal that previously Cohen, when working for the State Department, was in Afghanistan trying to convince the four major Afghan mobile phone companies to move their antennas onto US military bases. In Lebanon he covertly worked to establish, on behalf of the State Department, an anti-Hezbollah Shia think tank. And in London? He was offering Bollywood film executives funds to insert anti-extremist content into Bollywood films and promising to connect them to related networks in Hollywood. That is the Director of Google Ideas. Cohen is effectively Google's director of regime change. He is the State Department channeling Silicon Valley.

That Google was taking NSA money in exchange for handing over people's data comes as no surprise. When Google encountered the big bad world, Google itself got big and bad.

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How Snowden did it - Investigations

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Tue, 27 Aug 2013 03:37

The Guardian via AFP-Getty Images file

A still frame grab recorded on June 6 and released to AFP on June 10 shows Edward Snowden speaking during an interview with The Guardian newspaper at an undisclosed location in Hong Kong.

By Richard Esposito and Matthew ColeNBC News

When Edward Snowden stole the crown jewels of the National Security Agency, he didn't need to use any sophisticated devices or software or go around any computer firewall.

All he needed, said multiple intelligence community sources, was a few thumb drives and the willingness to exploit a gaping hole in an antiquated security system to rummage at will through the NSA's servers and take 20,000 documents without leaving a trace.

''It's 2013 and the NSA is stuck in 2003 technology,'' said an intelligence official.

Jason Healey, a former cyber-security official in the Bush Administration, said the Defense Department and the NSA have ''frittered away years'' trying to catch up to the security technology and practices used in private industry. ''The DoD and especially NSA are known for awesome cyber security, but this seems somewhat misplaced,'' said Healey, now a cyber expert at the Atlantic Council. ''They are great at some sophisticated tasks but oddly bad at many of the simplest.''

As a Honolulu-based employee of Booz Allen Hamilton doing contract work for the NSA, Snowden had access to the NSA servers via "thin client" computer. The outdated set-up meant that he had direct access to the NSA servers at headquarters in Ft. Meade, Md., 5,000 miles away.

In a ''thin client'' system, each remote computer is essentially a glorified monitor, with most of the computing power in the central server. The individual computers tend to be assigned to specific individuals, and access for most users can be limited to specific types of files based on a user profile.

But Snowden was not most users. A typical NSA worker has a ''top secret'' security clearance, which gives access to most, but not all, classified information. Snowden also had the enhanced privileges of a ''system administrator.'' The NSA, which has as many as 40,000 employees, has 1,000 system administrators, most of them contractors.

As a system administrator, Snowden was allowed to look at any file he wanted, and his actions were largely unaudited. ''At certain levels, you are the audit,'' said an intelligence official.

He was also able to access NSAnet, the agency's intranet, without leaving any signature, said a person briefed on the postmortem of Snowden's theft. He was essentially a ''ghost user,'' said the source, making it difficult to trace when he signed on or what files he accessed.

If he wanted, he would even have been able to pose as any other user with access to NSAnet, said the source.

The ''thin client'' system and system administrator job description also provided Snowden with a possible cover for using thumb drives.

The system is intentionally closed off from the outside world, and most users are not allowed to remove information from the server and copy it onto any kind of storage device. This physical isolation '' which creates a so-called ''air gap" between the NSA intranet and the public internet -- is supposed to ensure that classified information is not taken off premises.

But a system administrator has the right to copy, to take information from one computer and move it to another. If his supervisor had caught him downloading files, Snowden could, for example, have claimed he was using a thumb drive to move information to correct a corrupted user profile.

''He was an authorized air gap,'' said an intelligence official.

Finally, Snowden's physical location worked to his advantage. In a contractor's office 5,000 miles and six time zones from headquarters, he was free from prying eyes. Much of his workday occurred after the masses at Ft. Meade had already gone home for dinner. Had he been in Maryland, someone who couldn't audit his activities electronically still might have noticed his use of thumb drives.

It's not yet certain when Snowden began exploiting the gaps in NSA security. Snowden worked for Booz Allen Hamilton for less than three months, and says he took the job in order to have access to documents. But he may have begun taking documents many months before that, while working with the NSA via a different firm. According to Reuters, U.S. officials said he downloaded documents in April 2012, while working for Dell.

Snowden is thought to have made his initial attempt to offer documents to the media in late 2012, while at Dell. According to published accounts, he tried to contact Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald in December and started talking to filmmaker Laura Poitras in January.

He began working for Booz Allen in March. In May, he told his supervisor he needed to take time off to deal with a health issue, and then flew to Hong Kong, where he met with Poitras and Greenwald, on May 20. He later told the Guardian that he was downloading documents on his last day at work. The revelations based on his documents started appearing in the Guardian and the Washington Post within weeks.

Snowden is currently living in Russia, where he's been granted temporary asylum. The U.S. government has charged him with theft and violations of the Espionage Act.

U.S. intelligence officials said recently that they plan to significantly reduce the number of individuals with system administrator privileges.

''U.S. intelligence has invited so many people into the secret realm,'' said an intelligence official. ''There are potentially tons of Edward Snowdens. But most people aren't willing to vacuum everything up and break the law.''

The NSA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Richard Esposito is the Senior Executive Producer for Investigations at NBC News. Matthew Cole is an investigative reporter at NBC News. He can be reached at matthew.cole@nbcuni.com.

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Facebook says countries sought data on 38,000 users first half of 2013 | Reuters

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Wed, 28 Aug 2013 17:58

By Gerry Shih

SAN FRANCISCO | Tue Aug 27, 2013 1:59pm EDT

SAN FRANCISCO Aug 27 (Reuters) - Governments sought information on over 38,000 Facebook users in the first half of 2013 and the No.1 social network complied with most requests, the firm said in its first report on the scale of data inquiries it gets from countries around the world.

The report follows allegations by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden that practically every major Internet company - including Facebook, Google Inc and Microsoft Corp - routinely hands over troves of data on potentially millions of users to national intelligence agencies.

Facebook has more than 1 billion users worldwide.

U.S. law enforcement authorities were by far the most active in mining Facebook, seeking information on about 20,000 to 21,000 users between January and June. That represents a slight rise from the six months between June and December 2012, when U.S. agencies requested information on roughly 18,000 to 19,000 Facebook accounts, according to figures previously released by the company.

Facebook has at least partially complied to about 80 percent of those requests, the company acknowledged on Tuesday.

Authorities in other countries with large Facebook user bases, including India, the United Kingdom and Germany, also requested information on thousands of users.

Facebook, which disclosed the figures in its first "Global Government Requests Report," said it individually scrutinized every information request and required governments to meet a "very high legal bar" to receive user data.

Although the full scope of the National Security Agency's electronic data collection programs remains unclear, Facebook has vigorously contested claims that it allows the U.S. government unfettered access to secretly gather information on a significant fraction of its users.

Facebook General Counsel Colin Stretch said in the Tuesday report that Facebook hoped to contribute to the "ongoing debate about the proper standards for government requests for user information in official investigations."

"We fight many of these requests, pushing back when we find legal deficiencies and narrowing the scope of overly broad or vague requests," Stretch said. "When we are required to comply with a particular request, we frequently share only basic user information, such as name."

Facebook said it would begin to publish information on data requests on a regular basis. Google and Twitter, among other companies, have periodically released similar information for several years.

Facebook's report included secret information requests within the U.S. authorized under the the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the Patriot Act. U.S. companies are ordinarily prohibited from acknowledging the existence of data requests made under those statutes. Facebook negotiated with the U.S. government in June to begin publishing the total number of data requests it receives without specifying how many are related to law enforcement investigations as opposed to intelligence-gathering efforts.

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Danish government issues warning to Russia about gay propaganda law

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Source: IceNews - Daily News

Mon, 26 Aug 2013 17:01

Posted on 26 August 2013. Tags: European council, gay propaganda, Olympic committee, prince frederik, Russia anti-gay laws, sochi winter Olympics, united nations, Villy Sovndal, Vladimir Putin

The Danish government has warned Russia it will bring the issue up of the country's recently-passed gay propaganda law at the European Council. Denmark's Foreign Minister Villy S¸vndal told Russia there is the potential they will also raise the issue at the United Nations if it doesn't change its current laws in the build-up next year's Sochi Winter Olympics.

S¸vndal said the law is objectionable and risks the issue of discrimination being brought up as it is abusing the rights of minorities in Russia '' something that has already happened and which the law permits. He added that they will hold the country to its international obligations.

Danish Crown Prince Frederik, who is Denmark's Olympic Committee representative, also told Russia it is not acting in accordance with the Olympic Charter, and warned it not to partake in discrimination against minority groups.

The Olympic Committee is waiting to receive further clarification from Russia about the recently-passed controversial legislation. It has also told athletes not to display rights symbols at the Winter Olympics or they could be disciplined by the International Olympic Committee.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has given assurances that the new law will not affect the running of the Olympics, but lawmakers in Russia have said the anti-gay legislation will not be changed during the Games.

Painting of Vladimir Putin in women's underwear seized by Russian police | World news | theguardian.com

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Archived Version

Wed, 28 Aug 2013 17:19

Link to video: Painting of Vladimir Putin in women's underwear seized by Russian policeRussian police seized a painting of Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev in women's underwear from a gallery in St Petersburg, saying the satirical display had broken unspecified laws.

The officers also removed a picture of the head of the Russian Orthodox church, his torso covered in tattoos, and two others poking fun at MPs who have backed legislation banning so-called gay propaganda, gallery staff said.

The police service said it had taken paintings from the Museum of Power gallery '' based in two rooms of a flat '' late on Monday after receiving reports that they were illegal. It gave no further detail but Russia does have a law against insulting authorities, an offence that carries a maximum one-year prison term.

One painting showed Putin wearing a tight-fitting slip and brushing the hair of the prime minister Medvedev, who is wearing knickers and a bra.

The St Petersburg deputy Vitaly Milonov, whose face was combined with the gay rights movement's rainbow flag in one of the paintings, said the images were inappropriate and "of a distinctly pornographic character".

St Petersburg, which hosts world leaders at a G20 summit next week, was one of the first Russian cities to introduce a law banning the spread of "gay propaganda". The Russian parliament has also adopted similar legislation, prompting protests from abroad and calls for a boycott of the Winter Olympics which Russia will host in the Black Sea resort of Sochi in February.

The gallery's owner, Alexander Donskoy, said the officers had also shut down his establishment and gave him no explanation for the removal of paintings from the exhibition.

"This is an [illegal] seizure," he said. "We have been given no formal documents banning us from operating and no receipt confirming our petty cash was seized."

' This article was amended on 28 August 2013 to correct the name of Vitaly Milonov, which was wrongly given as Mironov.

Tony Blair strikes gold in Mongolia - Telegraph

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Wed, 28 Aug 2013 22:09

It is estimated that Mr Blair, who owns eight homes in the UK, has earned in the region of £50 million since leaving Downing Street in 2007. He makes his money through his consultancy work, speeches and paid posts with JP Morgan, the investment bank, among others. Mr Blair points out a large amount of his money is ploughed back into philanthropic work including two international charities he set up after leaving office.

Mr Blair refuses to reveal the full extent of his government consultancy empire but the deal in oil- and gas-rich Kazakhstan alone is said to be worth as much as £13 million. No figure has ever been confirmed. The Mongolian deal is also likely to be lucrative given that the country is about to cash in on a mining bonanza. The country is now being referred to in some circles as Minegolia.

Mongolia, wedged between Russia and China, has a population of only three million '' almost half of whom have abandoned their traditional yurts for life in Ulaanbaatar. But it is three times the size of France and, with a booming mineral-rich economy, is predicted to grow by 15 per cent this year alone.

Mr Blair travelled with his entourage to Ulaanbataar on March 22nd for a two-day visit. He was accompanied on the trip by John Grogan, a former Labour MP for Selby and who is now chairman of the Mongolian-British Chamber of Commerce. During the trip, Mr Blair met with Tsakhia Elbegdorj, the Mongolian president, as well as its prime minister Altankhuyag Norov.

It is understood that a deal was put in place for Mr Blair and his team to provide a consultancy service although it is likely to kick in after elections at the end of this month.

A senior Mongolian official confirmed that Mr Blair had pitched his firm's services to the government during the visit in March. The official said: ''He offered technical assistance to the Cabinet Secretary for his delivery unit concept. That's from his years as prime minister, a structure to implement policy reforms''.

The official said the matter will be discussed again after June 26, which is the date set for presidential elections. Mr Elbegdorj is expected to win easily.

During his visit Mr Blair told the local media: ''This is my first visit to Mongolia, and I hope this visit will not be my last visit to Mongolia. Mongolia has many attractive things. As I served as the PM of Great Britain for ten years I am ready to share my experience and to cooperate with Mongolia.''

Stephan Kriesel, the head of Mr Blair's Government Advisory Practice, is already preparing for his move to Mongolia. About three months ago, Mr Kriesel joined the internet group 'Expats in Mongolia' on the social networking site Facebook.

'Expats in Mongolia' is billed as an 'Online social community for expats in Mongolia'. The administrator of the site Ihab Aziz said it was mainly aimed at sharing interests and news of activities in Mongolia. Mr Aziz said he screens members before admitting them into the group by sending messages to people whose profiles don't make it clear they live or work in Mongolia.

''I only accept people that have real interests in Mongolia. People who live in the country, people who want to come to the country, and people who want to conduct business here. It's for people with a general interest,'' said Mr Aziz.

Tony Blair Associates posted an advert in The Economist magazine in April seeking recruits to its Government Advisory Practice both in Asia and in South America. ''We seek Project leaders and Consultants to join our organisation to work on projects in Asia and Latin America, serving clients at the highest level of government.

''The team will drive strategy, policy and implementation workstreams, by compiling analyses, developing politically feasible recommendations, and working with stakeholders to translate these into action.''

Last night a spokesman for Mr Blair said: ''We will be working with the Mongolian Government, helping them deliver their reform programme.''

But the spokesman insisted Mr Blair's company would not make millions of pounds of profit. The spokesman said: ''The cost of the programme is to cover a full time, highly qualified team living and working in the country. It is done on the same basis as the many other consultants that work there.''

One possible item on Mr Blair's agenda is the Oyu Tolgoi gold and copper mine, in the southern Gobi desert about 350 miles south of the capital.

One of the world's biggest copper mines, it is two-thirds owned by Turquoise Hill Resources, a company in turn 51 per cent owned by the Anglo-Australian mining conglomerate Rio Tinto, and one third owned by the Mongolian government.

The partners fell out at the beginning of the year over allegedly spiralling costs and the Mongolian government had threatened to take full control of the mine, which has cost at least £4 billion to develop.

The mine, discovered in 2001, is due to begin exporting copper later this month. Reserves are estimated at 27 million pounds of copper and 13 million ounces of gold and when it is fully operational, it will boost the country's economy by a third.

But in February, President Elbegdorj threatened Rio Tinto's huge investment. ''The time has come for the Mongolian government to take Oyu Tolgoi matters into its own hands,'' he said in a televised address to the nation. A few days later, Rio Tinto's bank accounts were briefly frozen.

On February 14, Rio Tinto's chief executive Sam Walsh admitted: ''I'm concerned by recent political signals within Mongolia calling into question some aspects of the investment agreement. This undermines the partnership we've built and the stability on which a project of this size and scale depends.''

Sources had suggest Mr Blair was roped in to help resolve the dispute. Mr Blair has made a career post Downing Street offering himself out as a trouble shooter. Last year, he is reported to have earned a little over £500,000 for work as mediator between commodity traders Glencore, the Qatari prime minister and mining company Xstrata in merger talks that led to the creation of the world's biggest mining and commodity conglomerate.

A Mongolian source said: ''As I understand it, Rio Tinto hired Mr Blair to come in to give a lesson on 'respecting' contracts.''

A source with knowledge of the mining industry said: ''Tony Blair flew to Mongolia to troubleshoot on Rio Tinto's behalf with the government.''

The day before the trip Robert Court, Rio Tinto's global head of external affairs, had spoken at a Cambridge University seminar on Mongolia with Mr Grogan where the subject, according to attendees, of Mr Blair's imminent visit had been raised.

Last week, Mr Court said: ''I am going to frustrate you a bit. I would rather check back with other people [before commenting].''

Yesterday, a Rio Tinto spokesman said Mr Blair had not been involved in any mediation or negotiations between the company and the Mongolian government.

Mr Blair's spokesman also denied any involvement. ''We have not been involved in any dispute between Rio Tinto and the Government,'' he said in a statement.

BRAINS

Researcher controls colleague's motions in 1st human brain-to-brain interface | UW Today

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Wed, 28 Aug 2013 17:29

University of Washington researchers have performed what they believe is the first noninvasive human-to-human brain interface, with one researcher able to send a brain signal via the Internet to control the hand motions of a fellow researcher.

University of Washington

University of Washington researcher Rajesh Rao, left, plays a computer game with his mind. Across campus, researcher Andrea Stocco, right, wears a magnetic stimulation coil over the left motor cortex region of his brain. Stocco's right index finger moved involuntarily to hit the ''fire'' button as part of the first human brain-to-brain interface demonstration.

Using electrical brain recordings and a form of magnetic stimulation, Rajesh Rao sent a brain signal to Andrea Stocco on the other side of the UW campus, causing Stocco's finger to move on a keyboard.

While researchers at Duke University have demonstrated brain-to-brain communication between two rats, and Harvard researchers have demonstrated it between a human and a rat, Rao and Stocco believe this is the first demonstration of human-to-human brain interfacing.

''The Internet was a way to connect computers, and now it can be a way to connect brains,'' Stocco said. ''We want to take the knowledge of a brain and transmit it directly from brain to brain.''

The researchers captured the full demonstration on video recorded in both labs. The following version has been edited for length. This video and high-resolution photos also are available on the research website.

Rao, a UW professor of computer science and engineering, has been working on brain-computer interfacing in his lab for more than 10 years and just published a textbook on the subject. In 2011, spurred by the rapid advances in technology, he believed he could demonstrate the concept of human brain-to-brain interfacing. So he partnered with Stocco, a UW research assistant professor in psychology at the UW's Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences.

On Aug. 12, Rao sat in his lab wearing a cap with electrodes hooked up to an electroencephalography machine, which reads electrical activity in the brain. Stocco was in his lab across campus wearing a purple swim cap marked with the stimulation site for the transcranial magnetic stimulation coil that was placed directly over his left motor cortex, which controls hand movement.

The team had a Skype connection set up so the two labs could coordinate, though neither Rao nor Stocco could see the Skype screens.

Rao looked at a computer screen and played a simple video game with his mind. When he was supposed to fire a cannon at a target, he imagined moving his right hand (being careful not to actually move his hand), causing a cursor to hit the ''fire'' button. Almost instantaneously, Stocco, who wore noise-canceling earbuds and wasn't looking at a computer screen, involuntarily moved his right index finger to push the space bar on the keyboard in front of him, as if firing the cannon. Stocco compared the feeling of his hand moving involuntarily to that of a nervous tic.

''It was both exciting and eerie to watch an imagined action from my brain get translated into actual action by another brain,'' Rao said. ''This was basically a one-way flow of information from my brain to his. The next step is having a more equitable two-way conversation directly between the two brains.''

University of Washington

The cycle of the experiment. Brain signals from the ''Sender'' are recorded. When the computer detects imagined hand movements, a ''fire'' command is transmitted over the Internet to the TMS machine, which causes an upward movement of the right hand of the ''Receiver.'' This usually results in the ''fire'' key being hit.

The technologies used by the researchers for recording and stimulating the brain are both well-known. Electroencephalography, or EEG, is routinely used by clinicians and researchers to record brain activity noninvasively from the scalp. Transcranial magnetic stimulation is a noninvasive way of delivering stimulation to the brain to elicit a response. Its effect depends on where the coil is placed; in this case, it was placed directly over the brain region that controls a person's right hand. By activating these neurons, the stimulation convinced the brain that it needed to move the right hand.

Computer science and engineering undergraduates Matthew Bryan, Bryan Djunaedi, Joseph Wu and Alex Dadgar, along with bioengineering graduate student Dev Sarma, wrote the computer code for the project, translating Rao's brain signals into a command for Stocco's brain.

''Brain-computer interface is something people have been talking about for a long, long time,'' said Chantel Prat, assistant professor in psychology at the UW's Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences, and Stocco's wife and research partner who helped conduct the experiment. ''We plugged a brain into the most complex computer anyone has ever studied, and that is another brain.''

At first blush, this breakthrough brings to mind all kinds of science fiction scenarios. Stocco jokingly referred to it as a ''Vulcan mind meld.'' But Rao cautioned this technology only reads certain kinds of simple brain signals, not a person's thoughts. And it doesn't give anyone the ability to control your actions against your will.

Both researchers were in the lab wearing highly specialized equipment and under ideal conditions. They also had to obtain and follow a stringent set of international human-subject testing rules to conduct the demonstration.

''I think some people will be unnerved by this because they will overestimate the technology,'' Prat said. ''There's no possible way the technology that we have could be used on a person unknowingly or without their willing participation.''

Stocco said years from now the technology could be used, for example, by someone on the ground to help a flight attendant or passenger land an airplane if the pilot becomes incapacitated. Or a person with disabilities could communicate his or her wish, say, for food or water. The brain signals from one person to another would work even if they didn't speak the same language.

Rao and Stocco next plan to conduct an experiment that would transmit more complex information from one brain to the other. If that works, they then will conduct the experiment on a larger pool of subjects.

Their research was funded in part by the National Science Foundation's Engineering Research Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering at the UW, the U.S. Army Research Office and the National Institutes of Health.

For more information, contact Rao at rao@cs.washington.edu or 206-685-9141, and Stocco at stocco@uw.edu or 206-685-8610. Video and high-resolution photos are available on the research website.

Tagged with: Andrea Stocco, brain, Chantel Prat, College of Engineering, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences, psychology, Rajesh Rao

Scientist controls colleague's hand in first human brain-to-brain interface - CNET Mobile

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Thu, 29 Aug 2013 11:05

University of Washington researcher Rajesh Rao sends a brain signal to Andrea Stocco via the Internet, causing Stocco's right hand to move on a keyboard.

University of Washington researcher Rajesh Rao, left, plays a computer game with his mind, while across campus, researcher Andrea Stocco wears a magnetic stimulation coil over the left motor cortex region of his brain.

(Credit: University of Washington)The telepathic cyborg lives, sort of. University of Washington scientists Rajesh Rao and Andrea Stocco claim that they are the first to demonstrate human brain-to-brain communication. Rao sent a signal into a Stocco's brain via the Internet that caused him to move his right hand. Brain-to-brain communication has previously been demonstrated between rats and from humans to rats.

"The experiment is a proof in concept. We have tech to reverse engineer the brain signal and transmit it from one brain to another via computer," said Chantel Prat, an assistant professor of psychology who worked on the project.

In a press release, the experiment was described as follows:

The team had a Skype connection set up so the two labs could coordinate, though neither Rao nor Stocco could see the Skype screens. Rao looked at a computer screen and played a simple video game with his mind. When he was supposed to fire a cannon at a target, he imagined moving his right hand (being careful not to actually move his hand), causing a cursor to hit the "fire" button. Almost instantaneously, Stocco, who wore noise-canceling earbuds and wasn't looking at a computer screen, involuntarily moved his right index finger to push the space bar on the keyboard in front of him, as if firing the cannon. Stocco compared the feeling of his hand moving involuntarily to that of a nervous tic.

The mind-meld between the researchers wasn't seamless. Rao spent time training his mind, with feedback from the computer, to emit the brainwave for moving the right hand so that it could be detected by the computer. "The intention can be as detectable as the movement itself," Prat said. "Brain-computer interfaces have been capturing this with increasing accuracy over the last decade."

When the software sees the right signal it is sent via the Internet to a computer connected to a transcranial magnetic stimulation device, which is positioned on the exact spot of the brain that controls the right hand. "It uses simple physics," Prat said. "When the magnetic field changes, it induces an electrical current, so a signal is sent through the cortex of the brain and excites the neurons, simulating what happens naturally."

The schematic diagram shows how the brainwave signal was transferred from one brain to another.

(Credit: University of Washington)Where does human brain-to-brain communication go from this simple experiment? "It's very much a first step, but it shows what is possible," Prat said.

"Right now the only way to transfer information from one brain to another is with words," she said. With advances in computer science and neuroscience, people could eventually perform complicated tasks, such as flying an airplane, and dancing the tango, by transferring information in a noninvasive way from one brain to another. "You can imagine all complex motor skills, which are difficult to verbalize, are just chains of procedures," Prat said.

More complex cognitive skills, such as understanding algebra and physics could also benefit from the technology. "Ultimately, it's important education and training, especially when knowledge cannot be easily translatable into words." she said.

Prat noted that some people might be nervous about this technology being used to control minds against their will. "The signal is being transmitted remotely through the Internet, but the humans are connected to physical equipment and must be trained to create the right signals. There is no way to control minds without their willingness," Prat said.

At least for now, your mind is safe, but who knows where technology leads.

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NYTimes Revenge Bill

‘Revenge Porn’ Could Be Criminal Offense in CaliforniaBy SOMINI SENGUPTA

On a recent episode of “The Newsroom,” on HBO, the character Sloan Sabbith, a financial reporter, was mortified when an ex-boyfriend posted compromising pictures of her online, which then went viral. Her recourse – on the show at least – was to track down the offending creep and punch him.

If Ms. Sabbith were living in California, she would be closely following the deliberations of the state Legislature here this week. A proposal, to be debated Tuesday in the Assembly, could let victims of so-called revenge porn see their vindictive ex-lovers go to jail for up to a year.

The bill passed the state Senate earlier this summer. It would make it a criminal misdemeanor to post nude or revealing pictures that may have once been taken with a subject’s consent. The practice has become increasingly common, victims’ advocates say. And it poses a vexing legal question, pitting the rights of victims against the principles of free expression. Making matters more complicated is the fact that sites that host these user-generated images are usually immune from civil liability under federal law.

The California proposal is among a few state measures meant to designate revenge porn as a specific crime. New Jersey has one on the books. Florida floated a similar bill earlier this year, which free-speech advocates decried as overly broad. The California proposal, in its current form, differs in that it has been amended to specifically address people who distribute images “with the intent to cause serious emotional distress.”

The measure covers photos and video recordings of a person in “a state of full or partial undress in any area in which the person being photographed or recorded has a reasonable expectation of privacy.”

The question, though, is whether a new practice, enabled by the Internet, deserves a new law – or whether instead existing statutes provide enough protection.

“I’m unclear exactly how much ground the new law would cover that isn’t already covered by existing laws, such as anti-harassment/anti-stalking laws,” said Eric Goldman, a law professor at Santa Clara University, who has warned against newly criminalizing new online behaviors, “As usual, one of the key questions is how existing law has failed and what behavior is being newly criminalized.”

The American Civil Liberties Union opposed the measure when it was originally introduced and has said nothing about the latest amendments.

Its advocates argue that a specific statute is necessary because existing anti-stalking and harassment laws generally cover a repeated pattern of posting such images, and not one particular instance, which itself can be damaging. What’s more, they say, making the posting of these images a punishable offense under a new law would send a message to police and prosecutors. “It signals taking the issue seriously, that harms are serious enough to be criminalized,” said Danielle Citron, a law professor at the University of Maryland.

As for free expression, she argued that the law should distinguish between images that are meant to be public – protest art, for instance, which should get the highest First Amendment protection – and those that are meant to be private, like nude pictures.

Complicating matters, nonconsensual pornography, as the practice is sometimes called, doesn’t involve only a victim and a perpetrator. One person might record the image with the subject’s consent and post without consent, while another entity can host it – several Web sites specialize in doing just that – and many other Internet users can in turn spread that image far and wide in a matter of hours, or less.

“It’s not entirely clear what the culpability of each of these actors are in many contexts, or if they should equally be held liable,” said Woodrow Hartzog, a law professor at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala. He suggested using other laws, like breach of trust, to go after the individuals who post the material.

Web sites that host these images have a strong ally in Section 230 of the federal Communications Decency Act, which protects third-party platforms from liability for user-generated content. There have been efforts to weaken that immunity, most recently by a coalition of state prosecutors that urged Congress to amend the statute. They have been loudly criticized by some Internet free-speech advocates.

Agenda 21

5 Terrifying Statements in the Leaked Climate Report | Mother Jones

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Mon, 26 Aug 2013 14:46

Climate Desk has obtained a leaked copy of the draft Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's 2013 Summary for Policymakers report, which other media outlets are also reporting on. The document is dated June 7, 2013. We recognize, as we've previously reported, that this document is not final, and is in fact certain to change.

Most media outlets are focusing on the document's conclusion that it is now "extremely likely"'--or, 95 percent certain'--that humans are behind much of the global warming seen over the last six decades. But there is much more of note about the document'--for instance, the way it doesn't hold back. It says, very bluntly, just how bad global warming is going to be. It gives a sense of irreversibility, of scale'...and, of direness.

In particular, here are five "holy crap" statements from the new draft report:

We're on course to change the planet in a way "unprecedented in hundreds to thousands of years." This is a general statement in the draft report about the consequences of continued greenhouse gas emissions "at or above current rates." Unprecedented changes will sweep across planetary systems, ranging from sea level to the acidification of the ocean.

Ocean acidification is "virtually certain" to increase. Under all report scenarios, the acidification of the world's oceans will increase'--the draft report calls this outcome "virtually certain." As we have previously reported, more acidity "threatens the survival of entire ecosystems from phytoplankton to coral reefs, and from Antarctic systems reliant on sea urchins to many human food webs dependent on everything from oysters to salmon."

Long-term, sea level rise could be 5 to 10 meters. Journalists are already citing the draft report's prediction that by the year 2100, we could see as much as three feet of sea level rise. But there is also a more long-range sea level scenario alluded to in the draft report, and it's far more dramatic and alarming.

Taking a look at the planet's distant past, the document ascribes "very high confidence" to the idea that sea levels were "at least 5 [meters] higher" during the last interglacial period, some 129,000 to 116,000 years ago. It also adds that sea level during this period probably did not exceed 10 meters higher than present levels. Finally, the draft report says, with "medium confidence," that temperatures at that time weren't more than 2 degrees Celsius warmer than "pre-industrial" levels.

Add it all up, and what that means is that if we exceed 2 degrees of warming beyond pre-industrial levels, then we could be looking at radically higher oceans, and submerged coastal cities, in the long run. And just how close are we to exceeding 2 degrees Celsius? Several scenarios used for the draft report project "high confidence" that we'll get there by the end of the century. At that point, seas would continue to rise well beyond the year 2100, and by much more than three feet.

This also implies a substantial melting of the Greenland ice sheet. The draft report adds that during the last interglacial period, the melting of Greenland "very likely" contributed between 1.4 and 4.3 meters of global sea level rise, with additional contributions coming from the melting of Antarctica. If Greenland were to melt entirely, it is estimated that sea level would rise by about seven meters.

Thus, a substantial Greenland melting could also be set in motion by the end of this century, which would eventually result in dramatic sea level increases. To be sure, most of this wouldn't occur during the current century'--it would play out on a much longer time scale. But over 1,000 years or more, the draft report says, Greenland could melt almost entirely, and much of the change might be "irreversible." (Granted, the report expresses low confidence about the precise temperature threshold required to bring about a full melting of Greenland.)

Much of the carbon we've emitted will stay in the atmosphere for a millennium'...even after we've stopped emitting it. The draft report says that 20 percent of the carbon dioxide currently in the atmosphere will stay there for an almost unimaginably long time'--more than 1,000 years. Even if we were to completely cease all greenhouse gas emissions, the draft report adds, warming would continue for "many centuries." "A large fraction of climate change," the document intones, "is thus irreversible on a human time scale." The only way out would be if our emission levels were "strongly negative for a sustained period"'--which, to put it mildly, seems highly unlikely.

Climate Panel Cites Near Certainty on Warming - NYTimes.com

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Mon, 26 Aug 2013 14:46

An international panel of scientists has found with near certainty that human activity is the cause of most of the temperature increases of recent decades, and warns that sea levels could conceivably rise by more than three feet by the end of the century if emissions continue at a runaway pace.

The scientists, whose findings are reported in a draft summary of the next big United Nations climate report, largely dismiss a recent slowdown in the pace of warming, which is often cited by climate change doubters, attributing it most likely to short-term factors.

The report emphasizes that the basic facts about future climate change are more established than ever, justifying the rise in global concern. It also reiterates that the consequences of escalating emissions are likely to be profound.

''It is extremely likely that human influence on climate caused more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010,'' the draft report says. ''There is high confidence that this has warmed the ocean, melted snow and ice, raised global mean sea level and changed some climate extremes in the second half of the 20th century.''

The level of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, is up 41 percent since the Industrial Revolution. Emissions from facilities like coal-fired power plants contribute.

Gene Wong / FEATURECHINA, via European Pressphoto Agency

The draft comes from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a body of several hundred scientists that won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, along with Al Gore. Its summaries, published every five or six years, are considered the definitive assessment of the risks of climate change, and they influence the actions of governments around the world. Hundreds of billions of dollars are being spent on efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions, for instance, largely on the basis of the group's findings.

The coming report will be the fifth major assessment from the group, created in 1988. Each report has found greater certainty that the planet is warming and greater likelihood that humans are the primary cause.

The 2007 report found ''unequivocal'' evidence of warming, but hedged a little on responsibility, saying the chances were at least 90 percent that human activities were the cause. The language in the new draft is stronger, saying the odds are at least 95 percent that humans are the principal cause.

On sea level, which is one of the biggest single worries about climate change, the new report goes well beyond the assessment published in 2007, which largely sidestepped the question of how much the ocean could rise this century.

The new report also reiterates a core difficulty that has plagued climate science for decades: While averages for such measures as temperature can be predicted with some confidence on a global scale, the coming changes still cannot be forecast reliably on a local scale. That leaves governments and businesses fumbling in the dark as they try to plan ahead.

On another closely watched issue, the scientists retreated slightly from their 2007 position.

Regarding the question of how much the planet could warm if carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere doubled, the previous report largely ruled out any number below 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. The new draft says the rise could be as low as 2.7 degrees, essentially restoring a scientific consensus that prevailed from 1979 to 2007.

But the draft says only that the low number is possible, not that it is likely. Many climate scientists see only a remote chance that the warming will be that low, with the published evidence suggesting that an increase above 5 degrees Fahrenheit is more likely if carbon dioxide doubles.

The level of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, is up 41 percent since the Industrial Revolution, and if present trends continue it could double in a matter of decades.

Warming the entire planet by 5 degrees Fahrenheit would add a stupendous amount of energy to the climate system. Scientists say the increase would be greater over land and might exceed 10 degrees at the poles.

They add that such an increase would lead to widespread melting of land ice, extreme heat waves, difficulty growing food and massive changes in plant and animal life, probably including a wave of extinctions.

The new document is not final and will not become so until an intensive, closed-door negotiating session among scientists and government leaders in Stockholm in late September. But if the past is any guide, most of the core findings of the document will survive that final review.

The document was leaked over the weekend after it was sent to a large group of people who had signed up to review it. It was first reported on in detail by the Reuters news agency, and The New York Times obtained a copy independently to verify its contents.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change does no original research, but instead periodically assesses and summarizes the published scientific literature on climate change.

The draft document ''is likely to change in response to comments from governments received in recent weeks and will also be considered by governments and scientists at a four-day approval session at the end of September,'' the panel's spokesman, Jonathan Lynn, said in a statement Monday. ''It is therefore premature and could be misleading to attempt to draw conclusions from it.''

After winning the Nobel Peace Prize six years ago, the group became a political target for climate doubters, who helped identify minor errors in the 2007 report. This time, the panel adopted rigorous procedures in the hope of preventing such mistakes.

Some climate doubters challenge the idea that the earth is warming at all; others concede that it is, but deny human responsibility; still others acknowledge a human role, but assert that the warming is likely to be limited and the impacts manageable. Every major scientific academy in the world has warned that global warming is a serious problem.

The panel shifted to a wider range for the potential warming, dropping the plausible low end to 2.7 degrees, after a wave of recent studies saying higher estimates were unlikely. But those studies are contested, and scientists at Stockholm are likely to debate whether to stick with that language.

Michael E. Mann, a climate scientist at Pennsylvania State University, said he feared the intergovernmental panel, in writing its draft, had been influenced by criticism from climate doubters, who advocate even lower numbers. ''I think the I.P.C.C. on this point has once again erred on the side of understating the degree of the likely changes,'' Dr. Mann said.

However, Christopher B. Field, a researcher at the Carnegie Institution for Science who serves on the panel but was not directly involved in the new draft, said the group had to reflect the full range of plausible scientific views.

''I think that the I.P.C.C. has a tradition of being very conservative,'' Dr. Field said. ''They really want the story to be right.''

Regarding the likely rise in sea level over the coming century, the new report lays out several possibilities. In the most optimistic, the world's governments would prove far more successful at getting emissions under control than they have been in the recent past, helping to limit the total warming.

In that circumstance, sea level could be expected to rise as little as 10 inches by the end of the century, the report found. That is a bit more than the eight-inch increase in the 20th century, which proved manageable even though it caused severe erosion along the world's shorelines.

At the other extreme, the report considers a chain of events in which emissions continue to increase at a swift pace. Under those conditions, sea level could be expected to rise at least 21 inches by 2100 and might increase a bit more than three feet, the draft report said.

Hundreds of millions of people live near sea level, and either figure would represent a challenge for humanity, scientists say. But a three-foot rise in particular would endanger many of the world's great cities '-- among them New York; London; Shanghai; Venice; Sydney, Australia; Miami; and New Orleans.

BBC News - Global warming slowdown linked to cooler Pacific waters

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Thu, 29 Aug 2013 03:43

28 August 2013Last updated at13:02 ETBy Matt McGrathEnvironment correspondent, BBC NewsScientists say the slow down in global warming since 1998 can be explained by a natural cooling in part of the Pacific ocean.

Although they cover just 8% of the Earth, these colder waters counteracted some of the effect of increased carbon dioxide say the researchers.

But temperatures will rise again when the Pacific swings back to a warmer state, they argue.

The research is published in the journal Nature.

Climate sceptics and some scientists have argued that since 1998, there has been no significant global warming despite ever increasing amounts of carbon dioxide being emitted.

Continue reading the main storyWe're pretty confident that the swing up will come some time in the future, but the current science can't predict when that will be''

End QuoteProf Shang-Ping XieScripps InsitutionFor supporters of the idea that man made emissions are driving up temperatures, the pause has become increasingly difficult to ignore.

Scientists have tried to explain it using a number of different theories but so far there is no general agreement on the cause.

"For people on the street it is very confusing as to which story is closer to the truth," lead author, Prof Shang-Ping Xie from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography told BBC News.

"We felt a similar contradiction and that's why we started doing these modelling studies."

Cooling the carbonProf Xie said there were two possible reasons why the continuing flow of CO2 has not driven the mercury higher.

The first is that water vapour, soot and other aerosols in the atmosphere have reflected sunlight back into space and thereby had a cooling effect on the Earth.

The second is natural variability in the climate, especially the impact of cooling waters in the tropical Pacific ocean.

Although it only covers 8.2% of the planet, the region is sometimes called the engine room of the world's climate system and atmospheric circulation.

Researchers already know that a naturally occurring cycle in this area, called the El Nino-Southern Oscillation, has a major impact on global climate.

But Prof Xie and colleagues were interested in a different cycle called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation that lasts for a much longer period of time.

To test his theory, Prof Xie and his colleagues developed a dynamic climate model that measured the greenhouse effect on temperatures but also included records of sea surface temperatures in this region of the eastern Pacific.

"Previous efforts using climate models take radiative forcing as the only input, externally, and they produce a temperature record close to observations except for the past 15 years," said Prof Xie.

"Only when we input equatorial Pacific ocean temperatures into our model, were we able to reproduce the flattening of the temperature record."

Swing continuesThis model also explains some of the other contradictions seen since temperatures flat lined.

There have been major heat waves in Europe in 2003, Russia in 2010 and in the US in 2012.

Arctic sea ice also dropped to its lowest recorded level in 2012. All these are indications that the climate is continuing to warm, but the global average temperature has remained below the figure for 1998.

"The solution to this contradiction is that temperature has behaved differently between winter and summer seasons," said Prof Xie.

"The influence of the equatorial Pacific ocean is strongest in winter but weakest during the summer, so CO2 can keep working on the temperature and sea ice in the Arctic over the summer."

The last time the Pacific was in a relatively cold state was in the 30 year period from the 1940s to 1970s said Prof Xie and that coincides with the last hiatus in climate warming.

But the researchers warn that the impact of this multi-decadal cool trend will come to an end and will be replaced by a warming one. Global temperatures will rise once again.

"We're pretty confident that the swing up will come some time in the future, but the current science can't predict when that will be," said Prof Xie.

Other scientists have welcomed the study saying it offers a coherent explanation of the slowdown.

"The new simulation accurately reproduces the timing and pattern of changes that have occurred over the last four decades with remarkable skill, " said Dr Alex Sen Gupta from the University of New South Wales.

"This clearly shows that the recent slowdown is a consequence of a natural oscillation."

Other researchers believe the new work supports the idea that the heat in the atmosphere has gone into the oceans.

"This new study adds further evidence that the recent slowdown in the rate of global warming at the Earth's surface is explained by natural fluctuations in the ocean and is therefore likely to be a temporary respite from warming in response to rising concentrations of greenhouse gases," said Dr Richard Allan from the University of Reading.

Dr Will Hobbs from Australia's Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies agrees.

He said: "Over the period that the authors analysed, observations showed a continued trapping of heat in the Earth's climate system, despite the temporary slowdown in surface warming, and an important question that the paper does not address is where this energy has gone.

"Almost certainly it is in the deep ocean."

Follow Matt on Twitter.

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"Free" Energy

Trompe - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Mon, 26 Aug 2013 18:23

A trompe is a water-powered gas compressor, commonly used before the advent of the electric-powered compressor. A trompe is somewhat like an airlift pump working in reverse.

Trompes were used to provide compressed air for bloomery furnaces in Catalonia[1] and the USA.[2] The presence of a trompe is a signature attribute of a Catalan forge, a type of bloomery furnace.

In Paris they were used for a time to compress air to drive the city's first electricity generation scheme, and in the Alps they were used in France and Switzerland to provide compressed air for early alpine tunnels.[3]

Trompes can be enormous. At Canadian Hydro Developers' Ragged Chute facility in New Liskeard, Ontario, water falls down a shaft 351 feet (107 m) deep and 9 ft (2.7 m) across to generate compressed air for mining equipment and ventilation.[4]

Trompes are very simple devices. A vertical pipe or shaft goes down to a separation chamber, a pipe coming away from that chamber allows the water to exit at a lower level, and another pipe coming from the chamber allows the compressed air to exit as needed.

Water rushing down the vertical pipe falls through a constriction. The constriction produces a lower pressure because of the venturi effect, and an external port allows air to be sucked in. The air forms bubbles in the pipe. As the bubbles go down the pipe they are pressurized proportionally to the hydraulic head, which is the height of the column of water in the pipe. The compressed air rises to the top of the separation chamber. The separation chamber has a compressed-air takeoff pipe, and the compressed air can be used as a power source.

The energy of the falling water entrains the air into the water, but that is not the energy that pressurizes the air, as is often incorrectly claimed. That energy is solely a derivative of the hydraulic head.

Large trompes were often situated at high waterfalls so that plenty of power was available. The Ragged Chute plant on the Montreal River near the town of Cobalt, Ontario, is a trompe and tourist attraction. It is now owned by Canadian Hydro and exists beside a modern hydroelectric plant.[4]

Compressed air from a trompe is at the temperature of the water, and its partial pressure of water vapor is that of the dewpoint of the water's temperature. If the water is cool, the compressed air can be made very dry by passing it through pipes that are warmer than the water. Often, ordinary outside air can warm the pipes enough to produce very dry, cool compressed air.

^The Catalan process for the direct production of malleable iron and its spread to Europe and the Americas PDF by Estanislau Tom s (retrieved March 23, 2010)^Bond, A. Russel (1939). The Story of Mechanics. New York: P. F. Collier & Son Corporation. pp. 90''93. ^Bell, Louis (1901). Electric Power Transmission: A Practical Treatise for Practical Men. New York: Electrical World and Engineer. ^ abRagged Chutes

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SNow in Brazil-Onda de Frio no Brasil -

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Tue, 27 Aug 2013 15:26

Onda de Frio no Brasil - Eventos - UOL Not­ciasOnda de frio no BrasilOnda de frio no BrasilInformacoes sobre o albumeditoria: "esporte"galeria:link:totalImagens: 200fotoInicial: 1imagePath:baixaResolucao: 0ordem: ASClegendaPos:timestamp: 20100924183801Fotos

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26.ago.2013 - S£o Joaquim (SC) registrou neve pela quarta vez em um ano na noite desta segunda-feira (26)Dionata Costa/S£o Joaquim OnlineMais

26.ago.2013 - S£o Joaquim (SC) registrou neve pela quarta vez em um ano na noite desta segunda-feira (26)Dionata Costa/S£o Joaquim OnlineMais

26.ago.2013 - S£o Joaquim (SC) registrou neve pela quarta vez em um ano na noite desta segunda-feira (26)Dionata Costa/S£o Joaquim OnlineMais

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15.ago.2013 - Santa Maria, regi£o central do Rio Grande do Sul, amanheceu com forte neblina e forma§£o de geada, nesta quinta-feira (15). Por volta das 9h, os term´metros marcavam 6,3ºC no munic­pio. Ao amanhecer, todas as cidades do Estado registravam temperaturas abaixo de 10ºCClaudio Vaz/Agªncia RBSMais

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15.ago.2013 - Pedestre enfrenta forte frio na manh£ desta quinta-feira (15) na avenida Ibirapuera, zona sul de S£o PauloRenato S. Cerqueira/Futura PressMais

14.ago.2013 - Homem observa os flocos de neve que voltaram a cair sobre a cidade de S£o Joaquim, em Santa Catarina, nesta quarta-feira (13). A queda de neve, que come§ou por volta das 7h05, durou cerca de 20 minutos. Os term´metros chegaram a marcar -0,1°C. Esta (C) a terceira vez que neva na cidade da serra catarinense neste anoEduarda Kuquertt/S£o Joaquim OnlineMais

14.ago.2013 - A cidade de S£o Joaquim, em Santa Catarina, voltou a registrar neve na manh£ desta quarta-feira (14). A queda de neve, que come§ou por volta das 7h05, durou cerca de 20 minutos. Os term´metros chegaram a marcar -0,1°C. Esta (C) a terceira vez que neva na cidade da serra catarinense neste anoWagner Urbano/On JackMais

14.ago.2013 - A cidade de S£o Joaquim, em Santa Catarina, voltou a registrar neve na manh£ desta quarta-feira (14). A queda de neve, que come§ou por volta das 7h05, durou cerca de 20 minutos. Os term´metros chegaram a marcar -0,1°C. Esta (C) a terceira vez que neva na cidade da serra catarinense neste anoWagner Urbano/On JackMais

14.ago.2013 - A cidade de S£o Joaquim, em Santa Catarina, voltou a registrar neve na manh£ desta quarta-feira (14). A queda de neve, que come§ou por volta das 7h05, durou cerca de 20 minutos. Os term´metros chegaram a marcar -0,1°C. Esta (C) a terceira vez que neva na cidade da serra catarinense neste anoWagner Urbano/On JackMais

14.ago.2013 - A cidade de S£o Joaquim, em Santa Catarina, voltou a registrar neve na manh£ desta quarta-feira (14). A queda de neve, que come§ou por volta das 7h05, durou cerca de 20 minutos. Os term´metros chegaram a marcar -0,1°C. Esta (C) a terceira vez que neva na cidade da serra catarinense neste anoWagner Urbano/On JackMais

14.ago.2013 - Geada modifica paisagem em Urubici (SC) nesta quarta-feira (14). Em S£o Joaquim, na Serra de Santa Catarina, a neve caiu por cerca de 20 minutos pela manh£Alvarelio Kurossu/Agªncia RBSMais

14.ago.2013 - Urubici (SC) amanheceu nesta quarta-feira (14) com os campos cobertos de geloAlvarelio Kurossu/Agªncia RBSMais

14.ago.2013 - Turistas enfrentam chuva e frio na cidade de Gramado (RS), nesta quarta-feira (14), para prestigiar o Festival de Cinema de GramadoCau Guebo/Futura PressMais

Transeuntes se protegem do frio e chuva na manh£ desta quarta-feira (14), em Caxias do Sul (RS), com temperatura de 6ºCLuca Erbes/Futura PressMais

14.ago.2013 - A cidade de S£o Joaquim, em Santa Catarina, voltou a registrar neve na manh£ desta quarta-feira (14). A queda de neve, que come§ou por volta das 7h05, durou cerca de 20 minutos. Os term´metros chegaram a marcar -0,1°C. Esta (C) a terceira vez que neva na cidade da serra catarinense neste anoDionata Costa/S£o Joaquim OnlineMais

14.ago.2013 - A cidade de S£o Joaquim, em Santa Catarina, voltou a registrar neve na manh£ desta quarta-feira (14). A queda de neve, que come§ou por volta das 7h05, durou cerca de 20 minutos. Os term´metros chegaram a marcar -0,1°C. Esta (C) a terceira vez que neva na cidade da serra catarinense neste anoDionata Costa/S£o Joaquim OnlineMais

14.ago.2013 - A cidade de S£o Joaquim, em Santa Catarina, voltou a registrar neve na manh£ desta quarta-feira (14). A queda de neve, que come§ou por volta das 7h05, durou cerca de 20 minutos. Os term´metros chegaram a marcar -0,1°C. Esta (C) a terceira vez que neva na cidade da serra catarinense neste anoDionata Costa/S£o Joaquim OnlineMais

11.ago.2013 - Temperatura pr"xima de 0ºC provoca a forma§£o de geada em alguns pontos da cidade de Sant'Ana do Livramento, no Rio Grande do Sul, neste domingo (11)Fabian Ribeiro/Futura PressMais

31.jul.2013 - A queda das temperaturas durante o inverno trouxe mudan§as na rotina e na alimenta§£o dos animais do Jardim Zool"gico do Rio de Janeiro. Assim que o term´metro marca 20ºC, os t(C)cnicos do parque passam a oferecer um cardpio mais variado aos bichos, como sopas de ervilha e de legumes e cremes de milho e de espinafre. O Zoo tamb(C)m colocou cobertores e aquecedores nos recintos dos r(C)pteis e mantas nos dos mam­feros, al(C)m de podar rvores para facilitar maior entrada de sol nos espa§os dos animais. Acima, a chimpanz(C) Yoko toma creme de milho na canecaDivulga§£oMais

29.jul.2013 - Luiz Gustavo Knechtel mostrou a Serra do Rio do Rastro, em Lauro Muller (SC), coberta pelo gelo no dia 24Luiz Gustavo Knechtel/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

29.jul.2013 - As temperaturas se mantiveram baixas em Monte Verde (MG) durante o fim de semana. O internauta Sidnei Macedo mostra a geada cobrindo a paisagemSidnei Macedo/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

29.jul.2013 - As temperaturas se mantiveram abaixo de zero em Monte Verde (MG) durante o fim de semana, mostra o internauta Sidnei MacedoSidnei Macedo/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

29.jul.2013 - O internauta Antonio Teixeira mostra que o Rio de Janeiro n£o vive s" dias quentes. Em Nova Friburgo, na regi£o serrana do Estado, o term´metro marcou o frio de 0ºCAntonio Teixeira /Vocª Manda/UOLMais

29.jul.2013 - Nelza Zadorosny caminha pela rua Nereu Ramos, no centro de Itai"polis (SC), coberta pela neveNelza ZadorosnyMais

29.jul.2013 - Mrcia Francine Broietti mostra que o a paisagem verde de Guarapuava (PR) deu lugar neve no dia 22 de julho. "Natureza linda, poderosa, surpreendente, indescrit­vel!", descreveu a internautaMrcia Francine Broietti/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

29.jul.2013 - Mrcia Francine Broietti mostra que o a paisagem verde de Guarapuava (PR) deu lugar neve no dia 22 de julho. "Natureza linda, poderosa, surpreendente, indescrit­vel!", descreveu a internautaMrcia Francine Broietti/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

29.jul.2013 - Mrcia Francine Broietti mostra que o a paisagem verde de Guarapuava (PR) deu lugar neve no dia 22 de julho. "Natureza linda, poderosa, surpreendente, indescrit­vel!", descreveu a internautaMrcia Francine Broietti/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

29.jul.2013 - Mrcia Francine Broietti mostra que o a paisagem verde de Guarapuava (PR) deu lugar neve no dia 22 de julho. "Natureza linda, poderosa, surpreendente, indescrit­vel!", descreveu a internautaMrcia Francine Broietti/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

29.jul.2013 - Mrcia Francine Broietti mostra que o a paisagem verde de Guarapuava (PR) deu lugar neve no dia 22 de julho. "Natureza linda, poderosa, surpreendente, indescrit­vel!", descreveu a internautaMrcia Francine Broietti/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

29.jul.2013 - J(C)ssica Seredniski Melnek levou a sobrinha de seis meses para ver a neve em Papanduva (SC) no dia 24 de julhoJ(C)ssica Seredniski Melnek/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

29.jul.2013 - O casaco de Carolina Volkmann mostra que a neve que caiu em Canoinhas (SC) na semana passada foi forteCarolina VolkmannMais

29.jul.2013 - Carlos Eduardo Tossin fez bela imagem do Parque do Lago, em Guarapuava (PR), durante a onda de frio que fez nevar em mais de cem cidades brasileiras na semana passadaCarlos Eduardo Tossin/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

29.jul.2013 - O analista ambientalista Carlos Ribeiro e o t(C)cnico administrativo Hip"lito Barbosa foram fotografados em frente Capela Nossa Senhora de Ftima, na Floresta Nacional de Trªs Barras (SC), que ficou coberta pela neve no ºltimo dia 23Artur Battisti/ICMBio/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

29.jul.2013 - Franca (SP) amanheceu em meio forte neblina no dia 24 de julho, mostra imagem da pra§a Carlos Pacheco feita pelo internauta Mrcio Luis CesrioMrcio Luis Cesrio/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

29.jul.2013 - A internauta Joice Gmach Bandeira enviou imagens da neve cobrindo a paisagem de Papanduva (SC) entre os dias 22 e 23 de julhoJoice Gmach Bandeira/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

29.jul.2013 - A internauta Joice Gmach Bandeira enviou imagens da neve cobrindo a paisagem de Papanduva (SC) entre os dias 22 e 23 de julhoJoice Gmach Bandeira/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

29.jul.2013 - A internauta Joice Gmach Bandeira fotografou seu cachorro brincando no quintal coberto de neve durante a onda de frio que atingiu Papanduva (SC) entre os dias 22 e 23Joice Gmach Bandeira/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

29.jul.2013 - Amadeu Jo£o Inocªncio posou com um boneco de neve no acostamento da BR 116, no caminho entre Lages e Mafra, em Santa Catarina, no dia 23Amadeu Jo£o Inocªncio/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

29.jul.2013 - A frio em Papanduva (SC) foi t£o intenso na semana passada, que um boneco de neve resistiu quatro dias debaixo do sol no jardim em frente ao F"rum de Justi§a da cidade, mostra Anderson Martins dos SantosAnderson Martins dos Santos/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

29.jul.2013 - A neve come§ou a cair em Papanduva (SC) na noite do dia 22, por volta das 21h, e s" terminou depois de mais de seis horas, relata Anderson Martins dos Santos. O internauta fez vrias fotos da cidade nesse per­odo, como o das filhas gªmeas brincando no quintal de casaAnderson Martins dos Santos/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

29.jul.2013 - A neve come§ou a cair em Papanduva (SC) na noite do dia 22, por volta das 21h, e s" terminou depois de mais de seis horas, relata Anderson Martins dos Santos. O internauta fez vrias fotos da cidade, do F"rum, do quintal de casa e da pra§a central nesse per­odoAnderson Martins dos Santos/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

29.jul.2013 - O internauta Audemir Moura Holpert registrou a neve e a geada que cobriram a cidade de S£o Bonifcio (PR) entre os dias 23 e 24Audemir Moura Holpert/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

29.jul.2013 - O internauta Audemir Moura Holpert registrou a neve e a geada que cobriram a cidade de S£o Bonifcio (PR) entre os dias 23 e 24Audemir Moura Holpert/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

29.jul.2013 - O internauta Audemir Moura Holpert registrou a neve e a geada que cobriram a cidade de S£o Bonifcio (PR) entre os dias 23 e 24Audemir Moura Holpert/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

29.jul.2013 - O internauta Audemir Moura Holpert registrou a neve e a geada que cobriram a cidade de S£o Bonifcio (PR) entre os dias 23 e 24Audemir Moura Holpert/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

29.jul.2013 - O internauta Audemir Moura Holpert registrou a neve e a geada que cobriram a cidade de S£o Bonifcio (PR) entre os dias 23 e 24Audemir Moura Holpert/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

26.jul.2013 - O internauta John Ariel Olsen de Ca§ador (SC) registrou imagens da geada na cidade em 24 de julhoJohn Ariel Olsen/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

26.jul.2013 - O internauta John Ariel Olsen de Ca§ador (SC) registrou imagens da geada na cidade em 24 de julhoJohn Ariel Olsen/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

26.jul.2013 - Fotos tiradas por Maria Cludia Verdan Cisz mostram a neve cobrindo a cidade de Trªs Barras (SC) no dia 23 de JulhoMaria Cludia Verdan Cisz/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

26.jul.2013 - Fotos tiradas por Maria Cludia Verdan Cisz mostram a neve cobrindo a cidade de Trªs Barras (SC) no dia 23 de JulhoMaria Cludia Verdan Cisz/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

26.jul.2013 - Fotos tiradas por Maria Cludia Verdan Cisz mostram a neve cobrindo a cidade de Trªs Barras (SC) no dia 23 de JulhoMaria Cludia Verdan Cisz/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

26.jul.2013 - Fotos tiradas por Maria Cludia Verdan Cisz mostram a neve cobrindo a cidade de Trªs Barras (SC) no dia 23 de JulhoMaria Cludia Verdan Cisz/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

26.jul.2013 - O internauta Nelson Yoshinori Hamasaki mostra neve em Canoinhas (SC)Nelson Yoshinori Hamasaki/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

26.jul.2013 - Valdinei A. Reis mandou fotos da neve em S£o Mateus do Sul (PR)Valdinei A. Reis/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

26.jul.2013 - Vinicius Oliveira A. Reis e Bianca Maria C. Oliveira mostram neve em S£o Mateus do Sul (PR)Valdinei A. Reis/Bianca Maria C. Oliveira/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

26.jul.2013 - Valdinei A. Reis e Orelio Moreira dos Santos mostram neve em S£o Mateus do Sul (PR)Valdinei A. Reis/Orelio Moreira dos Santos/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

26.jul.2013 - Orelio Moreira dos Santos mostra neve na cidade de S£o Mateus do Sul (PR)Valdinei Andrade Reis/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

26.jul.2013 - Internauta Mariana Burato mostra imagem de 24 de julho da cidade de Dourados, no Mato Grosso do Sul (MS), e comenta: ''E quem disse que no MS n£o faz frio?''Mariana Burato/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

26.jul.2013 - A internauta Marivanda Bortoloso Pigatto enviou fotos do planalto norte de Santa Catarina, que integram o roteiro tur­stico dos Caminhos do ContestadoMarivanda Bortoloso Pigatto/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

26.jul.2013 - A internauta Marivanda Bortoloso Pigatto enviou fotos do planalto norte de Santa Catarina, que integram o roteiro tur­stico dos Caminhos do ContestadoMarivanda Bortoloso Pigatto/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

26.jul.2013 - A internauta Marivanda Bortoloso Pigatto enviou fotos do planalto norte de Santa Catarina, que integram o roteiro tur­stico dos Caminhos do ContestadoMarivanda Bortoloso Pigatto/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

26.jul.2013 - A internauta Marivanda Bortoloso Pigatto enviou fotos do planalto norte de Santa Catarina, que integram o roteiro tur­stico dos Caminhos do ContestadoMarivanda Bortoloso Pigatto/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

26.jul.2013 - A internauta Marivanda Bortoloso Pigatto enviou fotos do planalto norte de Santa Catarina, que integram o roteiro tur­stico dos Caminhos do ContestadoMarivanda Bortoloso Pigatto/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

26.jul.2013 - A internauta J(C)ssica Seredniski Melnek mostra como ficou a paisagem de Papanduva (SC), onde nevou dia 23 de julhoJ(C)ssica Seredniski Melnek/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

26.jul.2013 - A internauta J(C)ssica Seredniski Melnek mostra como ficou a paisagem de Papanduva (SC), onde nevou dia 23 de julhoJ(C)ssica Seredniski Melnek/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

26.jul.2013 - A internauta J(C)ssica Seredniski Melnek mostra como ficou a paisagem de Papanduva (SC), onde nevou dia 23 de julhoJ(C)ssica Seredniski Melnek/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

26.jul.2013 - A internauta J(C)ssica Seredniski Melnek mostra como ficou a paisagem de Papanduva (SC), onde nevou dia 23 de julhoJ(C)ssica Seredniski Melnek/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

26.jul.2013 - A internauta J(C)ssica Seredniski Melnek mostra como ficou a paisagem de Papanduva (SC), onde nevou dia 23 de julhoJ(C)ssica Seredniski Melnek/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

26.jul.2013 - A internauta J(C)ssica Seredniski Melnek mostra como ficou a paisagem de Papanduva (SC), onde nevou dia 23 de julhoJ(C)ssica Seredniski Melnek/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

26.jul.2013 - A internauta Giorgia Waldmann mostra como ficou a cidade de Canoinhas (SC). A foto foi registrada por mim na Pra§a Osvaldo de Oliveira, no centro da cidadeGiorgia Waldmann/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

26.jul.2013 - O internauta Jo£o Paulo Cubas de Iren"polis (SC), onde nevou, enviou fotos com a fam­liaJo£o Paulo Cubas/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

26.jul.2013 - O internauta Jo£o Paulo Cubas de Iren"polis (SC), onde nevou, enviou fotosJo£o Paulo Cubas/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

26.jul.2013 - A internauta Michele Monique Nunes mostra a neve em Canoinhas (SC) no dia 23 de julhoMichele Monique Nunes/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

26.jul.2013 - O internauta Luiz C Rocha mostra o boneco de neve que fez com o filho, Matheus Henrique, na cidade de Canoinhas (SC) em 22 de julhoLuiz C Rocha/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

26.jul.2013 - O internauta Luiz C Rocha mostra a neve na cidade de Canoinhas (SC) em 22 de julhoLuiz C Rocha/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

26.jul.2013 - O internauta Angelo Schulka brincou: At(C) a prtica de esqui foi poss­vel em Canoinhas (SC). Imagem foi tirada em frente sua casaAngelo Schulka/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

26.jul.2013 - O internauta Angelo Schulka tirou tamb(C)m uma foto no portal da cidade de Canoinhas (SC)Angelo Schulka/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

26.jul.2013 - A internauta Ghessi Buco enviou uma imagem de Rio Azul (PR) e disse que at(C) s 16h daquele dia a neve ainda permanecia na cidadeGhessi Buco/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

26.jul.2013 - Carlos Ribeiro, analista ambiental do ICMBio, mostra imagens de 23 de julho da capela Nossa Senhora de Ftima, na Floresta Nacional de Trªs Barras, munic­pio de Trªs Barras (SC)Carlos Ribeiro/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

26.jul.2013 - Carlos Ribeiro, analista ambiental do ICMBio, mostra imagens de 23 de julho da capela Nossa Senhora de Ftima, na Floresta Nacional de Trªs Barras, munic­pio de Trªs Barras (SC)Carlos Ribeiro/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

26.jul.2013 - Carlos Ribeiro, analista ambiental do ICMBio, mostra imagens de 23 de julho da capela Nossa Senhora de Ftima, na Floresta Nacional de Trªs Barras, munic­pio de Trªs Barras (SC)Carlos Ribeiro/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

26.jul.2013 - Os noivos Danilo Popovicz e Fernanda Desatnik mostram boneco feio em Rebou§as (PR) no dia 23 de julhoVocª Manda/Danilo PopoviczMais

26.jul.2013 - Internauta Sharley Peron enviou imagens da neve em Canoinhas (SC)Sharley Peron/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

26.jul.2013 - Internauta Sharley Peron enviou imagens da neve em Canoinhas (SC)Sharley Peron/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

26.jul.2013 - Internauta Marcelo Sallai mostra como ficou a cidade de Mafra (SC) ap"s nevar no dia 23 de julhoMarcelo Sallai/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

26.jul.2013 - Internauta Marcelo Sallai mostra como ficou a cidade de Mafra (SC) ap"s nevar no dia 23 de julhoMarcelo Sallai/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

26.jul.2013 - Nas Cataratas do Igua§u, a temperatura chegou a 1°C nesta sexta-feira. O ponto tur­stico na cidade de Foz do Igua§u (PR), onde houve geada e forma§£o de neblina pela manh£, continua a atrair turistas mesmo com o tempo frioCaio Coronel/Divulga§£o/Itaipu BinacionalMais

26.jul.2013 - Nas Cataratas do Igua§u, a temperatura chegou a 1°C nesta sexta-feira. O ponto tur­stico na cidade de Foz do Igua§u (PR), onde houve geada e forma§£o de neblina pela manh£, continua a atrair turistas mesmo com o tempo frioCaio Coronel/Divulga§£o/Itaipu BinacionalMais

26.jul.2013 - Nas Cataratas do Igua§u, a temperatura chegou a 1°C nesta sexta-feira. O ponto tur­stico na cidade de Foz do Igua§u (PR), onde houve geada e forma§£o de neblina pela manh£, continua a atrair turistas mesmo com o tempo frioCaio Coronel/Divulga§£o/Itaipu BinacionalMais

26.jul.2013 - Nas Cataratas do Igua§u, a temperatura chegou a 1°C nesta sexta-feira. O ponto tur­stico na cidade de Foz do Igua§u (PR), onde houve geada e forma§£o de neblina pela manh£, continua a atrair turistas mesmo com o tempo frioCaio Coronel/Divulga§£o/Itaipu BinacionalMais

26.jul.2013 - Nas Cataratas do Igua§u, a temperatura chegou a 1°C nesta sexta-feira. O ponto tur­stico na cidade de Foz do Igua§u (PR), onde houve geada e forma§£o de neblina pela manh£, continua a atrair turistas mesmo com o tempo frioAlexandre Marchetti/Divulga§£o/Itaipu BinacionalMais

26.jul.2013 - Nas Cataratas do Igua§u, a temperatura chegou a 1°C nesta sexta-feira. O ponto tur­stico na cidade de Foz do Igua§u (PR), onde houve geada e forma§£o de neblina pela manh£, continua a atrair turistas mesmo com o tempo frioAlexandre Marchetti/Divulga§£o/Itaipu BinacionalMais

26.jul.2013 - Nas Cataratas do Igua§u, a temperatura chegou a 1°C nesta sexta-feira. O ponto tur­stico na cidade de Foz do Igua§u (PR), onde houve geada e forma§£o de neblina pela manh£, continua a atrair turistas mesmo com o tempo frioAlexandre Marchetti/Divulga§£o/Itaipu BinacionalMais

26.jul.2013 - Uma fina camada de gelo cobriu a cidade de Lages (SC), e a geada manteve as temperaturas baixas pela manh£: s 9h15, os term´metros marcavam 3,8ºCVani Boza/Agªncia RBSMais

26.jul.2013 - Uma fina camada de gelo cobriu a cidade de Lages (SC), e a geada manteve as temperaturas baixas pela manh£: s 9h15, os term´metros marcavam 3,8ºCVani Boza/Agªncia RBSMais

26.jul.2013 - Santa Maria, cidade na regi£o central do Rio Grande do Sul, amanheceu coberta por uma fina camada de gelo e, por volta das 10h, os term´metros marcaram 6,9ºC. Mas a massa de ar polar come§a a se afastar come§a a se afastar e as temperaturas voltam a subir um pouco ainda hoje, informa o Inmet (Instituto Nacional de Meteorologia), deixando o clima mais agradvel para os gaºchos no fim de semanaClaudio Vaz/Agªncia RBSMais

26.jul.2013 - Santa Maria, cidade na regi£o central do Rio Grande do Sul, amanheceu coberta por uma fina camada de gelo e, por volta das 10h, os term´metros marcaram 6,9ºC. Mas a massa de ar polar come§a a se afastar come§a a se afastar e as temperaturas voltam a subir um pouco ainda hoje, informa o Inmet (Instituto Nacional de Meteorologia), deixando o clima mais agradvel para os gaºchos no fim de semanaClaudio Vaz/Agªncia RBSMais

26.jul.2013 - A massa de ar polar se afastou do Sul, mas Painel (SC) ainda registrou forma§£o de geada durante a madrugada. Ao amanhecer, uma fina camada de gelo cobria a cidade catarinense. A menor temperatura registrada no Estado foi em Urupema, com -4,9ºC, segundo a Agªncia RBSVani Boza/Agªncia RBSMais

26.jul.2013 - Porto Alegre amanheceu coberta por uma forte neblina e os term´metros marcavam 5,1ºC na capital gaºcha por volta das 6h. Por conta da densa nuvem, o aeroporto na zona norte da cidade fechou pela manh£Fernando Gomes/Agªncia RBSMais

26.jul.2013 - Pedestres caminham no Viaduto Santa Generosa, no bairro do Para­so, zona sul de S£o Paulo, durante manh£ fria e chuvosa. A m­nima na madrugada foi de 8°C, segundo o CGE (Centro de Gerenciamento de Emergªncias)Renato S. Cerqueira/Futura PressMais

26.jul.2013 - A massa de ar polar se afastou do Sul, mas Painel (SC) ainda registrou forma§£o de geada durante a madrugada. Ao amanhecer, uma fina camada de gelo cobria a cidade catarinense. A menor temperatura registrada no Estado foi em Urupema, com -4,9ºC, segundo a Agªncia RBSVani Boza/Agªncia RBSMais

26.jul.2013 - A massa de ar polar se afastou do Sul, mas Painel (SC) ainda registrou forma§£o de geada durante a madrugada. Ao amanhecer, uma fina camada de gelo cobria a cidade catarinense. A menor temperatura registrada no Estado foi em Urupema, com -4,9ºC, segundo a Agªncia RBSVani Boza/Agªncia RBSMais

26.jul.2013 - Porto Alegre amanhece em meio ao nevoeiro, uma nuvem baixa que se forma muito pr"xima superf­cie e reduz a visibilidade a menos de 1 quil´metro. Por conta disso, o aeroporto da capital do Rio Grande do Sul fechou pela manh£Itamar Aguiar/Futura PressMais

26.jul.2013 - Porto Alegre amanhece em meio ao nevoeiro, uma nuvem baixa que se forma muito pr"xima superf­cie e reduz a visibilidade a menos de 1 quil´metro. Por conta disso, o aeroporto da capital do Rio Grande do Sul fechou pela manh£Itamar Aguiar/Futura PressMais

26.jul.2013 - Term´metro bate marca de 1ºC em Campos do Jord£o (SP), nesta madrugadaFelipe Andrei/Futura PressMais

26.jul.2013 - Pedestres enfrentam manh£ fria e chuvosa espera de ´nibus na avenida Santo Amaro, na zona sul de S£o PauloFelipe Andrei/Futura PressMais

26.jul.2013 - Pedestres enfrentam manh£ fria e chuvosa espera de ´nibus na avenida Santo Amaro, na zona sul de S£o PauloFelipe Andrei/Futura PressMais

26.jul.2013 - Campo pr"ximo ao lago Batuva, em Santana do Livramento (RS), amanhece coberto por uma camada de gelo. A geada manteve a temperatura baixa na regi£o, e os term´metros chegaram a registrar -4ºCFabian Ribeiro/FuturaPressMais

26.jul.2013 - Campo pr"ximo ao lago Batuva, em Santana do Livramento (RS), amanhece coberto por uma camada de gelo. A geada manteve a temperatura baixa na regi£o, e os term´metros chegaram a registrar -4ºCFabian Ribeiro/FuturaPressMais

25.jul.2013 - Casal distribui roupas para moradores de rua na regi£o central de S£o PauloRodrigo Capote/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - Casal distribui roupas para moradores de rua na regi£o central de S£o PauloRodrigo Capote/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - Casal distribui roupas para moradores de rua na regi£o central de S£o PauloRodrigo Capote/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - Casal distribui roupas para moradores de rua na regi£o central de S£o PauloRodrigo Capote/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - Casal distribui roupas para moradores de rua na regi£o central de S£o PauloRodrigo Capote/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - Casal distribui roupas para moradores de rua na regi£o central de S£o PauloRodrigo Capote/UOLMais

26.jul.2013 - Moradores de rua enfrentam o frio na avenida Consola§£o, na regi£o central de S£o PauloRodrigo Capote/UOLMais

26.jul.2013 - Moradores de rua enfrentam o frio na avenida Consola§£o, na regi£o central de S£o PauloRodrigo Capote/UOLMais

26.jul.2013 - Moradores de rua enfrentam o frio na avenida Consola§£o, na regi£o central de S£o PauloRodrigo Capote/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - A internauta Luci P.M. Sonaglio enviou fotos da destrui§£o causada pela neve em Panpaduva (SC) na madrugada de 23 de julhoLuci P.M. Sonaglio/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - A internauta Luci P.M. Sonaglio enviou fotos da destrui§£o causada pela neve em Papanduva (SC) na madrugada de 23 de julhoLuci P.M. Sonaglio/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - A internauta Luci P.M. Sonaglio enviou fotos da destrui§£o causada pela neve em Papanduva (SC) na madrugada de 23 de julhoLuci P.M. Sonaglio/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - A internauta Luci P.M. Sonaglio enviou fotos da nevasca em Papanduva (SC) em 23 de julhoLuci P.M. Sonaglio/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - A internauta Luci P.M. Sonaglio enviou fotos da nevasca em Papanduva (SC) em 23 de julhoLuci P.M. Sonaglio/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - A internauta Luci P.M. Sonaglio enviou fotos da nevasca em Papanduva (SC) em 23 de julhoLuci P.M. Sonaglio/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - O internauta Luiz Geraldo Magalh£es enviou imagens da neve em Trªs Barras (SC)Luiz Geraldo Magalhaes/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - O internauta Luiz Geraldo Magalh£es enviou imagens da neve em Trªs Barras (SC)Luiz Geraldo Magalhaes/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - O internauta Elton J. Buch mandou fotos da neve em Itai"polis (SC)Elton J. Buch/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - O internauta Elton J. Buch mandou fotos da neve em Itai"polis (SC)Elton J. Buch/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - Guilherme e Graziely posam ao lado do boneco de neve que fizeram em Guarapuava (PR)Graziely Carneiro/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - A internauta Cssia Albuquerque fotografou o portal da cidade de Canoinhas (SC) coberto pela neveCssia Albuquerque/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - O internauta S(C)rgio Ferreira tirou a foto do carro coberto de gelo em Pinhais, regi£o metropolitana de Curitiba (PR)S(C)rgio Ferreira/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - Romildo Xavier enviou fotos da manh£ ap"s a nevasva em Canoinhas (SC)Romildo Xavier/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - Rºbia Morgana Waldmann enviou imagens da neve em Canoinhas (SC), pr"ximo ao distrito de Marc­lio DiasRºbia Morgana Waldmann/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

27.jul.2013 - Rºbia Morgana Waldmann enviou imagens da neve em Canoinhas (SC), pr"ximo ao distrito de Marc­lio DiasRºbia Morgana Waldmann/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

27.jul.2013 - Rºbia Morgana Waldmann enviou imagens da neve em Canoinhas (SC), pr"ximo ao distrito de Marc­lio DiasRºbia Morgana Waldmann/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - Marcelo e Lilian, de Canoinhas (SC), posam para a foto na paisagem cheia de neve na cidadeMarcelo Allage/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - O internauta Everton Santos Ferreira mostra a nevasca em Papanduva (SC)Everton Santos Ferreira/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - O internauta Everton Santos Ferreira mostra a nevasca em Papanduva (SC)Everton Santos Ferreira/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - O internauta Everton Santos Ferreira mostra a nevasca em Papanduva (SC)Everton Santos Ferreira/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - O internauta Everton Santos Ferreira mostra a nevasca em Papanduva (SC)Everton Santos Ferreira/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - Imagens tiradas por Paula Sztoltz Piroski nos dias 22 e 23 de julho mostram nevasca em Itai"polis (SC)Paula Sztoltz Piroski/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - Imagens tiradas por Paula Sztoltz Piroski nos dias 22 e 23 de julho mostram nevasca em Itai"polis (SC)Paula Sztoltz Piroski/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - Imagens tiradas por Paula Sztoltz Piroski nos dias 22 e 23 de julho mostram nevasca em Itai"polis (SC)Paula Sztoltz Piroski/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - Imagens tiradas por Everton Santos Ferreira no dia 22 de julho mostram o acºmulo de neve depois de cinco horas de nevasca em Papanduva (SC)Everton Santos Ferreira/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - Imagens tiradas por Everton Santos Ferreira no dia 22 de julho mostram o acºmulo de neve depois de cinco horas de nevasca em Papanduva (SC)Everton Santos Ferreira/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - Imagens tiradas por Everton Santos Ferreira no dia 22 de julho mostram o acºmulo de neve depois de cinco horas de nevasca em Papanduva (SC)Everton Santos Ferreira/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

23.jul.2013 - Fotos de Gabriel Goetten mostra a prefeitura municipal de Santa Cecilia (SC)Gabriel Goetten/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

23.jul.2013 - Felipe e Eduardo aparecem com um boneco de neve em Canoinhas (SC), em foto enviada pelo internauta Marcelo AllageMarcelo Allage/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

23.jul.2013 - Neve em Canoinhas (SC), em foto enviada pelo internauta Marcelo AllageMarcelo Allage/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

22.jul.2013 - Neve em Canoinhas (SC), em foto enviada pela internauta Susanne PauloSusanne Paulo/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

22.jul.2013 - Neve em Canoinhas (SC), em foto enviada pela internauta Susanne PauloSusanne Paulo/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

22.jul.2013 - Neve em Canoinhas (SC), em foto enviada pela internauta Susanne PauloSusanne Paulo/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

22.jul.2013 - Neve em Canoinhas (SC), em foto enviada pela internauta Susanne PauloSusanne Paulo/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

22.jul.2013 - Neve em Canoinhas (SC), em foto enviada pela internauta Susanne PauloSusanne Paulo/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

24.jul.2013 - O internauta Marlon Muldenberger enviou imagens da neve na cidade de Mafra (SC)Marlon Muldenberger/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

24.jul.2013 - O internauta Marlon Muldenberger enviou imagens da neve na cidade de Mafra (SC)Marlon Muldenberger/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

23.jul.2013 - O internauta Marcelo Allage diz que a neve em Canoinhas (SC) chegou a acumular em uma altura de 10 cm nas ruas da cidadeMarcelo Allage/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

23.jul.2013 - O internauta Marcelo Allage diz que a neve em Canoinhas (SC) chegou a acumular em uma altura de 10 cm nas ruas da cidadeMarcelo Allage/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

23.jul.2013 - O internauta Marcelo Allage diz que a neve em Canoinhas (SC) chegou a acumular em uma altura de 10 cm nas ruas da cidadeMarcelo Allage/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

24.jul.2013 - A internauta Claudia Frederico Lisczkoski enviou fotos da neve em Major Vieira (SC)Claudia Frederico Lisczkoski/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

24.jul.2013 - A internauta Claudia Frederico Lisczkoski enviou fotos da neve em Major Vieira (SC)Claudia Frederico Lisczkoski/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

24.jul.2013 - A internauta Claudia Frederico Lisczkoski enviou fotos da neve em Major Vieira (SC)Claudia Frederico Lisczkoski/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

24.jul.2013 - A internauta Claudia Frederico Lisczkoski enviou fotos da neve em Major Vieira (SC)Claudia Frederico Lisczkoski/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

23.jul.2013 - O internauta Marcelo Allage diz que a neve em Canoinhas (SC) chegou a acumular em uma altura de 10 cm nas ruas da cidade23.jul.2013 - O internauta Marcelo Allage diz que a neve em Canoinhas (SC) chegou a acumular em uma altura de 10 cm nas ruas da cidadeMarcelo Allage/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

23.jul.2013 - O internauta Marcelo Allage diz que a neve em Canoinhas (SC) chegou a acumular em uma altura de 10 cm nas ruas da cidadeMarcelo Allage/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - Internauta Marilda enviou fotos de Guarapuava (PR), onde nevou no dia 22 de julho. ??Nossa cidade ficou linda toda enfeitada de branco??, comentouMarilda CGA/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - Internauta Marilda enviou fotos de Guarapuava (PR), onde nevou no dia 22 de julho. ??Nossa cidade ficou linda toda enfeitada de branco??, comentouMarilda CGA/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - Internauta Marilda enviou fotos de Guarapuava (PR), onde nevou no dia 22 de julho. ??Nossa cidade ficou linda toda enfeitada de branco??, comentouMarilda CGA/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - O internauta Fernando Faria enviou imagens do Pico do Tabuleiro, visto do munic­pio de Rancho Queimado (SC)Fernando Faria/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - O internauta Fernando Faria enviou imagens do Pico do Tabuleiro, visto do munic­pio de Rancho Queimado (SC)Fernando Faria/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - Internauta Marilda enviou fotos de Guarapuava (PR), onde nevou no dia 22 de julho. ??Nossa cidade ficou linda toda enfeitada de branco??, comentouMarilda CGA/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - Internauta Marilda enviou fotos de Guarapuava (PR), onde nevou no dia 22 de julho. ??Nossa cidade ficou linda toda enfeitada de branco??, comentouMarilda CGA/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - Internauta Marilda enviou fotos de Guarapuava (PR), onde nevou no dia 22 de julho. ??Nossa cidade ficou linda toda enfeitada de branco??, comentouMarilda CGA/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - Daniel Nogi mostra a camada de gelo cobrindo os autom"veis em Cascavel (PR). "Muito embora tenha amanhecido menos frio que ontem, e o sol j estava bonito, o gelo ainda persistia nesta quinta-feira", comentou o internautaDaniel Noga/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - Geada que caiu em Maring causa estragos em gramado, registra Marcos OliveiraMarcos Oliveira/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - Douglas Scholze Filho fotografou a neve no munic­pio de Uni£o da Vit"ria (PR), na ºtlima ter§a-feira (23)Douglas Scholze Filho/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - Douglas Scholze Filho fotografou a neve no munic­pio de Uni£o da Vit"ria (PR), na ºtlima ter§a-feira (23)Douglas Scholze Filho/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - Thomas de jesus oliveira posou com um boneco de neve em Rio Azul (PR)Thomas de Jesus Oliveira/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - A jaboticabeira do jardim de Pedro Seghetto ficou coberta pela neve que caiu em Itai"polis (SC) entre os dias 22 e 23 de julhoPedro Seghetto/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - Maria Claudines Selenka Paulista Medeiros enviou registro da fam­lia de Adriano Paulista, que mora em Monte Castelo (SC), em visita Vila Lisboa, que fica perto da BR 116, no km 71Maria Claudines Selenka Paulista Medeiros/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - A onda de frio inspirou a a internauta Roberta Melchert a fazer uma s(C)rie de fotos dos morros cobertos de neve em Florian"polis (SC) na ter§a-feira (23)Roberta Melchert/Vocª Manda/UOLMais

25.jul.2013 - A onda de frio inspirou a a internauta Roberta Melchert a fazer uma s(C)rie de fotos dos morros cobertos de neve em contraste com o verde de Florian"polis (SC) na ter§a-feira (23)Roberta Melchert/Vocª Manda/UOLMaisBrasil tem 1ª sess£o de snowboard ap"s nevasca em Santa Catarina 31

Entenda a diferen§a entre neve, geada e chuva congelada

Mais gelo na Antrtida pode explicar baixas temperaturas, diz especialista

Saiba como (C) calculada a sensa§£o t(C)rmica

Informe publicitrioAdes£o ao programa Mais M(C)dicos

Profissionais se inscrevem para atender ­ndios e quilombolasOportunidade profissional

Programa interessa a m(C)dicos experientes e rec(C)m-formadosBrasileiros aderem a programa federal

Objetivo (C) suprir carªncia no atendimento em saºde>>

Todos os cursos

Monsantooo

Patent Confirms That Aspartame is the Feces of GM bacteria

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: Canadian Awareness Network

Mon, 26 Aug 2013 16:42

History of Aspartame and Side EffectsAspartame was discovered in 1965 when James Schlatter, a chemist of G.D. Searle Company, was testing an anti-ulcer drug.

Aspartame was approved for dry goods in 1981 and for carbonated beverages in 1983. In 1985, Monsanto purchased G.D. Searle Company.

The most common products that contain aspartame are Diet sodas, Yogurts, Chewing gum, Cooking sauces, Crisps tabletop sweeteners, Drink powders, Flavored water, Sugar-free products and Cereals!SOURCE

Reported by The Independent a UK news outlet stated that ''A Monsanto spokeswoman confirmed that aspartame for the US market is made using genetic engineering'....chemical companies are using genetically engineered bacteria in their manufacturing process without telling the public'....Aspartame is made by combining phenylalanine, which is naturally produced by bacteria, with another amino acid. Monsanto has genetically engineered the bacteria to make them produce more phenylalanine. ''SOURCE

Aspartame accounts for over 75 percent of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA. These reactions can be very serious, including seizures and death. A few of the 90 different documented symptoms listed in the report as being caused by aspartame include:

Headaches/migrainesDizzinessSeizuresNauseaNumbnessMuscle spasmsWeight gainRashesDepressionFatigueIrritabilityTachycardiaInsomniaVision problemsHearing lossHeart palpitationsBreathing difficultiesAnxiety attacksSlurred speechLoss of tasteTinnitusVertigoMemory lossJoint pain

The following chronic illnesses can be triggered or worsened by ingesting of aspartame:

Brain tumorsMultiple sclerosisEpilepsyChronic fatigue syndromeParkinson's diseaseAlzheimer'sMental retardationLymphomaBirth defectsFibromyalgiaDiabetes

Aspartic acid from aspartame has the same deleterious effects on the body as glutamic acid.

The exact mechanism of acute reactions to excess free glutamate and aspartate is currently being debated. As reported to the FDA, those reactions include:

Headaches/migrainesFatigue (blocks sufficient glucose entry into brain)Anxiety attacksNauseaSleep problemsDepressionAbdominal painsVision problemsAsthma/chest tightness SOURCE

So if you drink lots of diet pop, eat lots of cereal or ingest any excessive amount of products listed above that have aspartame in it and are experiencing these symptoms it could indeed be associated to aspartame. Try stopping the ingestion of those products to see if it will make a difference in your life.

Patent For Producing Aspartame

Click photo to enlarge to read the process to make aspartame.

Below is breaking down in simpler terms on the process of making aspartame courtesy of NaturalNews.com

This scientific jargon obfuscates (perhaps deliberately) a truly disturbing process:

1.) 'Cloned microorganisms' (which the patent later reveals to be genetically modified E. coli) are cultivated in tanks whose environments are tailored to help them thrive.

2.) The well-fed E. coli cultures defecate the proteins that contain the aspartic acid-phenylalanine amino acid segment needed to make aspartame.

3.) The proteins containing the Asp-Phe segments are 'harvested' (i.e. lab assistants collect the bacteria's feces).

4.) The feces are then treated. This includes a process of methylation (adding an excess of the toxic alcohol, methanol, to the protected dipeptide).Continue Reading'... (NaturalNews.com)

ConclusionAspartame has a lot of unhealthy side effects and is made from bacteria's feces. Do I really need to say more?

Bank$ters-NWO

Krugman Warns of Possible Treasury Default

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: EconomicPolicyJournal.com

Mon, 26 Aug 2013 17:07

There will eventually be a default of some sort as interest rates continue to climb and it becomes more difficult to find buyers for Treasury securities, outside of the Fed. The default may come though in the form of accelerating price inflation. That said, the default won't come about as a result of the upcoming debt ceiling pseudo-drama. As usual, Paul Krugman is way off base.And the debt ceiling looms, with many ideologues assuring the base that Obama can be bullied into gutting his main achievement, which he won't.

Everyone seems to assume that this will be worked out somehow, but nobody has even a halfway plausible story about how this will be done. Default looks like a real risk.

Nonsense, Congress will buckle after a suitable amount of posturing, and raise the debt ceiling. Only Krugman could see a serious possibility of a limit placed on the ever expanding debt load that would lead to a default. This suggests a deep lack of understanding by Krugman on how Congress and the greater US government works, and the influences and pressures placed on congressmen.

The Unofficial Paul Krugman Web Page

Link to Article

Archived Version

Thu, 29 Aug 2013 10:51

The Unofficial Paul Krugman Web PageMY CONNECTION WITH ENRON, ONE MORE TIME

SYNOPSIS: If you had any questions about Krugman in this diminishing non-scandal, this piece should answer them

I really didn't want to say any more about the Enron advisory board issue - I've already posted quite a lot of information here . I don't have anything to hide, but my job at the New York Times is to write about real issues, not myself. Still, the story keeps popping up.

Let me give the people bringing this up the benefit of the doubt, and suppose that they really are concerned about journalistic ethics. That's certainly a valid subject. It's important that a national publication like the New York Times insist that its journalists be free from conflicts of interest; kudos to my employers for their strict rules, which insist that writers be free from anything that might raise questions - rules that I have followed from the moment I joined the Times. It's also important for a journalist to disclose previous connections where they are relevant - which I have.

But somehow this keeps shifting from a real discussion of journalistic ethics, the guidelines that publications should adopt and that writers should follow, to a prurient fascination with other peoples' paychecks. If that's all that it's about, then it's tabloid journalism, not a real attempt to grapple with the issue.

Lately I find myself presumed guilty of an ethics violation simply because I was paid for my time. All that anyone wants to talk about is $50,000 (which turns out to be wrong - see below). There is such a thing as earning money honestly; if you want to challenge a journalist's ethics, you have to ask not how much he was paid but when, for what, and whether it distorted his writing. It's particularly important to get the context right when the person in question had a successful non-journalistic career before he went into journalism - which I did.

Too much of what I read about myself doesn't get even the most basic facts right. Critics imply, falsely, that I received money from Enron as a New York Times columnist - that I was receiving a bribe because of a prominent journalistic position that I did not in fact have at the time (unlike the other journalists who have served on that board, who held the same jobs then that they do today). They don't acknowledge that I disclosed my connection almost three years ago, and again a year ago. And they don't acknowledge that I have been criticizing Enron since January 2001, long before everyone else started bashing the company.

By all means let's have a discussion about journalistic ethics; Enron has made us all a lot more conscious of ethical issues involving business. But a game of gotcha, in which anyone who received money from Enron is lumped in with the genuine malefactors in this story, does nothing to improve journalistic integrity - on the contrary, it's counterproductive.

To make it easier for anyone who is still interested in this story to get the facts right, here are some frequently asked questions about my role on the Enron advisory board, with answers.

1. What did I do? In early 1999 I was asked to serve on a panel that offered Enron executives briefings on economic and political issues. As far as I knew at the time, they genuinely wanted to learn something. I resigned from that board in the fall of 1999, when I accepted an offer to write for the New York Times.

2. What was I paid? It turns out that I was actually paid $37,500 - the last quarterly payment did not take place, because of my early resignation from the board.

3. Was this exorbitant? It didn't seem so at the time. In 1998-1999 my normal fee for a one-hour business speech in Boston or New York was $20,000 - more if the speech involved long-distance travel. The Enron board required that I spend 4 days in Houston. So the sum they offered didn't seem out of line - if anything it seemed rather low compared with my usual rates.

4. Was I being paid off because I was a journalist? That Enron board, when I was on it, did not strike me as a board of pundits. It included Larry Lindsey and Bob Zoellick - future Bush administration officials, though I had no way of knowing that, but certainly not journalists. It also included Pankaj Ghemawat, a strategy professor at Harvard, and Irwin Stelzer, an economist at the American Enterprise Institute. (Stelzer had a column in the London Times, but I didn't know that) The only person there I thought of as a journalist was William Kristol - I thought he was there to regale us with Washington gossip. And I regarded myself as being in the same category as Ghemawat - an academic expert, who was there because of his expertise.

An amazing number of people seem to think that I was paid by Enron while working for the Times. I wasn't - when Enron approached me there was no hint that a Times connection lay in my future. As soon as I shook hands with the Times, I resigned from that board.

I did write monthly columns for two magazines in 1999, but I would not have described myself as a journalist - no more so than, say, Laura Tyson, Robert Barro, or or Gary Becker, respected economists who write monthly columns for Business Week. I wrote a monthly column for Fortune; that column was neither a major commitment of time nor a major source of income. I also wrote a monthly column, for very little money, for Slate. My main sources of income were teaching, consulting, and business speaking.

5. Did I disclose my connection? Yes. I reported it the one time I mentioned Enron in Fortune, almost three years ago. I reported it again the first time I mentioned Enron in the New York Times, in a highly critical article more than a year ago. I didn't say that I was paid to serve on the board, but I thought that was obvious: who volunteers his services to for-profit corporations?

One point that seems to have been missed in all the mud-slinging: I was the only member of the board to declare my connection voluntarily. Lindsey and Zoellick, as government officials, were required to disclose their consulting; none of the other members uttered a peep before the January 2002 New York Times article about the board.

6. Should I have disclosed the sum of money I received? I have always understood that when writing about someone you disclose the fact of a potential conflict of interest, not the financial details. If I had disclosed the sum back in January 2001, when I first wrote about Enron for the New York Times, it would have sounded strange - I'm sure people would have accused me of bragging.

7. Did the payment from Enron cause me to write anything I would not have written otherwise? No. Some people seem to think that because I had nice things to say about Enron's energy trading in a Fortune article - in which I disclosed my connection - I was being out of character. But I have always been a free-market Keynesian: I like free markets, but I want some government supervision to correct market failures and ensure stability. Some of my pro-market Slate pieces enraged people on the left - check out The accidental theorist , or In praise of cheap labor . My Fortune piece about the rise of markets, illustrated by Enron's energy trading, was an attempt to take a sunshine break from the dark pieces I had been writing about the Asian crisis; it was also a favor to my editors, who devoted that issue to e-business. It wasn't at all out of character. In fact, the next column I wrote for Fortune was also a pro-market piece, with kind words for Milton Friedman and Margaret Thatcher.

8. Was Enron trying to buy my soul? That's for them to answer. But I wasn't selling.

The Unofficial Paul Krugman Web PageMY CONNECTION WITH ENRON, ONE MORE TIME

SYNOPSIS: If you had any questions about Krugman in this diminishing non-scandal, this piece should answer them

I really didn't want to say any more about the Enron advisory board issue - I've already posted quite a lot of information here . I don't have anything to hide, but my job at the New York Times is to write about real issues, not myself. Still, the story keeps popping up.

Let me give the people bringing this up the benefit of the doubt, and suppose that they really are concerned about journalistic ethics. That's certainly a valid subject. It's important that a national publication like the New York Times insist that its journalists be free from conflicts of interest; kudos to my employers for their strict rules, which insist that writers be free from anything that might raise questions - rules that I have followed from the moment I joined the Times. It's also important for a journalist to disclose previous connections where they are relevant - which I have.

But somehow this keeps shifting from a real discussion of journalistic ethics, the guidelines that publications should adopt and that writers should follow, to a prurient fascination with other peoples' paychecks. If that's all that it's about, then it's tabloid journalism, not a real attempt to grapple with the issue.

Lately I find myself presumed guilty of an ethics violation simply because I was paid for my time. All that anyone wants to talk about is $50,000 (which turns out to be wrong - see below). There is such a thing as earning money honestly; if you want to challenge a journalist's ethics, you have to ask not how much he was paid but when, for what, and whether it distorted his writing. It's particularly important to get the context right when the person in question had a successful non-journalistic career before he went into journalism - which I did.

Too much of what I read about myself doesn't get even the most basic facts right. Critics imply, falsely, that I received money from Enron as a New York Times columnist - that I was receiving a bribe because of a prominent journalistic position that I did not in fact have at the time (unlike the other journalists who have served on that board, who held the same jobs then that they do today). They don't acknowledge that I disclosed my connection almost three years ago, and again a year ago. And they don't acknowledge that I have been criticizing Enron since January 2001, long before everyone else started bashing the company.

By all means let's have a discussion about journalistic ethics; Enron has made us all a lot more conscious of ethical issues involving business. But a game of gotcha, in which anyone who received money from Enron is lumped in with the genuine malefactors in this story, does nothing to improve journalistic integrity - on the contrary, it's counterproductive.

To make it easier for anyone who is still interested in this story to get the facts right, here are some frequently asked questions about my role on the Enron advisory board, with answers.

1. What did I do? In early 1999 I was asked to serve on a panel that offered Enron executives briefings on economic and political issues. As far as I knew at the time, they genuinely wanted to learn something. I resigned from that board in the fall of 1999, when I accepted an offer to write for the New York Times.

2. What was I paid? It turns out that I was actually paid $37,500 - the last quarterly payment did not take place, because of my early resignation from the board.

3. Was this exorbitant? It didn't seem so at the time. In 1998-1999 my normal fee for a one-hour business speech in Boston or New York was $20,000 - more if the speech involved long-distance travel. The Enron board required that I spend 4 days in Houston. So the sum they offered didn't seem out of line - if anything it seemed rather low compared with my usual rates.

4. Was I being paid off because I was a journalist? That Enron board, when I was on it, did not strike me as a board of pundits. It included Larry Lindsey and Bob Zoellick - future Bush administration officials, though I had no way of knowing that, but certainly not journalists. It also included Pankaj Ghemawat, a strategy professor at Harvard, and Irwin Stelzer, an economist at the American Enterprise Institute. (Stelzer had a column in the London Times, but I didn't know that) The only person there I thought of as a journalist was William Kristol - I thought he was there to regale us with Washington gossip. And I regarded myself as being in the same category as Ghemawat - an academic expert, who was there because of his expertise.

An amazing number of people seem to think that I was paid by Enron while working for the Times. I wasn't - when Enron approached me there was no hint that a Times connection lay in my future. As soon as I shook hands with the Times, I resigned from that board.

I did write monthly columns for two magazines in 1999, but I would not have described myself as a journalist - no more so than, say, Laura Tyson, Robert Barro, or or Gary Becker, respected economists who write monthly columns for Business Week. I wrote a monthly column for Fortune; that column was neither a major commitment of time nor a major source of income. I also wrote a monthly column, for very little money, for Slate. My main sources of income were teaching, consulting, and business speaking.

5. Did I disclose my connection? Yes. I reported it the one time I mentioned Enron in Fortune, almost three years ago. I reported it again the first time I mentioned Enron in the New York Times, in a highly critical article more than a year ago. I didn't say that I was paid to serve on the board, but I thought that was obvious: who volunteers his services to for-profit corporations?

One point that seems to have been missed in all the mud-slinging: I was the only member of the board to declare my connection voluntarily. Lindsey and Zoellick, as government officials, were required to disclose their consulting; none of the other members uttered a peep before the January 2002 New York Times article about the board.

6. Should I have disclosed the sum of money I received? I have always understood that when writing about someone you disclose the fact of a potential conflict of interest, not the financial details. If I had disclosed the sum back in January 2001, when I first wrote about Enron for the New York Times, it would have sounded strange - I'm sure people would have accused me of bragging.

7. Did the payment from Enron cause me to write anything I would not have written otherwise? No. Some people seem to think that because I had nice things to say about Enron's energy trading in a Fortune article - in which I disclosed my connection - I was being out of character. But I have always been a free-market Keynesian: I like free markets, but I want some government supervision to correct market failures and ensure stability. Some of my pro-market Slate pieces enraged people on the left - check out The accidental theorist , or In praise of cheap labor . My Fortune piece about the rise of markets, illustrated by Enron's energy trading, was an attempt to take a sunshine break from the dark pieces I had been writing about the Asian crisis; it was also a favor to my editors, who devoted that issue to e-business. It wasn't at all out of character. In fact, the next column I wrote for Fortune was also a pro-market piece, with kind words for Milton Friedman and Margaret Thatcher.

8. Was Enron trying to buy my soul? That's for them to answer. But I wasn't selling.

Commander-in-cheap: US is a bargain manufacturer

Link to Article

Archived Version

Wed, 28 Aug 2013 18:28

Americans may be fond of lamenting the decline of the country's economic clout and the flood of "Made in China" goods, but they may soon have to find something else to complain about.

According to the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), the U.S. is fast becoming one of the lowest-cost countries for manufacturing in the developed world. BCG argues that average manufacturing costs in Germany, Japan, France, Italy, and the U.K. will be 8 to 18 percent higher than in the U.S. by 2015.

The report states that export manufacturing in the U.S. is a unsung hero of the economic recovery, noting: "Despite all the public focus on the U.S. trade deficit, little attention has been paid to the fact that the country's exports have been growing more than seven times faster than GDP since 2005."

BCG found that the U.S. is increasingly attractive for businesses due to lower costs of labor, (adjusted for productivity), natural gas, and electricity.

(Read more:US manufacturing activity expands,hits five-month high)

U.S. manufacturing activity hit a five-month high in August as hiring picked up and new orders increased at their fastest pace since January, a Markit report showed last Thursday.

However, BCG's report argues that we are currently just witnessing the beginning of a major shift in global manufacturing.

"Over the past 40 years,factory jobs of all kinds have migrated from high-cost to low-cost countries," said Harold L. Sirkin, co-author of the report. "Now, as the economics of global manufacturing changes, the pendulum is finally starting to swing back. In the years ahead, it could be America's turn to be on the receiving end of production shifts, as more companies use the U.S. as a low-cost export platform."

(Read more:More reform, fewer rules will help US manufacturing: Fisher)

BCG believes the U.S. will capture between $70 billion and $150 billion in annual exports from other nations by 2020, with two-thirds of these export gains emanating from production shifts to the U.S. from leading European nations and Japan.

Furthermore, by 2020, with more production work shifting back to the U.S. from China, between 2.5 million and 5 million American factory and service jobs could be created. BCG believes that would mean the U.S. unemployment rate could drop by up to three percentage points from its current rate of 7.4.

Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, agreed with the BCG's findings, though questioned the reliability of the time-frame of when America would emerge once more as a cheap,manufacturing powerhouse, and the precise effect it would have on the wider economy.

(Read more:US durable goods plunge in July, cast shadow over Q3)

"It's difficult to gauge the extent to which the U.S. economy will benefit and over what time scale,"he said, adding, "It is becoming increasingly evident that many companies are shifting production back to the U.S. from low-cost countries, notably China, as the advantages of having a production base in these countries fades or are re-evaluated."

The BCG's report references a number of foreign companies, such as Toyota, Airbus, Yamaha, Siemens and Rolls-Royce, who have already started to move more of their production facilities to the U.S.

While BCG cited low labor, natural gas and electricity costs, Williamson emphasized lead-times. "Before, a lengthy, six-month transport time for goods to be shipped from Asia could be tolerated given the cost advantage," Williamson said. "But,as the cost advantage fades, the trade-off between cost and timeliness works in the latter's favor. With the increasing use of 3-D printing, this trade-off will of course work even more in favor of localized production."

Indeed, Mary Anne Greczyn, a spokesman for Airbus, said this was why the aircraft manufacturer was opening a factory in Mobile, Alabama.

"As you would imagine, for an airline such as JetBlue or American Airlines to have to come to Europe every time they get an aircraft delivered can be time- and resource- consuming," Greczyn said. "When the new facility in Mobile is up and running, they will need only to travel to Alabama for their A320 Family aircraft."

Greczyn added that Airbus was not moving, shifting or reshoring construction to America, but simply expanding its production facilities.

Williamson broadly agreed with the BCG report, but warned that it would be many years before the "renaissance" of the goods-producing sector in the U.S.

Adams Email

Petition Avoidance Tactics

Save The Wolves

During my daily running for work today, a woman was standing outside the Secretary of State collecting signatues to *save the wolves*!

She asked if I wouldn't mind adding my John Hancock to the mix.

Looking at her slightly puzzled I said, *but they taste so good.*

She pretended not to hear me...

Itm,

Jay

------------------------------------------------

I am not your personal bitmessage testing service

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From Malfiano - Broke Country-Rich Schools

I work as a telephony/data engineer in Massachusetts. I visit different companies daily and configure or repair their telephone and data equipment.

All i hear is; towns are broke, budget cuts in the millions, etc. I am in the town of Wellesley today... AT A PUBLIC SCHOOL. Every student in this middle school gets an iPad this year, and teachers and secretary's too. All of the teachers already have Mac books, which I guess aren't good enough. I mean there are stacks of $500 iPads sitting in this room for 8 - 10 year olds... WTF!?

As if that isnt enough. Guess what the kids eat here... a God damn Boars Head truck just pulled up. I can't even afford that stuff at $11 a pound.

This is ridiculous and I am pissed. Which means this shit will never work right as long as I am working on it!

EUROLand

'Begin maar liever niet aan de peuterleerplicht'

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: VK: Home

Mon, 26 Aug 2013 16:44

OPINIE - Michelle van Dijk '' 26/08/13, 17:30

(C) anp. Peuters en kleuters zijn aan het spelen.

opinie Het is een slecht idee om alle peuters verplicht naar school te sturen, betoogt Michelle van Dijk. 'Het is beleid dat voortkomt uit de onmacht om in te grijpen in de thuissituatie van kansarme kinderen.'

Gemiddelde peuterleider in een grote stad is niet opgegroeid met de Nederlandse taal

De Volkskrant bracht dinsdag 20 augustus het nieuws dat Amsterdam alle voorschoolse voorzieningen bij elkaar wil brengen: (C)(C)n 'Groep 0 Plus' voor alle kinderen van 2,5-4 jaar. Ouders zullen er blij mee zijn dat gelijk onderwijs tegen gelijke tarieven voor alle peuters beschikbaar is. Maar moeten alle peuters naar school?

Formeel begint de leerplicht in Nederland nog steeds bij vijf jaar. Een peuter met VVE-indicatie (voor- en vroegschoolse educatie) is nu al verplicht om naar de voorschool te gaan. Ouders die dit advies niet opvolgen, bezorgen hun kind een negatieve aantekening in het dossier waarmee het al moeilijker wordt om een basisschool te vinden. En als 'Groep 0 Plus' voor alle Amsterdamse kinderen wordt gekoppeld aan de basisscholen (volgens plan), dan vindt een kind straks zeker geen basisschool meer als het de voorschool niet bezocht heeft. Officieel zal het niet zo heten, maar ik zie dit als 'peuterleerplicht' en daar verzet ik me tegen.

De bestaande leerplicht van vijf tot achttien jaar moeten we alleen veranderen als er heel goede redenen voor zijn. Steeds vaker poogt de politiek om sociale problemen op te vangen in het onderwijs, met name in de grote steden. Zo wilden PvdA en VVD jongeren langer laten studeren om de werkloosheidscijfers te flatteren. In Rotterdam-Zuid wilde men hetzelfde doen omdat er te veel drop-outs zijn. En consultatiebureaus bepalen welke kinderen in aanmerking komen voor de VVE, op basis van de gezinssituatie. De willekeur daarvan blijkt ook uit het rapport van de Onderwijsinspectie dat deze week verscheen. Heeft je vader z'n school niet afgemaakt? Is je vader Turks? Dan ga je vier dagdelen naar de peuterschool, zegt gemeente A. In gemeente B willen ze juist weer weten of je met twee jaar je eigen naam kunt zeggen.

Gemiddelde peuterleiderUit onderzoeken blijkt steeds weer dat de voorschool alleen iets oplevert als de medewerkers goed geschoold en taalvaardig zijn en als zij consequent het lesprogramma volgen. Dat gebeurt in de praktijk niet. De gemiddelde peuterleider in een grote stad heeft een mbo-opleiding en is niet opgegroeid met de Nederlandse taal. En een peuter wordt niet beter van de peuterschool als de leidsters en kinderen op die school minder taalvaardig zijn dan zijn of haar familie is. Daarmee is de rechtvaardiging van de peuterleerplicht, namelijk het herstellen van de taalachterstand, nogal zwak.

Vijftien jaar geleden was het doel van de peuterspeelzaal spelen met andere kinderen, spelenderwijs iets leren; dat kan w(C)l beter dan thuis. Blijkbaar vonden we altijd dat het beter was voor een kind om de eerste levensjaren in een gezin, in een kleinschalige, veilige omgeving door te brengen.

De inzichten zijn veranderd. Er is veel aandacht voor gezinnen die geen veilige omgeving bieden. We hebben de statistieken die zeggen: het maakt niet uit hoeveel onderwijs je erin pompt, de best voorspellende factor voor het schoolsucces van een kind is het opleidingsniveau van de ouder. Als je ouders gebrekkig Nederlands spreken en hun school niet hebben afgemaakt, dan is de kans groot dat jou hetzelfde overkomt.

DenkfoutenMaar moet peuteronderwijs dit sociale probleem oplossen? Hier worden toch een paar denkfouten gemaakt. Ten eerste mogen we er niet van uitgaan dat alle laagopgeleide ouders hun peuters onvoldoende te bieden hebben omdat dat bij een groot percentage zo is. Ten tweede is de geboden oplossing paradoxaal: we weten dat het gezin waarin je opgroeit belangrijker is dan de school waar je naartoe gaat, en toch moet je meer tijd op school doorbrengen? Het ligt toch voor de hand dat die gezinnen hulp nodig hebben op alle terreinen?

Uit het rapport van de inspectie blijkt ook dat de VVE's er niet in slagen ouders te betrekken bij het onderwijs; dat zegt al genoeg. En tot slot: waarom moeten dan ineens alle peuters naar school? Je kunt de schoolcarri¨re van alle Nederlandse kinderen verlengen, maar je behoudt altijd de laagste sociale klasse waar de problemen groter zijn dan in andere gezinnen.

SegregatieOverigens: hoe voorkom je dat de segregatie in het onderwijs niet juist groter wordt? 'Blanke' en 'zwarte' peuterscholen, durf dat als politicus maar als toekomstig probleem te benoemen. Reken maar dat de hoogopgeleide moeders hun kind al voor de juiste peuterschool inschrijven nog v""r ze hun eicellen uit de uitstelvriezer halen, terwijl andere ouders pas in beweging komen als het consultatiebureau hen dwingt. En dan is dat hele idee dat kinderen zich optrekken aan de meer ontwikkelde kinderen alweer onderuitgehaald. Zeker omdat het inspectierapport ook al benoem-de, dat de peuterleiders er moeite mee hebben onderwijs op maat te bieden.

Meer onderwijs, meer verplichtingen voor scholen, ouders en kinderen, maar weinig visie; dat is ergerlijk. De peuterleerplicht is niet het gouden ei voor de taalachterstand. Het mag ook geen alternatief zijn voor zorg die nu onvoldoende op maat is. Begin er zeker niet aan voordat het peuteronderwijs kwalitatief op niveau is: begin er voorlopig maar helemaal niet aan.

Michelle van Dijk schrijft over onderwijs op haar blog www.michellevandijkschrijft.nl

22 'pointless' US nuclear bombs at Dutch airbase | Joornaalka Soomaalida Nederland

Link to Article

Archived Version

Wed, 28 Aug 2013 17:25

Wednesday 28-08-2013: [www.somculned.com] Ruud Lubbers, the former Dutch Christian Democrat [CDA] Prime Minister from 1982 to 1994, has broken a taboo of European politics by confirming the presence of American weapons in the bunkers of the Volkel air base.

Holland's most prominent international statesman poured scorn on the atomic weapons capability that dates back to the height of Nato's Cold War with the Soviet Union and that will revive calls for US nuclear bombs to be removed from European soil.

''I would never have thought those silly things would still be there in 2013. I think they are an absolutely pointless part of a tradition in military thinking,'' he told, De Tijd Vliegt or Time Flies, a National Geographic television documentary.

A spokesman for the Royal Dutch Air Force refused to confirm the revelation made by Mr Lubbers and told the Dutch broadcaster NOS that these issues ''are never spoken of''. ''He, as former prime minister, knows that well,'' he said.

Dutch officials told the Telegraaf newspaper that the weapons are B61 thermonuclear bombs, the primary weapon in America's post-Cold War ''Enduring Stockpile'' and a device that packs a punch up four times as powerful as the bombs used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

The B61 is designed for delivery by high-speed aircraft, an 11-foot, 770lb weapon with a streamlined casing capable of withstanding supersonic flight speeds and the while he bombs are not dismantled they are not thought to be kept in immediate operational readiness.

Nuclear weapons are said to have been stored at the Volkel base since the early 1960s and the Cuban missile crisis that marked the height of the Cold War.

US diplomatic files, leaked by Wikileaks three years ago, had mentioned atomic weapons in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Turkey amid a 2010 debate over the future of the arsenal following a call from Guido Westerwelle, the German foreign minister, for the nuclear weapons on his country's soil to be removed.

''A withdrawal of nuclear weapons from Germany and perhaps from Belgium and the Netherlands could make it very difficult for Turkey to maintain its own stockpile,'' the leaked US diplomatic cable said.

Turkey, which is thought to house 90 US atomic weapons at its Incirlik air base, on the northern Mediterranean coast, regards the nuclear umbrella as a key part of its Nato membership on the alliance's Eastern border with Iran.

At a 2010 summit in Lisbon, Nato decided that any change in the status of its nuclear weapons arsenal would have to be made unanimously among all 28 allies, effectively giving Turkey a veto.

The revelation and criticism from Mr Lubbers could reignite the European nuclear issue as Dutch opposition politicians, on both the left and right, demand that the weapons are removed.

Frans Timmermans, the Dutch foreign minister will face questions on the issue in the Dutch parliament on Tuesday and reminders that he, as a Labour opposition MP in 2005, called for the weapons to be removed from Dutch soil.

Harry van Bommel, a Socialist MP, will call for the weapons to be scrapped. ''The nuclear strategy of NATO has not changed since the Cold War,'' he said.

Raymond Knops, a Christian Democrat MP, took to Twitter to say: ''Militarily obsolete, so get rid of them, I would say.''

Related article(s)

Conflict met VS over atoombommen in Volkel in Dutch

Source : Telegraaf

Somali Journal in the Netherlands

www.somculned.com

(12)

Greece should never have been allowed to join euro: Merkel

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Archived Version

Wed, 28 Aug 2013 18:23

Published: Wednesday, 28 Aug 2013 | 1:21 AM ETSean Gallup | Getty Images News | Getty Images

In a rare outburst, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said Greece should never have been allowed to join the single currency.

Speaking at a rally ahead of elections on September 22, Merkel told a crowd of around 1,000 German voters that the debt crisis in Greece had been "brewing for many years" and blamed her predecessor, Gerhard Schroeder, from the rival social democrat party for letting Greece join the euro.

(Read more:German elections are a 'close call': Merkel)

"Chancellor Schroeder accepted Greece in and weakened the Stability Pact and both decisions were fundamentally wrong, and one of the starting points for our current troubles," media reports cited Merkel as saying at the campaign rally in the north German town of Randsburg on Tuesday.

Her comments come after the Social Democratic (SPD) party ramped up its criticism of Merkel and her handling of Greece after the country received two bailouts worth 240 billion euros ($321 billion) and reportedly needs a third to plug an imminent funding gap.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Tuesday that estimates by the international Monetary Fund (IMF) that Greece needs a further 11 billion euros were "not completely unrealistic."

(Read more: Greece returns as hot-button issue in German election)

Merkel wants to avoid any pre-election mistakes: Expert

Josef Janning, member of the German council for foreign relations, tells CNBC that the German government is trying to avoid any mistakes, including on Syria, which could jeopardise the election.

The head of the SPD, Peer Steinbrueck, has said Merkel is not being straight with voters over the true cost of financial aid for Greece. Despite his criticism, however, his party still trails Merkel's conservative alliance in the polls with 25 percent of the vote below 39 percent for the Chancellor.

One analyst told CNBC that the election race could still go either way, however.

"Angela Merkel has done nothing that could cost her the election but she still may only succeed marginally. There is no single issue in Germany that could make the voters go here or there so a lot is left to the moment," Josef Janning, a member of the German Council on Foreign Relations, told CNBC. "She has a good chance of winning but she can't be sure."

- By CNBC's holly Ellyatt, follow her on Twitter @HollyEllyatt

In a rare outburst, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said Greece should never have been allowed to join the single currency.

Technopolis

Email Marketing and Cross-Channel Marketing Solutions | StrongView

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Archived Version

Tue, 27 Aug 2013 16:23

Email Marketing and Cross-Channel Marketing Solutions | StrongViewStrongMail isNow StrongViewGain a stronger view of your customerand how to engage them.Watch Video

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You Need to Reach IndividualsStrongView uses insight to send the right offer, to the rightperson, on the right channel, at the right time.

Responding to Gmail Tabs | StrongView

Link to Article

Archived Version

Tue, 27 Aug 2013 16:27

The recent rollout of default tabs in Gmail inboxes has caused lots of concern and a flurry of industry activity, all aimed at understanding the impact on email performance. My colleagueSean Wirt first reported this developmenton this blog back in May. Since then, our clients at StrongView have seen mixed results, and we've been working fast to help. Specifically, we've been taking a very basic yet extremely effective two-step approach.

Step 1: Quantify the Effect

Before we fire, we should aim.

As I mentioned before, lots of industry news has come out, claiming anywhere from 3% to 30% drops in open rates after Gmail Tabs were rolled out. What's important, however, is the effect on your business.

Identify the segment of your recipients with a Gmail address. (We're seeing an average of about 20% of lists with gmail.com addresses.) Of those, what has the open rate been since the middle of July? What was it before then? Is there a huge difference? Be sure to consider things like varying email volumes and other factors (e.g. transactional vs. batch email, day of the week, etc.).

Also, take a close look at your click-through rates and click-to-open rates during that period of time. If you're seeing significant drops in these as well, that should be a red flag that your emails are not driving the engagement they once did.

If you have access to the data, you should also look at when opens are occurring relative to when the email was delivered. An extended mean-time may indicate that your subscribers are now seeing your emails in the Promotions tab. If urgency is important to your brand, this could be a problem for you.

If everything looks the same, stay vigilant. It may take a few weeks for trends to appear with this segment, and new Gmail subscribers should be considered carefully as they enter.

Step 2: Act

So what can you do to help you brand protect itself or recover from negative effects due to the new tabbed inbox?

Tell Your Customers to Move You to the Primary Tab

One way to stay out of the Promotions tab is to have your customers move you into the Primary tab. You could dynamically populate the pre-header of your email to instruct Gmail users to move your email to the Primary tab, replacing the typical ''add us to your address book'' or ''view this email in a web browser'' message. You could also send a separate email to Gmail subscribers, explaining how to make the change.

Make Extra Effort to Stand Out in the Inbox

If your emails are in the Promotions tab, they are now competing for attention from other promotions from other brands. That's a tough situation to be in.

There are many ways to stand out in a crowded promotional inbox. You can use icons and other attention getting words or sentence structures in your subject line (sparingly, of course). You can vary your subject lines so much from one email to the next that it draws attention simply by the difference. There are many things you can try, as I previously recommended in this ClickZ article. Just pick a tactic and test it.

Refocus on a Cross-Channel Approach

Gmail Tabs are just the most recent and largest scale manifestation of the ongoing inbox foldering trend we've seen from email clients. The fact is that email consumption is changing '-- no longer do emails arrive in a dumb inbox where users must filter them; now the inbox uses past interaction data to decide where emails go.

Bottom line: you don't want to rely on email alone to drive your business forward. Email isn't dying, but shifts in consumption like Gmail Tabs are simply too dangerous if your revenue is entirely dependent on email.

It's time to think cross-channel. How can you leverage mobile apps, SMS, display and other channels to reach the same audience? How can you move between these channels seamlessly so you're not susceptible to changes in any one? This strategy will become even more important as more email clients follow Gmail's lead and begin automatically filtering incoming email.

Finally, Be Important to Your Recipients

This should go without being said, but the best thing you can do long-term is to be important and relevant to your subscribers. If you're valuable to them, they will make sure they get your message, no matter where it lands.

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Facebook friends could change your credit score

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: Hacker News

Mon, 26 Aug 2013 17:20

Some tech startups are using your online social data to determine your creditworthiness.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney)

A handful of tech startups are using social data to determine the risk of lending to people who have a difficult time accessing credit. Traditional lenders rely heavily on credit scores like FICO, which look at payments history. They typically steer clear of the millions of people who don't have credit scores.

But some financial lending companies have found that social connections can be a good indicator of a person's creditworthiness.

One such company, Lenddo, determines if you're friends on Facebook(FB) with someone who was late paying back a loan to Lenddo. If so, that's bad news for you. It's even worse news if the delinquent friend is someone you frequently interact with.

"It turns out humans are really good at knowing who is trustworthy and reliable in their community," said Jeff Stewart, a co-founder and CEO of Lenddo. "What's new is that we're now able to measure through massive computing power."

Related story: Millions without credit scores not so risky after all

A German company called Kreditech says that it uses up to 8,000 data points when assessing an application for a loan.

In addition to data from Facebook, eBay or Amazon(AMZN, Fortune 500) accounts. Kreditech also gathers information from the manner in which a customer fills out the online application. For example, your chances of getting a loan improve if you spend time reading information about the loan on Kreditech's website. If you fill out the application typing in all-caps (or with no caps), you're knocked down a couple pegs in Kreditech's eyes.

Kreditech can determines your location and considers creditworthiness based upon whether your computer is located where you said you live or work.

The individual data points may not have meaning themselves, but can paint an good picture of the applicant when brought together, said Sebastian Diemer, a co-founder of Kreditech.

Another company, Kabbage, an online service that offers cash advances to small businesses, considers an owner's FICO score -- but only as one piece of a larger pie.

"We can get much better, faster data," said Marc Golin, Kabbage's chairman and co-founder.

Borrowers grant Kabbage access to their PayPal, eBay(EBAY, Fortune 500) and other online payment accounts, disclosing real-time sales and delivery information. The company says it can determine a business' creditworthiness and put money into its account in just seven minutes.

Once a small business is getting credit from Kabbage, it also has the option to link up its Facebook and Twitter accounts to the site, which could provide a bump in its "Kabbage score." The small businesses that do are 20% less likely to be delinquent on their loans, Golin said.

"Someone who's paying attention to Facebook and Twitter channels to deal with customer service is more likely to be on top of other parts of their business, too, like inventory and shipments," he said.

Related story: Credit score killers

For now, many of these tech startups attract a niche group of borrowers. Kabbage targets small business owners who sell products online. Lenddo and Kreditech target middle-class individuals in emerging markets where credit is tight.

Lenddo has about 250,000 members, but it only operates in the Philippines, Columbia and Mexico. But others are larger in scope: Kreditech says it receives 1,000 applications per day and gives 10 million loans each year. Kabbage expects to provide 75,000 cash advances this year, ranging between $500 and $50,000 -- that's three times as many loans that the U.S. Small Business Administration gave last year.

Using "big data" to assess credit risk is on the verge of going mainstream. Kreditech has already began selling its technology to national online lenders in Russia and the Czech Republic. Golin said he hopes Kabbage will move into that space for lenders as well.

Some in the financial industry are skeptical about social data and online behavior being used as a kind of credit score. John Ulzheimer, a credit expert at CreditSesame.com, says social data aren't necessarily indicative of whether the borrower will pay back a loan on time. FICO only considers a handful of factors, but they are all "incredibly predictive of risk," Ulzheimer said.

There's also the potential to game the system. Consumers can easily control how many Facebook friends they have and tweets they write. The same cannot be said for what goes into their credit score.

"To me, using social media is a little bit dangerous," Ulzheimer said.

First Published: August 26, 2013: 6:20 AM ET

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All your face belong to us: Ohio admits facial recognition used to scour state driver's license database without public knowledge

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Archived Version

Source: RT - USA

Tue, 27 Aug 2013 20:51

For nearly three months, law enforcement in Ohio have had access to an unregulated facial recognition database that includes all statewide driver's license photos and mug shots, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported Monday.

The system was live for two weeks before Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and his chief operating officer found out. At that point, DeWine and other state officials debated in what capacity the database was operating -- in a ''testing'' phase or as a full launch -- and whether to even tell the public about the database's existence.

The state's system, new in early June, has been subject to 2,700 searches by law enforcement thus far. The database matches images, in many cases gleaned from security cameras, to state photos via driver's licenses, mug shots and other official photos.

The Enquirer reported Cincinnati alone has access to 118 official security cameras around the city, with hopes of pushing that number to 1,000 by 2014. Hundreds more owned by private entities are routinely made available to law enforcement, marking an ever-pervasive surveillance culture with use of enhanced technology like facial recognition software.

Those with access to the system, including Ohio's law enforcement officers and civilian employees of police departments, could match any image to the more than 21 million photos in the database while gaining access to personal information in the meantime. The system finds the 12 file images most likely to match the snapshot.

DeWine told The Enquirer he didn't think the public needed to be immediately notified about the launch because dozens of other states have facial recognition photo databases. In addition, he pointed to FBI use of a similar system and supposed safeguards against abuse in Ohio as proof his office was justified in keeping state's system secret.

''Should we have talked about it the day it went live?'' DeWine said according to The Enquirer's original report. ''You could argue that.''

The attorney general changed his tune Monday, saying he should have made the database public in June, though he continued to defend its privacy guidelines.

''I still think the protocol's adequate,'' DeWine said Monday at a press conference when asked about potential abuse of the database thus far. ''We're not aware of any misuse. When you get misuse, someone reports it. ... The best deterrent is putting people in jail, quite frankly.''

DeWine has also announced the creation of an advisory group of judges, prosecutors and law enforcement officials to make recommendations to guide use of the system.

Ohio legislators are calling for proper legislative approval and oversight before the system is used any further.

''We don't even know if it's constitutional,'' said Sen. Shirley Smith, the top Democrat on the state Senate's government oversight committee. ''We know that it's an invasion of privacy. I understand that he's the attorney general, but I think we should have been apprised of it before it hit the street.''

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Waiver to Space Exploration Technologies Corporation of Acceptable Risk Limit for Launch

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Source: Federal Register Latest Entries

Tue, 27 Aug 2013 12:08

This notice concerns a petition for waiver submitted to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) by Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) to waive a limit that the risk to the public from the launch of an expendable launch vehicle not exceed an expected average number of 0.00003 casualties (E c'‰¤ 30 — 10 ''6) from far field blast overpressure. The FAA grants the petition, but limits collective risk to an expected average number of 0.0001 casualties.

For technical questions concerning this waiver, contact Charles P. Brinkman, Licensing Program Lead, Commercial Space Transportation'--Licensing and Evaluation Division, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591; telephone: (202) 267-7715; email: Phil.Brinkman@faa.gov. For legal questions concerning this waiver, contact Laura Montgomery, Manager, Space Law Branch, AGC-250, Office of the Chief Counsel, Regulations Division, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591; telephone (202) 267-3150; email: Laura.Montgomery@faa.gov.

On July 10, 2013, SpaceX submitted a petition to the FAA's Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST) requesting a waiver for a launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) of a Falcon 9 Version 1.1 (v1.1) launch vehicle carrying, a Canadian scientific and research satellite called Cassiope, and several small secondary payloads. SpaceX requested a waiver of 14 CFR 417.107(b)(1), which prohibits the launch of an expendable launch vehicle if the total expected average number of casualties (E c) for the launch exceeds 0.00003 for risk from far field blast overpressure.

The FAA licenses the launch of a launch vehicle and reentry of a reentry vehicle under authority granted to the Secretary of Transportation in the Commercial Space Launch Act of 1984, as amended and re-codified by 51 U.S.C. Subtitle V, chapter 509 (Chapter 509), and delegated to the FAA Administrator and the Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation, who exercises licensing authority under Chapter 509.

SpaceX is a private commercial space flight company. It has initiated activities with the U.S. Air Force's EELV Program to become a certified launch service provider for National Security space missions. In addition, SpaceX launches commercial payloads such as Cassiope.

This petition for waiver addresses an upcoming flight that SpaceX plans to undertake transporting the Cassiope satellite and several small secondary payloads to earth orbit. This will be the first launch by SpaceX from VAFB. It will also be the first flight of the Falcon 9 v1.1 vehicle, which is larger and has greater thrust and payload capacity than SpaceX's Falcon 9 vehicle. SpaceX's Falcon 9 v1.1 launch vehicle will launch from VAFB and place the Cassiope satellite into a near-polar orbit. The launch vehicle will also carry five secondary payloads to the same orbit. The first stage will coast after stage separation, and then perform an experimental burn with three engines to reduce the entry velocity just prior to entry. Prior to landing in the water, it will perform a second experimental burn with one engine to impact the water with minimal velocity. The second stage will coast and then perform an experimental burn to depletion.

The preliminary calculation of E c for far field blast overpressure shows that the launch would exceed the 0.00003 limit imposed by section 417.107(b)(1) under anticipated weather conditions for a daytime launch in September. Atmospheric conditions at the launch site during the anticipated time of launch increase the far field blast overpressure risk. The presence of inversion layers at VAFB is common, and results in the reflection of shock waves from an explosion. This reflection of shock waves can cause greater damage than would otherwise be caused without the reflection from the inversion layer. Chances of advantageous weather conditions during the day in September that would allow a launch that meets the FAA's risk requirements are virtually zero percent. [1]

The Falcon 9 v1.1 is a new launch vehicle. The U.S. Air Force has determined that its overall failure probability is nearly fifty percent for each of the first two launches. AST has determined that the Air Force's calculation of probability of failure satisfies the requirements in part 417. Weather conditions during the day in September are likely to be unfavorable and delays may last for days. SpaceX, therefore, seeks a waiver of this risk requirement.

Chapter 509 allows the FAA to waive a license requirement if the waiver (1) will not jeopardize public health and safety, safety of property; (2) will not jeopardize national security and foreign policy interests of the United States; and (3) will be in the public interest. 51 U.S.C. 50905(b)(3) (2011); 14 CFR 404.5(b) (2011).

Section 417.107(b)(1) prohibits the launch of a launch vehicle if the E c for the flight exceeds 0.00003 for any of the following three risks: (1) Impacting inert and impacting explosive debris, (2) toxic release, and (3) far field blast overpressure. For reasons described below, the FAA waives the restrictions in section 417.107(b)(1) to allow SpaceX to conduct a flight with the E c resulting from far field blast overpressure exceeding 0.00003 as long as total E c for the three hazards combined does not exceed 0.0001. The FAA is not waiving the E c requirement for impacting inert and impacting explosive debris or for toxic release.

The FAA waives the far field overpressure risk requirement of section 417.107(b)(1) because the Falcon 9 v1.1 launch will not jeopardize public health and safety or safety of property, a national security or foreign policy interest of the United States, and is in the public interest.

i. Public Health and Safety and Safety of PropertyThe Falcon 9 v1.1 launch is the first launch of the v1.1 vehicle, and the first SpaceX launch from VAFB. Although the risk from far field blast overpressure is likely to exceed 0.00003, the estimated risks for debris and toxic release are very low. Based on preliminary calculations performed by the U.S. Air Force for SpaceX, the collective risk to the public from the Falcon 9 v1.1 launch will be less than 0.0001 approximately forty percent of the time during September. [2] NASA, the U.S. Air Force and other U.S. National Test ranges use 0.0001 as the expected casualty limit across all three hazards as their criterion See U.S. Air Force Instruction 91-217, Space Safety and Mishap Prevention Program (2010); NASA Procedural Requirements 8715.5 Rev A, Range Flight Safety Program (2010); Range Commanders Council (RCC) Standard 321-10, Common Risk Criteria Standards for National Test Ranges (2010). If the Falcon 9 v1.1's collective risk were to exceed 0.0001 expected casualties, SpaceX would not launch until conditions improved sufficiently for the risk of the launch to satisfy the limits allowed by the waiver.

The increase in the E c for the first launch of the Falcon 9 v1.1 vehicle from VAFB is largely attributable to two factors. First, the launch will take place from VAFB. VAFB is located in California, and frequently experiences unique weather conditions that exacerbate far field blast overpressure from a launch. An inversion layer, an atmospheric region with a warmer temperature than the region below, is common much of the year at VAFB. The presence of an inversion layer could increase damage caused by an explosion because an inversion layer may reflect the shock wave from an explosion back towards the ground. By reflecting the shock wave back towards the ground, surrounding buildings, and particularly glass windows, may experience greater pressure, which could cause greater glass breakage. Second, the estimated probability of failure to the Falcon 9 v1.1 is high because it is a new launch vehicle. There is no way to reduce this estimated failure probability, which is derived from the historically high number of launch failures in new vehicles. This probability of failure is one of the most critical variables in the E c calculations.

This waiver for the risk from far field blast overpressure is consistent with the Air Force total risk threshold for E c of 100 — 10 ''6 for risks from debris, toxic release, and far field blast overpressure combined. The current E c requirement for U.S. Government launches from U.S. National Test Ranges is 0.0001, which, because it comprises debris, toxics, and overpressure, means that the federal launch ranges permit the risk attributable to overpressure to exceed the FAA's risk threshold. See Air Force Instruction 91-217, Space Safety and Mishap Prevention Program (2010). The U.S. Air Force approved a government launch of a Titan, where the risk ranged from 145 to 317 in a million. Dept. of the Air Force Memorandum, Overflight Risk Exceedance Waiver for Titan IV B-30 Mission, (Apr. 4, 2005). Additionally, the FAA granted a waiver on April 17, 2012, for risk from debris up to 0.000130 for a Falcon 9 launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Waiver of Acceptable Risk Restriction for Launch and Reentry, Notice of Waiver, 77 FR 24556 (April 24, 2012). Again, risk was largely a result of a relatively high failure probability that is unavoidably attached to a new launch vehicle. Based on the fact that risk will remain very low, and will be limited to the requirement for government launches (E c of less than 0.0001), granting a waiver in this case would not jeopardize public health and safety or safety of property.

ii. National Security and Foreign Policy ImplicationsThe FAA has identified no national security or foreign policy implications associated with granting this waiver.

iii. Public InterestThe waiver is consistent with the public interest goals of Chapter 509. Three of the public policy goals of Chapter 509 are: (1) To promote economic growth and entrepreneurial activity through use of the space environment; (2) to encourage the United States private sector to provide launch and reentry vehicles and associated services; and (3) to facilitate the strengthening and expansion of the United States space transportation infrastructure to support the full range of United States space-related activities. See51 U.S.C. 50901(b)(1), (2), (4).

With a requirement that E c be less than 0.00003 for far field blast overpressure, launch availability for the Western Range is estimated to be virtually zero percent due to atmospheric conditions at the launch site and the high failure probability necessarily assigned to a new launch vehicle. This would certainly make the launch site impractical for commercial launches, at least of new launch vehicles. Granting a limited waiver for risk from far field blast overpressure as long as the risk for all three risks does not exceed 100 — 10 ''6 increases launch availability for the first launch of Falcon 9 v1.1 at VAFB to approximately forty percent for September, depending on detailed analytical assumptions concerning flight termination action. VAFB is the most suitable U.S. launch facility for supporting the launches of satellites by large vehicles into polar orbits. Granting this waiver makes VAFB a viable site for commercial launches, helping to sustain the launch capacity for U.S. launch providers, thereby supporting the industrial base and lowering overall launch costs for commercial customers and the U.S. Government.

Additionally, the proposed launch is consistent with the principles and goals of the 2010 National Space Policy, which emphasizes the importance of developing a robust domestic commercial space transportation industry and acquiring commercial space services to meet United States Government requirements. The development of commercial launch service providers is crucial because, as noted in the 2010 National Space Policy, United States access to space depends in the first instance on launch capabilities. To that end, SpaceX has applied to the U.S. Air Force's EELV Program to become a certified launch service provider for National Security space missions. In accordance with the Air Force's approved New Entrant Certification Guide, SpaceX is required to demonstrate its compliance with EELV program requirements, including successfully demonstrating launches of the launch vehicle being proposed for certification. In the certification approach being taken under the New Entrant Certification Guide, SpaceX is required to successfully launch three Falcon 9 launch vehicles, the first of which is planned to be the Cassiope mission from VAFB. Each flight of the Falcon 9 builds heritage for this vehicle, which will be used by the United States Government. NASA has already contracted with SpaceX for Cargo Resupply Services missions from CCAFS using Falcon 9 v1.1. Accordingly, proceeding with the proposed launch is in the public interest.

Issued in Washington, DC, on August 19, 2013.

Kenneth Wong,

Licensing and Evaluation Division Manager, Commercial Space Transportation.

[FR Doc. 2013-20726 Filed 8-26-13; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-13-P

Pipeline War$

Gas pipeline blown up, oil tanker torched, cop killed in Balochistan

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Archived Version

Source: The News International - Top stories

Tue, 27 Aug 2013 20:30

Monday, August 26, 2013From Print Edition

DERA BUGTI: Miscreants in restive Balochistan's Dera Bugti area blew up a gas pipeline, suspending the fuel supply to the main plant. Unknown miscreants torched an oil tanker in Mastung while a head constable was shot dead in Sibi,

An 18 inch diameter gas pipe line for the plant of well No.41 of Pirkoh gas field was blown up by unknown miscreants late at night in Dera Bugti'š Levies sources said, adding that the explosive material was set off by remote control.

They said gas supply to the plant has been disrupted. A hunt for the miscreants was under way.Meanwhile, unidentified militants opened fire at an oil tanker and then set it on fire in Mastung on Sunday.

According to Levies sources, the tanker was going from Quetta to Karachi when four unidentified miscreants opened fire on it in the Dasht area. The driver and the conductor of the tanker remained safe but the tanker caught fire. On receipt of information, the Levies and fire brigade reached the spot and controlled the fire after one hour's hectic efforts. '-- INP

PPI adds: Armed men shot dead a constable late on Saturday night in Sibi and fled from the scene.According to details, armed men opened fire on Head Constable Khiar Muhammad at Char Mori here when he was heading towards his home. The miscreants fled from the spot. Police have started an investigation.

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33 foot long whale carcass found in Balochistan

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Source: 33 World News

Wed, 28 Aug 2013 00:33

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PR Bullcrap

PR Bullcrap-Princess Diana film 'got it completely wrong' says former lover Hasnat Khan | Film | theguardian.com

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Mon, 26 Aug 2013 17:05

Link to video: Diana trailer: watch Naomi Watts play the Princess of WalesThe new film about Diana, Princess of Wales, has been attacked by her former lover and the man on whom one of the film's principal characters is based, heart surgeon Hasnat Khan.

DianaProduction year: 2013Country: UKDirectors: Oliver HirschbiegelCast: Lee Asquith-Coe, Naomi Watts, Naveen AndrewsMore on this filmKhan, who had a well-documented relationship with Diana between 1995 and 1997, admitted he has not seen the film but accused it of being "based on gossip", in an interview in the Mail on Sunday. He said the film's story came from "Diana's friends talking about a relationship that they didn't know much about, and some of my relatives who didn't know much about it either. It is all based on hypotheses and gossip."

Diana, which stars Naomi Watts as the late princess, and Naveen Andrews as Khan, focuses on the relationship between the two, which ended shortly before the former's death in a car accident in August 1997. The film is based on the 2001 book Diana: Her Last Love by Kate Snell and according to the film's website, documents Diana's attempt to persuade Khan's family to allow them to marry. "One of the most famous and beautiful women in the world, she hoped to persuade Dr Khan's mother that she would make a suitable wife for her son. Had she succeeded, the events of that summer might have been very different '..."

Khan, now consultant cardiothoracic surgeon at Basildon University hospital, said he had seen stills from the film, and that was enough to inform his view that the film-makers had got it badly wrong.

"I could tell immediately those were never our mannerisms at all, with [my] hands folded behind the back and all that.

"You could tell from that picture that it is all just presumed about how we would behave with each other, and they have got it completely wrong."

Khan also rejected a suggestion by the film's producers he had given the film his "tacit acceptance". He said: "It is a complete lie. I have never given any approval."

Diana is released in the UK on 20 September.

War on Ammo

New: No BuyBack Policy! FACT SHEET: New Executive Actions to Reduce Gun Violence | The White House

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Archived Version

Thu, 29 Aug 2013 14:31

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

August 29, 2013

Today, the Obama administration announced two new common-sense executive actions to keep the most dangerous firearms out of the wrong hands and ban almost all re-imports of military surplus firearms to private entities. These executive actions build on the 23 executive actions that the Vice President recommended as part of the comprehensive gun violence reduction plan and the President unveiled on January 16, 2013.

Even as Congress fails to act on common-sense proposals, like expanding criminal background checks and making gun trafficking a federal crime, the President and Vice President remain committed to using all the tools in their power to make progress toward reducing gun violence.

Building on the 23 Executive Actions the President and Vice President Unveiled Last January

Last December, the President asked the Vice President to develop a series of recommendations to reduce gun violence. On January 16, 2013, they released these proposals, including 23 executive actions. With the first Senate confirmation of an ATF Director on July 31, 2013, the Administration has completed or made significant progress on 22 of the 23 executive actions. The new executive actions unveiled today build on this successful effort. Closing a Loophole to Keep Some of the Most Dangerous Guns Out of the Wrong Hands

Current law places special restrictions on many of the most dangerous weapons, such as machine guns and short-barreled shotguns. These weapons must be registered, and in order to lawfully possess them, a prospective buyer must undergo a fingerprint-based background check. However, felons, domestic abusers, and others prohibited from having guns can easily evade the required background check and gain access to machine guns or other particularly dangerous weapons by registering the weapon to a trust or corporation. At present, when the weapon is registered to a trust or corporation, no background check is run. ATF reports that last year alone, it received more than 39,000 requests for transfers of these restricted firearms to trusts or corporations.Today, ATF is issuing a new proposed regulation to close this loophole. The proposed rule requires individuals associated with trusts or corporations that acquire these types of weapons to undergo background checks, just as these individuals would if the weapons were registered to them individually. By closing this loophole, the regulation will ensure that machine guns and other particularly dangerous weapons do not end up in the wrong hands.Keeping Surplus Military Weapons Off Our Streets

When the United States provides military firearms to its allies, either as direct commercial sales or through the foreign military sales or military assistance programs, those firearms may not be imported back into the United States without U.S. government approval. Since 2005, the U.S. Government has authorized requests to reimport more than 250,000 of these firearms.Today, the Administration is announcing a new policy of denying requests to bring military-grade firearms back into the United States to private entities, with only a few exceptions such as for museums. This new policy will help keep military-grade firearms off our streets.

HARVARD: Gun Control Does Not Lead to Less Violent Ctime

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Archived Version

Source: EconomicPolicyJournal.com

Thu, 29 Aug 2013 12:17

Because the findings so clearly demonstrate that more gun laws may in fact increase death rates, the study says that "the mantra that more guns mean more deaths and that fewer guns, therefore, mean fewer deaths" is wrong.For example, when the study shows numbers for Eastern European gun ownership and corresponding murder rates, it is readily apparent that less guns to do not mean less death. In Russia, where the rate of gun ownership is 4,000 per 100,000 inhabitants, the murder rate was 20.52 per 100,000 in 2002. That same year in Finland, where the rater of gun ownership is exceedingly higher--39,000 per 100,000--the murder rate was almost nill, at 1.98 per 100,000.[...]The murder rate in Russia, where handguns are banned, is 30.6; the rate in the U.S. is 7.8.And this doesn't take into consideration the mass killing of unarmed Jews by Hitler's soldiers and unarmed Kulaks in the Soviet Union.

Wes Clark 7

Designation of 4 Individuals Pursuant to Executive Order 13224 of September 23, 2001, ''Blocking Property and Prohibiting Transactions With Persons Who Commit, Threaten To Commit, or Support Terrorism''

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Archived Version

Source: Federal Register Latest Entries

Wed, 28 Aug 2013 14:11

The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (''OFAC'') is publishing the names of 4 individuals whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to Executive Order 13224 of September 23, 2001, ''Blocking Property and Prohibiting Transactions With Persons Who Commit, Threaten To Commit, or Support Terrorism.''

The designations by the Director of OFAC of the 4 individuals in this notice, pursuant to Executive Order 13224, are effective on August 22, 2013.

Assistant Director, Compliance Outreach & Implementation,Office of Foreign Assets Control,Department of the Treasury,Washington, DC 20220, tel.: 202/622-2490.

This document and additional information concerning OFAC are available from OFAC's Web site (www.treas.gov/ofac) or via facsimile through a 24-hour fax-on-demand service, tel.: 202/622-0077.

On September 23, 2001, the President issued Executive Order 13224 (the ''Order'') pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, 50 U.S.C. 1701-1706, and the United Nations Participation Act of 1945, 22 U.S.C. 287c. In the Order, the President declared a national emergency to address grave acts of terrorism and threats of terrorism committed by foreign terrorists, including the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York, Pennsylvania, and at the Pentagon. The Order imposes economic sanctions on persons who have committed, pose a significant risk of committing, or support acts of terrorism. The President identified in the Annex to the Order, as amended by Executive Order 13268 of July 2, 2002, 13 individuals and 16 entities as subject to the economic sanctions. The Order was further amended by Executive Order 13284 of January 23, 2003, to reflect the creation of the Department of Homeland Security.

Section 1 of the Order blocks, with certain exceptions, all property and interests in property that are in or hereafter come within the United States or the possession or control of United States persons, of: (1) Foreign persons listed in the Annex to the Order; (2) foreign persons determined by the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and the Attorney General, to have committed, or to pose a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten the security of U.S. nationals or the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States; (3) persons determined by the Director of OFAC, in consultation with the Departments of State, Homeland Security and Justice, to be owned or controlled by, or to act for or on behalf of those persons listed in the Annex to the Order or those persons determined to be subject to subsection 1(b), 1(c), or 1(d)(i) of the Order; and (4) except as provided in section 5 of the Order and after such consultation, if any, with foreign authorities as the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and the Attorney General, deems appropriate in the exercise of his discretion, persons determined by the Director of OFAC, in consultation with the Departments of State, Homeland Security and Justice, to assist in, sponsor, or provide financial, material, or technological support for, or financial or other services to or in support of, such acts of terrorism or those persons listed in the Annex to the Order or determined to be subject to the Order or to be otherwise associated with those persons listed in the Annex to the Order or those persons determined to be subject to subsection 1(b), 1(c), or 1(d)(i) of the Order.

On August 22, 2013 the Director of OFAC, in consultation with the Departments of State, Homeland Security, Justice and other relevant agencies, designated, pursuant to one or more of the criteria set forth in subsections 1(b), 1(c) or 1(d) of the Order, 4 individuals whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to Executive Order 13224.

The listings for these individuals on OFAC's list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons appear as follows:

1. HARB, Khalil Yusif (a.k.a. AHMAD, Sayyid; a.k.a. HARB, Hajj Ya'taqad Khalil; a.k.a. HARB, Khalil Yusuf; a.k.a. HARB, Mustafa Khalil; a.k.a. MUSTAFA, Abu); DOB 09 Oct 1958 (individual) [SDGT].

2. MANSUR, Muhammad Yusuf Ahmad (a.k.a. HALAWI, Hani; a.k.a. MANSOUR, Mohammad Yousef; a.k.a. MANSOUR, Mohammad Youssef; a.k.a. MANSUR, Mohammad Yusuf Ahmad; a.k.a. MANSUR, Muhammad Yusif Ahmad; a.k.a. SHEHAB, Sami; a.k.a. SHIHAB, Sami Hani; a.k.a. ''HILLAWI, Jamal Hani''; a.k.a. ''SAMI, Salem Bassem''; a.k.a. ''SHIHAB, Muhammad Yusuf Mansur Sami''), Beirut, Lebanon; DOB 14 Sep 1970; alt. DOB 01 Jan 1974; alt. DOB 1980; POB Bint Jubayl, Lebanon (individual) [SDGT].

3. QABALAN, Muhammad (a.k.a. QABLAN, Muhammad; a.k.a. ''AL-GHUL, Hassan''), Southern Suburbs, Beirut, Lebanon; DOB 1969; citizen Lebanon (individual) [SDGT].

4. KAWTHARANI, Muhammad (a.k.a. AL-KAWTHARANI, Jafar; a.k.a. AL-KAWTHARANI, Muhammad; a.k.a. KAWTARANI, Muhammad; a.k.a. KAWTHARANI, Mohammad); DOB 1945; alt. DOB 1959; alt. DOB 1961; POB Najaf, Iraq; nationality Lebanon; alt. nationality Iraq (individual) [SDGT].

Dated: August 22, 2013.

Barbara C. Hammerle,

Acting Director, Office of Foreign Assets Control.

[FR Doc. 2013-20982 Filed 8-27-13; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4810-AL-P

It's on the WC7 list: A New Presidential Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan

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Archived Version

Source: White House.gov Blog Feed

Thu, 29 Aug 2013 01:30

Grant T. HarrisAugust 28, 201302:30 PM EDT

President Barack Obama meets with Ambassador Donald Booth, Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, in the Oval Office, Aug. 28, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Today, President Obama appointed Ambassador Donald Booth as the new U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan. A former U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia, Zambia, and Liberia, Ambassador Booth is one of our most experienced diplomats and has extensive experience promoting peace and prosperity across the African continent. He is seasoned, determined, and deeply committed to pursuing peace between and within Sudan and South Sudan.

Ambassador Booth joins our Sudan and South Sudan team at a critical time. Working closely with the African Union and our other international partners, he will play a vital role in urging Sudan and South Sudan to make progress on resolving outstanding issues, including the status of the disputed region of Abyei. He will continue U.S. efforts to press for a peaceful and definitive end to the conflicts in Darfur, Southern Kordofan, and Blue Nile as part of a holistic solution to Sudan's human rights, humanitarian, and governance crises. And he will urge South Sudan to stay focused on protecting its people, meeting their needs, and realizing their aspirations for a more peaceful, prosperous, and democratic future.

As the President told Ambassador Booth today during their meeting in the Oval Office, supporting peace between and within Sudan and South Sudan remains a priority for this Administration. As Ambassador Booth carries forward this important work on behalf of the United States, he does so with the President's full support.

Read the President's statement.

Learn more about Ambassador Booth.

Grant T. Harris is Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs

2TTH

2TTH-Finance boss of Zurich Insurance found dead at his home - Telegraph

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Tue, 27 Aug 2013 23:14

Wauthier, who was well-respected in the industry, held a Master's degree in International Finance from l'Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales and a Masters in private law from the Sorbonne University in Paris.

He began his career at KPMG in 1982. He worked for two years at the French ministry of foreign affairs and joined JPMorgan Chase & Co. in 1985, where he stayed until moving to Zurich Insurance.

He started out as a risk manager and in 1999 was promoted to head of the Investor Relations section.

He was appointed to the CFO post in September 2011 after previous roles as group treasurer and head of centrally managed businesses.

The company's group controller, Vibhu Sharma, will temporarily take over as financial chief.

A statement from the company read: ''Zurich Insurance Group is in mourning following the death of its Group CFO, Pierre Wauthier, whose body was found this morning at his home.

''The police are investigating the exact circumstances. Out of consideration for the family no further details have been disclosed.''

Martin Senn, the chief executive, said: ''The Board of Directors, Group Executive Committee and all of our colleagues are deeply saddened and pass on our condolences to the family and relatives.''

Swiss news site Handelsblatt said police had ordered a post-mortem. It described Wauthier as a ''financial expert who was calm and rational''.

It added: ''He never seemed arrogant and also away from the protocol patiently answered questions from journalists.''

Zurich Insurance said earlier this month that net income for the second quarter fell 27pc to $789 million, missing analysts' estimates, after floods in central Europe and tornadoes in the U.S. hurt earnings.

Haiti

China calls for intl support for Haiti reconstruction: UN envoy

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Source: Global Times

Thu, 29 Aug 2013 01:55

Peaceful reconstruction in Haiti remains an arduous task, said a Chinese envoy to the United Nations (UN) Wednesday, calling for continuous support from the international community."The Haitian government has been making vigorous efforts in implementing policies on employment, education, environment, energy and the rule of law, and in enhancing its capacity building, " said Liu Jieyi, China's permanent representative to the UN, at an open debate on Haiti at the UN Security Council.

While describing the progress in Haiti's reconstruction after the 2010 earthquake as "remarkable," Liu said that Haiti still faced multiple challenges in its political process, economic development and humanitarian situation.

China called on the international community to honor their pledges of aid to Haiti effectively and be actively engaged in its national reconstruction, Liu said, adding that the cholera situation in Haiti remains grim.

"We hope that all relevant Haitian parties would put the interests of the nation and the people first, enhance their dialogues of political consultations, secure proper solutions of disputes ... and further promote the Haitian democratic process and political reconciliation."

The UN should continue to play an important role in Haiti, said Liu. "We welcome the Security Council's recommendation on the continued reconfiguration of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti and its extension of mandate for an additional year."

A strong earthquake rocked Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010, killing more than 300,000 people and leveling about 80,000 buildings.

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GitMo

'Back to the 19th century': Mysterious techno breakdown hits Gitmo 9/11 tribunal

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Source: WT news feed

Sun, 25 Aug 2013 13:19

Defense lawyers for Guantanamo detainees asked the judge in the military tribunal on Friday to suspend pretrial hearings as mysterious computer glitches are just the latest technological setbacks to complicate the legal proceedings.

Defense lawyers for Guantanamo detainees asked the military tribunal judge to suspend pretrial hearings as mysterious computer glitches have made their job a 'hot mess' forcing some of them to draft motions with pen and paper.

"We're basically put back in the 19th century," Army Major Jason Wright, who represents the alleged mastermind of the terrorist attacks, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, said on Friday, as quoted by Reuters. "It takes about five to 10 times what it would normally take to do defense functions."

Defense lawyers for five Guantanamo detainees said email correspondences they sent were never received, investigative records that took years to compile had disappeared and external monitors were unable to access their internet searches. Even the prosecuting and defense teams had been given access to each other's files.

The technical problems had started earlier in the year but by April they had become so severe that the chief defense counsel, Air Force Colonel Karen Mayberry, ordered defense lawyers not to use their Pentagon computers for any confidential casework.

The situation became so dire that when Pentagon officials wished to convey messages to legal advisors in other cities, they had to place the sensitive data onto external drives, head to Starbucks and file them via Wi-Fi using their personal computers and personal email accounts, Wright revealed.

Defense attorney James Harrington, who represents Yemeni prisoner Ramzi bin al Shibh, said he had been forced to draft motions with pen and paper.

Another defense attorney for Mohammed, David Nevin, commented: "In this day and age you cannot practice law this way."

He said the chief of staff for the Pentagon official overseeing the military tribunals issued her judgment during a conference call on Thursday, declaring: "This is a hot mess."

Pentagon technical personnel have said it would take ''up to 111 days'' to fix the glitches once a contract was signed and money allocated, and that it was doubtful the work could be finished before the start of 2014.

The judge, Army Colonel James Pohl, said he would give the matter further consideration at a pretrial hearing scheduled to start on Sept. 16 and decide then whether to cancel hearings scheduled for October, November, December and January.

"I understand the serious nature of being able to communicate as a defense counsel," the judge said.

This is not the first time that the maximum-security tribunal has suffered from 'ghosts in the machinery.'

Judge Pohl in January convened an emergency meeting after it was discovered that some outside source was cutting the audio feed when particular subjects in the trial were being discussed.

The judge stated he was not happy with this interference and added that he would like some clarification on ''who turns that light on or off.''

''It's a 'whoa moment' for the court,'' Human Rights Watch observer Laura Pitter said in January, as quoted by the Miami Herald. ''Even the judge doesn't know that someone else has control over the censorship button?''

The five defendants are accused of training and funding the hijackers who allegedly crashed four commercial jets into the North and South Towers of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, 2001, killing nearly 3,000 people.

The Obama administration has backed down on its promise to close Gitmo and give the detainees civil trials on US territory in the face of extreme Republican pressure.

Down Under

kevin rudd weapons of mass distraction - Google Search

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Thu, 29 Aug 2013 11:16

More in NewsCourier Mail'Ž - 1 day ago

ROLLING COVERAGE: Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd have concluded their ...Kevin Rudd slips up talking about Syria's 'weapons of mass distraction' in the ...

Galleries: MBFF: Here come the bridesCourier Mail'Ž - 1 day ago

ROLLING COVERAGE: Kevin Rudd slips up talking about Syria's 'weapons ofmass distraction' in the countdown to tonight's debate with Tony Abbott.

Morning Express: Bumbling thief arrestedSydney Morning Herald'Ž - 15 hours ago

Kevin Rudd has thrown the lever to populism by calling for tighter ... Syrian government carried out chemical weapons attacks near Damascus.

LIVE: 2013 Federal Election - Day 24The Daily Telegraph'Ž - 1 day ago

Kevin Rudd, meanwhile, had a slip of the tongue about Syria, referring to ... more as a "weapon of mass distraction'' before correcting himself.

Labor gets every figure wrong: AbbottThe Age'Ž - 3 Aug 2013

Mr Hockey said this analysis was a "weapon of mass distraction" intended to ... The coalition was not "spooked" by the return of Kevin Rudd, ...

Daddy's girlsSydney Morning Herald'Ž - 2 Aug 2013

Tony Abbott unleashes his two weapons of mass distraction next week ... no plans to do something similar with Kevin Rudd's daughter Jessica, ...

Real solutions to global refugee problemGreen Left Weekly'Ž - 3 Aug 2013

This racist policy is a weapon of mass distraction whose objective is to ... against the Kevin Rudd government's policy and work to strengthen ...

The man who didn't know he was freeHerald Sun'Ž - 3 Aug 2013

PRIME Minister Kevin Rudd has declared he is not going to "ram" his views ... its collective reasoning for a blithe adherence to mass distraction.

Chemtrails

Activist Post: ''Chemtrails Are Happening All Over The World'' According to Former British Columbia Premier

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Mon, 26 Aug 2013 17:06

Arjun WaliaActivist PostThe Former premiere of British Columbia Bill Vander Zalm is putting politicians on notice. He sent a letter across Canada to multiple politicians voicing his concerns over the chemtrail phenomenon. We are told that they are simply airplane engine condensation trails, but now it is clear these trails are different from what they used to be. Instead of dissipating quickly, they spread across the sky, expand and remain in the atmosphere for a very long period of time. Chemtrails are said to consist of tiny particles of harmful toxins like Aluminum and Barium;Vander Zalm claims there is a potential link to increased rates of Cancer, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and more as a result of the spraying.

Bill is well aware that programs beyond the control of government is a reality. Governments are deliberately kept in the dark on projects conducted by defense intelligence agencies and many of these agencies hire private contractors and corporations to assist them. Because they hire private contractors, there is absolutely no oversight from Congress.

The CIA and NASA are now backing the National Academy of Sciences in regards to Geoengineering projects(0)(5). Geoengineering projects are any attempt to alter the way the planet or its weather systems operate. It's a response to what has been labelled as 'the global warming phenomenon.' It is complete climate control and the manipulation of it (1)(2)(3)(4). Geoengineering might soon be labelled under ''national security,'' in which case techniques and methods used will be kept classified without the public knowing what is transpiring.

Geoengineering has been a topic of interest for multiple universities across the planet. They've even started to develop specific programs for geoengineering, like Oxford University recently did(6). As mentioned earlier, the fact that the CIA is now involved means that all geoengineering techniques could be kept classified. This is a disturbing thought. One of the proposed techniques for combating global warming is spraying light-reflecting aerosols into the atmosphere. Here are some words from the Former premiere, Bill Vander Zalm, who is extremely concerned about geoengineering projects taking place without the public knowing.

I believe it's been going on for sometime, but to what extent and how much the government knows about it, I don't know. Chemtrails are happening all over the world, just exactly who's engineering all of this I don't know and that's exactly what i'm trying to find out. Governments do things without asking, and we find out about it when it's too late. If they don't give me the information, then I'll take it further. The Aluminium and Barium is very light, it stays in the air and they say it reflects the sunlight back into space, they say they are hoping to combat global warming with it. Unlike contrails, chemtrails spread and stay in the air for a very long time. What goes up comes down, if we inhale the stuff, perhaps that's why we have so many problems with alzheimer's, autism and MS. I have asked municipalities to pass a resolution that if there is any program geared toward climate change, and if anything is sprayed in the air it is done with public consent. Somebody needs to be out there speaking out about these things(7)

What is he hinting at? These are pretty alarming statements given the reputation of this man. Does he know more? I'm glad to see more and more people with a voice in the mainstream world speaking up.This is alarming, because at the same time multiple scientists all over the planet seem to agree that what we label as man-made global warming is in fact not as well understood as we think it is. The founder of the weather channel strongly agrees that man-made global warming isn't real. Scientists have even suggested that global warming has stopped and planetary temperatures have actually been cooling.

From my research, I've personally concluded that temperature changes are a result of the natural cyclical nature of planet Earth. I do believe pollution is a great cause for concern, that it impacts health and damages our environment and its critical systems. However, I do not believe that it is connected to warming the planet. I believe that global warming is another ''crisis'' manufactured in order to propose a solution that fits an agenda the ''elite'' have been playing out for years. The problem has been labeled as global warming, and the proposed solution is geoengineering.

Some corporations and elitist groups thrive of off planetary conflict. There has been a lot of evidence to suggest that many world events and causes for concern are created by the elite, so they can then propose the solution. One example (out of many) was 9/11; create a false flag ''terrorist'' attack in order to justify the invasion of Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries, even though they were not involved with anything having to do with 9/11. Could global warming be another problem proposed by elitist groups in order to propose the solution of geoengineering? Could this link to chemtrails? What is the real agenda behind chemtrails?

I highly recommend these two videos if you would like to look further into the phenomenon:

What in the World are They Spraying?

Why in the World are They Spraying?

Sources:

(0)http://phys.org/news/2013-07-cia-co-sponsoring-geoengineering-reversing-global.html

(1)http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol17/iss1/art24/

(2)http://www.sciencemag.org/content/314/5798/452.short

(3)http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10584-010-9961-z

(4)http://oxrep.oxfordjournals.org/content/24/2/322.short

(5)http://www.businessinsider.com/cia-weather-control-with-geoengineering-2013-7

(6)http://www.geoengineering.ox.ac.uk/geolibrary/index/reference/?publisher=Geoengineering+Quarterly%2C+Oxford+Geoengineering+Institute

(7)http://talkdigitalnetwork.com/2013/08/are-chemtrails-a-risk/

http://www.canadaskywatch.com/articles/news/2013/08_14_bill_vander_zalm_letter_to_canadian_government_officials.html#.UhfhH6Eb6-J

Arjun Walia writes for Collective-Evolution where this article first appeared.

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Curry's Law

Penguin 2.0 rolled out today

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Tue, 27 Aug 2013 15:31

We started rolling out the next generation of the Penguin webspam algorithm this afternoon (May 22, 2013), and the rollout is now complete. About 2.3% of English-US queries are affected to the degree that a regular user might notice. The change has also finished rolling out for other languages world-wide. The scope of Penguin varies by language, e.g. languages with more webspam will see more impact.

This is the fourth Penguin-related launch Google has done, but because this is an updated algorithm (not just a data refresh), we've been referring to this change as Penguin 2.0 internally. For more information on what SEOs should expect in the coming months, see the video that we recently released.

Added: If there are spam sites that you'd like to report after Penguin, we made a special spam report form at http://bit.ly/penguinspamreport . Tell us about spam sites you see and we'll check it out.

BiCuriousNation

UTILIKILTS - American Made Utility Kilts for Everyday Wear

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Mon, 26 Aug 2013 14:43

The Utilikilts San Francisco Store is now closed. As in closed-closed. We will be opening up a in new location in the future for all you Bay Area Utilikilarians. So stayed tuned. In the meantime, get your UK fix at the Utilikilts Flagship Retail Store in Seattle, and on here, Utilikilts.com.

ALL NEW EVERYTHING: News, Employees, Contests, Contest Winners, and me: Your brand new confidant.Enjoy.Read the BRAND NEW Winter 2012 Anti-Catalogue NOW.

To make room for our new 2013 designs and colors, we have retired all colors of the Mocker besides the Black and Black Pinstripe, and are now selling them, along with our Camo kilts, at a new discount price!Pinstripe Grey, Cream, Thunder Grey, Olive, Tan, and Heather Grey (Sold Out!) Mockers are available for 50% [...]

custom kilt

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Wed, 28 Aug 2013 16:54

***The rest of my kilts have moved to their own shop:http://www.etsy.com/shop/GryphonWorkshopA simple, basic cargo kilt made to your measurements. Features a medium width apron, box pleated design with a full width under-apron, two hip cargo pockets, 3" belt loops, and a 1.5" waistband secured with velcro, or a floating waistband with no closure.

To order your kilt I'll need the following:Your measurements: waist, hip, fell, lengthFabric and color choiceWaist closure: velcro or noneBelt loops: yes or no

Fabric is a lightweight poly/cotton, which looks great and is easy to take care of. Wash, dry, wear, repeat.

BlackBurgundyPurpleKhakiNavyBright BlueRedHunter GreenBrownMARPAT digital camo

All of my custom kilts are made to measure. If you're in the Portland/Vancouver area I'll be happy to make arrangements to meet up and take your measurements. If you'll be measuring yourself, detailed instructions can be found here:http://www.gryphonworkshop.com/kilt-questions/how-to-measure/

Payment MethodsReady to dispatch in 3-4 weeksShip ToCostWith Another ItemUnited States£7.94GBP£3.31GBP

VIDEOS

VIDEO-Gigantic Cat Prowls Detroit Neighborhood and Has Residents More Than a Little Afraid | Video | TheBlaze.com

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Mon, 26 Aug 2013 13:54

This Motor City cat doesn't purr; it hisses, observers say.

And it's no kitten; it's said to stand between 3 and 4 feet tall, believe it or not, and is lanky with a long tail.

If you think it's hanging out at the Detroit Zoo, think again.

It's hunkering down in a neighborhood'...and the residents are afraid of what the giant feline might do if, for example, an inquisitive toddler approaches it.

(Credit: WJBK-TV )

''His tail is longer than my arm,'' Antwaun Asberry, a 6-foot-5 resident, told the Detroit Free Press. ''I was like, what the [expletive].. I don't know what it is. I just want it gone.''

Asberry is far from alone in his neighborhood, as other residents are concerned about the cat roaming the streets in recent weeks. Detroit police and Animal Control, the Free Press reports, haven't responded. The Michigan Humane Society is investigating, however.

''We're going to put some effort into this,'' said Nancy Gunnigle, a director with the Humane Society, adding that cats this size are ''not easy to catch.''

(Credit: WJBK-TV)

''I've never seen a cat that big '-- even on TV,'' Nathan McGuire, 47, told the Free Press.

Paul Hatley, 14, ran into the cat, too. ''It wasn't normal,'' he said of the big cat. ''It didn't run away like normal cat. It just stared at you. '... It was scary.''

An expert spoke to WJBK-TV and said it may be a Savannah cat, a domestic hybrid. A breeder says the cats are a cross between a domestic house cat and a ''serval'' (a medium-sized African cat), WJBK reports.

A Savannah cat in a home (Credit: YouTube)

The unusual mix was created in the late 1980s, and Savannahs tend to be more social than house cats. They're the largest domestic breed, WJBK says, adding that its tall, slim build often makes it look larger than it actually is. Some male Savannahs can weigh more than 20 pounds.

Not that such news necessarily makes neighborhood residents breathe easier.

''He looked at me,'' Asberry said to the Free Press. ''I looked at him. He walked like he ain't scared of nothing.

''This thing is out here, bro.''

Here's a report from WJBK-TV that includes raw video of the cat in the neighborhood:

Fox 2 News Headlines

Here's a report from the Free Press that includes interviews with scared residents of the street where the cat reportedly prowls:

And here's a video of a domestic Savannah cat in a home, which may offer some perspective:

''

VIDEO-Carney Can't Explain Why 'Regime Change' Isn't Option In Syria

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Tue, 27 Aug 2013 20:18

Carney Can't Explain Why 'Regime Change' Isn't Option In SyriaPress Secretary Jay Carney could only repeat that it is "not our policy" to respond to the heinous chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime last week with a change in power. Carney said that the only solution is a "political transition" of power in Syria.27 Aug 2013, 12:37 PM PDTpost a comment27 Aug 2013, 9:58 AM PDT27 Aug 2013, 9:41 AM PDT27 Aug 2013, 9:19 AM PDT27 Aug 2013, 9:05 AM PDT27 Aug 2013, 8:30 AM PDT27 Aug 2013, 12:45 PM PDT27 Aug 2013, 12:28 PM PDT27 Aug 2013, 12:10 PM PDT27 Aug 2013, 11:56 AM PDT27 Aug 2013, 11:18 AM PDT27 Aug 2013, 1:00 PM PDT27 Aug 2013, 12:56 PM PDT27 Aug 2013, 12:53 PM PDT27 Aug 2013, 12:52 PM PDT27 Aug 2013, 12:52 PM PDT

VIDEO-Beauty pageant contestant totally nails answer (Video) '' theCHIVE

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Wed, 28 Aug 2013 15:43

Thank you for visiting theCHIVE.com - Probably the Best Site in the World. theCHIVE is home to the best funny, viral and interesting photos from around the world. Content published contains original photos, awesomeness, rumors, nicotine, speculation, beautiful girls, funny pictures, assumptions, opinions, ugly people, and factual information. Postings may contain erroneous or inaccurate information. theCHIVE would be nothing without you, our loyal Chivers.

Copyright (C) 2013 Resignation Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

VIDEO- Cornel West Says Civil Rights Leaders Have Failed The Movement - YouTube

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Mon, 26 Aug 2013 14:55

VIDEO- Obama "There Is A Possibility Chemical Weapons Could Be Directed At Us!" (IN 45 MINUTES!) - YouTube

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Thu, 29 Aug 2013 12:50

VIDEO- Peter King: Barack Obama Has Right to Attack Syria Without Congress - Fox News - 8/28/13 - YouTube

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Thu, 29 Aug 2013 12:39

VIDEO-Glendale Unified Hires Local Company To Monitor Students' Social Media Posts CBS Los Angeles

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Thu, 29 Aug 2013 03:15

GLENDALE (CBSLA.com) '-- The Glendale Unified School District has hired a Hermosa Beach company to monitor public social media posts made by its students to find out when teens are in trouble or causing it.

Superintendent Richard Sheehan said Geo Listening is analyzing the posts of 13,000 students at eight Glendale middle and high schools.

The goal is to give school administrators critical information as soon as possible.

''The whole purpose is student safety,'' said Sheehan. ''Basically, it just monitors for keywords where if a student is considering harming themselves, harming someone else.''

He added, ''We do monitor on and off campus, but we do pay attention during school hours. We do pay more attention to the school computers.''

Sheehan said during the pilot service last year, Geo Listening and the district were able to intervene with a suicidal student.

''The administrator was contacted at the school site. Then we made contact with the student, the student's family and we got them the appropriate help,'' he said.

Chris Frydrych, the CEO of Geo Listening said, ''We have provided information to school districts, which has led to numerous successful interventions on behalf of students that intended self-harm, suicide, bullying, truancy, substance abuse, and vandalism. We monitor only public posts to social networks. We do not monitor privatized pages, SMS, MMS, email, phone calls, voicemails.''

Hoover High School student Elijah Augustine said he doesn't mind the monitoring and neither does his mother.

''If there was a red flag, if he's talking about stress at school or he can't take it anymore, if I won't be able to deal with it, I would want somebody to come in,'' Felicia Johnson said.

The cost of the monitoring service is $40,500 a year.

Obama "There Is A Possibility Chemical Weapons Could be Directed At Us!" (IN 45 MINUTES!)

VIDEO- What Would An U.S. Attack On Syria Look Like? Something Like... TEAM AMERICA WORLD POLICE - YouTube

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Thu, 29 Aug 2013 02:34

VIDEO-Facebook Tech Coalition Plans to Control the Internet - BlackListedNews.com

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Tue, 27 Aug 2013 22:10

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, announced his new ''rough plan'' to develop technological ideas for the developing world.

Facebook currently offers a stripped-down version of its website to less than smartphones. For Android phones, Facebook has the Facebook Home app that has not proved to be as popular as anticipated.

The formation of a technological coalition would give internet access to an estimated 5 billion people.

Internet.org is the brainchild. Members of the coalition include:

' Facebook' Ericsson' Media Tek' Opera' Qalcomm' Samsung

According to the website, Internet.org ''is a global partnership between technology leaders, nonprofits, local communities and experts who are working together to bring the internet to the two thirds of the world's population that doesn't have it. Sharing tools, resources and best practices, Internet.org partners will explore solutions in three major opportunity areas: affordability, efficiency, and business models.''

Zuckerberg said: ''Everything Facebook as done has been about giving all people around the world the power to connect.''

Developing countries pose ''huge barriers'' to connecting to the internet ''and joining the knowledge economy.''

Internet.org is tasked with making ''internet access available to the two thirds of the world who are not yet connected.''

The founding members of the coalition will:

' Collaborate on joint projects' Share industry knowledge' ''Mobilize'' the industry' Work with governments to bring the internet to developing nations

Hans Vestberg, president and CEO of Ericsson said: ''We are committed to shaping the Networked Society (NS) '' where everyone and everything will be connected in real time, creating freedom, empowerment and opportunity to transform society.''

The NS envisioned by the coalition describes how digital information and communication technologies can relate to social, political, cultural and economic changes that has a foundation in the theories of socialist Georg Simmel .

Combining social and media networks, organization of the individual and the whole can be shaped by the actions of the masses with the least effects coming from the individual.

Essentially, the movement of the many overrides the actions of the few.

Barry Wellman, former sociologist for the University of Toronto, envisionedsocieties as networks and not bound by hierarchical structures.

Wellman has also developed the idea of networked individualism that focuses on ''the network society: community, work and organizations.''

Manuel Castells, creator of the idea of social morphology, explained : ''The definition, if you wish, in concrete terms of a network society is a society where the key social structures and activities are organized around electronically processed information networks. So it's not just about networks or social networks, because social networks have been very old forms of social organization. It's about social networks which process and manage information and are using micro-electronic based technologies.''

Castells points out that NS the will take our current information society to new heights. He recognizes that ''cultural, economic and political factors that make up the network society. Influences such as religion, cultural upbringing, political organizations, and social status all shape the network society. Societies are shaped by these factors in many ways. These influences can either raise or hinder these societies.''

Remarks by the President at the "Let Freedom Ring" Ceremony Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington

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Source: White House.gov Press Office Feed

Thu, 29 Aug 2013 01:44

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

August 28, 2013

Lincoln Memorial

3:07 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: To the King family, who have sacrificed and inspired so much; to President Clinton; President Carter; Vice President Biden and Jill; fellow Americans.

Five decades ago today, Americans came to this honored place to lay claim to a promise made at our founding: ''We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.''

In 1963, almost 200 years after those words were set to paper, a full century after a great war was fought and emancipation proclaimed, that promise -- those truths -- remained unmet. And so they came by the thousands from every corner of our country, men and women, young and old, blacks who longed for freedom and whites who could no longer accept freedom for themselves while witnessing the subjugation of others.

Across the land, congregations sent them off with food and with prayer. In the middle of the night, entire blocks of Harlem came out to wish them well. With the few dollars they scrimped from their labor, some bought tickets and boarded buses, even if they couldn't always sit where they wanted to sit. Those with less money hitchhiked or walked. They were seamstresses and steelworkers, students and teachers, maids and Pullman porters. They shared simple meals and bunked together on floors. And then, on a hot summer day, they assembled here, in our nation's capital, under the shadow of the Great Emancipator -- to offer testimony of injustice, to petition their government for redress, and to awaken America's long-slumbering conscience.

We rightly and best remember Dr. King's soaring oratory that day, how he gave mighty voice to the quiet hopes of millions; how he offered a salvation path for oppressed and oppressors alike. His words belong to the ages, possessing a power and prophecy unmatched in our time.

But we would do well to recall that day itself also belonged to those ordinary people whose names never appeared in the history books, never got on TV. Many had gone to segregated schools and sat at segregated lunch counters. They lived in towns where they couldn't vote and cities where their votes didn't matter. They were couples in love who couldn't marry, soldiers who fought for freedom abroad that they found denied to them at home. They had seen loved ones beaten, and children fire-hosed, and they had every reason to lash out in anger, or resign themselves to a bitter fate.

And yet they chose a different path. In the face of hatred, they prayed for their tormentors. In the face of violence, they stood up and sat in, with the moral force of nonviolence. Willingly, they went to jail to protest unjust laws, their cells swelling with the sound of freedom songs. A lifetime of indignities had taught them that no man can take away the dignity and grace that God grants us. They had learned through hard experience what Frederick Douglass once taught -- that freedom is not given, it must be won, through struggle and discipline, persistence and faith.

That was the spirit they brought here that day. That was the spirit young people like John Lewis brought to that day. That was the spirit that they carried with them, like a torch, back to their cities and their neighborhoods. That steady flame of conscience and courage that would sustain them through the campaigns to come -- through boycotts and voter registration drives and smaller marches far from the spotlight; through the loss of four little girls in Birmingham, and the carnage of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, and the agony of Dallas and California and Memphis. Through setbacks and heartbreaks and gnawing doubt, that flame of justice flickered; it never died.

And because they kept marching, America changed. Because they marched, a Civil Rights law was passed. Because they marched, a Voting Rights law was signed. Because they marched, doors of opportunity and education swung open so their daughters and sons could finally imagine a life for themselves beyond washing somebody else's laundry or shining somebody else's shoes. (Applause.) Because they marched, city councils changed and state legislatures changed, and Congress changed, and, yes, eventually, the White House changed. (Applause.)

Because they marched, America became more free and more fair -- not just for African Americans, but for women and Latinos, Asians and Native Americans; for Catholics, Jews, and Muslims; for gays, for Americans with a disability. America changed for you and for me. and the entire world drew strength from that example, whether the young people who watched from the other side of an Iron Curtain and would eventually tear down that wall, or the young people inside South Africa who would eventually end the scourge of apartheid. (Applause.)

Those are the victories they won, with iron wills and hope in their hearts. That is the transformation that they wrought, with each step of their well-worn shoes. That's the debt that I and millions of Americans owe those maids, those laborers, those porters, those secretaries; folks who could have run a company maybe if they had ever had a chance; those white students who put themselves in harm's way, even though they didn't have; those Japanese Americans who recalled their own internment; those Jewish Americans who had survived the Holocaust; people who could have given up and given in, but kept on keeping on, knowing that ''weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.'' (Applause.)

On the battlefield of justice, men and women without rank or wealth or title or fame would liberate us all in ways that our children now take for granted, as people of all colors and creeds live together and learn together and walk together, and fight alongside one another, and love one another, and judge one another by the content of our character in this greatest nation on Earth. (Applause.)

To dismiss the magnitude of this progress -- to suggest, as some sometimes do, that little has changed -- that dishonors the courage and the sacrifice of those who paid the price to march in those years. (Applause.) Medgar Evers, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner, Martin Luther King Jr. -- they did not die in vain. (Applause.) Their victory was great.

But we would dishonor those heroes as well to suggest that the work of this nation is somehow complete. The arc of the moral universe may bend towards justice, but it doesn't bend on its own. To secure the gains this country has made requires constant vigilance, not complacency. Whether by challenging those who erect new barriers to the vote, or ensuring that the scales of justice work equally for all, and the criminal justice system is not simply a pipeline from underfunded schools to overcrowded jails, it requires vigilance. (Applause.)

And we'll suffer the occasional setback. But we will win these fights. This country has changed too much. (Applause.) People of goodwill, regardless of party, are too plentiful for those with ill will to change history's currents. (Applause.)

In some ways, though, the securing of civil rights, voting rights, the eradication of legalized discrimination -- the very significance of these victories may have obscured a second goal of the March. For the men and women who gathered 50 years ago were not there in search of some abstract ideal. They were there seeking jobs as well as justice -- (applause) -- not just the absence of oppression but the presence of economic opportunity. (Applause.)

For what does it profit a man, Dr. King would ask, to sit at an integrated lunch counter if he can't afford the meal? This idea -- that one's liberty is linked to one's livelihood; that the pursuit of happiness requires the dignity of work, the skills to find work, decent pay, some measure of material security -- this idea was not new. Lincoln himself understood the Declaration of Independence in such terms -- as a promise that in due time, ''the weights should be lifted from the shoulders of all men, and that all should have an equal chance.''

And Dr. King explained that the goals of African Americans were identical to working people of all races: ''Decent wages, fair working conditions, livable housing, old-age security, health and welfare measures, conditions in which families can grow, have education for their children, and respect in the community.''

What King was describing has been the dream of every American. It's what's lured for centuries new arrivals to our shores. And it's along this second dimension -- of economic opportunity, the chance through honest toil to advance one's station in life -- where the goals of 50 years ago have fallen most short.

Yes, there have been examples of success within black America that would have been unimaginable a half century ago. But as has already been noted, black unemployment has remained almost twice as high as white unemployment, Latino unemployment close behind. The gap in wealth between races has not lessened, it's grown. And as President Clinton indicated, the position of all working Americans, regardless of color, has eroded, making the dream Dr. King described even more elusive.

For over a decade, working Americans of all races have seen their wages and incomes stagnate, even as corporate profits soar, even as the pay of a fortunate few explodes. Inequality has steadily risen over the decades. Upward mobility has become harder. In too many communities across this country, in cities and suburbs and rural hamlets, the shadow of poverty casts a pall over our youth, their lives a fortress of substandard schools and diminished prospects, inadequate health care and perennial violence.

And so as we mark this anniversary, we must remind ourselves that the measure of progress for those who marched 50 years ago was not merely how many blacks could join the ranks of millionaires. It was whether this country would admit all people who are willing to work hard regardless of race into the ranks of a middle-class life. (Applause.)

The test was not, and never has been, whether the doors of opportunity are cracked a bit wider for a few. It was whether our economic system provides a fair shot for the many -- for the black custodian and the white steelworker, the immigrant dishwasher and the Native American veteran. To win that battle, to answer that call -- this remains our great unfinished business.

We shouldn't fool ourselves. The task will not be easy. Since 1963, the economy has changed. The twin forces of technology and global competition have subtracted those jobs that once provided a foothold into the middle class -- reduced the bargaining power of American workers. And our politics has suffered. Entrenched interests, those who benefit from an unjust status quo, resisted any government efforts to give working families a fair deal -- marshaling an army of lobbyists and opinion makers to argue that minimum wage increases or stronger labor laws or taxes on the wealthy who could afford it just to fund crumbling schools, that all these things violated sound economic principles. We'd be told that growing inequality was a price for a growing economy, a measure of this free market; that greed was good and compassion ineffective, and those without jobs or health care had only themselves to blame.

And then, there were those elected officials who found it useful to practice the old politics of division, doing their best to convince middle-class Americans of a great untruth -- that government was somehow itself to blame for their growing economic insecurity; that distant bureaucrats were taking their hard-earned dollars to benefit the welfare cheat or the illegal immigrant.

And then, if we're honest with ourselves, we'll admit that during the course of 50 years, there were times when some of us claiming to push for change lost our way. The anguish of assassinations set off self-defeating riots. Legitimate grievances against police brutality tipped into excuse-making for criminal behavior. Racial politics could cut both ways, as the transformative message of unity and brotherhood was drowned out by the language of recrimination. And what had once been a call for equality of opportunity, the chance for all Americans to work hard and get ahead was too often framed as a mere desire for government support -- as if we had no agency in our own liberation, as if poverty was an excuse for not raising your child, and the bigotry of others was reason to give up on yourself.

All of that history is how progress stalled. That's how hope was diverted. It's how our country remained divided. But the good news is, just as was true in 1963, we now have a choice. We can continue down our current path, in which the gears of this great democracy grind to a halt and our children accept a life of lower expectations; where politics is a zero-sum game where a few do very well while struggling families of every race fight over a shrinking economic pie -- that's one path. Or we can have the courage to change.

The March on Washington teaches us that we are not trapped by the mistakes of history; that we are masters of our fate. But it also teaches us that the promise of this nation will only be kept when we work together. We'll have to reignite the embers of empathy and fellow feeling, the coalition of conscience that found expression in this place 50 years ago.

And I believe that spirit is there, that truth force inside each of us. I see it when a white mother recognizes her own daughter in the face of a poor black child. I see it when the black youth thinks of his own grandfather in the dignified steps of an elderly white man. It's there when the native-born recognizing that striving spirit of the new immigrant; when the interracial couple connects the pain of a gay couple who are discriminated against and understands it as their own.

That's where courage comes from -- when we turn not from each other, or on each other, but towards one another, and we find that we do not walk alone. That's where courage comes from. (Applause.)

And with that courage, we can stand together for good jobs and just wages. With that courage, we can stand together for the right to health care in the richest nation on Earth for every person. (Applause.) With that courage, we can stand together for the right of every child, from the corners of Anacostia to the hills of Appalachia, to get an education that stirs the mind and captures the spirit, and prepares them for the world that awaits them. (Applause.)

With that courage, we can feed the hungry, and house the homeless, and transform bleak wastelands of poverty into fields of commerce and promise.

America, I know the road will be long, but I know we can get there. Yes, we will stumble, but I know we'll get back up. That's how a movement happens. That's how history bends. That's how when somebody is faint of heart, somebody else brings them along and says, come on, we're marching. (Applause.)

There's a reason why so many who marched that day, and in the days to come, were young -- for the young are unconstrained by habits of fear, unconstrained by the conventions of what is. They dared to dream differently, to imagine something better. And I am convinced that same imagination, the same hunger of purpose stirs in this generation.

We might not face the same dangers of 1963, but the fierce urgency of now remains. We may never duplicate the swelling crowds and dazzling procession of that day so long ago -- no one can match King's brilliance -- but the same flame that lit the heart of all who are willing to take a first step for justice, I know that flame remains. (Applause.)

That tireless teacher who gets to class early and stays late and dips into her own pocket to buy supplies because she believes that every child is her charge -- she's marching. (Applause.)

That successful businessman who doesn't have to but pays his workers a fair wage and then offers a shot to a man, maybe an ex-con who is down on his luck -- he's marching. (Applause.)

The mother who pours her love into her daughter so that she grows up with the confidence to walk through the same door as anybody's son -- she's marching. (Applause.)

The father who realizes the most important job he'll ever have is raising his boy right, even if he didn't have a father -- especially if he didn't have a father at home -- he's marching. (Applause.)

The battle-scarred veterans who devote themselves not only to helping their fellow warriors stand again, and walk again, and run again, but to keep serving their country when they come home -- they are marching. (Applause.)

Everyone who realizes what those glorious patriots knew on that day -- that change does not come from Washington, but to Washington; that change has always been built on our willingness, We The People, to take on the mantle of citizenship -- you are marching. (Applause.)

And that's the lesson of our past. That's the promise of tomorrow -- that in the face of impossible odds, people who love their country can change it. That when millions of Americans of every race and every region, every faith and every station, can join together in a spirit of brotherhood, then those mountains will be made low, and those rough places will be made plain, and those crooked places, they straighten out towards grace, and we will vindicate the faith of those who sacrificed so much and live up to the true meaning of our creed, as one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. (Applause.)

END3:36 P.M. EDT

Martin Luther King Jr.'s Message to Obama on August 28, 2013. - The Hagmann And Hagmann Report

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Written by Mitch SantellProducer, The Hagmann and Hagmann Report.This morning I woke up with a pit in my stomach. Why? As a six year old boy I watched with my mother on TV as Martin Luther King, Jr. shared his "I Have A Dream Speech" with the world.

If you replace the words "Vietnam War" with "Middle East" or "Syria," you will discover that what Martin Luther King, Jr. had to say then is just as relevant as it is today.

So here is Martin Luther King's Message to Obama for August 28, 2013...

The time has come for America to hear the truth about this tragic war. In international conflicts, the truth is hard to come by because most nations are deceived about themselves. Rationalizations and the incessant search for scapegoats are the psychological cataracts that blind us to our sins. But the day has passed for superficial patriotism. He who lives with untruth lives in spiritual slavery. Freedom is still the bonus we receive for knowing the truth. "Ye shall know the truth," says Jesus, "and the truth shall set you free." Now, I've chosen to preach about the war in Vietnam because I agree with Dante, that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a period of moral crisis maintain their neutrality. There comes a time when silence becomes betrayal.

The truth of these words is beyond doubt, but the mission to which they call us is a most difficult one. Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government's policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one's own bosom and in the surrounding world. Moreover, when the issues at hand seem as perplexing, as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict, we're always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty. But we must move on. Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony. But we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak. And we must rejoice as well, for in all our history there has never been such a monumental dissent during a war, by the American people.

Polls reveal that almost fifteen million Americans explicitly oppose the war in Vietnam. Additional millions cannot bring themselves around to support it. And even those millions who do support the war [are] half-hearted, confused, and doubt-ridden. This reveals that millions have chosen to move beyond the prophesying of smooth patriotism, to the high grounds of firm dissent, based upon the mandates of conscience and the reading of history. Now, of course, one of the difficulties in speaking out today grows the fact that there are those who are seeking to equate dissent with disloyalty. It's a dark day in our nation when high-level authorities will seek to use every method to silence dissent. But something is happening, and people are not going to be silenced. The truth must be told, and I say that those who are seeking to make it appear that anyone who opposes the war in Vietnam is a fool or a traitor or an enemy of our soldiers is a person that has taken a stand against the best in our tradition.

VIDEOO-BBC News - UK parliament recalled over Syria response

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VIDEO-Secretary Janet Napolitano Farewell Address - C-SPAN Video Library

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Tue, 27 Aug 2013 22:16

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Janet Napolitano gave her farewell speech as secretary of the Homeland Security Department.*(DHS) She highlighted the accomplishments of DHS during her tenure, She also read an ''open letter'' to her successor that .. Read MoreJanet Napolitano gave her farewell speech as secretary of the Homeland Security Department.*(DHS) She highlighted the accomplishments of DHS during her tenure, She also read an ''open letter'' to her successor that included a list of some of the problems the department faces, such as global climate change, border security, and terrorist threats.*She also advised ''a large bottle of Advil'' and warned of an imminent cyber attack.

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VIDEO- 8/27/13: White House Press Briefing - YouTube

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Wed, 28 Aug 2013 21:18

NATO Secretary General Statement on North Atlantic Council Meeting on Syria

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The North Atlantic Council has just discussed the situation in Syria and in particular the horrific use of chemical weapons around Damascus on 21 August. We condemn in the strongest possible terms these outrageous attacks, which caused major loss of life. NATO Allies expressed their full support to the ongoing UN investigation. They deplored that the Syrian regime failed to provide immediate and secure access for the United Nations inspectors to the sites of the attacks. The Syrian regime maintains custody of stockpiles of chemical weapons. Information available from a wide variety of sources points to the Syrian regime as responsible for the use of chemical weapons in these attacks. This is a clear breach of long-standing international norms and practice. Any use of such weapons is unacceptable and cannot go unanswered. Those responsible must be held accountable. We consider the use of chemical weapons as a threat to international peace and security. We will continue to consult and keep the situation in Syria under close review, and NATO continues to assist Turkey and protect the Alliance's south-eastern border.

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VIDEO-Japan's trade minister blames Fukishima operators for contamination leak | euronews, world news

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Mon, 26 Aug 2013 16:52

Japan's trade minister has visited the Fukushima nuclear plant after its latest and worst leak.

Last week, 300 ton of radiation-contaminated water escaped from a tank at the plant. The tanks were set up to hold contaminated water used to cool reactor cores at the plant. Most of the water is thought to have seeped into the ground, but some may have escaped into the sea through a rainwater gutter.

The minister, Toshimitsu Motegi, promised the government would take urgent action. However he laid the blame squarely at the feet of the plant's operator, TEPCO.

''Concerning the issue of how to handle the contaminated water, we had been leaving everything to TEPCO and the way they have been handling the matter was on a piecemeal basis, by taking care of each problem as it emerged. But from here on the government will take charge,'' Motegi declared.

TEPCO has said it will now invite foreign decommissioning experts to advise it on how to clean up its act.

The trade minister promised checks of the tanks would be doubled to four a day.

The government has also signalled it may dip into an emergency reserve fund to help pay for the clean-up.

Fishing off the coast has once again been banned because of the contamination. Local fisherman complained they had lost faith in TEPCO's ability to protect the sea.

Fumio Suzuki, a 47-year-old fisherman, said: ''The [plant's] operators are reacting too late every time with everything they do. We say, 'Don't spill contaminated water', and they spill contaminated water. They are always a step behind so that is why we can't trust them.''

It is unclear what the longterm environmental impact will be on sea life. A recent test on 170 types of fish showed 40 percent were contaminated

The Fukushima plant suffered multiple meltdowns following a massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

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VIDEO-Obama: Martin Luther King Jr. would have liked Obamacare | WashingtonExaminer.com

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Read More...George Will: Iran is watching Obama's 'red line' dance on SyriaBy CHARLIE SPIERING | 08/26/13 07:55 AM

Conservative columnist George Will thinks that Iran is watching President Obama's commitment to his ''red line'' promise on chemical weapons used in Syria. ''Iran is watching this little dance of deadlines and red...

Read More...Bipartisanship: House Dem, GOP senator agree US should bomb SyriaBy JOEL GEHRKE | 08/25/13 07:35 PM

A Democratic House member and Republican senator found common ground on a foreign policy question, agreeing that the United States needs to bomb Syria in response to the latest reported chemical weapons attack by dictator...

Read More...Ted Cruz's father: 'I don't see him running for president'By ASHE SCHOW | 08/25/13 02:05 PM

Rafael Cruz, father of popular Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, may have dashed the hopes of many conservatives when he told CNN's Candy Crowley that he doesn't believe his son will run for president. ''I don't see him...

Read More...Ted Cruz on CNN: We're about to see a 'grassroots tsunami' hit WashingtonBy CHARLIE SPIERING | 08/25/13 12:35 PM

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, faced CNN's Candy Crowley on Sunday, defending his plan to defund Obamacare and what he would do to fix health care in America. Cruz praised the power of grassroots activists, suggesting that a...

Read More...Lawsuit challenges Teamsters for charging ex-members fees to file grievancesBy SEAN HIGGINS | 08/25/13 11:30 AM

Four former members of Teamsters Local 214 in Dearborn, Michigan, have filed suit against the union, alleging it has no right to charge them $150 plus expenses if they want to file a grievance with their employer.

Read More...Report: Keystone pipeline decision likely to be delayed until 2014By SEAN HIGGINS | 08/25/13 10:55 AM

Claims that a contractor hired by the State Department to do a draft environmental impact report of the US-Canada Keystone XL pipeline project has a conflict of interest will likely delay a decision on project until at...

Read More...Republicans want a 2016 candidate who's fearless; that's what Ted Cruz is sellingBy BYRON YORK | 08/24/13 10:20 PM

''I'm sick of Republicans letting Obama walk all over them,'' says Denise Roberts, a Dublin, New Hampshire Republican who has come to a grand old home in the shadow of Mount Monadnock to get a first-hand look at Sen....

Read More...The socialist history of the 1963 March On WashingtonBy SEAN HIGGINS | 08/24/13 07:55 PM

In the 50 years since the 1963 March on Washington,it's connection to the socialist movement has been largely airbrushed from history. For example, a Washington Post piece ''Five myths about the March on Washington''...

Read More...Author Harlan Coben recalls playing baseball with Chris Christie in New JerseyBy CHARLIE SPIERI