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Archive for April 11th, 2011

It’s Now Official: Japan Raises Nuclear Disaster Severity To Level 7

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April 11, 2011: NHK World Editors / NHK World – April 12, 2011 – (Time Zone Differential)

The Japanese government’s nuclear safety agency has decided to raise the crisis level of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant accident from 5 to 7, the worst on the international scale.

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency made the decision on Monday. It says the damaged facilities have been releasing a massive amount of radioactive substances, which are posing a threat to human health and the environment over a wide area.

The agency used the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale, or INES, to gauge the level. The scale was designed by an international group of experts to indicate the significance of nuclear events with ratings of 0 to 7.

On March 18th, one week after the massive quake, the agency declared the Fukushima trouble a level 5 incident, the same as the accident at Three Mile Island in the United States in 1979.

Level 7 has formerly only been applied to the Chernobyl accident in the former Soviet Union in 1986 when hundreds of thousands of terabecquerels of radioactive iodine-131 were released into the air. One terabecquerel is one trillion becquerels. The agency believes the cumulative amount from the Fukushima plant is less than that from Chernobyl.

Officials from the agency and the Nuclear Safety Commission will hold a news conference on Tuesday morning to explain the change of evaluation.

Fukushima Japan Nuclear Disaster Raised To Level 7 – Same As Chernobyl

The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: I don’t think anyone paying attention to this disaster is surprised, other than by the fact that it took Japan over a month to state the obvious. Breathe shallow– SJH

Link to original article with video below…

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/12_05.html

Japanese Consider Raising Severity Of Nuclear Disaster To Level 7

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April 11, 2011: Kyodo News Editor’s / Kyodo News – April 12, 2011 (Time Zone Differential)

This would be a significant admission– SJH

The Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan released a preliminary calculation Monday saying that the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant had been releasing up to 10,000 terabecquerels of radioactive materials per hour at some point after a massive quake and tsunami hit northeastern Japan on March 11 [2011].

The disclosure prompted the government to consider raising the accident’s severity level to 7, the worst on an international scale, from the current 5, government sources said. The level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale has only been applied to the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe.

The current provisional evaluation of 5 is at the same level as the Three Mile Island accident in the United States in 1979.

According to an evaluation by the INES, level 7 accidents correspond with a release into the external environment radioactive materials equal to more than tens of thousands terabecquerels of radioactive iodine 131. One terabecquerel equals 1 trillion becquerels.

Haruki Madarame, chairman of the commission, which is a government panel, said it has estimated that the release of 10,000 terabecquerels of radioactive materials per hour continued for several hours.

The commission says the release has since come down to under 1 terabecquerel per hour and said that it is still examining the total amount of radioactive materials released.

The commission also released a preliminary calculation for the cumulative amount of external exposure to radiation, saying it exceeded the yearly limit of 1 millisieverts in areas extending more than 60 kilometers to the northwest of the plant and about 40 km to the south-southwest of the plant.

It encompasses the cities of Fukushima, Date, Soma, Minamisoma, and Iwaki, which are all in Fukushima Prefecture, and some areas including the town of Hirono in the prefecture.

Within a 20-km exclusion zone set by the government, the amount varied from under 1 millisieverts to 100 millisieverts or more, and in the 20-30 km radius ring where residents are asked to stay indoors, it came to under 50 millisieverts.

The commission used the System for Prediction of Environmental Emergency Dose Information to calculate the spread of radiation.

Breaking News – Strong 7.0 Aftershock In Fukushima (April 11, 2011)

The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: Further damage from this latest quake may have prompted Japan to consider raising the severity up to Level 7, but quite frankly, this was always a Level 7 nuclear disaster– SJH

UPDATE: Breaking News – Japan Raises Nuclear Disaster To Level 7 (with video)

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/12_05.html

Link to original article below…

http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2011/04/84721.html

Industry’s Foolish War On Nature: “What Are The Bees Telling Us?”

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April 11, 2011: Rady Ananda, Contributing Writer / Activist Post – April 10, 2011

And now we added radiation that is raining down on the entire planet’s eco-system– SJH

While industries continue to pollute the planet with their toxic chemicals, toxic waste and toxic spills, Earth’s pollinators sing a swan song that leaves no doubt as to the folly of modern civilization.

Our ability to hear and appropriately respond to the crisis of declining pollinators will determine humanity’s survival.

“In 1923, Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian scientist, philosopher and social innovator, predicted that in 80 to 100 years honeybees would collapse.”  – Queen of the Sun

Steiner believed the industrialization of bees would lead to their demise. It looks like he was right. In the past two decades, the United States has lost 100-300 billion bees, and the problem has spread to Europe and beyond. But several factors above industrialized beekeeping operations contribute to this massive die-off.

Pollinators are further sickened by lack of a diverse diet from the tens of millions of monoculture acres. By ingesting genetically modified crops, pollinators also ingest GM microbes, to their detriment. By and far, though, agrochemicals contribute most to pollinator decimation. In a last ditch effort to save the hive, some bees seal off hive cells that contain inordinate amounts of pesticide. But even these hives eventually die.

Bolstering industry’s multi-factor assault on nature, the ubiquitous communications industry adds electromagnetic pollution, causing bees (and birds) to lose their ability to navigate. Taking advantage of weakened, disoriented bees, exotic pathogens like the Varroa mite, imported via globalized trade, suck the remaining life out of them. And, so, we see the collapse of the honeybee and North American bats.

Much of this we learn in Taggart Siegel’s part philosophical love story, part documentary, Queen of the Sun: What are the bees telling us? Theatrically released on March 25, the award-winning film is further supported by a newly released report from the United Nations Environment Programme, Global Bee Colony Disorders and other Threats to Insect Pollinators.

A sure way to collapse an ecosystem is to decimate a keystone species – one from which the entire localized web of life radiates. Pollinators contribute nearly ten percent to the global food economy, or about $218 billion USD (€153 billion) a year. Of the 100 or so crop species that provide 90% of the world’s food, bees pollinate 71 of them, according to UNEP’s report. Among the 20,000 known bee species worldwide, the honeybee, Apis mellifera, is most important, contributing between $33 and $82 billion annually (€22.8 to €57 billion).

So while we are witnessing the planet’s sixth extinction spasm (popularly detailed in Ed Wilson’s The Diversity of Life), it is the bee that garners our deserved attention.

“Bees are the legs of plants,” Michael Pollan explains in Queen of the Sun. They co-evolved so that the sessile organism feeds the aerial one in exchange for propagation. That mutualism supports much of life today. Without pollinators, crops will collapse. As crops collapse, myriads of species, including humans, will starve.

When pollinators go, so will flowering plants. The chain reaction collapse can easily then lead to the end of the Age of Mammals. This would be similar to the end of the Age of Dinosaurs some 65 million years ago. The “terrible lizards” will have outlasted us by 100 million years. Only about half of all species survived that last extinction spasm – notably alligators and crocodiles. But human survival is hardly guaranteed if 40% of our food sources vanish. While gators and crocs can go a year or more without eating – and this survival mechanism vastly contributes to the species’ longevity – humans cannot.

The UNEP report lists eight reasons for colony collapse disorder: Habitat destruction, invasive species (like the parasitic mite, Varroa destructor), air pollution, electromagnetic pollution, pesticides and other chemical pollution, industrial transport (where a million bees die each year), colony splitting, and diet. The report does not mention genetically engineered crops as a contributing factor to bee decline, but does attack monocultures:

“It is increasingly difficult for pollinators to obtain sufficient pollen sources for all their essential amino acids. Consequently, this can weaken the insects’ immune system, making them more vulnerable to various pathogens.”

In Queen of the Sun, several speakers have no doubt. When plants are genetically altered (via a crude gun method), the process is so unreliable that only one out of thousands of cells transmutes. Dr Vandana Shiva explains that, because of this, antibiotic resistant genes and viral promoters have to be added. “Every genetically engineered seed is a bundle of bacteria, toxins, and viral promoters.”

These GM bacteria, toxins, and viral promoters are transferred into our gut (and that of bees), where they continue to function within the host. Only now, we’re the host. The bee is the host. And bees aren’t doing so well. Science has shown that high fructose corn syrup, a GM product fed to bees, inhibits genetic expression of immunity and detox functions.

Queen of the Sun highlights the delicate balance among the various members of an ecosystem, making the point that genetic integrity is required for the system to work.  In order for the bee (or the flowering plant) to be the best at what it does, its DNA must remain intact.

Both the film and the UNEP report leave no doubt that the collapse of pollinators is the most urgent problem facing humanity today. Both make several suggestions to agribusiness and individuals, including: Stop (or greatly slow) the use of pesticides, grow bee friendly crops, buy organic, provide habitat and fresh water, and become a sustainable beekeeper. The UNEP report notes that pollinator conservation efforts should also plan nursery habitats, since the requirements of larval stages differ from winged adults.

Given that bee and bat decline is most severe in the United States, which has the longest history of deploying GM crops and which uses more agrochemicals than any other nation, the culprit seems pretty obvious. The top six agrochemical companies, Syngenta, Bayer CropScience, BASF, Monsanto, Dow Agrosciences, and DuPont, also spread genetically modified crops.

Pollinators are keeping score of the corporate war on nature. They are telling us that pesticides, biotechnology, and cell phones are winning.  The tragedy is that when pollinators go, so will flowering plants and, likely, the Age of Mammals.

Check here for a list of upcoming screenings and see this list of 10 things you can do to help bees…

Queen of the Sun: What Are The Bees Telling Us? – Trailer

The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: “The happiness of the bee and the dolphin is to exist. For man it is to know that and to wonder at it.” – Jacques Yves Cousteau

Link to original article below…

http://www.activistpost.com/2011/04/industrys-war-on-nature-what-are-bees.html

Inside Report From Fukushima’s Nuclear Disaster Evacuation Zone

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April 11, 2011: Uploaded by  / YouTube – April 6, 2011

The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: CNN has actually reported on Tetsuo Jimbo’s eerie video report– SJH

http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/world/2011/04/09/nr.radiation.zone.journalist.cnn?hpt%3DT1  

Link to original video below…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yp9iJ3pPuL8

AP Reports Gaddafi Accepted AU ‘Roadmap’ for Libyan Cease-Fire

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April 11, 2011: Peter S. Green / Bloomberg News – April 11, 2011

Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi agreed to accept an African Union peace plan that could lead to a cease-fire with rebels, South African President Jacob Zuma said in Tripoli yesterday, the Associated Press reported.

The plan that Zuma presented to Qaddafi calls for an end to fighting, cooperation in delivering humanitarian aid and talks between the rebels and the government, the news agency reported.

African Union officials didn’t insist that Qaddafi remove his troops from cities, as his opponents have demanded, AP reported. “The brother leader’s delegation has accepted the roadmap as presented by us,” Zuma said, referring to Qaddafi’s side in the talks. He called on NATO to end airstrikes to “give the cease-fire a chance,” AP reported. Zuma said he will meet today with rebel leaders in Benghazi, their stronghold in the east.

After almost two months of fighting, troops loyal to Qaddafi and rebels in the North African country, Africa’s largest oil exporter, have fought to a stalemate, with battles moving back and forth in a small area along the coast, and neither side able to take or hold territory for long. Qaddafi has vowed not to leave Libya, and a cease-fire that would keep him in power has been rejected by rebels.

‘A Good Position’

“I don’t think anybody is going to be in a good position to mediate between these sides at this point,” said Andrew Terrill, a Middle East specialist at the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College. People on the rebel side are totally committed to Qaddafi leaving power, and he won’t. They fear that any compromise with Qaddafi where he stays in power, he’ll put them in jail or have them executed, once he has the opportunity.”

NATO air attacks against Qaddafi’s armor and supply routes appeared to have helped rebels push back loyalists from Ajdabiya yesterday, according to the New York Times, which reported from the city that Qaddafi’s artillery was “mostly silent” and rebels retook positions throughout the town.

Airstrikes blew up 11 tanks belonging to forces loyal to Qaddafi as they approached Ajdabiya yesterday, and 14 more were hit earlier on the outskirts of Misrata. NATO strikes also left craters in the road used by Qaddafi to resupply troops shelling Ajdabiya, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization said.

Desperate Situation

“The situation in Ajdabiya and Misrata in particular is desperate for those Libyans who are being brutally shelled by the regime,” Lieutenant General Charles Bouchard, the Canadian officer commanding NATO operations over Libya, said in a statement yesterday.

“We are hitting the regime logistics facilities as well as their heavy weapons because we know Qaddafi is finding it hard to sustain his attacks on civilians,” the statement said.

NATO is enforcing United Nations resolutions that established a no-fly zone over Libya and called on member states to use force to protect civilians from attack by Qaddafi’s troops.

“The airstrikes conducted by the NATO allies seem to have been fairly effective,” Terrill said. Still, “it looks like a stalemate,” with the rebels unable to conduct any sustained military operation on their own, he said. “You wonder if we will have a de facto partition, at least for a while.”

Attack Helicopters

The Libyan government said yesterday it shot down two attack helicopters used by rebel forces over Brega, AP reported, citing Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Amin. Pro-Qaddafi forces also launched a surprise attack on rebels in Ajdabiya, shelling the town and deploying soldiers on the streets, the British Broadcasting Corp. said. Eight rebels were killed in the violence, the BBC reported, citing unidentified doctors in the city.

“I don’t see the rebels getting a lot better to the point they’ll be able to take loyalist cities,” Terrill said. Neither side seems able to extend their supply lines or attacks much further into the other’s territory, suggesting Libya may ended up partitioned, Terrill said.

That could allow the rebels time to train and equip, while Qaddafi will struggle under sanctions that could exhaust his cash, his munitions and his troops. “If the rebels can hold what gains they’ve made, time may be on their side,” Terrill said.

The rebels have been struggling to move west from their stronghold of Benghazi and take and hold strategic towns including Ajdabiya, Brega and Ras Lanuf, Libya’s main oil terminal.

Oil Production

Oil output from Libya has dropped by about 1.3 million barrels a day to a “trickle,” the Paris-based International Energy Agency said last month. Oil production would still be less than a third of its pre-conflict level even if the rebels took control of the country’s oil fields, Nomura Holdings Inc. said in a report.

Crude oil climbed above $112 in New York for the first time in 30 months on April 8. Oil for May delivery rose $2.49 to $112.79 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest settlement since Sept. 22, 2008. Futures advanced 4.5 percent last week and are 32 percent higher than a year ago.

Almost four months after a 26-year-old vegetable seller set himself on fire in despair over Tunisia’s social, political and economic conditions, protesters are taking to the streets across the Arab world to demand political change.

Syrian Soldiers Killed

Nine Syrian soldiers were killed when gunmen ambushed their vehicles in the coastal oil hub of Banias, where tanks were deployed to contain protests spreading across the country, the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency reported.

In Egypt, the general prosecutor summoned ousted president Hosni Mubarak and his two sons for investigations, Al Arabiya television reported, without saying how it got the information. Yesterday, one person died and 71 were injured when Army troops tried to clear a central Cairo square of demonstrators calling for a swift trial for Mubarak and his aides.

In Gaza, Israeli and Hamas officials called for an end to four days of fighting that left 19 Palestinians dead, with each side appealing to the other to stop the shooting.

Foreign ministers of the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council meeting yesterday in the Saudi capital of Riyadh urged Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down and called for a unity government. Saleh and the opposition declined to take part in the talks with GCC members Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Street Protests

Tens of thousands took to the streets yesterday in the Yemeni capital of Sana’a and in Taiz, where clashes left at least 15 protesters dead and hundreds wounded. Demonstrators chanted “Hey Ali, you thug, what did you do last night?” Protests have gained momentum since March 18 when police and snipers killed 46 people in Sana’a.

U.S. National Security Adviser Tom Donilon will visit Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates from today to April 13, meeting Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz and Abu Dhabi’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the White House said in a statement yesterday.

AU Delegation Heads To Tripoli

The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: The next World War is underway as a “Wag The Dog” production– SJH 

Link to original article below…

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-04-10/nato-warplanes-destroy-tanks-supply-routes-in-libya-s-ajdabiya-misrata.html