Nuclear Roulette:David Swanson


By David Swanson

Source: Warisacrime.org
Tuesday, September 18, 2012

As the Coalition Against Nukes prepares for a series of events in Washington, D.C., September 20-22, including a Capitol Hill rally, a Congressional briefing, a fundraiser at Busboys and Poets, a ceremony at the Museum of the American Indian, a rally at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), a film screening, and a strategy session, the time seems ideal to take in the wisdom of Gar Smith’s new book, Nuclear Roulette: The Truth About the Most Dangerous Energy Source on Earth.

Most dangerous indeed, and most useless, most inefficient, most destructive, and dumbest. How does nuclear energy make the human species look like the stupidest concoction since the platypus? Let me count the ways:

1. After the mining, processing, and shipping of uranium, and the plant construction, maintenance, and deconstruction, a nuclear plant only produces about as much energy as went into it — not counting the need to store the only thing it actually produces (radioactive waste) for hundreds of thousands of years — and not counting the sacrifice of areas of the earth, including those poisoned with uranium, which has a half life of 4.5 billion years and causes lung cancer, bone cancer, and kidney failure.

2. Wind, solar, hydro, and geothermal have far better net energy ratios.

3. If nuclear power actually worked against climate change, that fact would not be useful, because there is no way enough nuclear power plants to significantly contribute to the required difference could be built quickly enough.

4. If nuclear power plants could be built quickly enough, that wouldn’t matter, because the financial cost is prohibitive. Only with multi-billion-dollar bailouts from the government can a tiny number of nuclear plants be considered for construction at all. The sainted Private Marketplace of Freedom will never touch nuclear construction on its own — or insure it. And the small number of jobs created by the “Job Creator” lobbyists who push for the generous public loan guarantees mostly show up in Japanese and French nuclear companies, thus depriving the whole enterprise of its anti-foreign-oil xenophobic appeal. (Not to mention, most of the uranium used in U.S. nuclear plants comes from abroad just like oil.) Deconstructing the plants when they grow too old to operate costs so much that the job is routinely and recklessly put off — and that doesn’t count the fairly common expense of compensating the victims of accidents.

5. The nuclear industry is in debt up to its ears already, without our feeding its habit any longer. For example, Washington State’s Hanford Nuclear Reservation has dumped 1.7 trillion gallons of contaminated waste into unlined trenches. The latest plan to try to deal with the mess comes with a $12.3 billion price tag.

6. Even if nuclear power worked when it worked, it’s remarkably unreliable. Between 2003 and 2007, U.S. nuclear plants were shut down 10.6 percent of the time, compared to 1 or 2 percent for solar stations and wind farms.

7. Nuclear power produces greenhouse gases in the mining, production, deconstruction, shipping, and waste storage processes. It also discharges 1000 degree Fahrenheit steam directly into the atmosphere. Considering the entire fuel cycle, a nuclear reactor burning high-grade uranium produces about a third as much carbon dioxide as a gas-fired power plant. As high-grade uranium runs out, low-grade ore will result in a nuclear plant producing just as much carbon dioxide as a gas plant.

8. Climate change may have reached a tipping point. Radioactivity could as well. Birds and insects near Chernobyl are adapting. Humans, too, may be beginning to evolve within the Radiocene era to which the earth has been condemned.

9. Climate change limits nuclear energy, as the heat forces plants to shut down for lack of cool water.

10. The Three Mile Island disaster killed birds, bees, and livestock. Pets were born dead or deformed. In humans, cancer, leukemia, and birth defects spread. Chernobyl gave cancer to about a million people. Fukushima looks to be far worse. Meltdowns and other major malfunctions are common, in the United States and abroad. Gar Smith documents dozens. The worst nuclear disaster in the United States was in Simi Valley, California, and no one was told about it. The rates of disease and death led residents to investigate. I shouldn’t use the past tense; the disaster is still there and not going anywhere in the span of human attention.

11. The rate of break downs and failures thus far is very likely to grow as nuclear plants age. Meanwhile, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), subservient to the nuclear profiteers, is drastically reducing safety standards.

12. In the normal course of proper nuclear power production, the water, air, and earth are poisoned.

13. The NRC publicly dismisses concerns about earthquakes, but privately panics. Earthquakes are on the rise. Fracking may cause even more of them. Fukushima should scare us all; but closer to home, a plant at Lake Anna, in Virginia, was shut down by an earthquake last year, possibly caused by fracking, and the first response was the publication of lies about the damage.

14. If anticipated solar flares (or anything else) collapse power grids, nuclear plants could overheat, melt down, or explode.

15. An average nuclear plant produces 20-30 tons of high-level waste and 70 tons of low-level waste per year. No proven long-term storage site exists. If one ever does, we won’t know what language to post the warning signs in, as no human language has lasted a fraction of the time the nuclear waste will remain deadly.

16. When a country develops nuclear energy, as the United States encouraged Iran to do in my lifetime, it brings that country very close to developing nuclear weapons, which has become a leading excuse for launching and threatening wars. It doesn’t help for the CIA to give Iran plans for building a bomb, but ridding the world of that sort of stupidity is just not within our reach. Ridding the world of nukes needs to take priority.

17. There is no purpose in a nation developing nuclear weapons if it wants to target an enemy that possesses nuclear power plants. Sitting duck nuclear catastrophes waiting to happen — by accident or malice — exist in the form of nuclear power plants within 50 miles of 108 million people in the United States. Nuclear reactors could have been somewhat protected by being built underground, but that would have cost more. Haruki Murakami, a Japanese novelist, commented on Fukushima: “This time no one dropped a bomb on us. . . . We set the stage, we committed the crime with our own hands, we are destroying our own lands, and we are destroying our own lives.”

18. The latest designs in nuclear reactors don’t change points 1-17.

19. The Associated Press in 2011 found that, “Federal regulators [at the NRC] have been working closely with the nuclear power industry to keep the nation’s aging reactors operating within safety standards by repeatedly weakening those standards, or simply failing to enforce them.”

20. Helping to shake the nuke habit would take 30 seconds and be ridiculously easy, and yet many won’t do it.

David Swanson’s books include “War Is A Lie.” He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works as Campaign Coordinator for the online activist organization http://rootsaction.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswansonand FaceBook.

Bombay High Court comes to the rescue of malnourished children


Malnourished child

Malnourished child (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

MEENA MENON, The Hindu

Activate MIS-based tracking, Maharashtra Government told

Soon children under six and mothers in Maharashtra’s Melghat region, which is facing malnutrition will be tracked using management information system (MIS) following a directive from the Bombay High Court in August.

“Steps should be taken by the State Government under the auspices of the Collector, Amravati, to activate the MIS-based tracking of children and mothers,” the Court said in its order in an ongoing case on malnutrition.

The Court directed that implementation begin on September 17, 2012. The Government should formulate short and long-term plans to tackle malnutrition, and devise a suitable plan setting out targets to be achieved expeditiously, the Court said.

The Melghat region, part of Vidarbha comprises Dharni and Chikhaldhara tehsils. On average, 400-500 children below six die every year in Melghat of various causes linked to malnutrition.

On an application made by petitioner Purnima Upadhyay on July 20, the Court noted that there was no information on any government website on the status of undernourished children and on infant and child mortality.

Statistics submitted to the Court show that as of June 2012 the number of children in the Moderately Acute Malnutrition (MAM) and Severely Acute Malnutrition (SAM) categories were 3,431 and 561, while children who are Moderately Under Weight (MUW) and Severely Under Weight (SUW) numbered 10,047 and 3,798.

Between April and June 2012 there were 81 child deaths (35 in Chikhaldhara and 46 in Dharni), 42 stillbirths and four cases of maternal mortality. Ms Upadhyay submitted that the figures for malnourished children seemed to remain at 14, 000 over the last two years and the number of SAM and MAM children did not show any remarkable decline.

The Court had to intervene also in providing emergency services in the Melghat region. The 22 emergency flying squads there had no vehicles this year until it ordered quick action in mid August. Even after that, Ms Upadhyay told The Hindu on Saturday, some primary health centres hired vehicles for a month and for the rest tenders had been invited.

The flying squads operate from May to October every year to cater to remote villages. This year, she said, over 100 villages were cut off due to heavy rain and there was no help for them in any form.

Since May the squads did not have vehicles, as a result of which the villagers in remote areas were placed at high risk especially in a medical emergency, the Court said.

The Court was informed that earlier tenders had been invited from private bidders for supply of vehicles at Rs.14,000 per vehicle per month. But no bids were available at that rate. The Collector chaired a meeting in June of the Navsanjivani Yojna and a decision was taken to invite fresh tenders. The government counsel told the Court that fresh tenders were invited, and 10 days allowed for submission of bids.

Fast-track courts for sexual assault cases #vaw #goodnews #gender #justice


TNN Sep 12, 2012

NEW DELHI: The Delhi government has decided to set up five fast-track courts exclusively for cases of sexual assaults on women to ensure speedy justice to the victims. A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of Delhi cabinet presided over by chief minister Sheila Dikshit.

“We have decided to set up the fast-track courts to deal with the cases of sexual assault on women,” Dikshit said. She said the cabinet has approved creation of 40 posts under different categories for the purpose.

The city government had last year requested the Delhi high court to set up such courts. In its letter, the government had requested that one fast-track court be set up in each of the nine districts.

In its response, the high court told the government that the additional session judges deal with such cases and if it wants these cases to be dealt with and tried by special courts or fast-track courts, then the government may set up separate courts.

On June 16, 2011, in a meeting chaired by chief secretary P K Tripathi it was decided that five posts of additional district and sessions judge will be created and supporting staff will be provided. It is estimated that to create these posts and to make way for the fast-track courts an expenditure of Rs 1.58 crore is likely to be incurred annually.

Botched sterilization claims 56 lives #VAW


Kounteya Sinha, TNN Sep 9, 2012,

NEW DELHI: Botched sterilizations have claimed 56 lives this year, while 29 others have reported complications.

Also, 2,609 cases of failed sterilization operations have been recorded so far in 2012. Cases of sterilizations that went wrong (including deaths, failures or those that resulted in additional complications) increased by nearly 19% between 2010 and 2011 — from 7,751 cases to 9,188 cases.

India has recorded nearly 2,700 cases of failure, complication or death due to sterilization this year. Rajasthan recorded the highest number of failures in sterilization cases at 772, while Tamil Nadu accounted for maximum number of deaths at 10.

Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said on Friday that the ministry has coughed up Rs 5.13 crore as compensation for 1,604 for botched cases. Rules stipulate Rs 2 lakh for death following sterilization in the hospital or within seven days of discharge; Rs 50,000 for death following sterilization within eight to 30 days of discharge; Rs 30,000 for failed sterilization and Rs 25,000 for any complication within 60 days of discharge.

Madhya Pradesh recorded the second highest number of failed sterilization surgeries (566), followed by UP (420), Tamil Nadu (177), Haryana (125) and Odisha (102).

TN led the fatalities’ list, followed by Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh at eight deaths each, Bihar, Karnataka and Rajasthan at four deaths each and Assam, Gujarat and UP at two deaths each.

In 2011, too, TN had led the list of maximum number of deaths at 44, followed by Andhra and Karnataka (22), Rajasthan (16), Maharashtra (13) and Bihar (10).

Sterilization operations are still the most preferred method of birth control in India. Azad said “The matter has been taken up with the health secretaries of Rajasthan, MP, Haryana, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, UP and Odisha to review the performance of doctors in respect of quality.”

Ministry records suggest that between 2011 and 2012, 1.79 lakh vasectomies and 46 lakh tubectomies have taken place. MP recorded the highest number of sterilizations – 5.96 lakh, followed by Andhra (5.41 lakh), Maharashtra (5.12 lakh), Bihar 4.97 lakhs, UP 3.32 (lakh), Gujarat 3.26 (lakh) and Rajasthan 3.14 (lakh).

“We pay a compensation of Rs 600 to every woman who undergoes tubectomy and Rs 1,100 to a man who undergoes vasectomy through the National Family Planning Insurance scheme. Around 2,700 unsuccessful sterilization cases is a marginal failure rate in comparison to around 48 lakh total sterilization cases.

Akhilesh launches free, 24×7 ambulance service #goodnews


SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT, The Hindu

 

Just a call, and vehicle will be on the doorstep of patient within 20 minutes

Lining up in service:Ambulances to provide emergency medical relief launched by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav in Lucknow on Friday.— Photo: PTI

Lining up in service:Ambulances to provide emergency medical relief launched by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav in Lucknow on Friday.— Photo: PTI

A free-of-cost, round-the-clock emergency ambulance service, Samajwadi Swastha Sewa , has been launched in Uttar Pradesh on the eve of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav completing six months in office. Upon receiving a call on toll-free number 108, the ambulance will reach the patient within 20 minutes and he/he will be given medical aid before being shifted to hospital.

Emergency medical relief will be available to persons who suffer heart attack, pregnant women, persons with burns, those who undergo trauma following road accidents or physical assault and people with infectious disease requiring immediate hospitalisation.

Mr. Yadav flagged off 133 fully-equipped ambulances after handing over the keys to one of the drivers at his official residence here on Friday.

On August 22, he launched the Uttar Pradesh Ambulance Service, under which 200 vehicles have been deployed in 75 districts.

The Samajwadi Swastha Sewa , functioning under the National Rural Health Mission, will incorporate a total of 988 fully equipped ambulances in the days to come. The 133 ambulances flagged off under phase I will render medical service in each development block of 13 districts.

The ambulances will be equipped with medicines and medical equipment, which was not the case earlier.

The Chief Minister also inaugurated 30 community and primary health centres spread across 30 districts.

Raj Thackeray: AN EXCLUSIVE CON #mustread #mustshare


(Translation of  FOUR PLUS PAGES , more to come )

 

Raj Thackeray: An exclusive con

 

 

 

That (non-existent) letter by the State Secretary of Bihar

 

 

 

On the evening of September 9, an exclusive interview of Raj Thackeray was telecast on ABP Mazha. A statement reveals that this interview was shot on September 6. The purpose for referring to the dates is a revelation made in the presence of Raj Thackeray himself, about a supposedly ‘threatening’ letter, never being sent by the Chief Secretary of Bihar. Using this letter as a ruse, Raj Thackeray had declared at a gathering of MNS officials held on August 31, in combative words that every Bihari in Maharashtra will be considered a squatter and driven away. Raj Thackerey says his ‘lie’ was based on a report published in the Samna [a newspaper run by the Shiv Sena] about a threat issued by the Chief Secretary of Bihar to the Mumbai Police that if the latter entered Bihar and arrested criminals there without a warrant, they would face charges of ‘kidnapping’. There is no need to ask why the makers of Samna resorted to such exaggeration. Samna’s expertise at creating a rift in society by spreading false news is well-known.

 

 

 

Abhay Anand, the DGP of Bihar had written a letter to Sanjeev Dayal, his counterpart in Maharashtra, expressing his annoyance over the Crime Branch of Mumbai Police not informing local police in Bihar when arresting criminals there. There is nothing wrong with that. If, for any reason they do not want to inform the local police [in Bihar] in advance – considering the covert relations between the police and criminals – then there should be no issues with them informing the local police immediately after the arrest. Due to this, the Bihar police will not have to needlessly face the anger of the locals. By twisting this routine letter by the Bihar police and exaggerating it, Samna turned it into a threatening letter sent by the Chief Secretary of Bihar. Raj Thackeray then upheld the news and created a ruckus in the name of Biharis. The caper here is that his family publishes hanky-panky and he wastes words by holding it up. It is infuriating that almost all media gave a lot of publicity to Raj Thackeray’s statement and to the non-existent ‘threatening’ letter by the Chief Secretary of Bihar, without verifying anything (which they should have done). It is a relief that this matter ended where it did; otherwise it could have taken an ugly turn and led to loss of life and limb for the common Bihari (or non-Marathi) and Marathi. What gives for leaders? They instigate people for their selfish ends, and walk away.

 

 

 

Bangladesh Passport scandal

 

The uproar created by goons during a morcha by Raza Academy on August 11. The ready opportunity it created for arm-flexing by way of retaliation, the quick support offered to Raj Thackeray by Sonia’s Congress – which kept mum over the entire affair – because it put the Nationalist Congress Party in a spot, Aaba’s [RR Patil’s] political rivals in the NCP, and most important of all, RR Patil’s mismanaged modus operandi – the amalgamation of all of this benefitted Raj Thackeray who is always on his ego trips. Under the excuse of lifting the low morale (?) of the police, Raj Thackeray held a big morcha on August 21. He declared in the morcha that illegal Muslim migrants from Bangladesh were responsible for the violence on August 11, and displayed a Bangladeshi’s passport found at the site of violence as proof. How does Raj Thackeray possess a passport found at the site of the violence in CST that took place on August 11? Whose passport is it? And why did the person who found the passport (Raj Thackeray definitely didn’t) send it to Raj Thackeray? From August 11 to 21, for 10 whole days why did Raj Thackeray keep the Bangladeshi’s passport with himself? If the morcha on August 21 had not taken place, would he have kept the passport with himself forever? Has Raj Thackeray directly or indirectly helped the Bangladeshi ‘rioter’ in escaping by not handing over the passport to the police? To this day, Raj Thackeray has the passport, which indicates the Bangladesh passport scandal is a publicity stunt, and that is why this incident becomes even more serious.

 

 

 

However, all politicians and the media seem to have conveniently turned a blind eye to such a serious incident because this could be a part of their politics. But when the common people accept such an incident silently, then its danger increases manifold – because this game started by the leaders of hankering after vulgar publicity by making a hullaballoo of national security, and the greed for increasing their vote banks may surely backfire on them. However, the leaders are not concerned with that; they are cozy in their burrows, in the huddles of their bodyguards.  Those who die and suffer are common people like you and me.

 

 

 

The heartburn of Indu Mill

 

 

 

In the morcha flagged off for providing encouragement to Mumbai Police, Raj Thackeray – as his wont – digressed to Dalit leaders, without any rhyme or reason. No one knows why, but Bal Thackeray and the generations after him have a ‘solid grudge’ against the Dalit community, specifically Buddhists. Be it relevant to the context or the topic or not, this generation after Prabhokankar will drag in Dalits. (Anyway, the Thackeray family does not need any reference to context; the practice is to consider their words as the context.)

 

 

 

“A statue of the Buddha was shown contempt in Lucknow, yet why are Dalit leaders silent? Why do they keep harping on in the Indu Mill?… Do they wish to construct a bungalow on the land?,” Raj Thackeray asked. Now, after banishing the workers of a mill that was closed down, only Raj Thackeray can tell how the land can be disposed off. So be it. By bashing up the Ambedkar-following young men and women who had gathered to protest against this unrestrained statement by Raj Thackeray, MN sainiks [workers of the MNS] have shown the spark of their ‘Maharashtra dharma’. Raj Thackeray, who cracked his knuckles because Dalit leaders did nothing after a Buddha statue was vandalised in Lucknow, made a blatant U-turn by saying in an interview with ABP Mazha, “Why are statues and memorials needed? The statues are vandalised, then riots happen”. Does Raj Thackeray not know why the statue of only one exemplary man is shown contempt for, even though there are statues of countless leaders in this country? The vandalism does not happen because the statues are, it happens because of the sick mentality to commit such vandalism. It seems that Raj Thackeray has conveniently forgotten that the mentality to show contempt for Babasaheb’s statue has thrived especially in his courtyard.

 

download orginal article in marathi by  milind bhanwar

Raj Thacakrey – exclusive

Pratibha Patil to return 155 artifacts to Rashtrapati Bhavan by 15 June 2013, reveals RTI reply


VINITA DESHMUKH | 17/09/2012

To a RTI query by this writer asking about the list of gift items loaned specifically to Pratibha Patil along with the evaluated price of each item, Rashtrapati Bhavan says information not necessary as it is a ‘temporary’ arrangement

The Rashtrapati Bhavan has officially admitted through a RTI (Right to Information) reply to this writer that “An MoU was signed on 15th June 2012 between Rashtrapati Bhavan and the Vidya Bharti Shaikshnik Mandal, Amravati, for display of 155 artifacts/mementos on a purely temporary basis, which in any case, cease to be operative with effect from 15th June 2013 and all the artifacts presently on loan shall be returned to the Rashtrapati Bhavan Museum thereafter” but refuses to divulge detailed information on the list of artifacts transferred to Ms Patil’s museum.

The Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) of the President’s Secretariat takes this ‘temporary’ arrangement as an excuse to not provide the list of artifacts given to Ms Patil to display it in her museum in her hometown, Amravati, along with their individual costs and countries that they were gifted from.

The RTI application filed by me on 3 August 2012, specifically asked the PIO of the President’s Secretariat, “List of gift items loaned specifically to Ms Pratibha Patil along with the evaluated price of each item; from which country did each gift item come from; what was the purpose of her visit when she received each of the gift item.” The reply is “do not arise in view of the answer at (3) above” (which is she would be returning artifacts by 15 June 2013 as the agreement would cease by then.

The RTI reply interestingly suggests that it was President Abdul Kalam who started the trend of moving out gifts received in the capacity of being President of India. The CPIO Saurabh Vjay states in his reply dated 6 September 2012, “No such requests have been made by any former President of India. It is, however, stated that in the past, 36 artifacts were handed over during the Presidency of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam for being displayed in the Brahmos Centre, New Delhi.” This reply came to the writer’s query under RTI seeking “copies of official requests made by Presidents of India for loaning of gifts from 1990 onwards. Provide copies of all such correspondence within the President of India office as well as between President of India office and the relevant district/city authority where the President of India may have resided or the place where she/he wants to display the loaned gift items, form 1990 onwards.”

The RTI reply also states that “no such rules and regulations are available for loaning of gift items received by the President of India. This was in reply to my query, “Copies of Rules/GRs/amendments/correspondence for rules and amended rules regarding gift articles and souvenirs which are received by Presidents of India from other countries and within the country; Copy of rules and regulations for ‘loaning’ official gifts received by President of India to presidents on their retirement or loaned to any other organisation.”

To the query, “How many gift items in total does the ‘Tosha Khana’ of the President’s office have at the moment and what is the total amount in value?” CPIO Saurabh Vijay states in his reply that “as per our records there are about 2,500 gifts in ‘Tosha Khana’ of the President’s Secretariat and as regards the value of these items, no such records are available in the Art section.”  This is indeed shocking for, as per the ministry of home affairs, any contribution in the form of gifts received by President of India or other dignitaries must be valued within 30 days of receipt of gift.

It may be recalled that a museum is being specially set up in Pratibha Patil’s hometown by the family trust, Vidya Bharti Shaikshnik Mandal, run by her politician-son Rajendra Shekhawat.

The writer is filing a first appeal to the President’s Secretariat since the information received is inadequate.

Read the previous article here: Pratibha Patil’s Museum: Gifts received by VVIPs from foreign countries can be purchased by them but can they be loaned?

(Vinita Deshmukh is the consulting editor of Moneylife, an RTI activist and convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting which she won twice in 1998 and 2005 and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation series on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book “To The Last Bullet – The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart – Ashok Kamte” with Vinita Kamte. She can be reached atvinitapune@gmail.com.)

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