Member since: Tue Nov 9, 2004, 11:55 PM
Number of posts: 21,600
Number of posts: 21,600
Source: Asahi Shimbun
Seventy-six percent of respondents to an Asahi Shimbun survey said Diet debate on the state secrets protection law enacted late on Dec. 6 was insufficient, and 73 percent said they are worried about its arbitrary application.
The ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito railroaded the legislation through the Diet, despite criticism that it could undermine the public’s right to know.
According to the nationwide survey conducted Dec. 7, only 11 percent of respondents said Diet debate on the law was “sufficient,” while 76 percent said it was “not sufficient.”
Seventy-three percent said they feel anxiety about the law being arbitrarily applied, such as concealing information that inconveniences the government. Only 18 percent said they do not feel such concern.
Read more: http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/politics/AJ201312080020
Posted by bananas | Mon Dec 9, 2013, 01:25 AM (5 replies)
Asahi Shimbun will continue to respond to the public's right to know
December 07, 2013
By NOBUYUKI SUGIURA/ Managing Editor, Tokyo Head Office
The Asahi Shimbun focused on the dangers of the state secrets protection bill. Although the bill has now become law, we have no intention of stopping our efforts to point out its problems and show how it threatens the daily lives of the general public.
Every organization has information that it cannot make public. And Japan already had laws to protect such information.
But the new law almost limitlessly widens the range of what can be considered confidential by allowing bureaucrats and politicians to designate state secrets to their liking.
Another problem with the law is that background checks and scrutiny of people who handle state secrets will extend to their family members.
Moreover, there is no independent agency to oversee the designation of state secrets.
During the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Fukushima nuclear accident, the central government concealed information that was vital to protecting the lives and property of the people, making it impossible to use that data in a positive manner.
Under the new law, the general public will be put in a position of not even knowing what is a secret. Those who leak such “secrets” face a maximum prison term of 10 years.
This is the totally opposite direction that Japan should be taking in terms of information.
We have run articles about the possibility of the general public facing criminal charges should the new law take effect. Those articles were written based on advice from experts and studies of past cases.
Some people criticized that series of articles and the concerns they raised as “unrealistic.”
However, the nature of such laws is that their interpretations expand, which is what happened with the Public Security Preservation Law before the end of World War II.
Information gathered by the central government using taxpayer money should, by rights, belong to the people. If such information is made a state secret, it should be done in a very limited manner.
We must keep in mind that the mission of a media organization is to serve the people’s right to know by digging up and transmitting information that belongs to the people.
Japanese society after the end of World War II chose a path of resolving political struggle and policy confrontation not through violence, but through public debate.
The occasional attempts to silence such debate through violence have been pushed aside by the people who have supported free speech and dialogue.
A law that places much of the information that forms the basis for public debate into a box called “state secrets” is essentially at odds with the close to 70 years of democracy in Japan since the end of World War II.
We will continue to express our opposition to this law--and we will continue with our reporting in response to the people’s right to know.
By NOBUYUKI SUGIURA/ Managing Editor, Tokyo Head Office
Posted by bananas | Mon Dec 9, 2013, 01:15 AM (1 replies)
Source: Associated Press
President Barack Obama said Saturday he believed the chances for a comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran are 50-50 or worse, yet defended diplomacy as the best way to prevent Tehran from acquiring atomic weapons.
During a question-and-answer session with a pro-Israel audience, Obama said he wasn't naive about the odds for a successful final agreement between world powers and Iran next year, building on the recent six-month interim deal.
"If you ask me what is the likelihood that we're able to arrive at the end state ... I wouldn't say that it's more than 50-50," Obama said. "But we have to try."
The president's remark was somewhat startling. Obama has tried to allay the fears of many Israelis and some Americans that his administration last month promised to ease economic pressure too much in return for too few Iranian concessions.
Read more: http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/12/07/21811588-obama-on-chance-of-iran-nuclear-deal-not-more-than-50-50
Posted by bananas | Sun Dec 8, 2013, 12:22 PM (2 replies)
Source: Associated Press
Japan should continue to use nuclear power as a key energy source despite the Fukushima power plant disaster, a government panel said Friday in a reversal of a phase-out plan by the previous government.
The draft energy plan issued by the panel underscores Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's push to restart as many nuclear reactors as possible under new, stricter safety requirements that took effect this past summer.
The draft plan also urges Japan to continue with its plan to reprocess spent nuclear fuel to extract plutonium despite international concerns about the country's large stockpile of the highly toxic element that can be used to make nuclear weapons.
Japan has 44 tons of plutonium at home and overseas after unsuccessfully pushing to establish a system in which it is extracted from spent fuel rods and then made into hybrid fuel that can be reused. Experts say the stockpile poses a nuclear security threat and raises questions over whether Japan plans to develop nuclear weapons, which the government denies.
Read more: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/A/AS_JAPAN_NUCLEAR?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2013-12-06-11-03-44
Abe purges energy board of antinuclear experts
6 of 8 panelists who voted to phase out atomic power by 2030s axed
Bloomberg Mar 16, 2013
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government has removed most of the antinuclear researchers appointed to a post-Fukushima energy policy board that was advising the state, it was learned Friday.
After his Liberal Democratic Party won a landslide victory in December’s Lower House election, Abe said the ousted Democratic Party of Japan administration’s policy of abandoning atomic power had to be reconsidered by his own team to help revive the economy.
Six of the eight members who voted for phasing out nuclear power while advising the DPJ have been dropped from the panel. Another 10 were reappointed, including Akio Mimura, an adviser to Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp.
Mimura, now chairman of the panel, which resumed discussions Friday, once headed an energy advisory board under a previous LDP government that promoted nuclear power.
Don't be fooled by the name, the "Liberal Democratic Party" is right-wing.
Posted by bananas | Fri Dec 6, 2013, 03:27 PM (12 replies)
Source: Associated Press
Japan's parliament approved on Friday a state secrets law that stiffens penalties for leaks by government officials and for journalists who seek such information, overriding criticism that it could be used to cover up government abuses and suppress civil liberties.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is seeking to increase Japan's global security role and create a more authoritarian government at home, says the law is needed to protect national security and assuage U.S. concerns over the risks of sharing strategically sensitive information with Tokyo.
The bill allows heads of ministries and agencies to classify 23 vaguely worded types of information related to defense, diplomacy, counterintelligence and counterterrorism, almost indefinitely.
"People will be living in a society where they could be punished for not knowing what's secret and what's not," Japan Communist Party lawmaker Sohei Nihi said in arguing against the bill before its passage. "Arrests, court judgments, all could be secret. This would violate the constitution."
The government was eager to pass the secrets bill because it is needed for an associated measure that established a National Security Council that made the prime minister the top of the chain of command, giving him more power.
Older Japanese, intellectuals, lawyers and activists fear the country could be edging toward the sort of repression of a free press and speech seen before and during World War II which resulted in the arrests of tens of thousands of people. Thousands of protesters turned out to beat drums and rally against the legislation, which surveys show is not popular with the general public.
Read more: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/A/AS_JAPAN_SECRETS_LAW?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2013-12-06-11-48-19
Posted by bananas | Fri Dec 6, 2013, 03:17 PM (4 replies)
Wormholes and Quantum Entanglement One and the Same
By Tamarra Kemsley
Dec 04, 2013 05:03 PM EST
Quantum entanglement may be linked to the hypothetical shortcuts through space-time known as wormholes, researchers from the University of Washington suggest in a new study.
Published in the journal Physical Review Letters, the report proposes a possible bridge between quantum mechanics and classical geometry -- "two different mathematical mathematical machineries to go after the same physical process," according to co-author and physics professor Andreas Karch.
The new study, which corroborates one carried out by Princeton's Juan Martin Maldacena and Stanford's Leanoard Susskind, indicates that entanglement and wormholes "are equivalent descriptions of the same physics." the authors wrote.
Posted by bananas | Fri Dec 6, 2013, 01:01 AM (7 replies)
Source: Knoxville News Sentinel
The Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance is asking members and supporters to attend the Dec. 10 Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board meeting in Knoxville and speak out against the Uranium Processing Facility.
“This meeting will be used by our senators and representatives to gauge the level of public concern about the UPF, so we are asking for as many people as possible to attend,” OREPA coordinator Ralph Hutchison said in an email message to supporters. “This is the only — maybe the last — chance we’ll have to speak publicly about the UPF for the foreseeable future.”
The all-day public meeting will be held at the Knoxville Convention Center, with the first session beginning at 8 a.m. The second session, which will focus on operations and emergency preparedness at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant, begins at 2 p.m.
At Tuesday’s DNFSB hearing in Knoxville, the activist group is planning a “public vigil” on Henley Street outside the Convention Center from 11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
The Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance has also scheduled a potluck dinner on Sunday evening to be followed by a session to educate followers on UPF safety issues.
Read more: http://knoxblogs.com/atomiccity/2013/12/05/peace-group-issues-call-action-upf/
Posted by bananas | Thu Dec 5, 2013, 02:56 PM (0 replies)
Could this be Santa's final broadcast?
To help, go to http://www.savesantashome.org/
Posted by bananas | Thu Dec 5, 2013, 12:37 PM (3 replies)
Source: Fox News
A North American Aerospace Defense Command website showing Santa Claus delivering presents while flanked by fighter jets has some child advocates raising concerns about Saint Nick's new travel companions.
NORAD Tracks Santa, operated by the joint U.S.-Canada command, has provided children with information about Santa's whereabouts since 1955. In recent years, Santa updates have included animated videos showing Santa on his flight path.
Allen Kanner, a California child and family psychologist and co-founder of the Boston-based Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, told The Boston Globe the Pentagon is "completely out of line" for linking Christmas with the military.
“Children associate Santa with gifts and fun and everything else that is positive about Christmas,” Kanner told the newspaper. “They are associating this with the military in children’s minds."
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/12/04/norad-santa-tracking-draws-criticism-with-fighter-jet-escort/
This is wrong on so many levels.
Obama should order NORAD to stand down.
Posted by bananas | Wed Dec 4, 2013, 12:12 PM (14 replies)
Slow turn: tracking the Molten Salt Reactor
The Molten Salt Reactor Experiment has been shut down since the 1960s, but it’s going to be decades still before the Oak Ridge National Laboratory reactor goes away. The fissile uranium was extracted from the fuel tanks a few years back, as part of a problem-plagued, technically complex project, but the high-rad fuel salts are still there and will be for the foreseeable future.
“We continue to perform routine surveillance and maintenance activities at the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment, and have recently successfully completed a pump down on the two fuel drain tanks and one fuel flush tank,” Mike Koentop, a spokesman for the Department of Energy’s Environmental Management Office, said via email. “(In December) we will weigh the two sodium fluoride traps, which is an activity we conduct biannually, to determine the amount of uranium that was captured during the pump down.”
According to TDEC spokeswoman Kelly Brockman, “The construction start milestone for removal of the fuel salts is scheduled for Fiscal Year 2032. A Remediation Action Report detailing the fuel salts disposition is scheduled for FY2038. The facility will be safely maintained until that time.”
John Owsley of TDEC’s Oak Ridge Oversight Office said the potential for a critical accident was removed by extracting the fissile uranium, so the main concern now is the potential for environmental releases of the “extremely radioactive” materials that remain inside the old facility.
This entry was posted in Cleanup, nuclear, ORNL, ORO on December 1, 2013 by Frank Munger.
Posted by bananas | Wed Dec 4, 2013, 11:46 AM (3 replies)