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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

New St Louis Mississippi River Bride on Schedule to Open Early 2014


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 New bridge is rising from the Mississippi
At 1,500 feet, it is expected to be the third-longest cable-stayed bridge in the nation.
www.stlbeacon.org 
By David Baugher, Special to the Beacon  
May 31, 2011
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Despite high river levels, progress is proceeding apace on the new span over the Mississippi River north of downtown.
"We're on schedule to open in early 2014," said Greg Horn, project director for the Missouri Department of Transportation. "We lost some days with the flood last spring and we lost a few days this year but we figured that in to begin with. Barring any more really bad floods, we should be right on time."
In fact, the final piece of the project on the Missouri side was awarded last month to Millstone Bangert Inc., which will construct the $21.8 million interchange that links Interstate 70 to the new span near Cass Avenue. A new Cass Avenue overpass is also being installed which is keeping the interstate's express lanes closed until July. (You can follow developments on a webpage set up by the departments of transportation of Missouri and Illinois.)
Horn said that although the project got approval from the federal government in 2001, major funding issues remained for years as planners struggled to put together a financially workable blueprint. The original $2 billon proposal for an eight-lane roadway proved too expensive, so other alternatives -- from collecting tolls to incorporating the nearby MLK bridge into the effort -- were examined. Eventually, officials settled on a $670 million, four-lane span that left enough room for another bridge next to it should future needs dictate one be built.
"That will only happen when two things happen: the traffic demand is there, which we expect to happen in 20 or 25 years, and the financing is available," Horn said.
Generous shoulder space also means the bridge can be restriped for three lanes each way, if need be.
The financial news has so far been good. Horn said the project is about $30 million under budget.
Once completed, the new structure, a cable-stayed span similar in design to the Alton bridge further north, will carry I-70 over the river providing at least some relief to the Poplar Street Bridge, which, Horn notes is one of only two in the nation that carry three interstates across it.
"The Poplar Street Bridge also wasn't built for the kind of traffic it has today," Horn said. "The ramps are too short. There is too much weaving distance."
Horn said it could decrease the Poplar's traffic by 12-14 percent and cut the MLK's traffic by half.
On the other bank of the river things are also proceeding well.
"We're a little more than 16 months into a 48-month project," said Jeff Church, project engineer with the Illinois Department of Transportation. "Things are going pretty well. On the Illinois side, (the job is made up of) a total of 26 projects and we've already got 14 of them out there and being worked on. Eight are actually already complete so we are well on our way."
Four more are on schedule to be awarded this month.
The IDoT has a lot more work than its Missouri counterpart, which has a much shorter approach to the water's edge.
High water is less of a factor now since the teams are finished with work below the waterline. Both towers have risen above the river-based piers, which were sunk through 30 feet of water, dozens of feet of mud and silt and about 20 feet of bedrock.
"That's always the riskiest part because you never are sure what you are going to find down there," Horn said. "Those are all done. We're on the towers now, so we're above the water level."
Not that they are necessarily going up evenly.
"The Illinois tower is about two weeks ahead of the Missouri tower; and you can see if you drive by that it's about 8 or 10 feet taller," Church said.

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Fukushima Radiation in Soil Soars: Japan Debacle Risks Chernobyl ‘Dead Zone’


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Fukushima Debacle Risks Chernobyl ‘Dead Zone’ as Radiation in Soil Soars




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Radioactive soil in pockets of areas near Japan’s crippled nuclear plant have reached the same level as Chernobyl, where a “dead zone” remains 25 years after the reactor in the former Soviet Union exploded.
Soil samples in areas outside the 20-kilometer (12 miles) exclusion zone around the Fukushima plant measured more than 1.48 million becquerels a square meter, the standard used for evacuating residents after the Chernobyl accident, Tomio Kawata, a fellow at the Nuclear Waste Management Organization of Japan, said in a research report published May 24 and given to the government.
Radiation from the plant has spread over 600 square kilometers (230 square miles), according to the report. The extent of contamination shows the government must move fast to avoid the same future for the area around Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant as Chernobyl, scientists said. Technology has improved since the 1980s, meaning soil can be decontaminated with chemicals or by planting crops to absorb radioactive materials, allowing residents to return.
“We need to finish this treatment as quickly as possible, within three years at most,” Tetsuo Iguchi, a specialist in isotope analysis and radiation detection at Nagoya University in central Japan, said in a telephone interview. “If we take longer, people will give up on returning to their homes.”

Soil Samples

Soil samples showed one site with radiation from Cesium-137 exceeding 5 million becquerels per square meter about 25 kilometers to the northwest of the Fukushima plant, according to Kawata’s study. Five more sites about 30 kilometers from Dai- Ichi showed radiation exceeding 1.48 million becquerels per square meter.
When asked to comment on the report today, Tokyo Electric spokesman Tetsuya Terasawa said the radiation levels are in line with those found after a nuclear bomb test, which disperses plutonium. He declined to comment further.
Japan’s government introduced a mandatory exclusion zone 20 kilometers around the plant following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that knocked out power leading to three reactor meltdowns. Kawata’s study didn’t include samples from inside the exclusion zone, where only government and Tokyo Electric staff may enter.
The government in April ordered the evacuation of towns including Iitate, Katsurao and Namie that are outside the 20- kilometer zone after finding high levels of radiation.

‘As Soon As Possible’

“Basically, the way in which the current zones have been drawn up aren’t a concern in terms of the impact on health,” said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano. “Using Mr. Kawata’s report as a guide, we want to do what we can to improve the soil, so people can return as soon as possible.”
While the area containing soil pockets over 1.48 million becquerels a square meter is smaller than around Chernobyl --600 square kilometers compared with 3,100 square kilometers -- the level of contamination means soil needs to be cleaned or removed before residents can return, Kawata said in his report.
“It might take about one or two years for people to return to land outside the 20-kilometer zone,” the University of Nagoya’s Iguchi said. “If we replace the soil, it is possible for people to return even inside the zone.”
The “dead zone” around Chernobyl remains at 30 kilometers, Mykola Kulinich, Ukraine’s ambassador to Japan, said in Tokyo on April 26, the 25th anniversary of the disaster.

Chernobyl Fallout

Belarus, which absorbed 80 percent of the fallout from the Chernobyl explosion, estimates that 2 million, or 20 percent of the population, was affected by the Chernobyl catastrophe, while about 23 percent of the country’s land was contaminated, according to a Belarus embassy website. About a fifth of the country’s agricultural land has been rendered unusable, which means some $700 million in losses each year, according to the website.
Using crops was one solution being considered by Belarus with the idea that grains harvested from contaminated areas could then be processed to make ethanol. A study funded by a philanthropy arm of Heineken NV (HEIA) found that radioactive elements do not transfer into ethanol and this would allow Belarus to become a major supplier of the liquid used to dilute gasoline to the European Union.
Crop planting was planned in areas of “low-level” radiation, Michael Rietveld, chief executive officer of Ireland’s Greenfield Partners, which agreed with the Belarus government in 2007 to develop an ethanol business project to decontaminate the soil, said in an interview October 2009.

Crop Planting

“There are cows walking over this land now,” Rietveld said in reference to Belarus. “People are living over there. It’s not a dangerous venture to use crops in low-contaminated areas. Most of the contamination is in the soil not the air.”
The global financial crisis hampered Greenfield’s fund raising and the project closed last year after the Belarus government expressed concerns about the Irish company’s ability to attract financing.
Another solution for Fukushima may be chemical treatment of the soil to allow cesium to be absorbed into porous crystals, such as zeolite, which are more visible and simpler to remove, the University of Nagoya’s Iguchi said.
Restoring the land may be more critical in Japan than Belarus, where the population density is about 46 people per square kilometer, according to United Nations data. That’s more than seven times less than the metric for Japan, where 127.6 million people live on about 378,000 square kilometers.

Road Map

Restoring land use in Fukushima hinges on Tokyo Electric, known as Tepco, ending the crisis at the nuclear station, where three reactors went into meltdown following the earthquake and tsunami that also left more than 23,000 people dead or missing.
The utility on April 17 set out a so-called road map to end the crisis in six to nine months. Tepco said it expects to achieve a sustained drop in radiation levels at the plant within three months, followed by a cold shutdown, where core reactor temperatures fall below 100 degrees Celsius.
The chance of Tepco achieving that goal is six or seven out of 10, William Ostendorff, a member of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said at a hearing of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee earlier this week.
Tepco has yet to decide how to deal with the plant site, Megumi Iwashita, a spokeswoman for the company said on May 26.
The most cost-effective solution may be to allow the cesium to move down into the soil to decay, Kathryn Higley, a radiation health physicist at Oregon State University in Corvallis, said in a telephone interview. Cesium has a half-life of about 30 years, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“They’re going to make decisions on an acre-by-acre basis as to what’s going to happen to these facilities,” she said. “The area around Chernobyl is now a nature park. When you move 100,000 people out of an area, nature does pretty well.”


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Hermann HIGH ELECTRIC RATES HERE TO STAY: SUPREME COURT OF MISSOURI Rules In favor of City Raising Rates Without A Vote of The People


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SUPREME COURT OF MISSOURI
en banc
ARBOR INVESTMENT COMPANY, LLC, et al., )
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Appellants, )
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vs. ) No. SC91109
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CITY OF HERMANN, )
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Respondent.
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Gasconade County
The Honorable Gael D. Wood, Judge
Opinion issued May 31, 2011
IV. CONCLUSION the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.
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LAURA DENVIR STITH, JUDGE
All concur.
 . . Click Here to Read Complete Ruling (pdf).

In short the court ruled that: "If the decisions are unpopular, the directors may be voted out of office. "

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5,000 Grand Rapids Residents of 'Dying City' Lip Dub Song About Day the Music Died


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5,000 Residents of 'Dying City' Lip Dub Song About Day the Music Died

Tue May 31, 2011
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The Grand Rapids LipDub (NEW WORLD RECORD)


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In January, MainStreet.com named Grand Rapids, Michigan, 10th on its list of America's "dying cities." It's possible nobody would have ever learned about this dubious distinction, but Newsweek picked up the story on its website, giving folks living in the Midwestern city -- and nearby Detroit and Flint -- something to be bummed about in addition to massive unemployment and home foreclosures.
To prove they're still thriving and have the same taste in classic rock as Madonna, 5,000 residents of Grand Rapids turned to the power of music and motivated to break the world record for largest lip dub on May 22nd, lip synching to Don McLean's sombre "American Pie."
"We disagreed strongly [with the article] and wanted to create a video that encompasses the passion and energy we all feel is growing exponentially in this great city," the clip's director and executive producer Rob Bliss wrote in a statement posted on YouTube (via Buzzfeed). "We felt Don McLean's 'American Pie,' a song about death, was in the end, triumphant and filled to the brim with life and hope." McLean's 1971 track is indeed morbid -- it chronicles the tragic 1959 plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper (known as "The Day the Music Died") and makes references to the deadly 1969 Altamont free concert where a Hells Angel stabbed a Rolling Stones fan. "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In" it's not, but it is good for a vigorous dorm-room sing-along.
Bliss wrote that the nearly nine-minute video is the longest and largest of its type -- take that Today show and Emerson College! -- cost $40,000 provided by local sponsors, and involved a near total shutdown of the city's downtown. The one-take, one-camera video set to an acoustic version of the song is indeed a huge survey of the city's landscape, featuring four fire trucks, a wedding, a marching band, kayaks, and about a million amateur acoustic guitar players (that's a rough estimate, but if the car manufacturing business in Michigan is slumping, the cheap acoustic guitar trade is thriving).
Our favorite moments:
• Giant pillow fight at 2:17
• Guy carving an ice sculpture with a chainsaw at 3:48
• Football team literally trying for a forward pass at 4:49
• Nerf gun attack at 6:16
• Helicopter that hovers above the whole scene at 8:30
"It's a remarkable video that truly shows off the sense of community and pride of Grand Rapids residents and we at MainStreet were genuinely moved by it," MainStreet.com wrote on Friday. Newsweek also issued a response to the video to clarify that the magazine hadn't compiled the intial dying-cities list, but published it "as part of a content sharing deal." Film critic Roger Ebert called the clip "The greatest music video ever made" on his blog.

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Germany To End Nuclear Power By 2022 Deemed Unethical to Burden Future Generations with Nuclear Energy's Hazardous Waste


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Germany Phases Out Nuclear Energy

 05/31/11

Tina Gerhardt  

Academic, independent journalist

www.huffingtonpost.com
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Germany announced that it would discontinue all nuclear power generation by 2022. Switzerland, Italy, Thailand and Malaysia have all also announced the freezing of nuclear development until further notice. In the United Kingdom, anti-nuclear activists have seized on the decision of Germany to ratchet up pressure against the government there to abandon nuclear development plans.
The Fukushima disaster left German officials unable to conclude that a major nuclear accident was “highly, highly, highly unlikely,” German ambassador to the U.S. Klaus Scharioth said at the conference. 

Nuclear reactors “are very complicated technologies which you cannot get under control 100 percent,” he said.


Berlin, Germany -- On Saturday, over 200,000 protested nuclear energy in over 20 cities in Germany. In Berlin alone, over 100,000 persons demonstrated.
And on Monday, Angela Merkel announced a decision to phase out all nuclear energy in Germany by the end of 2022. It will, she underscored, by reliable, affordable and economical.
She had appointed a panel of 17, including ministers, academics, politicians, businesspeople, to assess Germany's nuclear energy. This so-called Ethics Commission was charged with assessing Germany's nuclear energy usage on the basis of ethics, weighing whether or not nuclear energy should be used, given its known and unknown detrimental side effects. Ultimately, the Ethics Commission decided it was unethical to burden future generations with nuclear energy's hazardous waste. "A decade," the panel declared this weekend, "is enough" and called for her to end Germany's reliance on nuclear energy.
Last fall, Merkel announced that she would extend the lifespan of plants by 12 years on average.
But she revised that position this past March as a result not only of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster in Japan and but also of the elections then upcoming in two German states.
Widespread public opposition -- expressed among other things through consistent direct actions throughout Germany -- voiced opposition to nuclear energy. In Baden-Württemberg, one of the two states facing elections in late March, 60,000 people demonstrated against a nuclear power plant located there, forming a human chain from the city of Stuttgart to the reactor located 27 miles outside of town.
A precedent for nuclear policy had been set in 2000, when the Alliance 90/The Greens -- a coalition government of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and the Green Party -- announced a decision made in conjunction with the nuclear energy industry to phase out nuclear power plants by 2020.
Germany's four leading nuclear energy firms -- Eon, RWE, EnBw and Swedish-based Vattenfall -- have announced a 180 degree turn, preparing a lawsuit last month against the German government's decision to idle seven of Germany's 17 nuclear power stations by 2022. It was filed by RWE.
These four nuclear energy firms warned that Germany could face widespread winter blackouts, if Merkel phases out nuclear power, a finding that has been challenged by a recent study conducted by German Watch.
Harry Lehmann, General Director of the Environmental Planning and Sustainability Strategies at the Federal Environment Agency in Germany, also argues that powering Germany's energy needs without nuclear energy is entirely feasible -- and by 2017. That is, four years before the 2022 phase out announced today by Merkel.
When interviewed today for his response to Merkel's decision, Jürgen Trittin, chairman of the Alliance 90/The Greens, too, stated that 2017 was a viable date for winding down nuclear energy.
Greenpeace Germany has upped the ante by demanding an even more ambitious phase out in Germany by 2015.
Merkel's decision could have a ripple effect for the nuclear industry worldwide, given that Germany is the largest developed country to phase out nuclear energy. Germany is the world's fifth largest consumer of nuclear energy in terms of megawatts consumed, after the U.S., France, Japan and Russia.
Additionally, Germany's retool could prove useful for a rethink of U.S. nuclear energy policy. According to the German Ministry of Energy, Germany draws 22% of its energy from nuclear power. The U.S, by contrast, derives about 8% of its energy from nuclear energy, according to the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration. If Germany can manage a retool given a reliance over twice as high on nuclear energy, the U.S. should certainly be able to achieve it, given a lower percentage of nuclear.
Tina Gerhardt is an independent journalist who covers climate change. Her work has appeared in Alternet, Grist, Environment News Service, In These Times, The Progressive and The Nation, on GRIT tv, WBAI and the National Radio Project.

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'Double-Dip' Housing Prices Tumble Dipping Below 2009 Low


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'Double-Dip' in Housing Prices Even Worse Than Expected

By: Reuters
May 31, 2011
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U.S. single-family home prices dropped in March, dipping below their 2009 low, as the housing market remained bogged down by inventory and weak demand, a closely watched survey said Tuesday. 
The S&P/Case Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas declined 0.2 percent in March from February on a seasonally adjusted basis, in line with economists' expectations.
The price index was below the low seen in April 2009 during the financial crisis. The glut of houses for sale, foreclosures, tight credit and weak demand have kept the housing market on the ropes even as other areas of the economy start to recover.
The 20-city composite index was at 138.16, falling below the 2009 low of 139.26.
"This month's report is marked by the confirmation of a double-dip in home prices across much of the nation," David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Indices, said in a statement. "Home prices continue on their downward spiral with no relief in sight."
Eight cities fell 1 percent or more in March, while Washington was the only city where prices increased on both a monthly and yearly basis. Prices in the 20 cities fell 3.6 percent year over year, topping expectations for a decline of 3.3 percent.
"The declines sustained in the last 12 months have almost erased the gains of the previous 12 months. The housing market is treading backward, but not drowning," said Cary Leahey, economist and managing director at Decision Economics in New York.
In the first quarter, the national index fell 1.9 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis, compared to a decline of 1.8 percent in the previous quarter. On a non-adjusted basis, they fell by 4.2 percent in the quarter. Nationally, home prices are back to their mid-2002 levels, the report said.
Blitzer told CNBC that the decline in prices, though fairly widespread, has become more prevalent in geographic pockets—the Southwest and Southeast as well as the Michigan and Ohio manufacturing regions.
"What we've seen over the last few months despite the decline in prices is we've gone back to the old 'location, location, location' story instead of everything going down at once," he said. "California has clearly broken out of the pattern it was in, which is a big plus."
Though there had been hopes in the industry that prices were troughing and ready to turn higher, the latest trends show little hope in sight until later this year or early in 2012, he added.
"Everybody's now keeping their fingers crossed for 2012 and wondering whether people just don't want to own homes anymore," he said.
On a non-adjusted basis, they fell by 4.2 percent in the quarter.

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1,000 TEENS UNLEASHED ON BOSTON BEACH Organized on Facebook


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Fights break out at Carson Beach

Up to 1,000 youths reported involved; police say brawls moved elsewhere

By John M. Guilfoil
Boston Globe Staff 
May 31, 2011

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Fights broke out among rival gang members on Carson Beach in South Boston yesterday and spilled out across the city, triggering a massive law enforcement response from at least five agencies to stem the violence.
Police said the gang members are part of a group of more than 1,000 youths who have used social media sites like Facebook to plan unruly gatherings on the beach on three of the past four nights. The beach falls under the jurisdiction of the State Police, who have been unable to prevent the violence.
The response yesterday resembled crowd-control tactics reserved for major sporting victories.
State Police were already on edge, after a trooper was accosted Sunday night by members of the group. The trooper chased one of the youths, who ran, clutching the waistband of his shorts “consistent with the manner in which a person with a gun would hold it,’’ said David Procopio, a spokesman for the State Police.
Yesterday, the beach, located steps away from the South Boston State Police barracks, attracted thousands of families and other Memorial Day revelers gathered for the unofficial start of summer. While the majority of the crowd was peaceful, the unruly youths again gathered at the beach and in nearby parking lots.
Three state troopers responded around 5:30 p.m. to the first report of a fight. When they arrived, they were confronted by about 1,000 people, Procopio said.
The troopers called for backup. State Police streamed in, State Police Special Tactical Operations teams and Boston SWAT teams arrived, and the Boston Police Department activated its Emergency Deployment Teams, which brought officers into South Boston from all over the city. State, Boston, Boston Housing, UMass, and Transit Police responded, for a total of more than 100 police officers.
For the third time in four days, police dispersed the crowd, rushing everyone off the streets.
The dispersal caused some tense moments between those not involved with the youths and police, who formed a line to herd the crowd south, down William J. Day Boulevard. Some jostled and argued with officers.
At one moment, SWAT officers were rushing a crowd down the boulevard, and a woman yelled at a state trooper because the little boy with her was trying to put his shoes on as the trooper was pressing them to keep walking.
As the crowd broke up, hundreds of the unruly youths boarded the Red Line at JFK/UMass Station. Some went north; some went south.
According to Transit Police, a group of young people ended up at Downtown Crossing and started a fight in the station that spilled onto the street. Clashes were also reported at other stops.
Hundreds who went south exited the T at Savin Hill and spilled into McConnell Park, where families were gathered with young children and a Little League baseball game was going on.
Annoyed residents, cooking hot dogs and watching after their children, clashed with and jeered at the unwelcome group of youths.
“Arrest them. Arrest them all,’’ said Chris Garside, 42, a Savin Hill resident who angrily confronted a youth who was leaning against a car. Several Boston police officers standing nearby walked over and whisked the youths away, back toward Savin Hill Avenue.
A handful of youths were taken into custody Friday and Sunday, and by 8:30 p.m. yesterday, State Police had arrested two people in the Memorial Day melee, Procopio said. There were no reports of serious injuries yesterday.
The groups have been larger and rowdier than even veteran South Boston troopers remember.
“Veteran troopers assigned to the State Police barracks for a couple of decades have never seen as large a volume of kids that were there tonight,’’ Procopio said.
Procopio said the troublemakers were mostly 14 to 19 years old.
He said State Police will meet with Boston police gang officers this week, in an attempt to identify gang members and key players who have organized the gatherings.

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CELL PHONES: same "carcinogenic hazard" category as lead, engine exhaust and chloroform


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WHO: Cell phone use can increase possible cancer risk

By Danielle Dellorto, CNN
May 31, 2011

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(CNN) -- Radiation from cell phones can possibly cause cancer, according to the World Health Organization. The agency now lists mobile phone use in the same "carcinogenic hazard" category as lead, engine exhaust and chloroform.
Before its announcement Tuesday, WHO had assured consumers that no adverse health effects had been established.
A team of 31 scientists from 14 countries, including the United States, made the decision after reviewing peer-reviewed studies on cell phone safety. The team found enough evidence to categorize personal exposure as "possibly carcinogenic to humans."
What that means is they found some evidence of increase in glioma and acoustic neuroma brain cancer for mobile phone users, but have not been able to draw conclusions for other types of cancers
"The biggest problem we have is that we know most environmental factors take several decades of exposure before we really see the consequences," said Dr. Keith Black, chairman of neurology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

The type of radiation coming out of a cell phone is called non-ionizing. It is not like an X-ray, but more like a very low-powered microwave oven.
"What microwave radiation does in most simplistic terms is similar to what happens to food in microwaves, essentially cooking the brain," Black said. "So in addition to leading to a development of cancer and tumors, there could be a whole host of other effects like cognitive memory function, since the memory temporal lobes are where we hold our cell phones."
Wireless industry responded to Tuesday's announcement saying it "does not mean cell phones cause cancer." CTIA-The Wireless Association added that WHO researchers "did not conduct any new research, but rather reviewed published studies."
The European Environmental Agency has pushed for more studies, saying cell phones could be as big a public health risk as smoking, asbestos and leaded gasoline. The head of a prominent cancer-research institute at the University of Pittsburgh sent a memo to all employees urging them to limit cell phone use because of a possible risk of cancer.
"When you look at cancer development -- particularly brain cancer -- it takes a long time to develop. I think it is a good idea to give the public some sort of warning that long-term exposure to radiation from your cell phone could possibly cause cancer," said Dr. Henry Lai, research professor in bioengineering at University of Washington who has studied radiation for more than 30 years.
Results from the largest international study on cell phones and cancer was released in 2010. It showed participants in the study who used a cell phone for 10 years or more had doubled the rate of brain glioma, a type of tumor. To date, there have been no long-term studies on the effects of cell phone usage among children.
"Children's skulls and scalps are thinner. So the radiation can penetrate deeper into the brain of children and young adults. Their cells are at a dividing faster rate, so the impact of radiation can be much larger." said Black of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
In February, a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health, revealed radiation emitted after just 50 minutes on a mobile phone increases the activity in brain cells. The effects of brain activity being artificially stimulated are still unknown.
Neurosurgeon and CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta says Tuesday's announcement, "dealt a blow to those who have long said, 'There is no possible mechanism for cell phones to cause cancer.' By classifying cell phones as a possible carcinogen, they also seem to be tacitly admitting a mechanism could exist."
Manufacturers of many popular cell phones already warn consumers to keep their device away from their body.
The Apple iPhone 4 safety manual says users' radiation exposure should not exceed FCC guidelines: "When using iPhone near your body for voice calls or for wireless data transmission over a cellular network, keep iPhone at least 15 millimeters (5/8 inch) away from the body."
BlackBerry Bold advises users to, "keep the BlackBerry device at least 0.98 inch (25 millimeters) from your body when the BlackBerry device is transmitting."

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Japan Fukushima Nuclear Disaster: Meltdown in Three out of Six Reactors, Worse than thought UPDATE:Japan Fukushima Bad To Worse Reactors a Raging Nuclear Meltdown


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Fukushima's nuclear disaster: Worse than Japan thought?

May 28, 2011
New York – Power company Tepco announces that three out of six reactors almost certainly suffered serious meltdowns after the deadly earthquake and tsunami
A new report from Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) paints a surprisingly dire picture of the damage at its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Just how bad is the situation, and what is Japan going to do about it? Here, a brief guide:
What does Tepco's report say?It's now clear that three of the six reactors (not just one, as originally thought) experienced at least a partial meltdown — and odds seem high that, in each reactor, molten fuel rods breached the containment vessel, letting radiation leak into the environment.
How much radiation has leaked out?It's not clear yet. But if the containment vessels were breached, even partially, more radiation could leak from Fukushima than Chernobyl. Still, a worse-than-Chernobyl leak remains unlikely, says Tepco general manager Junichi Matsumoto. Most, but not all, of the molten fuel is believed to have stayed inside the containment vessels. And in Reactors 2 and 3, the rods remained under water, which should reduce the damage.
Where does this information come from?
It is based on Tepco's recently completed computer simulations of the disaster — the plants are still too dangerous to enter. (The reactors got as hot as 3,000 degrees Celsius — 5,400 degrees Fahrenheit — at one point, but they are now at a stable 100-170 degrees C, and slowly dropping.) Several outside experts have also come to similar conclusions.
What happens next?A team from the International Atomic Energy Agency arrived in Tokyo Tuesday to conduct an investigation into what went wrong at the Fukushima plant and what lessons can be drawn to make nuclear plants in Japan and elsewhere safer. Japan also approved its own independent investigation into the government's handling of the disaster. That inquiry will be headed by Yotaro Hatamura, an engineering professor who has made his name studying failure.
Sources: New York Times, Bloomberg, Wall St. Journal, Daily Yomiuri, Washington Post
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Fukushima Reactors a Raging Nuclear Inferno

Kurt Nimmo
Infowars.com
May 18, 2011
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Professor Christopher Busby, who sits on the European Committee on Radiation Risks, told RT yesterday that the reactors at Fukushima are a raging nuclear inferno and he believes at least one of the reactors is now outside its containment structure and emitting vast amounts of radiation into the atmosphere.
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The Japanese newspaper Asahi reports today that data reveals meltdowns occurred at the No. 2 and No. 3 reactors. Goshi Hosono, special adviser to Prime Minister Naoto Kan, acknowledged the likelihood of meltdowns. “We have to assume that meltdowns have taken place,” Hosono said at a news conference May 16.
Infowars.com and other alternative news sources reported the probability of a nuclear meltdown at the plant, but this was virtually ignored by the corporate media.
Soon after an earthquake and tsunami crippled the plant, nuclear experts said meltdowns occurred at all three reactors. TEPCO and the corporate media downplayed the possibility of nuclear meltdown. On April 17, TEPCO released a schedule to reach a cold shutdown at the Fukushima plant within six to nine months, but eventually had to revise the schedule.

Nuclear experts indicate more than a decade will be required to remove the melted fuel, eliminate the contamination, and dismantle the reactors.
Public release of data on the situation at the plant, which had been kept at the central control room, was delayed because it took time to restore power and remove radioactive materials attached to the papers, according to TEPCO. According to the data, the pressure in the pressure vessel of the No. 2 reactor dropped at 6:43 p.m. on March 15. A similar drop in pressure also took place at the No. 3 reactor at 11:50 p.m. on March 16.
“We have yet to be able to grasp the entire situation at the plant,” a TEPCO official said on May 16.
Radioactive technetium was discovered in water in the No. 3 reactor building. The discovery raised speculation that the melted nuclear fuel has breached the pressure vessel and landed in the containment vessel. Technetium is produced when nuclear fuel rods are damaged.

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FBI Top Ten News Stories for the Week Ending May 27, 2011

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Washington, D.C. May 27, 2011
  • FBI National Press Office

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  1. Philadelphia: Thirteen La Cosa Nostra Members, Associates Indicted in Pennsylvania

    An indictment was unsealed against 13 members and associates of the Philadelphia organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra. The indictment charges various crimes involving racketeering conspiracy, extortion, loansharking, illegal gambling, and witness tampering. Full Story
  2. New Haven: Connecticut Drug Trafficker Convicted of Murdering Three People

    Azibo Aquart, the founder and leader of a drug trafficking group that primarily sold crack cocaine, was convicted in connection with his role in the murders of three individuals who were brutally beaten to death with baseball bats. Full Story
  3. Headquarters: FBI Releases Preliminary Annual Crime Statistics for 2010

    According to the FBI’s Preliminary Annual Uniform Crime Report, the nation experienced a 5.5 percent decrease in the number of violent crimes and a 2.8 percent decline in the number of property crimes in 2010 when compared with data from 2009. Full Story

  4. Jacksonville: Former Mayo Clinic Employee Indicted in Florida for Tampering with Syringes, Resulting in Patient Death

    Former radiology technician Steven Beumel was indicted for allegedly taking syringes of Fentanyl and replacing them with used syringes contaminated with his own Hepatitis C virus. Five different patients contracted Hepatitis C from Beumel, and one of them died. Full Story

  5. Norfolk: Two More Somalis Plead Guilty to Charges Relating to Piracy of Quest

    Jilani Abdiali and Burhan Abdirahman Yusuf pled guilty to acts of piracy against the S/V Quest, which resulted in the murder of United States citizens Scott Underwood Adam, Jean Savage Adam, Phyllis Patricia Macay, and Robert Campbell Riggle. Full Story
  6. Minneapolis: Minnesota Man Convicted for Role in $43 Million Mortgage Fraud
    Scheme


    Troy David Chaika was found guilty on seven counts of wire fraud, three counts of mail fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud for conspiring with others to bilk mortgage lenders out of more than $43 million. Full Story
  7. Boston: Massachusetts Man Sentenced for Role in Large-Scale Mortgage Fraud Ring

    Ralph Appolon, the 12th and final defendant in a large-scale mortgage fraud ring, was sentenced for his role in fraudulent property transactions that were part of a larger mortgage fraud conspiracy involving 21 property deals and more than $10.6 million in loan proceeds. Full Story
  8. Washington Field: Former Title and Escrow Agent Pleads Guilty in D.C. to $1.8 Million Mortgage Fraud

    Ronald Johannes Sneijder, a former owner of a title and escrow company, pled guilty to bank fraud in connection with a mortgage fraud case involving more than $1.8 million in loans. Full Story
  9. Dallas: Mansfield Man Sentenced to 10 Years in Federal Prison for Commodities Fraud

    Ray M. White was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison after he pled guilty to commodities fraud, and ordered to pay $9.4 million in restitution to the victims of his crime and surrender to the Bureau of Prisons by July 28, 2011. Full Story
  10. Los Angeles: California Bank Employee Arrested for Stealing from Elderly Customers

    Brenda Bautista Hurtado, of Arroyo Grande, California, was arrested for allegedly stealing nearly $100,000 from two elderly customers’ accounts, as well as another $10,000 in cash from the bank’s vault while she was employed at a U.S. Bank branch in Arroyo Grande. Full Story
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FBI Steps Up Spying On Americans Using Anti-terrorism Pretense


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FBI Steps Up Harassment of Political Activists

Kurt Nimmo
Infowars.com
May 27, 2011
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“According to the FBI, people scrawling with sidewalk chalk and even those attending documentary screenings of controversial films can pose a threat to Homeland Security,” explains RTAmerica in a description attached to the above video. “Chicano activist Carlos Montes says this new widespread attack targeted against peace advocates and immigration rights activists is only the newest wave in the federal government’s attempt at silencing the outspoken.”
The FBI has served as a political police force since its creation as the Justice Department’s Bureau of Investigation in 1908. It’s mission is to squelch political dissent frowned upon by the elite.
In the early years, the FBI used deportations and the career-destroying Palmer raids to target union leaders and communists. Later on, it targeted anti-war and civil rights activists. It has since enlarged its target list to include environmentalists – those who have wandered from the globalist foundation reservation – and activists within the patriot movement described the the Department of Homeland Security as dire threats to the national security of the United States.
Under COINTELPRO, the FBI illegally entered and trashed homes and offices, arrested countless activists, sent libelous letters to the media and employers, falsely prosecuted and withheld information in trials, and engaged in violence and assassination against the government’s political enemies. From 1943 until 1963 the FBI paid an estimated 1,600 informants $1,680,592 and used 20,000 days of wiretaps to undermine legitimate and entirely legal political organizing (see America’s Secret Police).
Laws enacted after the attacks of September 11, 2011, are not designed to protect us from cave-dwelling Muslims, as we are repeatedly told. The high-tech police state now going into place around us is designed to prevent political resistance to a tyrannical state.

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Tony Romo Ties Knot to former Miss Missouri USA 2008 Candice Crawford


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Tony Romo Wedding: Dallas' Tony Romo Ties Knot at Just the Right Time


By Wes O'Donnell 
May 28, 2011
bleacherreport.com

Tony Romo Wedding Set To Take Place Today at Arlington Hall
The NFL season is still in jeopardy and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, never one to have trouble finding something else to do, is at least taking his time off to push his career in a better direction.
The fun-loving, oft-smiling quarterback has very much been in need of a settled personal life stretching back to the Jessica Simpson relationship a few years back.
We all remember the "Simpson Game" where Romo performed terribly in front of his then-girlfriend, and it is hard to forget the vacation he took just a week before the Cowboys played the Giants in the playoffs.
Being the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys comes with added publicity and pressure, but Romo has done himself no favors in the past.
Until now that is.
Romo and Candice Crawford, a former reporter, beauty queen and sister of television star Chace Crawford, are getting married today at Arlington Hall at Lee Park.
The couple plan on keeping it as low key as possible, and that includes Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
Jones had to jump through a few hoops to make it possible, but he'll be present yet unable to talk football with his quarterback.
Romo is coming of a year marred by injury and is now in position to help rebuild the Dallas Cowboys' reputation with new coach Jason Garrett.
With no work between teams and football players allowed, Romo's wedding has come at the perfect time for a guy incapable of avoiding distraction.
READ MORE


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12-19-2010
Injured Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is engaged to be married to former Miss Missouri Candice Crawford.
  
Crawford works as a sports reporter for KDAF-TV in Dallas. The station reports that the 30-year-old player proposed to Crawford while the couple were celebrating her 24th birthday at a Dallas restaurant on Thursday.
  
A wedding date has not been announced.
. Click Here for more info on Romo


Candice Crawford Bio: 

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Candice Loren Crawford (born December 16, 1986)[1] is a reporter for KDAF, the CW-affiliate in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas[2] and a former American beauty queen. She won the Miss Missouri USAMiss USA pageant when she placed in the top ten. She is currently engaged to Tony Romo (quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys).


Born in Lubbock, Texas and then raised in Dallas, Texas, Crawford is the younger sister of the actor Chace Crawford, from the television show Gossip Girl.[3]

After high school, Crawford enrolled at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri, where she studied journalism and business. While at Columbia, Missouri, Candice worked with the local NBC affiliate KOMU-TV as a reporter. During college, Crawford also worked for Dallas, Texas CBS affiliate KTVT, as a reporter covering the Dallas Cowboys on the CBS show, The Blitz. She was also an active member of Pi Beta Phi Sorority for Women. Plus, Crawford served as a volunteer writer for sports blog Midwest Sports Fans.[4]

She competed in the Miss Texas Teen USA 2003 and 2005 pageants, placing third runner-up in both competitions.

Crawford competed in the Miss Missouri USA 2007 pageant in November 2006 and placed first runner-up to Amber Seyer. She then competed the following year and won the 2008 title.[3][8] She represented Missouri in the Miss USA 2008 pageant held in Las Vegas, Nevada in April 2008.[9]

On March 16, 2007, Crawford was arrested for underage possession of alcohol at the bar Tonic in Columbia, Missouri.[5][6]

On December 16, 2010, the KDAF Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas news station where Crawford works, announced she became engaged to Romo while celebrating her 24th birthday with her family at the restaurant Five Sixty.[7]





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‘United for Joplin’ fundraiser Tops $ 1 million

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‘United for Joplin’ fundraiser breaks $1 million

Friday, May 27, 2011
www.columbiatribune.com

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With more than $1 million in donations on hand, the Heart of Missouri United Way is ready to help Joplin residents rebuild their lives and community.
A “United for Joplin” fundraising effort that culminated last night at the new Museao building on Buttonwood Drive raised $1,036,000. The Columbia United Way chapter will dole out the money as needed, working with its affiliate in Joplin, said Executive Director Tim Rich.
Joplin Mayor Mike Woolston extended a “thanks” through a phone call this morning with the Tribune. “The kind of support people have offered, whether it’s been financially, in prayer or through volunteerism, the support we’ve received has been overwhelming, and Columbia is part of that,” he said. “We’re very appreciative of the efforts up there.”
Joplin has literally been overwhelmed with tangible donations, to the point officials are asking on websites and through social media that people stop bringing unsolicited items because there’s no place to store them. Regardless, media across the country are reporting groups from Utah, Colorado, Chicago, Nebraska and Tennessee planned to haul semitrailer loads of goods to the tornado-ravaged town this weekend.
One reason cash donations are preferred is they allow agencies to fund what’s actually needed rather than having to rely on volunteers to sort goods and figure out which victims need which donated items.
Rich plans to head to Joplin next week to talk to officials about how to best use the “United for Joplin” funds. “We want to have the biggest impact and provide the greatest return on investment for our donors,” he said.
That might include helping residents pay for temporary housing, cover utility costs for a while or fund whatever else they need to start over, Rich said. “One of the nice things about United Way is we have the ability to work with our partners and those who aren’t our partners so we custom-tailor the needs of people and each family individually.”
Fundraising efforts here started almost immediately after the tornado struck Joplin Sunday when Brent Beshore, a Joplin native turned Columbia entrepreneur, sent Rich a message asking to set up a fund for relief efforts. Although most of the contributions have come from individuals, other entities pitched in.
The University of Missouri created a T-shirt promoting “One State. One Spirit. One Mizzou.” to raise money for the campaign. As of this morning, 9,100 T-shirts had been sold, mostly from online orders, raising some $100,000 in profits for Joplin. The shirts were temporarily sold out this morning.
“I don’t think anyone expected the shirts to be flying off the shelves and Web as quickly as they did,” said Ana Compain-Romero, director of University Affairs. “I think it’s extraordinary that not only the community here but, heaven knows, nationwide people are really turning out for this.”
Also contributing to the total amount was a $200,000 check from Sam’s Club, delivered personally to Columbia yesterday from a representative in the Bentonville, Ark., office. That money is specifically earmarked to help small businesses rebuild, Rich said. He plans to form a Columbia task force made of business and university leaders who can help Joplin form a long-term recovery plan.
Joplin is still literally picking up the pieces, so economic recovery isn’t an immediate need, Woolston said, “but down the road, it’s going to be critical.”

. . Click Here to Read More.

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