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Sunday, June 26, 2011

11 U.S. troops die in Iraq June 2011 - Highest Month Since May 2009

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Two U.S. troops die in Iraq; 11 total this month

June 26, 2011
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(AP)  BAGHDAD — The U.S. military says two American troops have been killed in northern Iraq while conducting operations.
The military said in a statement that the service members were killed Sunday.
No further details were immediately available, and the names of the dead are being withheld pending notification of next of kin.
The deaths bring to 4,465 the number of American troops who have died in Iraq. That's according to an Associated Press count.
Eleven American troops have died this month in combat related situations. The casualty figure is the highest number of combat related deaths since May 2009 when American forces were still operating freely in Iraqi cities.
Most of the deaths have happened in Baghdad and southern Iraq reflecting the increased threat of Shiite militias to departing U.S. forces.
Meanwhile, a suicide bomber in a wheelchair blew himself up at the entrance to a police station north of the capital Baghdad on Sunday, killing three people and wounding 18, officials said.

Two police officers were killed and 10 injured in Tarmiyah, about 30 miles north of Baghdad, two police officers and one medical official said.

The head of the Tarmiyah city council, Qassim Khalifa, told The Associated Press that it was not clear whether the bomber was really handicapped or using the wheelchair as a way to deflect attention from security personnel.

The bomber went to the police station claiming to need a letter from the police certifying he'd been maimed in a terror attack, Khalifa said. Iraqis who have been disabled from a bombing or shooting can receive compensation from the government if their injuries are documented.

"Police inspected him but not very carefully as he was handicapped or pretending to be handicapped, so they let him go inside the police reception area where the blast occurred," Khalifa said.

In Baghdad, security authorities were out in force to protect Shiite pilgrims converging from around the country to commemorate the death of Imam Moussa al-Kadhim, a revered Shiite figure. Pilgrims traditionally walk to the twin-domed shrine in the northern Baghdad neighborhood of Kazimiyah, where al-Kadhim is buried.

Predominantly Sunni militants often target the pilgrims as they are walking to and from the shrine from cities and towns across Iraq. Sunday morning a sniper shot and wounded two Iraqi soldiers near the village of Wahda, a mixed Shiite-Sunni village 20 miles (30 kilometers) south of the capital, said a police and hospital official. The soldiers were manning one of the checkpoints set up to protect pilgrims as they walk to the shrine.

All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release information.


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Flood Surrounds Nebraska Nuclear Plant Fort Calhoun: Missouri River Receding

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Floodwaters surround nuke plant after breach

June 26, 2011
www.reuters.com
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(Reuters) - A tear on Sunday in a temporary berm allowed Missouri River flood waters to surround containment buildings and other vital areas of a Nebraska nuclear plant, but reactor systems were not affected.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said the breach in the 2,000-foot inflatable berm around the Fort Calhoun station occurred around 1:25 a.m. local time.
More than 2 feet of water rushed in around containment buildings and electrical transformers at the 478-megawatt facility located 20 miles north of Omaha.
Reactor shutdown cooling and spent-fuel pool cooling were unaffected, the NRC said.
The plant, operated by the Omaha Public Power District, has been off line since April for refueling.
Crews activated emergency diesel generators after the breach, but restored normal electrical power by Sunday afternoon, the NRC said.
Buildings at the Fort Calhoun plant are watertight, the agency said. It noted that the cause of the berm breach is under investigation.
NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko and other officials planned to visit the site on Monday.
Jaczko will also visit the Cooper Nuclear Station near Brownville, Nebraska, another facility that has been watched closely with Missouri River waters rising from heavy rains and snow melt.
But water levels in that area 80 miles south of Omaha are receding, relieving worries that water will rise around the Brownville plant.



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Fireworks Safety Guidelines: Missourians urged to use caution

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Missourians urged to take caution with firworks


June 26, 2011
missouri-news.org
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – For many, Independence Day just wouldn’t be Independence Day without fireworks. But ahead of next weekend’s 4th of July festivities, state officials are urging Missourian’s to practice caution in order to avoid injuries.
“While fireworks are exciting to see, they are potentially dangerous and when misused and can lead to serious injuries, fires, burns and even death,” said State Fire Marshal Randy Cole.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, far more fires are reported in the U.S. on a typical Independence Day than on any other day of the year, and fireworks account for more than half of those fires. According to the NFPA, fireworks caused an estimated 22,500 reported fires causing $42 million in direct property damage.
Cole said the safest bet is to attend a public show staged by professionals, noting that even handheld sparklers are known to cause injury. But for Missourians who do choose to purchase and use their own fireworks, Cole had several safety tips:
- Purchase fireworks only from a properly licensed retailer
- Always wear eye protection and earplugs if you have sensitive ears.
-  Tie back long hair and don’t wear loose fitting clothes.
- Only light one firework at a time.
- Never try to re-light fireworks that have malfunctioned.
- Never have any part of your body over fireworks.
- Keep young children away from fireworks.
- Never throw or point fireworks at other people.
- Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
- Make sure to have water nearby in case of a fire or an accident.
- Dispose of fireworks by soaking them in water and leaving them in a trash can.
- Never light fireworks indoors.
- Don’t use fireworks while consuming alcohol.  Use a “designated shooter.”
- Store fireworks in a cool, dry place. Don’t save fireworks from season to season.

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We almost Lost Nebraska: What's Next with Nuclear Power

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2011 The Year Nuclear Failed

After the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe in Japan - a lot of people wondered out loud just what the hell the Japanese were doing building nuclear power plants along the coast of an area prone to earthquakes and tsunamis. It's as though they were just asking for this to happen - who could have been so stupid?? Surely - here in the United States we're a lot more careful with where we build OUR nuclear plants right?? Well...no. The Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant just outside Omaha, Nebraska is completely surrounded by water. But I suppose that's what happens when you build a nuclear plant right in the middle of the flood plain of the Missouri River. Flood waters from the rising Missouri River have settled at a foot and a half ABOVE where the plant sits - and the only thing stopping Fort Calhoun from flooding just like Fukushima flooded is a six-foot high rubber wall surrounding the plant. But that's not the only nuclear power plant in danger. Just down the river in southeast Nebraska - the Cooper Nuclear Plant - is also on the verge of flooding out
Jun 22, 2011
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Extremely Close Encounter Asteroid to Pass By Earth On Monday Afternoon

 Battered Asteroid a Survivor From Solar System's BirthCredit: ESA Full StoryThe asteroid Lutetia at closest approach as seen by Europe's Rosetta spacecraft in July 2010.
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Asteroid to Pass Extremely Close By Earth On Monday


June 25, 2011
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Trajectory of asteroid 2011 MD during its June 27, 2011 flyby from the general direction of the sun.
CREDIT: NASA

Here's something to dwell on as you head to work next week: A small asteroid the size of a tour bus will make an extremely close pass by the Earth on Monday, but it poses no threat to the planet
The asteroid will make its closest approach at 1:14 p.m. EDT (1714 GMT) on June 27 and will pass just over 7,500 miles (12,000 kilometers) above the Earth's surface, NASA officials say. At that particular moment, the asteroid — which scientists have named 2011 MD — will be sailing high off the coast of Antarctica, almost 2,000 miles (3,218 km) south-southwest of South Africa.
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Nuclear Radiation in Japan, Hawaii, Alaska, West Coast to become ’Baby valley of death,’ Millions to die No way to avoid tiny hot particles

VIDEO: 
Hot Radioactive Particles from Japan Now in Seattle: DOUBLE Original Estimates  
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Prestigious doctor: US nuclear ’Baby valley of death,’ Millions to die

 June 25, 2011
Deborah Dupre 
The Examiner
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Dr. Mark Sircus bearer of tragic radiation news
Sunday, the prestigious Doctor Mark Sircus released a new report concurring with a host of scientists and other doctors giving evidence that people of Japan and United States have been subjected to dangerous levels of radiation since Fukushima nuclear plant meltdowns, and also subjected to a tight cover-up by authorities and media, the result of which will be millions of baby deaths and new cancer victims. Japanese and American children are already suffering with symptoms that appear to be the first signs of Radiation Sickness.
"Finally, three months later, we are getting some numbers on what the real dangers are. And finally we can begin to understand the enormous cover-up of the nuclear doom that is reaching lungs all over the west coast of America, Canada, Alaska, Hawaii and at least half of Japan!" stated Dr. Mark Sircus.
Dr. Sircus Ac., OMD, is director of International Medical Veritas Association (IMVA) http://www.imva.info/. He was trained in acupuncture and oriental medicine at Institute of Traditional Medicine in Sante Fe, N.M., and at the School of Traditional Medicine of New England in Boston. He served at the Central Public Hospital of Pochutla in Mexico, and was awarded the title of doctor of oriental medicine for his work including one of the first nationally certified acupuncturists in the U.S. Dr. Sircus's IMVA is dedicated to unifying various disciplines in medicine with the goal of creating a new dawn in healthcare.
"For infants, it’s a terrible valley of death we have created for them." says Dr. Sircus. "As we shall see for years, all of them have been born with already polluted bloodstreams and now, the very young ones are dying in greater numbers on the west coast of the United States since Fukushima blew up."

No way to avoid tiny hot particles
"After the first week, officials had enough information to call for evacuation of a wide area in Japan and also Hawaii, Alaska and the entire west coast of North America," said Dr. Sircus.
All of northern Japan and the U.S. west coast should have been evacuated according to Dr. Sircus, admittedly "as impossible as evacuating the entire planet or the entire northern hemisphere."
"Avoiding exposure is always the best plan but there is no way to avoid breathing in air contaminated with tiny hot particles. Inhalation issues are much more frightening than ingestion issues because you can pick and choose what you eat and drink but you can't buy bottled air."
"Nuclear Toxicity Syndrome," one of the books authored by Dr. Sircus, is about "how to survive in nuclear and chemical hell," he says. Dr. Sircus, a founding guide of Gulf Coast Barefoot Doctors, deliverers of Detox Survival Kits to hundreds of Gulf Of Mexico BP oil and Corexit poisoned survivors.
Echoing the frustration of many Gulf of Mexico "barefoot doctors" and other volunteers since the BP oil catastrophe there over a year ago, Dr. Sircus states that "one cannot do what is necessary to survive hell if a person doesn’t know they are living in one." The problem is that, due to the media blackout on environmental hazards associated with non-renewable energy big business, relatively few people know the hell Gulf Coast people are enduring. Many Gulf Coast residents continue to attribute ongoing illness to a persistent "flu." Just as more people are doing today in relation to Fukushima radiation, many Gulf Coast residents remain in denial that Gulf of Mexico radiation from seeping oil and antibiotic resistant bacteria from the dispersant Corexit are lethal and government has not helped them. This is why Dr. Sircus and many health professionals contributed to the work of Mr. Jeff Rense for his book, "Coming Clean: From Denial to Detox" that he freely offers to save lives.
Despite mixed reports from officials and media about the vulnerability of United States nuclear plants threatened by flooding, Dr. Sircus highlights, "It just keeps getting worse by the day, and now we have Fort Calhoun nuclear plant outside Omaha, Nebraska on emergency alert as first fire and now flooding threatens to overwhelm yet another nuclear facility."
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"We knew nuke power plants were bad news, but who would think they would build them on fault lines or in flood zones?" he asks.
Should US West Coast residents be worried?
While people like Arnie Gundersen have tiptoed the answer to whether west coasters should be worried about Fukushima fallout, Dr. Sircus answered more bluntly:
"I am afraid I will have to be brutally honest and be the bearer of really terrible news. The information coming out about hot particle concentrations near Fukushima, Tokyo, and now Seattle tell us that not only should all those populations be worrying but their governments should have been issuing evacuation orders months ago."
"Because of the jet stream in April, after the large explosions that destroyed three reactor buildings, it was as dangerous in Seattle and much of the west coast of North America as in Tokyo." (Emphasis added)
According to Dr. Sircus, the average Tokyo resident is thought to have inhaled 10 “hot particles” per day throughout April 2011. Inhabitants of Fukushima were estimated to have inhaled 30-40 times more than that—up to 400 hot particles per day every day that month.
In Seattle, WA, it is estimated that the average person absorbed five “hot particles” per day during April 2011, or 10 “hot particles” per day if athletes working out.
"These invisible atomic particles become lodged in your lungs, intestines, bone or muscle."
Being very conservative and saying this has dropped to even one a day "would still be 30 of these death particles a month, approximately 200 radioactive particles into their lungs and other tissues by now.
"When you think that if even one of these 200 is plutonium," states Dr. Sircus, "we have to think in terms of millions of eventual cancer deaths."

Dr. Mark Sircus recently released e-books including: Winning the War Against Cancer, Survival Medicine for the 21st Century, Sodium Bicarbonate, Rich Man’s Poor Man’s Cancer Treatment, New Paradigms in Diabetic Care and Bringing Back the Universal Medicine: IODINE.
He is a pioneer in natural detoxification and chelation of toxic chemicals and heavy metals and a champion of the medicinal value of minerals and seawater. Transdermal Magnesium Therapy, his first published work, offers a stunning breakthrough in medicine, an entirely new way to supplement magnesium that naturally increases DHEA levels, brings cellular magnesium levels up quickly, relieves pain, brings down blood pressure and pushes cell physiology in a positive direction. Magnesium chloride delivered transdermally brings a quick release from a broad range of conditions.
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VIDEO: Nuclear Hell On Earth: Night film video evidence of Fukushima plant radiation in air
Night filmed radioactive steam from Fukushima 24 hours/day. Arnie Gundersen, former nuclear power industry executive is among many experts saying from day one: Japanese nuclear crisis is much worse than they were telling us. Credit: MrSmotegi/Youtube/Dr. Mark Sircus
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Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Disaster: Biggest Industrial Catastrophe in the History of Mankind

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What Happened to Media Coverage of Fukushima?

By Anne Landman
June 24, 2011www.indypendent.org
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While the U.S. media has been occupied with Anthony Weiner, the Republican presidential candidates and Bristol Palin’s memoir, coverage of Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster has practially fallen off the map. Poor mainstream media coverage of Japan’s now months-long struggle to gain control over the Fukushima disaster has deprived Americans of crucial information about the risks of nuclear power following natural disasters. After a few weeks of covering the early aftermath of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami, the U.S. media moved on, leaving behind the crisis at Fukushima which continues to unfold. U.S. politicians, like Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, have made disappointing and misleading statements about the relative safety of nuclear power and have vowed to stick by our nuclear program, while other countries, like Germany and Italy, have taken serious steps to address the obvious risks of nuclear power — risks that the Fukushima disaster made painfully evident, at least to the rest of the world.

Problems Multiply

News outlets in other countries have been paying attention to Fukushima, though, and a relative few in this country have as well. A June 16, 2011 Al Jazeera English article titled, “Fukushima: It’s much worse than you think,” quotes a high-level former nuclear industry executive, Arnold Gunderson, who called Fukushima nohting less than “the biggest industrial catastrophe in the history of mankind.” Twenty nuclear cores have been exposed at Fukushima, Gunderson points out, saying that, along with the site’s many spent-fuel pools, gives Fukushima 20 times the release potential of Chernobyl.
Efforts to bring problems at Fukushima under control are not going well, either. Japanese authorities only just recently admitted that nuclear fuel in the three damaged Fukushima reactors has likely burned through the vessels holding it, a scenario called “melt-through”, that is even more serious than a core meltdown. Months of spraying seawater on the plant’s three melted-down fuel cores — and the spent fuel stored on site — to try and cool them has produced 26 million of gallons of radioactive wastewater, and no place to put it.
After a struggle, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), finally managed to put in place a system to filter radioactive particles out of the wastewater, but it broke down soon after it started operating. A filter that was supposed to last a month plugged up with radioactive material after just five hours, indicating there is more radioactive material in the water than previously believed. Meanwhile, TEPCO is running out of space to store the radioactive water, and may be forced to again dump contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean. TEPCO already dumped some water into the ocean weeks ago, amid protests from fisherman, other countries and environmental organizations. And even if TEPCO does successfully filter the contaminated water and manage to bring its radioactivity down to acceptable levels, the utility will still have to deal with the pile of radioactive sludge the process will produce. The plan they’ve come up with to deal with the sludge is to seal it in drums and discard it into the ocean, which may cause even more problems. Greenpeace has already found levels of radiation exceeding legal limits in seaweed and shellfish samples gathered more than 12 miles away from the plant. The high levels of radiation in the samples indicate that leaks from the plant are bigger than TEPCO has revealed so far.
The cascade of other problems caused by the Fukushima disaster include the costs of relocating residents from the affected area around the plant, compensating people for the loss of their homes and belongings, and a drop-off in global sales of goods and products exported from Japan due to fear of radioactive contamination.

Domestic Nuclear Worries

For Americans who think “out of sight, out of mind” or “it can’t happen here” when it comes to Fukishima and its ramifications, think again. Janette Sherman, M.D., an internal medicine specialist, and Joseph Magano, an epidemiologist with the Radiation and Public Health Project research group, noticed a 35% jump in infant mortality in eight northwestern U.S. cities located within 500 miles of the Pacific coast since the Fukushima meltdown. They wrote an essay, published by CounterPunch, suggesting there may be a link between the statistic and the Fukushima disaster. They cited similar problems with infant mortality among people who were exposed to nuclear fallout from Chernobyl. Sherman and Magano urge that steps be taken to measure the levels of radioactive isotopes in the environment of the Pacific northwest, and in the bodies of people in these areas, to determine if nuclear fallout from Fukushima could, in fact, be related to the spike in infant mortality.
Tensions are also rising over two U.S. nuclear reactors in Nebraska located on the banks of the Missouri River, which is now at flood stage. On June 20, the Omaha, Nebraska World Herald reported that flood waters from the Missouri River came within 18 inches of forcing the Cooper Nuclear Station near Brownville, Nebraska, to shut down. Officials are poised to shut down the Cooper plant when river reaches a level of 902 feet above sea level. The plant is 903 feet above sea level. The Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant, 20 miles north of Omaha, issued a “Notification of Unusual Event” to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on June 6 due to local flooding. That plant is currently shut down for refueling, but will not restart because of the flooding. Compounding worries over these two plants is a shortage of sand needed to fill massive numbers of sandbags to hold off Missouri River floodwaters. One ton of sand makes just 60 sandbags, and hundreds of thousands of sandbags are needed to help save towns along the river from flooding. Sand is obtained from dredging the riverbed — and the companies that sell sand can’t dredge the river while it is flooding. These plants are already in a risky situation, and the flooding in Nebraska could easily be worsened just by a summer afternoon cloudburst.

Global Support for Nuclear Power Drops; Some U.S. Reactors on Borrowed Time

Polls reveal that global support for nuclear power has nosedived in the wake of the Fukushima disaster. A survey of over 19,000 people in 24 countries showed that three quarters of people now think nuclear power will soon be obsolete. Three countries still show support for nuclear power: the U.S., India and Poland.
The relative safety of nuclear power in the U.S. is tenuous, despite what some politicians have claimed. A big problem is that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has been working with the nuclear power industry to keep our country’s reactors operating within safety standards, but they’ve been doing it by either weakening those standards, or not enforcing them at all. A year-long investigation by the Associated Press (AP) revealed that the NRC has acted appallingly, extending licenses for dozens of aging U.S. nuclear plants despite their having multiple problems, like rusted pipes, broken seals, failed cables and leaking valves. When such problems are found, the NRC will weaken the standards to help the plants meet them instead of ordering them to be repaired to meet current standards. The nuclear industry argues that the standards they are violating are “unnecessarily conservative,” and in response, the NRC simply loosens the standards. Just last year, for example, the NRC weakened the safety margin for acceptable radiation damage to nuclear reactor vessels — for the second time. Through public record requests to the NRC, the AP obtained photographs of badly rusted valves, holes eaten into the tops of reactor vessels, severe rust in pipes carrying essential water supplies, peeling walls, actively leaking water pipes and other problems found among the nation’s fleet of aging nuclear reactors.

The Take Away

Fukushima has been a wake up call about the dangers of nuclear power, and some countries are heeding the information. But it seems the U.S. is still sleeping when it comes to this issue. Light-to-absent coverage of TEPCO’s struggles to bring Fukushima under control, legislators who insist on acting favorably towards the nuclear power industry despite the deteriorated state of our current reactor fleet and an ineffective Nuclear Regulatory Commission have all contributed to a bad combination of a dangerous situation and a complacent American public on this issue.
Maybe now that the latest scandal in Washington has subsided, public and media attention will return to this crucial issue, and the U.S. will turn its attention to tackling some of the truly serious problems posed by a continuing reliance on nuclear power.
Anne Landman is the Managing Editor of the Center for Media and Democracy. She previously served as the editor of our TobaccoWiki project on our SourceWatch.org website. She has degrees in Environmental Restoration/Waste Management Technology and Communications.

This article was originally published on CommonDreams.org from PR Watch.

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