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Plan to store nuclear waste near Great Lakes proves radioactive

By Steve Friess, Washington Post

A sign announcing the future site of the Deep Geologic Repository Project. (Steve Friess)
 
KINCARDINE, Ontario — If there was an off-key moment during the otherwise flawlessly executed trip to the U.S. Capitol this spring by the new Canadian prime minister,Justin Trudeau, it might have come when he was cornered by Rep. Debbie Dingell.

“We never want to see nuclear waste in the Great Lakes,” the freshman Democrat from Michigan sternly told Trudeau during a visit to the office of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

Trudeau knew what Dingell was talking about. A few weeks earlier, his administration delayed an expected final ruling on whether Ontario Power Generation (OPG) could blast an area twice as big as the White House in a hole as deep as four Washington Monuments and then dump and seal inside 50 years’ worth of low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste amassed by the province’s three nuclear power plants.

The material, which will take thousands of years to decay to levels that are not toxic, would reside beneath layers of rock that geologists say have not moved in tens of millions of years. The planned Deep Geological Repository is controversial in part because it would sit about a mile from the bottom of Lake Huron. And that has prompted widespread activism throughout the Great Lakes region among those who see the concept as too risky for the 40 million people who rely on this, the largest freshwater network in the world.

Trudeau has remained tight-lipped on the plan, much to the frustration of many in both the United States and Canada.

 
 
Jan Thomas, of Port Huron, holds a sign protesting a proposed nuclear waste dump site on Lake Huron, Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015 during the International Rally to Protect the Great Lakes at Pine Grove Park in Port Huron, Mich. (Andrew Jowett/AP)

Dingell left her Trudeau visit, she said, a bit baffled and frustrated. “All he said was that he truly cares about the environment,” she said. “I didn’t know what to make of that. I’m not going to read into it. I just don’t know.”

The plan is supported by dozens of scientists, including those who participated in a government-appointed independent review panel that approved of the plan. The 2,231-foot hole would go far below the water table and into layers of rock so ancient that they have not moved in more than 50 million years, they say. It is the best solution available, they say, to ensure that the material, now stored in canisters at the surface, is kept away from humans well into the uncertain future.

That’s not enough for environmentalists and political leaders on both sides of the Great Lakes. “No matter what process is followed, abandoning radioactive nuclear waste in the Great Lakes basin will always be a bad idea,” said Beverly Fernandez, spokeswoman for Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump, who lives in Southampton, Ontario, about 30 miles north of Kincardine.

The decision ultimately will fall to one person, Canada’s freshly installed environment minister, Catherine McKenna. The provincial government approved the plan last year after the independent review panel endorsed its safety. Now the federal government, specifically McKenna, must either green-light or kill it. She had promised to rule by March, but in February she asked OPG for more information; the utility said in April that it would comply by the end of the year.

OPG spokesman Bill McKinlay insisted that the company is “happy” to oblige McKenna, repeating the word more than a dozen times in 10 minutes.

“We’re happy to respond to them,” McKinlay said. “We’ve been open and transparent through this whole process, and we’re happy to do what we can to help people understand it.”

Opposition to the project, though, has swelled. More than 180 county boards, city councils and other local elected bodies near the Great Lakes in both countries have passed proclamations urging a veto of the plan. Dingell was among 32 members of Congress who signed a bipartisan letter to Trudeau asking him and McKenna to reject it. The GOP-dominated Michigan Senate unanimously passed a resolution calling on the White House and Congress to intervene under the Boundary Waters Treaty. (The White House referred questions to the State Department, which declined to comment on the issue.)

Some of those U.S. politicians, though, support the long-delayed effort to bury the United States’ high-level nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, outside Las Vegas.

Dingell doesn’t see that as a contradiction. “This is different,” she said. “We’ve got to find a location that doesn’t impact large populations of people. A mountain that is in an isolated place is a better place than water that is 20 percent of the freshwater in the world. If there’s a leak or an accident at Yucca Mountain, it’s in an isolated area.”

Yet for Canada, like the United States, the issue remains one of the biggest headaches for nuclear power generation. Nuclear power is one of the cleanest, cheapest sources of energy, especially in places like Ontario, where coal-burning power plants were banned in 2003. But the conundrum of what to do with the waste persists, even after more than half a century of nuclear-fueled electricity.

Low-level waste includes mops, brooms and clothing, which are expected to reach safe radioactive levels in about a century. Intermediate-level waste includes hardware such as pumps, filters and other machinery that has been in direct contact with nuclear fuel and won’t return to safe levels for at least 10,000 years. (High-level waste includes spent uranium fuel rods; such material would not be sent to the planned repository.)

The Bruce Energy facility here in Kincardine is the world’s largest nuclear-power-generation site, with eight of the province’s 20 nuclear reactors. Since the early 1970s, the Bruce site has stored the low- and intermediate-level waste for all of Ontario’s power plants in above-ground bunkers and vaults, which are evidenced only by dozens of cement caps of various shapes arrayed in neat rows across a concrete plain near the reactor buildings. OPG and Bruce officials have long assured the public that such storage is safe, and they’re not backing away from that contention.

Yet it is an expensive long-term solution that relies on hundreds of future generations to maintain and defend it. “You look at parts of the world that seem to go from reasonable governments to chaos, and I don’t think you can predict what kind of society will exist hundreds or thousands of years from now,” said Derek Martin, a professor of geotechnical engineering at the University of Alberta and a key member of the research team that developed the plans for the Kincardine site. “When you look at the geological history of the area, it’s been so benign in geological activity in the last tens of millions of years. I don’t know how you could find a safer place to put it.”

The city of Kincardine, which received more than 600,000 Canadian dollars (about $465,000) a year between 2004 and 2014 for agreeing to host the repository — the stipends stopped after opposition grew and progress stalled — stands to benefit from additional regular payments as well as new jobs.

Mayor Anne Eadie pushes back at opponents who question the plan’s safety.

“It just keeps coming back to that main question,” she said. “Is it safer where it is right now? We had a tornado in a town near here three or four years ago ... and that could’ve just as easily been in Kincardine. It was a devastating tornado. Wiped out the town. Is this stuff safer where it is now, or is it safer 650 meters down in rock that hasn’t moved in eons?”

Like Trudeau, the environment minister, McKenna, has publicly said nothing specific. But opponents are pleased that OPG has been asked to provide information about potential alternative sites — the company never researched any others, in part because it already owns the land where the repository would go — as well as to explain the “potential combined environmental effects” of both the OPG repository and a similar repository for high-level nuclear waste under consideration by Canada’s government. Three of the nine communities that have expressed interest in hosting the high-level waste repository are near Kincardine and, thus, almost as close to the lakeshore.

“The alternative-sites investigation should have been part and parcel of this thing from the beginning,” said Kevin Kamps of the national environmental group Beyond Nuclear, who has been fighting the OPG repository since 2001.

Kamps and Fernandez say they question the certainty of the scientists who have vouched for the safety of the site. The activists note that there are three other repositories in the world that handle nuclear waste, two in Germany and one in New Mexico, and all have had leaks or problems despite similar assurances that they were foolproof. Another is under construction in Finland, and several other countries including Sweden, Japan and Britain are considering building them.

Opponents of the plan don’t have a solution for what to do with the waste — and insist it’s not their job to figure it out.

“If it must be buried, bury it outside of the Great Lakes basin and far from people, far from water,” Fernandez said. “One thing is for sure: We shouldn’t bury this lethal material beside the source of drinking water for 40 million people in two countries. We will never know if there has been a leak until it’s too late.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/plan-to-store-nuclear-waste-near-great-lakes-proves-radioactive/2016/05/16/b6c25a9c-0651-11e6-bdcb-0133da18418d_story.html?hpid=hp_regional-hp-cards_rhp-card-national%3Ahomepage%2Fcard

Woman taken to hospital with shark still attached to her arm

A 23-year-old woman was taken to hospital with a two-foot long nurse shark still attached to her arm when it refused to release its bite – even after it died.

The woman reportedly emerged from the sea with the shark attached to her right forearm in Boca Raton, Florida.

By the time paramedics arrived at the scene the shark had died, but a splint board was used to support its weight as its jaw was still clamped around the woman’s arm.

shark-bite-florida.jpg

 

The Boca Raton Regional Hospital operator told the AP that the woman had been treated and was in the process of being released Sunday afternoon.

“Knowingly or not, people swim near nurse sharks every day without incident,” a spokesperson for the National Park Service told the newspaper. “Attacks on humans are rare but not unknown and a clamping bite typically results from a diver or fisherman antagonizing the shark with hook, spear, net or hand.”

Credit: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/woman-taken-to-florida-hospital-with-shark-still-attached-to-her-arm-a7032046.html

Chernobyl – 30 Years After – April 26 2016

Gordon Edwards is interviewed on the 30th anniversary of the event that the IAEA has called “the worst industrial disaster on record”: the explosion, fire and core meltdown at Chernobyl reactor unit 4 in the Ukraine near the border with Belarus. Canada AM.

 

 

The courage of Lea Garofalo wanted out the Ndrangheta

Lea 0
“I see, I feel, I speak.” A flag of support at Lea’s funeral in Milan

  Lea’s story ended brutally on 24 November 2009 with her murder in a plot orchestrated by Cosco as much in revenge for the ‘dishonour’ of being abandoned as because she had broken ranks. However, the fact that testimony provided by Denise against her father following her mother’s disappearance (Lea’s remains only came to light in 2013 as a result of evidence emerging at trial) should have led to his life imprisonment is a source of inspiration for all.

  The tale of the two women returned to the fore in Italy last week with the television premiere of Marco Tullio Giordana’s film ‘Lea’ starring a spell-binding Vanessa Scalera in the lead role and Linda Caridi as Denise.

  The film not only gave a fascinating insight into the workings of the country’s most powerful mafia organisation, but it also highlighted the need for adequate support and protection for people wanting out.

  Lea was born into the Garofalo clan in Petilia Policastro near Crotone in 1974. Her father and brother were both local bosses and met their death in feuds with rival clans. Cosco was an ‘ndrangheta affiliate with dealings in Milan.

  Lea decided she had had enough of the mob lifestyle in 1996, when Denise was just five, but she only began collaborating with investigators as a testimone di giustizia (a citizen informant without a criminal record, not to be confused with a collaboratore di giustizia or pentito, namely someone who turns state’s evidence after being arrested or convicted of a crime) in 2002.

 Lea 0 She and her daughter subsequently entered a witness protection programme and lived under a false identity in various locations around Italy for the next four years until their protection was removed on grounds Lea’s testimony had not been sufficiently effective.

  Lea appealed against the decision and was readmitted to the programme, but she opted out voluntarily in April 2009 for reasons that remain unclear (there are suggestions that she feared for her safety and was frustrated with the apparent reluctance of investigators to take her testimony seriously). This is when she made the tragic error of renewing contact with Petilia Policastro and Cosco.

  Her estranged partner orchestrated an unsuccessful attempt on her life in May 2009 before luring her to Milan allegedly to discuss their daughter’s future the following November. Her lawyer Enza Rando urged her not to go but she ignored the advice, insisting that with Denise’s presence her safety was ensured.

  On 24 November while Denise was with relatives Lea was abducted, tortured and killed. Her body was then burned and the remains buried on a plot in Monza outside the Lombardy regional capital.

  Denise, then 17, reported her mother’s disappearance and accused her father of murder. In March 2012 six people including Cosco and his two brothers were jailed for life at first instance for the crime, even as the defense continued to claim Lea had abandoned her daughter and moved to Australia.

  One of the convicts, Denise’s ex boyfriend Carmine Venturino, subsequently made statements allowing investigators to uncover Lea’s scant remains, which were laid to rest following a civil funeral in Milan in October 2013 attended by several thousand people.

  In May 2013 a Milan appeals court upheld the life sentences against four of the defendants including Cosco, reduced Venturino’s sentence to 25 years and overturned the guilty verdict against a sixth defendant on grounds there was no crime to answer.

  These sentences became definitive in a supreme court ruling in December 2014.

  Meanwhile Denise has been living under a new identity in a secret location under the same witness protection scheme that ‘betrayed’ her mother.

  “The protection system for informants has undergone a series of improvements in recent years […] but testimoni di giustizia have a dignity of their own and deserve a specific law,” said Rando after the film Lea’s television premiere on 18 November.

  Currently provisions for testimoni and collaboratori are set out under a single law, leading to confusion between the two.

  “Informants and collaborators should never again be confused and a law would help resolve the current critical points,” the lawyer continued.

  Davide Mattiello of the Democratic Party (PD), a member of Italy’s bicameral anti-mafia commission, agreed.

  “If the mafia kills a magistrate the roles are clear and the law works for family members, but if the mafia tears to pieces those who rebel from within their own circle the law comes unstuck,” Mattiello said.

  “A person who wants to break with those family ties, even if they don’t have precious information for the judiciary, must find the State.”

Cruelty began quickly

Image result for lea garofaloDenise says her mother became pregnant with her at just 16. “She told me once that she had thought about having an abortion, even about committing suicide,” she says. “My father had already started treating her badly. Mom knew that he was murdering people, and she didn’t want to bring up a baby in that kind of environment. My father said there was no way she was having an abortion. I was to be an instrument that would unite the powerful Garofalo family. But then, everything capsized. Mom gave birth, alone, in a hospital almost 80 kilometers away, and I became her reason to live. Up until she died, we were inseparable.”

Denise says she doesn’t have any real memories of her father. “He was never at home. One image, however, remains seared into my memory. I was five and it was nighttime. There was banging at the door and then they [the police] came in with dogs and arrested him. From then on, I only saw my father in prison at scheduled visits because my mother still went to visit him.”

Denise suspects that it was during one of her mother’s visits to the prison that her father decided to murder her. “It’s a moment I remember well. She was exasperated, fed up with her life, so she told him she was going to leave him,” Denise recalls. “He leapt over the dividing screen between us and beat her. Women don’t leave mob bosses! I’m sure that he killed her for that insult to his honor.” 

Denise can’t say whether her father ever loved her because she says she just doesn’t know. “I do know that he bought me presents, though, and people tell me that when he spoke about me his eyes shined. I don’t think he wanted to bring me into his world. He dreamed of me getting a university degree and meeting a great guy.”

Leaving the mob life

In 2001, Lea Garofalo decided that she had had enough with the mob lifestyle and began collaborating with judiciary and mafia investigations. She and Denise entered the witness protection program. 

“Our lives totally changed,” Denise says. “We had to lay low and change our names. First I was Sarah De Rossi. When I was 15, we went to (the northern city of) Udine and we passed for sisters. I always called her mom [mamma], though, and so she had to change her name to Maria, as after I said ‘ma’ she corrected me in time,” Denise recalls, laughing. “I was Denise Petalo and she was Maria Petalo. Isn’t that hilarious? Petals of carnations!” (Petalo means petal, and Garofano means carnation in Italian. The flower is a symbol of violence against women.)

image 302636 galleryV9 evts 302636
Carlo Cosco, one of the six of the Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta jailed for the murder of his ex-partner, Lea Garofalo, whose body was dissolved in acid. Photograph: Lanese/EPA

In 2005, Lea’s protection was removed because her testimony wasn’t deemed effective enough. She appealed the decision and won. But in April 2009, the same thing happened again. Tired of not being believed, she waived the protection, and in doing so made the tragic error of trusting Cosco again. 

She went to live in Campobasso, in the Molise region, in a house that Cosco rented for her. On May 5, he sent someone over pretending to fix the washing machine but, really, it was to kidnap and murder her. Thanks to Denise, though, the kidnapping was foiled. “I was asleep in my room and woke up to the noise,” she recalls. “I saw him holding my mom, and I jumped on him. I’m skinny, but I scared him. He ran off because he had been given orders to specifically leave her alone ‘if the girl was in the house too.’”

But this only delayed the criminal plot. A few months passed, and Cosco made an appointment in Milan with Lea under the pretense of discussing a separation. She wanted to sever all relations with him and was determined to leave Italy. “He wants to kill me and the state doesn’t believe me. Better to go somewhere else,” Denise recalls her saying. 

A double loss

On Nov. 24, 2009 Denise said goodbye to her mother, who was on her way to the appointment. She would never see her mother again. That evening, Lea was strangled to death and burned. Denise had the courage to retrace the path her mother began. She went to the Carabinieri, reported the incident and told them everything she knew about her father.

Denise’s suffering wasn’t over yet. She went back to Calabria, and moved in with her mother’s sister. She soon found comfort in the love of a young man three years her senior, Carmine Venturino. Life seemed like it was starting anew. But on the night of Oct. 18, 2010, Denise’s world collapsed again. She was at the beach with Venturino when the Carabineri came and arrested him. “He’s one of the men who killed your mother,” the police told her, as they took her to the station. 

Even today, this extraordinary woman can find it within her to say nice things about Venturino. “He was my first boyfriend, and I haven’t had others,” Denise says. “Obviously, he did trick me, but I’m sure that he really did love me and that his part in the ‘Ndrangheta is another story of weakness and fear.” After he was sentenced to first-degree murder, Venturino confessed to the crime, telling the police where Lea’s remains were buried. 

Denise tells me that she needs to thank the many people who gave her back her life, beginning with Father Luigi Ciotti, a priest deeply involved in fighting mafia crime. She also says that she’s delighted that Pope Francis recently met with mafia victims. Then she says, “On the day of the sentencing I didn’t rejoice. My life had been turned upside-down, but I still don’t hate anyone. Not even my father — sometimes I feel sorry for him. He didn’t understand what he lost: a family, a daughter, love that he could have had.”

Today, many women have begun to break ties with the mafia, says Enza Rando, a lawyer who helps Denise. Thanks to Lea’s sacrifice and Denise’s courage, perhaps a quiet revolution can begin. 

 

Credits:

http://www.italianinsider.it/?q=node/3409#sthash.iXQU4aAL.dpuf

Carlo Cosco, one of the six of the Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta jailed for the murder of his ex-partner, Lea Garofalo, whose body was dissolved in acid. Photograph: Lanese/EPA

Why do Bigfoot take and then return gifts?

By Mary Joyce, website editor

We’ve been leaving a variety of food at an isolated spot in Bigfoot territory in the high mountains of Western North Carolina since November 2015.  Periodically, we also have left nonedible gifts.  Of the five gifts we’ve left so far, only two were taken – an image of a butterfly wood burned on a thin disk of balsa wood and a mirror.

Then it became puzzling.  The butterfly was returned six weeks later and the mirror only a week after it was taken.  Why?

In an attempt to understand this Bigfoot take-and-return behavior, we contacted several people we thought might have insights into this. The best answer came from Joan Ocean,the world renowned dolphin expert who also has had face-to-face interactions with Bigfoot/Sasquatch in the West Coast Mountains.  Here is what she said:

“Yes, I have experienced on occasion the Sasquatch behavior where they return or comment on something I gave them.  Once a friend of mine gave them a rod for spearfishing. They were appreciative, but when we asked if they would like another one, they said, “No, we have enough.”

(R) Joan Ocean

“On other occasions my friend who communicated with them regularly and lived in close proximity to the Sasquatch family, made the female Sasquatch some moo-moo dresses to wear – very large ones!  They kept them for a while (don’t know if they tried them on) but then they gave them back.  My friend always kept a tent set up in the woods so when the Sasquatch wanted to give something back; they could put it in the tent.

“They once gave me a 7-inch plastic Sasquatch doll that had moveable arms and legs.  I kept it for a year and then I gave it back for them to give to the little one that had recently been born.  They kept it after that – or maybe they gave it to someone else.

“On some occasions when I gave them things they didn’t want, they chose the food they wanted and left the rest.  For example, one day they ignored an entire bag of apples I left for them on the picnic table.  Afterwards I thought that perhaps those apples from the grocery store were GMO apples and they preferred to pick their own apples from trees in the area.  They always liked jars of honey and sandwiches, and especially leftover vegetables that I cooked in foil on the grill.

t6“I actually learned about this ‘giving back behavior’ from the dolphins I swim with here in Hawaii every day.  Back in 1990, a dolphin swam to me with a leaf on his pectoral fin and right in front of me shook his fin and released it.  I was so amazed to see a ‘wild’ dolphin bring me a leaf that he had found.  So I tucked it into my bathing suit and brought it home to save forever – a gift from a dolphin!  

“Then on another day, the dolphins showed me how they play with leaves in the ocean. First, one dolphin caught it and then he released it for another to catch.  They played this catch-and-carry-the-leaf game for a long time.  That was when I realized I wasn’t supposed to take the leaf gift home; I was meant to play the game with them.  From that time on, I never took another one away. To this day, we pass the leaf back and forth, diving down, coming up, and often playing for hours with many swimmers and many dolphins. 

“The Sasquatch often left me special stones as gifts.  Only now am I realizing the inter-dimensional capabilities of some of these stones.  They are more than mere rocks.”

Learn more about Joan Ocean’s work at www.joanocean.com.

Credit: http://www.skyshipsovercashiers.com/bigfootet#take

March 11, 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster left 10.7 million 1-ton container bags with radioactive debris

Let’s remember the poor people who died because of Fukushima. It is five years since this has happened.

Five years after a powerful earthquake and tsunami sent the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Japan into multiple meltdowns, cleaning up the mess both onsite and in surrounding towns remains a work in progress. Here’s a look, by the numbers, at the widespread effects of radiation from the March 11, 2011, disaster:

164,865: Fukushima residents who fled their homes after the disaster.

97,320: Number who still haven’t returned.

49: Municipalities in Fukushima that have completed decontamination work.

45: Number that have not.

30: Percent of electricity generated by nuclear power before the disaster.

1.7: Percent of electricity generated by nuclear power after the disaster.

3: Reactors currently online, out of 43 now workable.

54: Reactors with safety permits before the disaster.

53: Percent of the 1,017 Japanese in a March 5-6 Mainichi Shimbun newspaper survey who opposed restarting nuclear power plants.

30: Percent who supported restarts. The remaining 17 percent were undecided.

760,000: Metric tons of contaminated water currently stored at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

1,000: Tanks at the plant storing radioactive water after treatment.

10.7 million: Number of 1-ton container bags containing radioactive debris and other waste collected in decontamination outside the plant.

7,000: Workers decommissioning the Fukushima plant.

26,000: Laborers on decontamination work offsite.

200: Becquerels of radioactive cesium per cubic meter (264 gallons) in seawater immediately off the plant in 2015.

50 million: Becquerels of cesium per cubic meter in the same water in 2011.

7,400: Maximum number of becquerels of cesium per cubic meter allowed in drinking water by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Credit:

http://www.thestandard.com.hk/breaking-news.php?id=72359

Trudeau must strengthen federal nuclear safety law say environmentalists

8 March 2016 (Toronto) – In the run-up to the fifth anniversary of the Fukushima disaster, over a dozen environmental groups are asking Prime Minister Trudeau to strengthen Canada’s key nuclear safety law to address weaknesses exposed by the Fukushima disaster and public concern regarding the independence of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC).

“While other countries increased the independence and transparency of their nuclear regulators in the wake of Fukushima, Canada under Harper went in the other direction. It’s time for Canada to catch up and strengthen our nuclear safety legislation,” said Shawn-Patrick Stensil, Senior Energy Analyst at Greenpeace Canada.

In an open letter to the Prime Minister Trudeau, 14 organizations ask for a Parliamentary review of the Nuclear Safety and Control Act.  The letter reminds the Prime Minister that investigations into the Fukushima nuclear accident concluded it was “man-made” because a lax regulator ignored the known potential for earthquakes and tsunamis in the region.  
 
The groups also say the Harper government’s dismissal of former CNSC president Linda Keen damaged public confidence in the CNSC and exposed conflicts in the responsibilities of the president.  Since then the CNSC’s impartiality has been publicly questioned.  As an example, the groups cite CNSC president Michael Binder’s criticism of Quebec’s independent environmental assessment board last year after it recommended against uranium mining.
 

“We’re worried the CNSC has become the cheerleader for the industry it is supposed to regulate.  In light of the lessons learned from Fukushima, we urge the Prime Minister to restore the necessary independence and public trust in the CNSC,” said Theresa McClenaghan from the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA).

Beyond strengthening the independence, transparency and public participation opportunities at the Commission, the groups identified five key areas the legislative review should address: upgrades to the CNSC’s legislated approach to environmental assessment; the need to affirm Aboriginal engagement; clarification of the Commission’s role during nuclear emergencies; establishing term limits for licences; and shifting the CNSC to a Ministry without the mandate to promote nuclear power.

“Based on ongoing dealings with the CNSC and lessons from the Fukushima disaster, there’s an urgent need to modernize Canada’s nuclear safety law,” said Mark Mattson president of Lake Ontario Waterkeeper.
 
The groups who signed the public letter include the Association de protection pour l’environnement des Hautes-Laurentides, Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, CELA, Coalition pour que le Québec ait meilleure mine, Coalition for a Green Clean Saskatchewan, Conservation Council of New Brunswick, Ecojustice, Greenpeace, the Inter-Church Uranium Committee, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, Mining Watch Canada, Nature Quebec, New Clear Free Solution, Northwatch.

For more information:

Read the Open Letter to the Prime Minister: http://ccnr.org/open_letter_2016.pdf

Credit:

 

Gordon Edwards, President, Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility

 

Even Chinese warn about food from China

Even the Chinese are warning people about their country’s food supply.  The “China Digital Times” posted photos of 50 Chinese foods or products that are dangerously toxic.  Below are 30 of those captions as they appeared on that website.  A few of the photos are included. – The Editor

Toxic

    Toxic rice noodle dish – Toxic bean sprout production

TOXIC RICE NOODLES, made from stale rice with whitening chemicals. Stale rice itself contains carcinogens.

TOXIC BEAN SPROUTS, whose growth is expedited by chemicals that could cause cancer, liver or stomach damage.

TOXIC TEA LEAVES, with chemical-intensive pesticides before picking and coloring compounds after with high concentrations of lead, and other heavy metals.

TOXIC BOTTLED WATER, with the bottles made from recycled plastic materials, some imported trash.

TOXIC POPCORN, made with excessive amounts of saccharin, a sweetener that causes neural and kidney damage, and sometimes cancer.

TOXIC TOFU, made from stale food materials and whitening chemicals that cause kidney or liver damage, sometimes cancer.

TOXIC STINKY TOFU, made with blackening chemicals or liquid made from rotten meat or flies to soak dried tofu.

TOXIC VINEGAR, made from mixing water with acetate or diluting vinegar acid with water or other liquids, causing concentrations of heavy metals.

USED OIL, collected from dirty oily liquids mixed in the sewage from hotels or restaurants.

TOXIC INSTANT NOODLES, made from used oil collected from hotels or restaurants instead of high quality oil for frying the noodles.

Toxic

Dish made with toxic dog meat

TOXIC DOG MEAT, from dogs killed by baiting with rat poison, etc.

TOXIC SUNFLOWER/WATERMELON SEEDS, pan fried by chemicals that give the seeds a polished look but with dangerous chemicals.

TOXIC SEAFOOD, inflated and whitened by chemicals that cause skin infections and could damage the digestive system.

TOXIC SOY SAUCE, made from human hair, animal bones, blood clots and other chemicals, with concentration of carcinogens.

TOXIC LIQUOR, made from industrial ethanol with water and other liquids, could cause coma or even death.

TOXIC CHILI SAUCE, made by adding chemicals such as “Sudan red,” which tainted sauces at McDonald’s and KFC’s  in China a few years ago.

TOXIC NOODLES, made by adding whitening compounds and other poisonous materials that make the noodles more tender.

TOXIC RICE, reprocessed from stale rice, which itself contains carcinogens.

TOXIC FRUITS, whose growth is stimulated by chemicals that may cause neural disruptions, cancer etc.

TOXIC DRIED FRUITS, processed with preservatives and other coloring chemicals that are poisonous.

Toxic

Toxic fungi

TOXIC FUNGI, processed with trashed fungus products and soaked with ink and other chemicals for drying and coloring.

TOXIC MILK POWER, with low concentrations of protein and other nutrients, worse than water for babies.

TOXIC MEAT, from animals that were injected with hormones or antibiotics to stimulate growth.

TOXIC SHREDDED MEAT, made from dead pigs and processed with bad bread crumbs.

TOXIC SEAWEED, added chemicals for color and softness.

TOXIC VEGETABLES, largely containing pesticide residue.

TOXIC FOAM LUNCH BOXES, made from used plastic materials and other banned chemicals.

TOXIC FISH, whose growth is stimulated by adding chemicals that may contain contraceptive drugs or carcinogens.

Toxic

   Toxic sausage production – Toxic oil made from dead and ill pigs

TOXIC SAUSAGES, made from the meat of sick pigs or other animals.

TOXIC PIG FAT OIL, made from burning the fat of dead pigs or ill pigs.

How to avoid Chinese food products

Once you could avoid Chinese food products simply by looking for the country of origin printed somewhere on the packaging.  Regretfully, many businesses have gotten wise to this and only print the distribution source.  So what can be done? 

Reading barcodes can help.  Products made in China have barcode numbers that begin with 690 to 699.  The first three numbers for Taiwan are 471.   While products made in the United States begin with ZERO, many U.S. products are made with Chinese ingredients.  Regretfully, this means a ZERO does not assure that a product is without Chinese ingredients.

Toxic Bar Code

Credit:

http://skyshipsovercashiers.com/hands2014.htm#toxic2

Uranium: New Report Documents Misinformation from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

Media Release

Uranium: New Report Documents Misinformation from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

March 3 2016                                                                                    For Immediate Release

 

Montreal – The Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility (CCNR) today issued a report that is highly critical of a presentation given on January 22 by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) to senior Quebec government officials. Entitled “Uranium in Quebec – Facts and Consequences”, the CCNR report states that “the credibility of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission is seriously compromised” by “biased and misleading” statements made in the January presentation.

Last year, the Quebec Government established an interdepartmental committee to consider the future of uranium mining in the province.  The Committee is reviewing the content and recommendations of a 2015 BAPE report, following a one-year inquiry, recommending that the province not allow uranium mining for the foreseeable future.  (The BAPE  is Quebec’s Bureau des audiences publiques sur l’environnement.)

On January 22, CNSC’s Patsy Thompson assured the Committee that radionuclides released into the environment from uranium mines and mills are not toxic although these radionuclides – such as radium, radon and polonium – are all highly toxic materials.  She also stated that uranium miners in Ontario have no greater incidence of lung cancer than members of the general population, despite a 2015 CNSC-funded study that shows the exact opposite. She told the Committee that uranium tailings are not more problematic than any other type of mine tailings, contrary to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s own conclusions.

The CCNR critique, entitled “Uranium in Quebec – Truth and Consequences”, demonstrates that these statements, and others in the CNSC presentation, are either untrue or strongly misleading. “The CNSC presentation demonstrates an alarming lack of accuracy, scientific rigour, balance and objectivity. That is incompatible with the CNSC’s statutory role as a regulator”, said Gordon Edwards, CCNR president and author of the critique.

The CCNR critique is available in both English and French on the CCNR web site:

http://ccnr.org/CCNR_CNSC_BAPE_2016.pdf for the English version and

http://ccnr.org/CCNR_CNSC_BAPE_2016_f.pdf for the French version.

 

Wife stages her own funeral

By: Sarah Kaplan

Noela Rukundo sat in a car outside her home, watching as the last few mourners filed out. They were leaving a funeral — her funeral.

Finally, she spotted the man she’d been waiting for. She stepped out of her car, and her husband put his hands on his head in horror.

“Is it my eyes?” she recalled him saying. “Is it a ghost?”

“Surprise! I’m still alive!” she replied.

Far from being elated, the man looked terrified. Five days ago, he had ordered a team of hit men to kill Rukundo, his partner of 10 years. And they did — well, they told him they did. They even got him to pay an extra few thousand dollars for carrying out the crime.

Now here was his wife, standing before him. In an interview with the BBC Thursday, Rukundo recalled how he touched her shoulder to find it unnervingly solid. He jumped. Then he started screaming.

“I’m sorry for everything,” he wailed.

But it was far too late for apologies; Rukundo called the police. The husband, Balenga Kalala, ultimately pleaded guilty and was sentenced to nine years in prison for incitement to murder, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (the ABC).

The happy ending — or, as happy as can be expected to a saga in which a man tries to have his wife killed — was made possible by three unusually principled hit men, a helpful pastor and one incredibly gutsy woman: Rukundo herself.

Here is how she pulled it off.

Rukundo’s ordeal began almost exactly a year ago, when she flew from her home in Melbourne with her husband, Kalala, to attend a funeral in her native Burundi. Her stepmother had died and the service left her saddened and stressed. She retreated to her hotel room in Bujumbura, the capital, early in the evening; despondent after the events of the day, she lay down in bed. Then her husband called.

“He told me to go outside for fresh air,” she told the BBC.

But the minute Rukundo stepped out of her hotel, a man charged forward, pointing a gun right at her.

“Don’t scream,” she recalled him saying. “If you start screaming, I will shoot you. They’re going to catch me, but you? You will already be dead.”

Rukundo, terrified, did as she was told. She was ushered into a car and blindfolded so she couldn’t see where she was being taken. After 30 or 40 minutes, the car came to a stop, and Rukundo was pushed into a building and tied to a chair.

She could hear male voices, she told the ABC. One asked her, “You woman, what did you do for this man to pay us to kill you?”

“What are you talking about?” Rukundo demanded.

“Balenga sent us to kill you.”

They were lying. She told them so. And they laughed.

“You’re a fool,” they told her.

There was the sound of a dial tone, and a male voice coming through a speakerphone. It was her husband’s voice.

“Kill her,” he said.

And Rukundo fainted.

Rukundo had met her husband 11 years earlier, right after she arrived in Australia from Burundi, according to the BBC. He was a recent refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and they had the same social worker at the resettlement agency that helped them get on their feet. Since Kalala already knew English, their social worker often recruited him to translate for Rukundo, who spoke Swahili.

They fell in love, moved in together in the Melbourne suburb of Kings Park, and had three children (Rukundo also had five kids from a previous relationship). She learned more about her husband’s past — he had fled a rebel army that had ransacked his village, killing his wife and young son. She also learned more about his character.

“I knew he was a violent man,” Rukundo told the BBC. “But I didn’t believe he can kill me.”

But, it appeared, he could.

Rukundo came to in the strange building somewhere near Bujumbura. The kidnappers were still there, she told the ABC.

They weren’t going to kill her, the men then explained — they didn’t believe in killing women, and they knew her brother. But they would keep her husband’s money and tell him that she was dead. After two days, they set her free on the side of a road, but not before giving her a mobile phone, recordings of their phone conversations with Kalala, and receipts for the $7,000 in Australian dollars they allegedly received in payment, according to Australia’s The Age.

“We just want you to go back, to tell other stupid women like you what happened,” Rukundo said she was told before the gang members drove away.

Shaken, but alive and doggedly determined, Rukundo began plotting her next move. She sought help from the Kenyan and Belgian embassies to return to Australia, according to The Age. Then she called the pastor of her church in Melbourne, she told the BBC, and explained to him what had happened. Without alerting Kalala, the pastor helped her get back home to her neighbourhood near Melbourne.

Meanwhile, her husband had told everyone she had died in a tragic accident and the entire community mourned her at her funeral at the family home. On the night of Feb. 22, 2015, just as the widower Kalala waved goodbye to neighbours who had come to comfort him, Rukundo approached him, the very man whose voice she’d heard over the phone five days earlier, ordering that she be killed.

“I felt like somebody who had risen again,” she told the BBC.

Though Kalala initially denied all involvement, Rukundo got him to confess to the crime during a phone conversation that was secretly recorded by police, according to The Age.

“Sometimes Devil can come into someone, to do something, but after they do it they start thinking, ‘Why I did that thing?’ later,” he said, as he begged her to forgive him.

Kalala eventually pleaded guilty to the scheme. He was sentenced to nine years in prison by a judge in Melbourne.

“Had Ms Rukundo’s kidnappers completed the job, eight children would have lost their mother,” Chief Justice Marilyn Warren said, according to the ABC. “It was premeditated and motivated by unfounded jealousy, anger and a desire to punish Ms. Rukundo.”

Rukundo said that Kalala tried to kill her because he thought she was going to leave him for another man — an accusation she denies.

But her trials are not yet over. Rukundo told the ABC she’s gotten backlash from Melbourne’s Congolese community for reporting Kalala to the police. Someone left threatening messages for her, and she returned home one day to find her back door broken. She now has eight children to raise alone, and has asked the Department of Human Services to help her find a new place to live.

And lying in bed at night, Kalala’s voice still comes to her: “Kill her, kill her,” she told the BBC. “Every night, I see what was happening in those two days with the kidnappers.”

Despite all that, “I will stand up like a strong woman,” she said. “My situation, my past life? That is gone. I’m starting a new life now.”

Washington Post

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