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Al Gore's Critique Sparks Debate Over Obama's Record on Climate Change

 

The following video looks at the key perspectives regarding the issue of whether the Obama Administration has engaged policies that effectively address the threat of climate change.

 

http://news.google.com/?ar=1308834370

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Simulation Fukushima Reactor 4-like Meltdown in a U.S. Nuclear Power Plant

It has been proposed that there should be a serious game simulation of a Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant reactor 4-like accident in a U.S. power plant to test the U.S. public's preparedness and ability to utilize social media and government risk communication messaging to reduce health and human security concerns around U.S. nuclear plants.  Many U.S. power plants, often close to major U.S. population centers like New York City and Omaha, Nebraska, share Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear power vulnerability of storing spent fuel rods on site.  The U.S. has not prepared the American public in projected plume areas for sheltering in place and evacuations that would dramatically reduce their risk in a Fukushima-like accident.  

This week's loss of power during flooding at the Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant, near Omaha, Nebraska demonstrates that this problem is not theoretical.  Although power was only cut to the plant for 90 minutes, if the power shortage had continued for over 28 hours or so, a catastrophic meltdown could have threatened Omaha, Nebraska with high-levels of radiation.

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The Nation: Russia's Federal Atomic Energy Agency Claims a Near Catastrophic Meltdown of the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant in Nebraska

 This unusual story from Pakistan's "The Nation" claims that there has been a cover up of a near catastrophic meltdown for the Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant near Omaha, Nebraska.  Evidence from the nuclear power plant and U.S. regulators indicate that the Pakistani story and Russian claims are significantly over-reaching.  The flooding that caused a Fukushima reactor 4-like spent fuel rod cooling pond interruption of power led to a 90 minute interruption of power, but the temperature of the cooling pond and the water coverage of the spent fuel rods did not approach circumstances that would cause a meltdown, according to U.S. officials. 

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U.N./Brookings Meeting: Good Practices for Humanitarian Response in Complex Security Environments

To Stay and Deliver: Good Practice for Humanitarians in Complex Security Environments Tuesday, June 21, 2011, 9:00 am - 10:30 am The Brookings Institution, Falk Auditorium, 1775 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington, DC Humanitarian assistance providers have always acknowledged the risks inherent to their line of work, yet recent statistics demonstrate that this is a particularly hazardous time to be an aid worker. Within the past decade, casualty rates have tripled, reaching above 100 deaths per year. Since 2005, hundreds of major attacks have been reported on aid workers in Afghanistan, Sudan, Somalia and other countries, prompting aid agencies to limit their presence in areas where assistance may be most needed. In response to the growing tension between maintaining humanitarian access and ensuring humanitarians' safety, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has documented strategies and practices for upholding effective operations in high security risk contexts. On June 21, the Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement will host the launch of the OCHA- commissioned study, "To Stay and Deliver: Good Practice for Humanitarians in Complex Security Environments," with a discussion exploring risk management strategies to protect humanitarian operations and personnel.

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The Earth Is Full

Thomas L. Friedman - The New York Times - June 7, 2011

You really do have to wonder whether a few years from now we’ll look back at the first decade of the 21st century — when food prices spiked, energy prices soared, world population surged, tornados plowed through cities, floods and droughts set records, populations were displaced and governments were threatened by the confluence of it all — and ask ourselves: What were we thinking? How did we not panic when the evidence was so obvious that we’d crossed some growth/climate/natural resource/population redlines all at once?

“The only answer can be denial,” argues Paul Gilding, the veteran Australian environmentalist-entrepreneur, who described this moment in a new book called “The Great Disruption: Why the Climate Crisis Will Bring On the End of Shopping and the Birth of a New World.” “When you are surrounded by something so big that requires you to change everything about the way you think and see the world, then denial is the natural response. But the longer we wait, the bigger the response required.”

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Special Report: After Japan, Where's the Next Nuclear Weak Link?

Reuters - June 9, 2011

Imagine a country where corruption is rampant, infrastructure is very poor, or the quality of security is in question. Now what if that country built a nuclear power plant?

It may sound alarming but that is what could happen in many developing countries which are either building nuclear power plants or considering doing so - a prospect that raises serious questions after Japan's experience handling a nuclear crisis.

A trove of U.S. diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks and provided to Reuters by a third party provide colorful and sometimes scary commentary on the conditions in developing nations with nuclear power aspirations.

In a cable from the U.S. embassy in Hanoi in February 2007, concerns are raised about storing radioactive waste in Vietnam, which has very ambitious plans to build nuclear power plants. Le Dinh Tien, the vice minister of science and technology, is quoted as saying the country's track record of handling such waste was "not so good" and its inventory of radioactive materials "not adequate."

United Nations Report: Internet Access is a Human Right

Los Angeles Times - June 3, 2011

Internet access is a human right, according to a United Nations report released on Friday.

"Given that the Internet has become an indispensable tool for realizing a range of human rights, combating inequality, and accelerating development and human progress, ensuring universal access to the Internet should be a priority for all states," said the report from Frank La Rue, a special rapporteur to the United Nations, who wrote the document "on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression."

La Rue said in his report that access to the Internet is particularly important during times of political unrest, as demonstrated by the recent "Arab Spring" uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, among other countries.

From the report:

The Special Rapporteur believes that the Internet is one of the most powerful instruments of the 21st century for increasing transparency in the conduct of the powerful, access to information, and for facilitating active citizen participation in building democratic societies.

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Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) - Code of Practice for the Hygienic Production of Sprouted Seeds

submitted by Stuart Leiderman

The Code of Practice for the Hygienic Production of Sprouted Seeds, developed with the sprout industry’s input in 2001 and amended in February 2007, continues to be the current Canadian regulatory guideline used to assess sprout manufacturers’ compliance with Canada’s Food and Drugs Act and Regulations. The HACCP Generic Model for Sprouts Grown in Water and its companion document, Food Safety Practices Guidance for Sprout Manufacturers (FSPGSM), were developed by a committee consisting of representatives from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Health Canada. These documents are intended to be food safety resources for the sprout industry.

CFIA - Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) - (a 42 page .PDF file)

http://www.sproutnet.com/Reports/CFIA_HACCP_EN.pdf

CFIA - Food Safety Practices Guidance For Sprout Manufacturers (FSPGSM) - (a 79 page .PDF file)

http://www.sproutnet.com/Reports/CFIA_FSPG_EN.pdf

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Alarm Spreads as E. Coli Cases Rise Sharply (in Europe) - With Unusual Neurological Effects

June 1, 2011

The number of E. coli cases has risen dramatically in northern Germany, authorities announced Wednesday, with at least 180 new cases emerging in the past 24 hours in Hamburg and Lower Saxony alone.

The new figures came as doctors in Schleswig-Holstein reported that the bacterial illness was also causing unusual neurological effects including epilepsy.

Seventeen people – one in Sweden and the rest in Germany – have now died from the virulent form of enterohamorrhagic E. coli (EHEC), which can cause bloody diarrhoea and kidney failure known as haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS).

In the past day, the number of cases rose in Lower Saxony by 80 to 344, while in Hamburg another 99 cases were identified, bringing the total in the port city to 668.

“We are again seeing a clear rise in cases of people sick with EHEC and HUS,” Hamburg’s Health Minister Cornelia Prüfer-Storcks said. “The situation remains worrying and it is definitely too early to give any kind of all-clear.”

An 84-year-old woman who died on Sunday has now been identified as the 17th confirmed victim, the Lower Saxony Health Ministry announced Wednesday.

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Guardian -- "Food security: rising prices, climate change and a growing population"

The Guardian holds a periodic news round up and forums under their "Poverty Matters" series.

Below is a sample of the issues now being discussed:

 

 

Rising commodity prices, a changing climate and a growing population have combined to push food security to the top of the international agenda, and have also dominated coverage on the Global development site this week.

 

Our Global food crisis interactive highlights the big issues in the current food debate, through blogs, features, video, galleries and audio reports.

 

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