Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

16-17 February

by afew Sun Feb 15th, 2015 at 04:29:13 PM EST

Your take on today's news media


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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 15th, 2015 at 11:58:20 AM EST
Poland to spend billions on defence amid rumblings of war in Europe

Looking east to the bloody conflict gripping Ukraine, NATO-member Poland has kicked off an unprecedented military spending spree worth billions to overhaul its forces as Warsaw believes peace in Europe is no longer a given.

The escalation of tensions with Russia over its annexation of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula and subsequent role in the crisis in that country's east has sounded the alarm on NATO's eastern flank in countries that were under Moscow's thumb during the Cold War.

Russia has also rattled its neighbours by repeatedly testing their air defences. NATO intercepted nuclear-capable Russian bombers and other warplanes in European airspace on more than 100 occasions last year, three times more than in 2013.

Even though a Ukraine ceasefire deal was hammered out this past week in Minsk by Paris, Berlin, Moscow and Kiev, the risk of the conflict heating up remains, Polish officials believe.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 15th, 2015 at 02:35:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
UK blows its top over Austrian nuclear policy challenge - 100% renewable - Renewables International

Through diplomatic channels, the British government has reacted with threats to the Austrian government's plans to contest subsidies for a new nuclear plant to be built in the UK.

Sometimes I wish I could write in German here. The title of this article would then be "souverän sieht anders aus" - you guys just lost your cool. And that means you know you are in the wrong.

Yesterday, an article at the Guardian announced a leaked cable from the Austrian Embassy in London back home. If you speak German, the document is here. The Guardian's summary is in line with the document published there, so I assume the leaked cable is genuine. I'd like to summarize the three main points before investigating what this really means. The British government has told Austria it will:

  1. challenge the labeling of electricity sources (see my previous article explaining this matter);
  2. look into whether Austria has violated the Euratom Treaty with its complaint; and
  3. put pressure on Austria to carry a greater share of the burden towards reducing carbon emissions.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 15th, 2015 at 02:38:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
`Observed in general': France, Germany, Kiev & rebels agree truce holding -- RT News

A ceasefire that came into force midnight in eastern Ukraine is being observed in general, France and Germany declared in a joint statement. Donetsk officials say they will withdraw heavy weapons in accord with the timeline set by the Minsk deal.

The ceasefire in eastern Ukraine was being generally observed despite local incidents, which were quickly resolved, said France and Germany's joint statement, issued by the Elysees Palace on Sunday. The statement was published after President Francois Hollande and Chancellor Angela Merkel held a telephone conversation with President Vladimir Putin and President Petro Poroshenko.

The Normandy Four leaders are also set to continue talks Monday, according to Ukraine's presidential website.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 15th, 2015 at 02:51:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ukraine rebels disavow ceasefire at encircled town | Reuters

(Reuters) - Ukraine's rebels disavowed a new truce on Sunday hours after it took effect, saying it did not apply to the town where most fighting has taken place in recent weeks.

Guns fell abruptly silent at midnight across much of eastern Ukraine in line with the ceasefire agreement, reached after a week of diplomacy led by France and Germany.

But pro-Russian rebels announced they would not observe the truce at Debaltseve, where Ukrainian army forces were encircled and Kiev military said rebel attacks on the town steadily increased from mid-afternoon on Sunday.

"Of course we can open fire (on Debaltseve). It is our territory," senior rebel commander Eduard Basurin told Reuters. "The territory is internal: ours. And internal is internal. But along the line of confrontation there is no shooting."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 15th, 2015 at 02:51:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Danish police kill 22-year-old suspect after Copenhagen shootings | Reuters

(Reuters) - Police shot dead a 22-year-old Danish-born gunman on Sunday after he killed two people at a Copenhagen synagogue and an event promoting free speech in actions possibly inspired by an attack on the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, authorities said.

Spy chief Jens Madsen said the gunman was known to intelligence services prior to the shooting and probably acted alone. Police said he had a record of violence, gang-related activities and weapons possession. They did not publish his name.

Two civilians - a synagogue guard and a film-maker - were killed and five police were wounded in the two separate attacks in the Danish capital on Saturday.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 15th, 2015 at 02:52:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Suspected gunman born and raised in Denmark - The Local
The alleged gunman in Copenhagen's dual shooting attacks, who was himself killed in a shootout with officers early on Sunday, was known to police due to his involvement in gangs, police said in a statement.   "He is a young man aged 22, born in Denmark, and he is known by police for several crimes," the statement said.   He had a history of assault and of violation of Danish regulations on the possession of weapons, according to the statement, which did not give further details.   Although police did not name the subject, TV2 News reported that it the man's name is Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein. Subsequent media reports said that the the 22-year-old was released from jail only two weeks ago after serving a term for aggravated assault.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 15th, 2015 at 02:56:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Copenhagen Wakes Up to New World Order as Police Roam Streets - Bloomberg Business

(Bloomberg) -- It's a city where mothers are used to leaving their babies in prams outside cafes and cyclists can bike through parliament square without encountering a single security guard.

Now, Copenhagen is full of heavily armed police officers and the constant sound of sirens as the government warns citizens that things are about to change.

The Danish capital, which topped a 2014 Monocle ranking of livable cities, is in a state of shock after attacks that erupted on Saturday are being investigated as a terrorist act. Two people were shot dead and five police officers wounded. Security services gunned down the suspect after he shot at them on Sunday following a manhunt that lasted through the night.

Danes now need to brace themselves for a new reality, Justice Minister Mette Frederiksen said at a press conference on Sunday. "There's no room to be naïve," she said. "These are dark forces that want to hurt us."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 15th, 2015 at 03:22:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU eyes markets as savior for flagging economy | Reuters

(Reuters) - The EU turns to stock and bond markets this week with reform proposals intended to help companies raise the cash needed for growth-boosting investments, hoping to emulate the more active capital markets of the United States.

Jonathan Hill, the EU's financial services chief, will on Wednesday set out possible reforms to create a capital markets union (CMU), eliminating national rule differences to help markets complement bank lending in doing the heavy lifting involved in raising money for the economy.

The region depends on banks for 75 percent of funds to grow companies, with only a quarter raised on markets, making it vulnerable to ebbs and flows in the availability of bank finance, whose unpredictable nature was shown when it dried up in the financial crisis of 2007-09.

Hill will list ways to encourage more financing from private placements or companies directly tapping select investors; boosting securitization, or selling bonds based on a pool of loans like mortgages, and making it cheaper for small companies to list on stock markets.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 15th, 2015 at 03:01:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Markets : the altruistic saviors of the common man

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 16th, 2015 at 12:51:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Merkel urges ′fair′ distribution of migrants in Europe | News | DW.DE | 14.02.2015

The situation of refugees in the EU is "very unsatisfactory," Merkel said in her weekly video podcast, which was released on Saturday.

Europe must "offer the refugees reasonable conditions at their place of arrival," Merkel continued. She also stressed the need to "develop a sense of fairness among the member states of the European Union" about taking in and supporting such individuals.

Simultaneously, the reasons for such a mass exodus must be dealt with in the countries of origin, Merkel added. This is necessary for sustaining political stability in such countries: "We must try to minimize the reasons for migration through development aid, through political cooperation and also through support for the African Union."

Kosovo exodus

The stream of asylum seekers from Kosovo has re-kindled an old debate within the EU, already aggravated in Germany by the rise of anti-immigration parties and movements such as the Alternative for Germany (AfD) and Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West (PEGIDA).

In January, 3,630 Kosovars applied for political asylum in Germany, according to the latest figures. This represents an 85 percent increase over December 2014. In 2015, more than 18,000 Kosovars have reached Germany, and many are waiting for an opportune moment to submit their asylum application, the government said.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 15th, 2015 at 03:07:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Italy begins rescue operation for 1,000 migrants at sea - Al Jazeera English

The Italian coast guard has launched a major rescue operation for more than 1,000 migrants in difficulty in the sea between Europe and North Africa.

Italy's coast guard said on Sunday that more the migrants were located between the Italian island of Lampedusa and the Libyan coast.

"More than 1,000 migrants" are involved in the rescue operation, a spokesman for the coast guard in Rome told the Reuters news agency.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 15th, 2015 at 03:07:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thousands flee economic despair in Kosovo for EU countries, welcome or not - LA Times

That residents of Europe's youngest nation are joining Syrian and Afghan refugees on smuggling paths to EU countries is a telling indictment of the international state-building effort in Kosovo. For many, the hope that blossomed when independence from Serbia was declared in 2008 has turned to bitterness as poverty and corruption stall the country's progress.

The main bus station in the capital, Pristina, is routinely packed with hundreds of people pushing their way onto buses leaving Kosovo.

"For 15 years I've been working and paying taxes to support the state. In return, all we ask for is a better future for our kids. But we get nothing," said a man at the terminal who would give only his nickname, Tony. "This country was broken before we began. A lot of corruption, a lot of warlords."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 15th, 2015 at 03:09:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
British politicians mull censorship of anti-Israel comments
Following the Charlie Hebdo attack and related killings, we saw continental European law enforcement agencies confirming that "freedom of speech" is a white liberal privilege, not a universal right.

With Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu brazenly claiming all Jewish victims as his own and cashing in on the attacks for blatant propaganda purposes, the French political elite signalled that the tragic events may be used as an excuse to crack down on criticism of Israel.

Now, it seems, British parliamentarians could go down the same road by considering bans on critical discourse while basing their criteria on extremely shaky definitions.

by das monde on Mon Feb 16th, 2015 at 04:25:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
das monde:
the French political elite signalled that the tragic events may be used as an excuse to crack down on criticism of Israel.

Did they? Though Hollande does make cringeworthy statements about Israel, he's also definitely no longer BFF with Bibi. Electronicintifada doesn't provide, in his linked "evidence" anything solid at all to justify allegations of a "crack-down".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Feb 16th, 2015 at 04:46:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd be genuinely surprised if there was anything to this beyond muttering amidst likudnik right wingers.

Any party attempting to introduce this would be laughed at.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 16th, 2015 at 12:55:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 15th, 2015 at 11:59:08 AM EST
Getting Bang for the Buck on New Development Goals | Inter Press Service

With the M(illennium) D(evelopment) G(oals) ending this year, we have to ask what's next. The U.N. has started an inclusive process from the 2012 Rio Earth summit to define so-called Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2016-2030.

So, over the coming months, countries, missions, U.N. organisations and NGOs will perform a complex dance to determine - and hopefully whittle down - the next set of targets. But that's easier said than done. Last summer, 70 U.N. ambassadors in the open working group proposed a vertiginous 169 targets. Clearly we need priorities.

The SDGs will determine a large part of the 2.5 trillion dollars in development aid the world will spend until 2030. In order to spend the money most effectively and help as many people as possible, negotiators now need to zero in on the targets that promise the biggest benefit for the investment.

My think-tank, the Copenhagen Consensus, has asked 60 teams of top economists, including several Nobel laureates, to identify which targets will do the most good for each dollar spent. Imagine sitting in a high-end restaurant with a menu lacking prices or sizes. You do not know whether the pizza costs two dollars or 2,000 dollars, or whether it will feed just you or your entire party.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 15th, 2015 at 02:58:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bank funding powers make Greece vulnerable to ECB pressure | Reuters

(Reuters) - The European Central Bank's control over emergency funding for banks gives it the power to prod countries into the kind of aid-and-reform program that Greece is desperate to escape.

The ECB is loath to pull the plug on Greece's banks, a scenario that would almost certainly lead to the country's exit from the euro zone. But if Athens refuses to extend the existing program or sign up to a new one it may have little choice.

Time is short, and the ECB has Greece on a tight leash.

On Thursday, the ECB raised the Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) available to Greek banks by about 5 billion euros ($5.7 billion) to 65 billion, extending the funding until Wednesday, when it will reassess the situation.

The ECB has already stopped accepting Greek bonds in return for funding, shifting the financing burden onto Greece's central bank. However, the ECB retains control over that ELA funding, which is subject to tight conditions.

"If the Greek government says 'we are not paying our debts', then the banks are actually insolvent, because they hold a lot of Greek sovereign bonds," said Volker Wieland, a member of the German government's Council of Economic Experts.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 15th, 2015 at 03:03:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Roshen factory in Kyiv net profits rise by nine times in 2014
Kyiv confectionery factory Roshen in 2014 saw a net profit of UAH 34.8 million, which is about 8.9 times more than in 2013, according to the information disclosure system of the National Commission on Securities and the Stock Market.

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"ROSHEN" (depicted in capitalized Latin script only) is the umbrella brand of all of the corporation's products. The name is a truncated version of Poroshenko, its owner.

A perspective.

by das monde on Sun Feb 15th, 2015 at 11:10:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 15th, 2015 at 11:59:29 AM EST
UN to formally end support for DR Congo operation

The United Nations is pulling its support for a Democratic Republic of Congo military operation against rebels after Kinshasa missed a deadline to sack two generals, a UN official said Saturday.

The UN's 20,000-strong MONUSCO force had been working with Congo's army on a plan to drive out the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebels from the east of the country.

The planned joint offensive reached an impasse when UN officials demanded that two leading generals accused of human rights violations be replaced as a condition for supporting the military action.

"The initial two-week period ... has expired," the official told AFP.

"The next step is the dispatch of formal letters to the relevant Congolese authorities concerning the cessation of support," the official said.

The correspondence will be sent by the end of the week, the official said.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 15th, 2015 at 02:35:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ISIL reportedly kills 21 Egyptian Christian hostages - Al Jazeera English

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has released a video purporting to show the killing of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians kidnapped in Libya.

The footage released on Sunday apeared to show the captives dressed in orange jump suits being beheaded.

In the video, the group says the killings are revenge for "Muslim women persecuted by Coptic crusaders in Egypt". 

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 15th, 2015 at 02:54:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Egypt launches air raids in Libya after Isis militants post mass beheadings video | World news | The Guardian

Egypt reported that its war planes had struck Isis targets in Libya, hours after President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi vowed revenge for the release by Isis-affiliated militants of a video of a mass killing of Christians.

The video claimed to show the mass beheading of 21 Christians - believed to be mostly Egyptians - kidnapped in Libya.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Feb 16th, 2015 at 01:44:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Saudi Arabia 'engineered' oil crisis: Dallas Fed chief
Richard Fisher, the head of the Dallas Federal Reserve, said "the Saudis have engineered" the oil crisis. He was speaking Wednesday at the Economic Club of New York .

"We are a huge supplier of energy. The Saudis took a while to realize what was going on," Fisher said, referring to the massive growth of the U.S. oil industry in recent years.

Fisher is the most prominent U.S. official to pin the blame largely on Saudi Arabia.

by das monde on Sun Feb 15th, 2015 at 10:43:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
wow, next they'll be debating the religious convictions of the Pope

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 16th, 2015 at 01:00:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 15th, 2015 at 11:59:56 AM EST
The Dangerous Chemical Lurking in Your Beer Can | Mother Jones
Almost exactly 80 years since its debut, the beer can remains a wildly popular vessel for America's favorite alcoholic beverage. According to the Beer Institute, cans accounted for (XLS) 53.2 percent of the beer market in 2012 (the latest year for numbers), versus 36.5 percent for bottles and 10 percent for draft. And the can's market share has been inching up--as recently as 2004, just 48 percent of beer came in cans.

But here's the thing: Like most other commercially available cans, beer cans are lined with epoxy that contains bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical that keeps foods from reacting to aluminum, but that has also become associated with a range of ailments, including cancer, reproductive trouble, and irregular brain development in kids. BPA is well established as an endocrine-disrupting chemical, meaning that it likely causes hormonal damage at extremely low levels. The question is whether we get enough of it in beer (and other canned goods) to cause harm.

For me, this isn't an academic question. Sure, massive conglomerates like Miller SAB and AB InBev (maker of Budweiser) use BPA-lined cans. But so do my beloved craft beer makers--the small and midsize brewers that have popped up nationwide over the past quarter century to challenge the hegemony of corporate swill. Ever since pulling the ring off my first Dale's Pale Ale--made by the excellent Colorado brewer Oskar Blues--several years ago, I've been enamored of canned beers and their throwback charm.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 15th, 2015 at 02:23:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
yea, I've heard these concerns before in relation to soft drinks, so I'm not surprised it's coming out about beer as well.

tbh, I almost always drink bottled beer or draught (which comes in an aluminium keg).

Waddya gonna do ? There's little out there that's entirely harmless

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 16th, 2015 at 01:05:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
An ocean of plastic

Ocean currents have been carrying floating debris into all five of the world's major oceanic gyres for decades. The rotating currents of these so-called "garbage patches" create vortexes of trash, much of it plastic. However, exactly how much plastic is making its way into the world's oceans and from where it originates has been a mystery -- until now.

A new study published today in the journal Science, quantifies the input of plastic waste from land into the ocean and offers a roadmap for developing ocean-scale solutions to the problem of plastic marine pollution.

(...) The study found that more than 4.8 million metric tons of plastic waste enters the oceans from land each year, and that figure may be as high as 12.7 million metric tons. That's one to three orders of magnitude greater than the reported mass of plastic floating in the oceans. A metric ton is equivalent to 1,000 kilograms or 2,205 pounds.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 15th, 2015 at 02:23:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Cost of Clean Coal
...wet, crumbly lignite, it turns out, is exactly what Southern Company was looking for. It owns a vast fleet of coal, gas, and nuclear power plants throughout the Southeast; one of its coal plants, in Juliette, Ga., is the United States' largest single source of carbon dioxide emissions. Over the past few decades, however, as climate regulations have stacked up and fuel reserves have dwindled - including the country's recoverable deposits of higher-ranked coals - Southern Company has turned its attention to what it calls "21st Century coal": a gasification technology specifically designed for low-rank coals. It's a way to turn a previously unreliable fuel source into a wellspring of energy production for decades to come. Or, as Southern Company's chief executive, Thomas Fanning, put it, it's "like waking up and finding money in your attic."

 Southern Company and the global engineering firm KBR spent a decade perfecting the gasification process, called Transport Integrated Gasification, or TRIGTM, at a U.S. Department of Energy-sponsored research facility near Wilsonville, Ala. Gasification is a more controlled kind of combustion; instead of burning the coal directly, it breaks it down into basic, chemical components. The process creates a cleaner-burning fuel - made up of mostly hydrogen and carbon monoxide - and makes it far easier to strip out nitrogen, mercury, sulfur dioxide, and hydrogen sulfide, rather than releasing them into the air.  

As it happens, coal gasification plants are also easier to outfit with an important tool for fighting climate change: carbon capture and sequestration, or CCS, a high-tech process that scrubs carbon dioxide from industrial facilities, compresses it for transport, and stores it deep underground.

(Grist report on "clean coal").

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 15th, 2015 at 02:29:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
surely this is also known as a coking plant

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 16th, 2015 at 01:07:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So what is `The Future of Wind?', Part1 - News - Renewables International

In industry terms, it's the most important question that can be asked and usually encompasses many issues including political, regulatory, financial, technical - but arguably the most important issue surrounding the future of wind is the wind itself.

Current weather forecasting models, together with advanced post processing techniques, enable us to accurately predict wind strength and direction over the next few hours and days and which provide critical inputs to industry requirements for site specific power forecasting for energy balancing, trading and O+M planning.

In meteorological terms, being able to answer this question beyond a few days is a major scientific challenge, but one that we are gradually beginning to understand better with the help of developing world-class climate models supported by the latest supercomputing technologies.

In fact very little has been said about the `future of wind' in the fifth IPCC Assessment Report (AR5). Two reports have been issued to-date, the first by Working Group 1 in 2013, entitled "The Physical Science Basis" and the second and most recent report by Working Group 2 entitled "Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability".

and Part Two here.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 15th, 2015 at 02:40:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fossil fuel industry must take stranded assets seriously, says Tim Yeo | Environment | The Guardian

The chairman of parliament's energy and climate change committee has joined those warning the fossil fuel industry to take the threat of stranded assets seriously, and believes Shell is wrong to write off critics as naive.

Tim Yeo, a veteran Conservative MP and nuclear enthusiast, also expressed alarm at the latest delays at the new Hinkley Point building project in Somerset, saying he hoped they would not lead to eventual cancellation.

Shell's chief executive, Ben van Beurden, told a dinner of the international petroleum industry last week that those who argued fossil fuels should be kept in the ground were misguided in a world of rising energy demand.

Yeo, however, said the company should be wary: "I do believe the problem of stranded assets [where fossil fuels are rendered worthless because they cannot be burned in a world threatened by global warming] is a real one now.

"Investors are starting to think by 2030 the world will be in such a panic about climate change that either by law or by price it will be very hard to burn fossil fuels on anything like the scale we are doing at the moment."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 15th, 2015 at 03:13:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fukushima Watch: Regulator Calls on Tepco to Discharge Tritium Water
Japan's nuclear regulator has officially called on Tokyo Electric Power Co. to work toward discharging low-level contaminated water into the ocean from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

The call on Wednesday comes just two days after a worker fell into one of the hundreds of tanks used to store contaminated water at the plant during an inspection, a fatal accident that has refocused attention on the need for improved safety measures and a longer term solution for the huge amounts of water in storage [...]

The regulator discussed Wednesday a draft timetable for action by Tepco to address risks at the plant that sets out a 2017 start for discharging the water. The draft is likely to be approved next week.

The International Atomic Energy Agency already recommended more than a year ago that Tepco consider releasing water with low level tritium contamination in a controlled way so that it could focus on other issues.


by das monde on Mon Feb 16th, 2015 at 04:01:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Brazil drought: water rationing alone won't save Sao Paulo
It should be the rainy season. Instead Sao Paulo state is experiencing a third consecutive year with soaring temperatures and rainfall patterns well below historic records.

The main water reservoirs are operating at their lowest capacity. The Cantareira reservoir system, which serves more than nine million people in the state, is only 5% full. At the Alto Tietê reservoir network, which supplies three million people in greater Sao Paulo, water levels are below 15%.

Simple calculations indicate that given the current level of consumption versus the predicted raining patterns there is only enough water on the system to last four to six months. That means the water could run out before the next rainy season starts in November. State officials recently announced a potential rationing program of five days without water and two days with, in case the February and March rains do not refill the reservoirs.

Brazil's severe drought threatens to dampen Carnival celebrations across the country
by das monde on Mon Feb 16th, 2015 at 04:10:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and to think that Brazil was once covered with rain forest...till they cut it all down

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 16th, 2015 at 01:09:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 15th, 2015 at 12:00:23 PM EST
Analogue quantum computers: Still wishful thinking?

Traditional computational tools are simply not powerful enough to solve some complex optimisation problems, like, for example, protein folding. Quantum annealing, a potentially successful implementation of analogue quantum computing, would bring about an ultra-performant computational method.

A series of reviews in this topical issue of EPJ ST, guest-edited by Sei Suzuki from Saitama Medical University, Japan, and Arnab Das from the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, Kolkota, India, focuses on the state of the art and challenges in quantum annealing.

This approach, if proven viable, could greatly boost the capabilities of large-scale simulations and revolutionise several research fields, from biology to economics, medicine and material science.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 15th, 2015 at 02:34:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bubonic bottleneck: UNC scientists overturn dogma on the plague

For decades, scientists have thought the bacteria that cause the bubonic plague hijack host cells at the site of a fleabite and are then taken to the lymph nodes, where the bacteria multiply and trigger severe disease. But UNC School of Medicine researchers discovered that this accepted theory is off base. The bacteria do not use host cells; they traffic to lymph nodes on their own and not in great numbers.

In fact, most of the plague-causing bacteria - called Yersinia pestis - get trapped in a bottleneck either in the skin, while en route to the lymph node, or in the node itself. Only a few microbes break free to infect the lymph node and cause disease.

"Anytime you find something where the host is winning, you want to exploit it," said Virginia Miller, PhD, professor of microbiology and immunology and senior author of the paper in PLoS Pathogens. "If we can understand how the host and the bacteria contribute to this bottleneck, then this could become something we'd target so we could either ramp up what's causing the bottleneck or slow down the infection."

The discovery offers much needed information about how virulent insect-borne diseases, such as plague, malaria, and dengue virus cause infection. The findings also present new routes for research on how bacterial strains cause disease despite the immune system's best efforts.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 15th, 2015 at 02:36:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Reality is distorted in brain's maps

The brain's GPS would be worthless if it simply contained maps of our surroundings that were not aligned to the real world. But we now know how this is done.

The way that the brain's internal maps are linked and anchored to the external world has been a mystery for a decade, ever since 2014 Nobel Laureates May-Britt and Edvard Moser discovered grid cells, the key reference system of our brain's spatial navigation system.

Now, researchers at the Mosers' Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience believe they have solved this mystery. The results are published in this week's edition of Nature.

To understand the finding, think of regular maps and how they relate to your surroundings. When we go hiking and orient ourselves with a map and compass, we align the map using the north arrow on the compass and match it to the longitude lines on the map, to align the map with the terrain and make sure we find our way (unless we have a GPS that does the work for us).

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 15th, 2015 at 02:37:19 PM EST
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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 15th, 2015 at 12:00:45 PM EST
Fox 5 TV Confirms Obama Not Being Charged for Sex Offences / Sputnik International
Fox 5 San Diego accidentally showed a picture of President Obama on-air when discussing a sex offence case.

US President Barack Obama has been accidentally portrayed as a suspect in a sex case by a local TV channel, according to the media.

As the Fox 5 San Diego anchor was explaining during a news broadcast that the man accused of rape on the San Diego State University campus will not be charged, a picture of Obama, titled "No charges," appeared on screen. According to the Times of San Diego, Fox 5 assignment editor Mike Wille said that the mistake was immediately noticed in the newsroom, and that it was an accident.

The TV channel offered no on-air acknowledgment or apology regarding the incident, as, according to Wille, "they really don't do that when it's a small thing like that," the newspaper adds.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 15th, 2015 at 02:49:35 PM EST
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"US President Barack Obama has been accidentally portrayed as a suspect in a sex case by a local TV channel"

funny how the same accident keep happening

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 16th, 2015 at 01:23:40 PM EST
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