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Japan nuclear disaster: areas to remain off-limits for decades

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Japan nuclear disaster: areas to remain off-limits for decades

Thursday, August 25, 2011

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Japanese officials have admitted for the first time that certain radiation-stricken areas around the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant may remain uninhabitable for decades. Japanese media this week reported that embattled Prime Minister Naoto Kan is to visit affected areas within days to tell residents and local officials that it will remain too dangerous to return to parts of Fukushima Prefecture in the foreseeable future.

We cannot deny the possibility that there will be some areas where it will be hard for residents to return to their homes over a long period of time.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said, “We cannot deny the possibility that there will be some areas where it will be hard for residents to return to their homes over a long period of time.”

The dangers of radiation exposure in certain areas are expected to remain unacceptably high well after the plant finally undergoes a cold shutdown in the coming months. A final decision on which areas are to be declared off-limits will be made following detailed radiation monitoring and the creation of a comprehensive decontamination plan. Japanese officials have so far declined to specifically name any areas likely to be affected.

Scientists have for months warned of such an eventuality following the meltdown of three reactors at the Fukushima site in March. The government, criticised for its management of evacuations in the wake of the disaster, had hoped to lift current evacuation orders for most areas around the plant. However, it cannot do so amidst dangerously elevated radiation readings, including in the town of Okuma, situated about three kilometres from the Fukushima site, where cumulative radiation levels are over 25 times higher than government-mandated limits.

Media reports have also focused on uncertainty surrounding compensation for the many thousands of residents affected by the ongoing evacuations. The government may possibly purchase or rent the properties of those who cannot return to their homes and businesses.

Although the plant operator, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, has recently claimed radiation leaks from all three reactors have declined, concern continues to mount over the true scale of contamination. Scientists have detected widespread contamination of topsoil on agricultural land, further jeopardising the future habitability of significant areas, and uncertainty remains as to the true extent of radioactivity in numerous areas.

“Caesium-137, the main radioactive element thrown out during the various explosions, has a half-life of 30 years, and it is not going to disappear overnight,” said Didier Champion, a French nuclear safety expert.

US Department of Housing and Urban Development to provide housing for Katrina refugees

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US Department of Housing and Urban Development to provide housing for Katrina refugees

Friday, September 2, 2005

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will make many of their marketable housing properties in the southeastern United States and elsewhere available to hurricane refugees. HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson said that an “overwhelming” response from government and private officials would make housing available as soon as the middle of next week. HUD housing centers as far away as Philadelphia and Detroit would be making properties available. HUD is considering offering these properties to displaced persons regardless of their income and allowing the refugees to use the properties for up to one year.

Wikinews interviews World Wide Web co-inventor Robert Cailliau

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Wikinews interviews World Wide Web co-inventor Robert Cailliau

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The name Robert Cailliau may not ring a bell to the general public, but his invention is the reason why you are reading this: Dr. Cailliau together with his colleague Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web, making the internet accessible so it could grow from an academic tool to a mass communication medium. Last January Dr. Cailliau retired from CERN, the European particle physics lab where the WWW emerged.

Wikinews offered the engineer a virtual beer from his native country Belgium, and conducted an e-mail interview with him (which started about three weeks ago) about the history and the future of the web and his life and work.

Wikinews: At the start of this interview, we would like to offer you a fresh pint on a terrace, but since this is an e-mail interview, we will limit ourselves to a virtual beer, which you can enjoy here.

Robert Cailliau: Yes, I myself once (at the 2nd international WWW Conference, Chicago) said that there is no such thing as a virtual beer: people will still want to sit together. Anyway, here we go.

Contents

  • 1 History of the WWW
  • 2 Future of the WWW
  • 3 Final question
  • 4 External links

Category:May 26, 2006

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Printer Los Angeles Offers A Variety Of Services

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The need for a reliable, high-quality printing service is almost inevitable. Whether it’s for business or for personal needs, you know when it’s time to contact a professional. The good news is that Printer Los Angeles is that professional.

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The equipment is top of the line, the staff is extremely knowledgeable, and Printer Los Angeles has a reputation for working closely with their clients to achieve that perfect final product. And just because it may be after-hours, doesn’t mean you can’t avail yourself of their services. They are never more than a mouse click away, with estimates, order placement, and even file transfers. The idea is not just to get you the highest quality final product at a great price, but to make the process as easy and customized as possible, because they want to continue to be the printing professional you will always feel comfortable turning to.

U.S. Senate passes landmark health care reform bill

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U.S. Senate passes landmark health care reform bill

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The United States Senate has approved a hard-fought measure to overhaul the health care system. The vote will be followed by the difficult process of reconciling the Senate-passed bill with one approved by the House of Representatives, in order to get a final measure to President Barack Obama.

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“The yeas are 60, the nays are 39. H.R. 3590 as amended, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is passed,” Vice President Joe Biden announced. Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky did not show up for the vote leading to the 39 nays. Mike Reynard, a spokesman for Bunning, said in an e-mail that “The senator had family commitments.”

The vice president presided over the Senate at the time of the vote in his role as President of the United States Senate.

As expected, Republicans voted against the bill while all Democrats and two Independents, Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, voted for it.

At an estimated $87 billion, the measure would expand health insurance coverage to about 30 million more Americans currently without it, and create new private insurance marketplaces, or exchanges, to expand choice.

And, like the slightly more expensive measure passed by the House of Representatives, the Affordable Health Care for America Act, it would end a practice by private insurance companies of denying coverage to individuals with existing health problems.

Both the Senate and House measures would require nearly all Americans to purchase some form of insurance, while lower-income Americans would receive help from federal government subsidies.

This is a victory because we have affirmed that the ability to live a healthy life in our great country is a right and not merely a privilege for the select few.

In remarks before the vote, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Democrat from Nevada, said opponents had done everything they could to prevent the vote from taking place.

Speaking to reporters, Reid and others hailed the vote as a victory and a major step toward providing millions more Americans with access to health care. “This is a victory because we have affirmed that the ability to live a healthy life in our great country is a right and not merely a privilege for the select few,” Reid said.

Reid and others including Robert Byrd, the 92-year-old Democrat from West Virginia, paid tribute to Senator Edward Kennedy, who died this past August after spending decades of his career in the Senate pursuing health care reform.

When casting his vote Byrd said, “Mr. President, this is for my friend Ted Kennedy. Aye.”

Victoria Reggie Kennedy, the widow of Senator Kennedy, watched the proceedings from the Senate visitor’s gallery, as did Representative John Dingell, Democrat from Michigan, who has been a long time advocate of health care reform and who sponsored and introduced the House version of the health care reform bill.

In the final hours of debate on the Senate bill, Republicans asserted it would be ineffective and add sharply to the U.S. budget deficit.

Mr. President, this is for my friend Ted Kennedy. Aye.

Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican from Alabama said of the bill, “This legislation may have a great vision, it may have a great idea about trying to make the system work better. But it does not. These are huge costs [and] it’s not financially sound.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed to defeat the bill when the Senate reconvenes in January saying, “This fight is not over. This fight is long from over. My colleagues and I will work to stop this bill from becoming law.”

Senator Olympia Snowe, a moderate Republican from Maine who helped approved the Senate Finance Committee’s version of health care reform, the America’s Healthy Future Act, earlier in the year and who remarked she may not vote on the final bill, said, “I was extremely disappointed,” noting that when the Democrats reached their needed 60 votes to overcome a filibuster, “there was zero opportunity to amend the bill or modify it, and Democrats had no incentive to reach across the aisle.”

Ahead are difficult negotiations with the House of Representatives to craft a final bill President Obama would sign into law. These talks, which will formally get under way early in the new year, will take place amid anger among many liberal House Democrats the Senate bill failed to contain a government-run public health insurance option.

This fight is not over. This fight is long from over. My colleagues and I will work to stop this bill from becoming law.

Members of the House Progressive Caucus have vowed to fight to keep this public option in any final legislation that emerges, along with other provisions they say are needed to protect lower and middle-income Americans and hold insurance companies accountable.

In a statement, the Democratic chairmen of three key House committees said while there are clear differences between House and Senate bills, both will bring fundamental health care coverage to millions who are currently uninsured.

Obama administration officials have been quoted as saying they anticipate negotiations on a final bill would not be complete until after the President’s State of the Union Address in January, and could slip even later into the new year.

If passed, this will be the most important piece of social policy since the Social Security Act in the 1930s, and the most important reform of our health care system since Medicare passed in the 1960s.

President Obama issued a statement to the press in the State Dining Room in the White House saying that the vote is “legislation that brings us toward the end of a nearly century-long struggle to reform America’s health care system.”

He also pointed out the bill’s strengths, noting, “The reform bill that passed the Senate this morning, like the House bill, includes the toughest measures ever taken to hold the insurance industry accountable. Insurance companies will no longer be able to deny you coverage on the basis of a preexisting condition. They will no longer be able to drop your coverage when you get sick. No longer will you have to pay unlimited amounts out of your own pocket for the treatments you need. And you’ll be able to appeal unfair decisions by insurance companies to an independent party.”

He also noted how historic the bill is, saying, “If passed, this will be the most important piece of social policy since the Social Security Act in the 1930s, and the most important reform of our health care system since Medicare passed in the 1960s.”

Obama noted the potential social impact, saying, “It’s the impact reform will have on Americans who no longer have to go without a checkup or prescriptions that they need because they can’t afford them; on families who no longer have to worry that a single illness will send them into financial ruin; and on businesses that will no longer face exorbitant insurance rates that hamper their competitiveness.”

Obama afterwards made phone calls to various Senators and other people, including Victoria Kennedy and David Turner of Little Rock, Arkansas. Mr. Turner had his health insurance rescinded in January of last year, after his insurance company went back into his record and alleged that he failed to disclose his full medical record at the time he applied for coverage. Turner was First Lady Michelle Obama’s guest during her husband’s speech to a joint session of Congress on health care reform back in September.

Ireland’s Occupy Dame Street, Occupy Waterford camps cleared

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Ireland’s Occupy Dame Street, Occupy Waterford camps cleared

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Occupy protests in two Irish cities have been cleared in the last two days. Dublin’s Occupy Dame Street was cleared by police while the local council cleared the abandoned Occupy Waterford site.

The early hours of Thursday saw the Dublin site raided and cleared by Gardai (police). Gardai cited health and safety concerns over the camp, with St Patrick’s Day festivities planned. Irish tourism minister Leo Varadkar previously called it “disappointing” the campers would not move while the celebrations were ongoing. “I understand they feel very strongly about their politics but I’m sure they don’t want to damage the festival,” Varadkar said.

“[Our] priority is to ensure that all of St Patrick’s Day events and celebrations pass off smoothly and that all participants and the large crowds of spectators at the parade can access and egress the parade route without a risk or threat to their health and safety,” said a Garda statement. They claimed to have asked for “assistance and co-operation, however this was not forthcoming,” and said it took hours to clear the site. The clearance began at 3:30 am local time.

A single arrest was made but the individual was released without charge. Around 100 officers cleared the site, which almost filled the plaza before the Central Bank. Cleaners later cleared all signs of the camp. It had been in place since October, but pallets and solid structures replaced the usual tents of Occupy protests earlier this year in response to local weather. Fifteen people who had been staying overnight were removed.

“We are not stopping any time soon, it’s all hands on deck now, we are going to carry on”, vowed protestor Saoirse Bennet, who was on-scene when police arrived.

Waterford City Council yesterday dismantled the empty camp in their city while Gardai looked on. The quayside protest was abandoned after internal disputes; only two youths and a homeless person were found in the 5:30 am raid, but at one stage the protest had 40 residents. Gardai took the youths “home to their parents,” said a spokesman. “The people we found there had nothing to do with Occupy Waterford.” Needles and drugs were found, but nobody was arrested.

Occupy Galway may be the next to go: After months of tolerance, Galway City Council have claimed “serious health and safety concerns” justify legal eviction proceedings if the camp does not pack up voluntarily. John Walsh of Occupy Galway said the camp was lawful and would remain.

News briefs:June 10, 2010

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News briefs:June 10, 2010
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Romney announces presidential candidacy

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Romney announces presidential candidacy
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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney formally announced his presidential candidacy yesterday outside of Detroit.

“I don’t believe Washington can be transformed from within by lifetime politicians, there’ve been too many deals, too many favors, too many entanglements — and too little real world experience managing, guiding, leading,” said Romney, who was a successful businessman before entering politics. Romney focused on his leadership experience outside of government.

Romney made the announcement at the Henry Ford Museum, something which the National Jewish Democratic Council heavily criticized saying that they were, “deeply troubled by Governor Romney’s choice . . . to kick (off) his presidential campaign on the former estate of a well-known and outspoken anti-Semite and xenophobe.” A spokesman for Romney said, “Governor Romney believes our country needs to put innovation at the forefront if we are to ensure a stronger, safer and more prosperous America, the Ford Museum embodies that bold, innovative spirit.”

Romney’s record as a moderate and his Latter-day Saint faith are expected to be his primary campaign challenges.

Romney, born in Detroit, the son of former Michigan Governor, Republican Presidential candidate, and automotive pioneer George Romney, attended Cranbrook School of Michigan and Harvard Business and Law Schools. Romney ran against senior Massachusetts senator and Kennedy family member, Ted Kennedy. Romney won 41% percent of the vote against Kennedy in the closest election in Kennedy’s entire tenure in the United States Senate. Romney was also CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee which was in charge of planning the 2002 Winter Olympics from 1999 to 2002, he took charge after the 2002 Winter Olympic bid scandal. He also sat on the board of Massachusetts-based office supply giant, Staples, Inc.

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Category:February 27, 2008

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