Greenpeace apologises to people of Peru over Nazca lines stunt.

By   11th December 2014.         Find Article Here:-

Culture ministry says it will press charges against activists for damage to world heritage site as UN climate talks began in Lima.

Greenpeace's 'time for change' message next to the hummingbird geoglyph in Nazca.

Greenpeace’s ‘time for change’ message next to the hummingbird geoglyph in Nazca.

Greenpeace has apologised to the people of Peru after the government accused the environmentalists of damaging ancient earth markings in the country’s coastal desert by leaving footprints in the ground during a publicity stunt meant to send a message to the UN climate talks delegates in Lima.

A spokesman for Greenpeace said: “Without reservation Greenpeace apologises to the people of Peru for the offence caused by our recent activity laying a message of hope at the site of the historic Nazca lines. We are deeply sorry for this.

“Rather than relay an urgent message of hope and possibility to the leaders gathering at the Lima UN climate talks, we came across as careless and crass.”

Earlier Peru’s vice-minister for culture Luis Jaime Castillo had accused Greenpeace of “extreme environmentalism” and ignoring what the Peruvian people “consider to be sacred” after the protest at the world renowned Nazca lines, a Unesco world heritage site.

He said the government was seeking to prevent those responsible from leaving the country while it asked prosecutors to file charges of attacking archaeological monuments, a crime punishable by up to six years in prison.

The activists had entered a strictly prohibited area beside the figure of a hummingbird among the lines, the culture ministry said, and they had laid down big yellow cloth letters reading “Time for Change! The Future is Renewable” as the UN climate talks began in Peru’s capital.

“This has been done without any respect for our laws. It was done in the middle of the night. They went ahead and stepped on our hummingbird, and looking at the pictures we can see there’s very severe damage,” Castillo said. “Nobody can go on these lines without permission – not even the president of Peru!”

Peruvian authorities are also seeking the identity of the archaeologist who led the activists to the site and the plane from which the photos of the stunt were taken, he said. “It was thoughtless, insensitive, illegal, irresponsible and absolutely pre-meditated. Greenpeace has said it was planning this action for months.”

Tina Loeffelbein, a Greenpeace spokeswoman at the summit, said she was not aware of any legal proceedings being brought against the group. She said Greenpeace was cooperating with the Peruvian authorities and seeking to clarify what took place.

In a statement Greenpeace said it was concerned that it could have caused “moral offence to the Peruvian people”.

The statement read: “Our history of more than 40 years of peaceful activism clearly shows that we have always been most respectful with people around the world and their diverse cultural legacies.”

Castillo responded: “Disrespecting humanity’s cultural heritage – I don’t think that’s the message this summit or Greenpeace is trying to spread to the world! Most of us in the cultural sector agree with the message. But the means don’t justify the ends.”

“We took every care we could to try and avoid any damage. We have 40 years of experience of doing peaceful protests,” Kyle Ash, Greenpeace spokesman, told the Guardian. “The surprise to us was that this resulted in some kind of moral offense. We definitely regret that and we want to figure out a way to resolve it. We are very remorseful for any offense that we’ve caused and we’re very remorseful for that.”

He said Greenpeace met on Wednesday with Peru’s minister of culture, Diana Alvarez. He said the organization hoped to maintain a dialogue with the Peruvian government. He added Greenpeace would take “total responsibility” if any permanent damage had been caused to the archaeological site.

“It’s not a matter of money. The destruction is irreparable,” Ana Maria Cogorno, President of the Maria Reiche Association named after the German archaeologist whose groundbreaking research on the Nazca Lines from 1940 onwards saw them gain recognition and protection, told the Guardian.

The hummingbird etching on which the Greenpeace stunt was laid was the “only one of the lines which was completely untouched and perfectly conserved”, she said. “It’s one of the symbols of Peru,” she added.

Last week Greenpeace projected a message promoting solar energy on to Huayna Picchu, the mountain that overlooks the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, another protected archaeological site in Peru.

Rosetta discovers water on comet 67p like nothing on Earth.

Findings from Rosetta spacecraft’s Rosina instrument appear to suggest previously held theory is simplistic.

Comet 67p

The makeup of water on comet 67p has wrongfooted researchers. Photograph: AP

The Rosetta spacecraft has detected water coming off comet 67P, the rubber duck-shaped lump of ice and dust that it placed the Philae robotic lander on last month.

The presence of water is not a surprise, but what has wrong-footed researchers is the makeup of the water, which is nothing like that seen on Earth.

Measurements from Rosetta’s Rosina instrument found that water on comet 67P /Churyumov-Gerasimenko contains about three times more deuterium – a heavy form of hydrogen – than water on Earth.

The discovery seems to overturn the theory that Earth got its water, and so its ability to harbour life, from water-bearing comets that slammed into the planet during its early history.

Comet 67P is thought to have come from what is called the Kuiper belt, a broad band of frozen bodies that begins beyond the orbit of Neptune. The main asteroid belt contains more rocky objects that circle the sun between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

Kathrin Altwegg at the University of Bern said that rather than comets ferrying water to Earth, it may have arrived onboard asteroids instead. Details of the discovery are reported in the journal, Science.

“Today asteroids have very limited water, that’s clear. But that was probably not always the case, said Altwegg. In the earliest period of the solar system, 3.8bn years ago, asteroids are thought to have crashed into Earth regularly in what is called the late heavy bombardment. “At that time, asteroids could well have had much more water than they have today,” Altwegg said.

The Rosina instrument measured water coming off the comet as it flew around the body. Scientists plan to take more measurements as the comet nears the sun and its begins to spew more water vapour and dust out into space.

Measurements from other comets have found water with similar deuterium contents to that on Earth. But the strange composition of comet 67P’s water suggests that the picture of comets bringing water to Earth is too simplistic. “In the end, Earth’s oceans are probably a mix of many things,” Altwegg told New Scientist magazine.

Matt Taylor, Rosetta project scientist, said that teams at the European Space Agency were still looking for the Philae lander, which ran out of battery power soon after it bounced down onto the comet’s surface.

“Once we get the identification of where the lander is, it will give us a better fix on what we believe the illumination conditions are and a better idea of when we would expect the lander to have sufficient illumination to be able to start charging its batteries and come back online,” he said.

If the Philae lander can summon enough power from the feeble sunlight to come out of hibernation, a British instrument called Ptolemy could help to verify whether the water measurements from Rosetta are accurate. But another option is for Rosetta to fly through the jets of debris that will grow as the comet closes in on the sun.

“Part of our future plan is to do this,” said Taylor. “We’re focusing on what is known as an activity campaign to try and fly directly through a jet and we aim to do that hopefully around summertime next year.”

The coming nuclear crisis: All but one of Britain’s ageing reactors ‘will need to close in 15 years’.

By Steve Connor  1st December 2014.         Find Article Here:-

Nearly all the UK’s stations were built in the 70s and 80s.

All but one of Britain’s ageing fleet of nuclear reactors will have to be closed down within 15 years due to concerns over their economic viability or safety, a panel of experts has warned.

Only Sizewell B power station will still be operating beyond 2030, which would leave a shortfall of about 20 per cent in the UK’s power demands unless replacement nuclear reactors come on-stream in the 2020s, they said.

Britain’s existing nuclear reactors apart from Sizewell B are operating beyond their original lifetime specifications, but they are still working as safely as they were designed to be, said Professor Laurence Williams, a former chief inspector of nuclear installations.

“They have been designed safely to operate for a given period of time and the knowledge we’ve gained through the operation means we can extend that lifetime, so yes they are fit for purpose,” Professor Williams said at a press briefing in London.

However, Professor Williams warned that there will be a point when either it will be uneconomic to continue operating a given nuclear reactor, due to the additional maintenance work needed, or if it becomes too unsafe.

“With these types of reactors there comes a time when either it becomes too expensive to do the inspections to make the modifications necessary, or we come to the view that the utility can no longer make the safety case,” Professor Williams said.

“Are we as a country allowing reactors which are potentially unsafe to continue to operate because we need them and I would say categorically ‘no’,” he said.

“They are fit for purpose because they generate 18 per cent of the UK’s electricity and they are generating that safely and economically. Who knows when the decision will be taken that these reactors are no longer fit for purpose,” he added.

Almost all of Britain’s nuclear power stations were built in either the 1970s or 1980s and most had a design life of about 25 years. However, due to a Government moratorium on building new nuclear power stations, these ageing reactors have been kept running far longer than anticipated.

“Certainly the reactors are not getting any younger and you may expect as materials age, issues may arise,” said Professor Andrew Sherry, director of the Dalton Nuclear Institute at Manchester University.

“The reactors are ageing and just as you spend money keeping your car going there will come a point where it is just not cost efficient to keep a reactor operating,” Professor Sherry said.

“It’s a balance between ‘is it economic?’ and ‘can we make the safety case?’. For some of the reactors they will be working towards 50 years, which is the current best view,” he said.

One of the main concerns is the safety of the graphite moderators within the reactors, which absorb neutrons and prevent an uncontrolled chain reaction. Scientists are concerned that the graphite becomes brittle and cracked over time.

“A single crack is no big deal. It’s a question of how many, where they are and what’s going to happen in the future,” said Professor James Marrow of Oxford University.

“It’s thinking ahead to the long term of how this situation is going to change and at what point do I need to do something. The graphite is ageing as predicted,” he said.

Plutonium being pumped into ocean through miles of underwater pipes.

By   6th December 2014.             Find Article and Videos Here:-

Nuclear waste left lying on beach — Kids playing on sand where machines scoop up plutonium each day — Alarming test results 1,000% legal limit.

SWR (German public television broadcaster), 2013 (emphasis added):

  • 25:00 in — The dumping of nuclear waste in the sea was banned worldwide in 1993, yet the nuclear industry has come up with other ways. They no longer dump the barrels at sea; they build kilometers of underwater pipes through which the radioactive effluent now flows freely into the sea. One of these pipes is situated in Normandy [near] the French reprocessing plant in La Hague… The advantage for the nuclear industry? No more bad press… disposal via waste pipes remains hidden from the public eye, quite literally.
  • 28:30 in — 400 km from La Hague [as well as] Holland [and] Germany… we find iodine… 5-fold higher tritium value than [reported] by the operator Areva. It’s now obvious why citizens take their own measurements.
  • 30:15 in — Molecular Biologist: “The radioactive toxins accumulate in the food chain. This little worm can contain 2,000-3,000 times more radioactivity than its environment. It is then eaten by the next biggest creature and so on, at the end of the food chain we discovered damage to the reproductive cells of crabs… These genetic defects are inherited from one generation to the next… Cells in humans and animals are the same.”
  • 32:00 in — The 2nd disposal pipe for Europe’s nuclear waste is located in the north of England… Radioactive pollution comes in from the sea. Their houses are full of plutonium dust… The pipe from Sellafield is clearly visible only from the air… nuclear waste is still being dumped into the sea. Operators argue this is land-based disposal… It has been approved by the authorities.
  • 35:45 in — Plutonium can be found here on a daily basis, the toxic waste returns from the sea… it leaches out, it dries, and is left lying on the beach. The people here have long since guessed that the danger is greater than those responsible care to admit… Every day a small excavator removes plutonium from the beach… In recent decades the operator at Sellafield has tossed more than 500 kg of plutonium into the sea.
  • 42:00 in — We take a soil sample… The result turns out to be alarming. The amount of plutonium is up to 10 times higher than the permissible limit.

Yahoo News, Dec 5, 2014: All this radiation from the [Fukushima] disaster has definitely not been isolated to just Japan. Researchers monitoring the Pacific Ocean, in which much of the radiation spilled into, have detected radioactive isotopes this past November just 160 km [100 miles] off the coast of California. So this story will continue to unfold for many years to come.

Watch SWR’s investigative report here

 

 

The World Cracks Down on the Internet.

By   4th December 2014.             Find Article Here:-

In September of last year, Chinese authorities announced an unorthodox standard to help them decide whether to punish people for posting online comments that are false, defamatory, or otherwise harmful: Was a message popular enough to attract five hundred reposts or five thousand views? It was a striking example of how sophisticated the Chinese government has become, in recent years, in restricting Internet communication—going well beyond crude measures like restricting access to particular Web sites or censoring online comments that use certain keywords. Madeline Earp, a research analyst at Freedom House, the Washington-based nongovernmental organization, suggested a phrase to describe the approach: “strategic, timely censorship.” She told me, “It’s about allowing a surprising amount of open discussion, as long as you’re not the kind of person who can really use that discussion to organize people.”

On Thursday, Freedom House published its fifth annual report on Internet freedom around the world. As in years past, China is again near the bottom of the rankings, which include sixty-five countries. Only Syria and Iran got worse scores, while Iceland and Estonia fared the best. (The report was funded partly by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the United States Department of State, Google, and Yahoo, but Freedom House described the report as its “sole responsibility” and said that it doesn’t necessarily represent its funders’ views.)

China’s place in the rankings won’t come as a surprise to many people. The notable part is that the report suggests that, when it comes to Internet freedom, the rest of the world is gradually becoming more like China and less like Iceland. The researchers found that Internet freedom declined in thirty-six of the sixty-five countries they studied, continuing a trajectory they have noticed since they began publishing the reports in 2010.

Earp, who wrote the China section, said that authoritarian regimes might even be explicitly looking at China as a model in policing Internet communication. (Last year, she co-authored a report on the topic for the Committee to Protect Journalists.) China isn’t alone in its influence, of course. The report’s authors even said that some countries are using the U.S. National Security Agency’s widespread surveillance, which came to light following disclosures by the whistle-blower Edward Snowden, “as an excuse to augment their own monitoring capabilities.” Often, the surveillance comes with little or no oversight, they said, and is directed at human-rights activists and political opponents.

China, the U.S., and their copycats aren’t the only offenders, of course. In fact, interestingly, the United States was the sixth-best country for Internet freedom, after Germany—though this may say as much about the poor state of Web freedom in other places as it does about protections for U.S. Internet users. Among the other countries, this was a particularly bad year for Russia and Turkey, which registered the sharpest declines in Internet freedom from the previous year. In Turkey, over the past several years, the government has increased censorship, targeted online journalists and social-media users for assault and prosecution, allowed state agencies to block content, and charged more people for expressing themselves online, the report noted—not to mention temporarily shutting down access to YouTube and Twitter. As Jenna Krajeski wrote in a post about Turkey’s Twitter ban, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan vowed in March, “We’ll eradicate Twitter. I don’t care what the international community says. They will see the power of the Turkish Republic.” A month later, Russian President Vladimir Putin, not to be outdone by Erdoğan, famously called the Internet a “C.I.A. project,” as Masha Lipman wrote in a post about Russia’s recent Internet controls. Since Putin took office again in 2012, the report found, the government has enacted laws to block online content, prosecuted people for their Internet activity, and surveilled information and communication technologies. Among changes in other countries, the report said that the governments of Uzbekistan and Nigeria had passed laws requiring cybercafés to keep logs of their customers, and that the Vietnamese government began requiring international Internet companies to keep at least one server in Vietnam.

What’s behind the decline in Internet freedom throughout the world? There could be several reasons for it, but the most obvious one is also somewhat mundane: especially in countries where people are just beginning to go online in large numbers, governments that restrict freedom offline—particularly authoritarian regimes—are only beginning to do the same online, too. What’s more, governments that had been using strategies like blocking certain Web sites to try to control the Internet are now realizing that those approaches don’t actually do much to keep their citizens from seeing content that the governments would prefer to keep hidden. So they’re turning to their legal systems, enacting new laws that restrict how people can use the Internet and other technologies.

“There is definitely a sense that the Internet offered this real alternative to traditional media—and then government started playing catch-up a little bit,” Earp told me. “If a regime has developed laws and practices over time that limit what the traditional media can do, there’s that moment of recognition: ‘How can we apply what we learned in the traditional media world online?’ ”

There were a couple of hopeful signs for Internet activists during the year. India, where authorities relaxed restric­tions that had been imposed in 2013 to help quell rioting, saw the biggest improvement in its Internet-freedom score. Brazil, too, notched a big gain after lawmakers approved a bill known as the Marco Civil da Internet, which protects net neutrality and online privacy. But, despite those developments, the report’s authors didn’t seem particularly upbeat. “There might be some cautious optimism there, but I do not want to overstate that because, since we started tracking this, it’s been a continuous decline, unfortunately,” Sanja Kelly, the project director for the report, told me. Perhaps the surprising aspect of Freedom House’s findings isn’t that the Internet is becoming less free—it’s that it has taken this long for it to happen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The REAL Reason Guantanamo Is Being Kept Open.

Torture report: 10 examples of the horror in the CIA’s prisons.

By , Peter Foster, 10th December 2014.       Find Full Article Here:-

Senate’s 480-page report summary lays out in horrifying detail what happened to detainees in secret torture sites.

CIA torture report release: A detainee from Afghanistan is carried on a stretcher before being interrogated by military officials at Camp X-Ray at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

A detainee from Afghanistan is carried on a stretcher before being interrogated by military officials at Camp X-Ray at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba Photo: LYNNE SLADKY/AP

The Senate report into the CIA’s secret torture programmes is clinical and unsparing.

Over the course of a 480-page summary, it lays out in horrifying detail what was done to detainees in secret torture sites around the world. Here are some of the starkest examples:

Detainees were “rectally fed”

At least five prisoners were forced to ingest food or water through their rectums. One detainee, Majid Khan, went on hunger strike and had a “food tray” of pureed hummus, pasta, nuts and raisins forced into his rectum. Khan apparently tried to kill himself by biting his own veins.

In 2012, he pleaded guilty to terror charges in front of a military court at Guantánamo Bay.

 

 

 

 

 

Prisoner dies of suspected hypothermia

In November 2002, the suspected Afghan militant Gul Rahman was being held at “the Salt Pit”, a secret US prison in Afghanistan. Rahman was stripped naked below the waist, chained, and made to sit on a bare concrete floor. He was found dead the next day of suspected hypothermia.

 

 

 

 

26 of 119 prisoners were wrongfully held

Among the people who were wrongly held was Nazar Ali, “an ‘intellectually challenged’ individual whose taped crying was used as leverage against his family member”.

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