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Archive for May, 2012

Quebec Adopts Emergency Law To End Tuition Crisis


May 16 Student Protest In Montreal

CBC  |  Posted: 05/18/2012 7:10 pm Updated: 05/18/2012 11:21 pm

Quebec Emergency

Woman crying in front of a wall of Surete du Quebec riot squad police officers as they advance to remove striking students at the College Lionel-Groulx.The Canadian Press Images-Mario Beauregard

Quebec‘s legislature has voted in favour of an emergency law aimed at cooling tensions in the 14-week tuition hike crisis.

After debating the special legislation overnight Thursday, members of the national assembly (MNAs) voted 68-48.

The legislation calls for heavy fines for students and their federations, and strict regulations governing demonstrations, following months of social tension and protests that made international news.

Critics lined up to assail the law as an affront to civil rights, an overreaction, or ill-considered improvisation.

Thousands of people took to the streets in Montreal and Quebec City late Friday night to protest the bill’s passage.

Even international activist collective Anonymous weighed in on the “draconian” legislation via Twitter, stating simply “Expect us.”

The new law is based on three main pillars: It pauses the current school year at institutions affected by strikes; imposes steep fines for anyone who tries blocking access to a school; and limits where, how, and for how long people can protest in Quebec.

For some legal experts the law violates rights — while opposition leaders have called it “abusive.”

“It’s the worst law that I’ve ever seen, except for the War Measures Act,” said law professor Lucie Lemonde, referring to the notorious legislation imposed in Quebec during the 1970 FLQ crisis.

“We knew something was coming, but I didn’t think they would use it to change the rules of the game in terms of the rights to demonstrate,” said Lemonde, who teaches at the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQÀM).

The law attacks an individual’s rights to freedom of expression, association and conscience, she said.

The head of the Quebec Bar Association, Louis Masson, said Bill 78 violates constitutional rights, including freedom of speech and the right to demonstrate peacefully.

The law also creates many roadblocks to organizing a peaceful demonstration, and presents “so many risks that an honest citizen practically will not go there.”

However, there were grumblings from some members of the bar that not all Quebec lawyers are opposed to the law.

Student groups promised to launch a court challenge against Bill 78 next week.

The law is designed to expire in July, 2013.

Critical reception

The Opposition has been extremely critical of the bill, pounding on the Charest government during the lengthy debate.

Parti Québécois Leader Pauline Marois calls the law “abusive” and promised to repeal it, if her party is elected to power in the future.

“The darkest moment always comes before the light,” Marois said in the moments before the vote.

“It will be time to change the government soon.”

Student leaders were also quick to denounce the bill soon after initial details of the legislation were released.

“This is actually a declaration of war against the student movement and not only against the student movement, but it restricted the liberty of speech, the liberty of association,” said Martine Desjardins, president of university student group FEUQ.

It was among several protest-related developments in Quebec on Friday as Montreal adopted a new, municipal anti-mask bylaw.

Bill 78 summary

Fines of between $1,000 and $5,000 for any individual who prevents someone from entering an educational institution.

Penalties climb to between $7,000 and $35,000 for a student leader and to between $25,000 and $125,000 for unions or student federations.

Public demonstations involving more than 50 people have to be flagged to authorities eight hours in advance, include itinerary, duration and time at which they are being held.

Police can order the protest move to a different spot.

Offering encouragement for someone to protest at a school, either tacitly or otherwise, is subject to punishment.

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“Black Dust” in Tokyo? With 243,000 Bq/Kg of Radioactive Cesium


Freelance journalist Rei Shiva [Shiba] writing for Nikkan Spa, a daily tabloid in Japan (part; 5/15/2012):

福島県南相馬市内で発見された超強力な放射能を持つ謎の“黒い粉”が話題になったのは今年2月のこと。

It was this February when the super-radioactive and mysterious “black dust” found in Minami Soma City in Fukushima Prefecture was in the news.

1kgあたり108万ベクレル」というケタ違いの線量は衝撃的なものの、「南相馬での特殊な事例」として受け止められていた。ところが、その「黒い粉」は東京都内の至るところに存在しているという。

Although 1.08 million Bq/kg was shocking, it was considered to be specific only to Minami Soma. However, I’ve been told that “black dust” exists everywhere in Tokyo.

「放射線検知器を近づけてみると、明らかに反応があるので、汚染度が高いのかなとは思っていたのですが、まさ かここまでとは……」「黒い粉」を都内で発見した、市民団体「NO!放射能 江東こども守る会」の石川あや子代表は驚きを隠せない。「江戸川区のJR平井駅周辺で『黒い粉』らしきものを見つけ、採取したサンプルを神戸大学の山内知 也教授に検査してもらったところ、最大で1kgあたり24万3000Bqという数値が出たんです」。

“When I brought the radiation detector closer, it visibly responded. So I knew it might be highly contaminated, but didn’t know it was this contaminated…”, says Ayako Ishikawa incredulously. Ishikawa is the head of the citizens’ group “No! to Radiation, Protect Children in Koto”. [Koto-ku is one of the eastern Special Wards of Tokyo]. She says, “We found something that looked like “black dust” near the Hirai JR station in Edogawa-ku. We collected the sample and and asked Professor Tomoya Yamauchi of Kobe University to measure the radiation. The result was that it had the maximum 243,000 Bq/kg [of radioactive cesium].”

これは原子炉等規制法で定められた「安全基準(クリアランスレベル)」の約2430倍という、途方もない数値だ。

It is 2,430 times the clearance level [100 Bq/kg] specified by the Nuclear Reactor Regulation Law.

「注意して見ると、『黒い粉』は都内の至るところにあります」と石川さんは言う。そんなにあちこちに高汚染の物質が転がっているのだろうか? という疑問を抱えつつ、「黒い粉」の調査に本誌記者も同行した。

“If you look carefully, “black dusts” are everywhere in Tokyo”, says Ishikawa. Such highly contaminated materials are everywhere? I decided to accompany her to look for “black dusts”.

まずは、JR平井駅から徒歩10分ほど。公営団地そばの運動場で「黒い粉」を発見した。フェンス近くで何か所にもわたって吹き溜まっていた「黒い粉」は、一見すると黒い土のように見える。近づいてよく見てみると、乾燥して干からびたコケやカビのようなものであるとわかる。

First, [to a location] about 10-minute walk from the JR Hirai Station. We found the “black dust” on the playground near the public housing. There were several drifts near the fence, and they looked like just “black soil”. When I took a closer look, they were revealed to be something like a dried moss or mold.

「この前来たときと微妙に場所が変わっていますね。風雨で移動したのかもしれません」と石川さん。ガイガーカ ウンターよりも信頼性の高い、国産のシンチレーション式放射線検知器を「黒い粉」に近づけてみた。すると数値が急上昇し、毎時2μSvを超えた。東京都の 平均的な空間線量(地上1m)の約20倍だ。山内教授は「一般的に携帯式の放射線検知器は周囲の放射線量の平均値を表示します。つまり、少量の物質に検知 器を向けて数値が急上昇するならば、その物質が極めて強い放射線を出している可能性があります」という。

Ishikawa said, “They are at slightly different locations. Rain and wind may have moved them.” We measured the radiation with the scintillation survey meter made by a domestic manufacturer because it is more reliable than a geiger counter. The number shot up quickly, and exceeded 2 microsieverts/hour. That is twenty times more than the average air radiation level (at 1 meter off the ground) in Tokyo. Professor Yamauchi says, “In general, a scintillation survey meter shows the average radiation level. If the number rises rapidly when the survey meter is directed toward a small amount of substance, it is possible that the substance is emitting extremely strong radiation.”

果たして、「黒い粉」の正体とは何なのか? そして、「黒い粉」の性質を利用した効率良い除染方法とは? 5月15日発売の週刊SPA!「首都圏を襲う[放射能の黒い粉]」では、「黒い粉」の元になる物質の怖さのみならず有用性もまた報じている。

What is this “black dust”? What is the efficient decontamination method using the unique properties of the “black dust”? Shukan Spa [weekly magazine] that will go on sale on May 15 has the article “Radioactive black dust striking the Tokyo Metropolitan area”, which will report on the danger of the substance that makes up the “black dust” as well as its usefulness.

I don’t see much point in comparing it to the clearance level of 100 Bq/kg which is applicable only to enclosed nuclear facilities. After the Fukushima nuclear accident, it’s a whole new ballgame where the disaster debris exceeding that clearance level is being shipped to Kyushu to be burned in a regular incinerator and the soil samples in Kanto and Tohoku easily exceed that level in many locations.

Even though I have reported on the “black dusts” in Minami Soma City (most recently, here), I am not completely convinced that this “black” substance is any different from a drift of dirt that one often saw on the road surface or near the drains even before the Fukushima nuclear accident. Cyanobacteria that supposedly make up the “black dust” are ubiquitous.

Professor Yukio Hayakawa of Gunma University says if the top 1 millimeter of the soil is taken the radioactivity can be extremely high, though he seems to think that “black dust” is a very good indicator of urban contamination.

No matter what it is or how it came about, it is clearly highly radioactive, and it’d better be removed to avoid contact. No municipalities are doing that, as they should.

Just don’t go multiply that number (243,000 Bq/kg) by 65 and exclaim “Look, Tokyo is more contaminated than Chernobyl exclusion zone!” The multiplier of 65 only applies to soil samples that are taken from the surface to 5 centimeters deep, and whose specific gravity is about 1.3g/cm3. If Tokyo’s “black dust” has the same weight as Minami Soma’s “black dust”, it would be less than 0.5g/cm3.

Source: http://ex-skf.blogspot.ca/2012/05/black-dust-in-tokyo-with-243000-bqkg-of.html

Categories: Asia, Environment, Top Stories

Pentagon admits it has no photo evidence of Bin Laden’s death


By Elliott Freeman

May 1, 2012 in Politics
Pentagon officials recently disclosed to the Associated Press (AP) that they could not find any photo or video evidence to confirm that Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden was killed in the Navy Seal raid in Pakistan a year ago.
AP has submitted more than 20 requests for information surrounding the raid on Bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound to the U.S. Government under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). In response to the request for visual evidence of Bin Laden’s death, the Pentagon stated that it could not find any pictures or video footage of the raid itself or of Bin Laden’s dead body. It also told AP it could not locate any images of Bin Laden’s body that were taken on the U.S.S. Carl Vinson, the Navy aircraft carrier that reportedly lowered him into the sea after his death.
In addition, the Pentagon admitted that it could not find an autopsy report, death certificate or results of a DNA identification test for Bin Laden, in spite of claims made by President Obama and reported by CBC News that a DNA test was performed. These admissions follow a related FOIA response by the Department of Defense in February, in which it stated that it had no emails concerning the Bin Laden raid that were sent prior to its execution.
The Atlantic Wire reported in February that the CIA claimed it had visual proof of Bin Laden’s death, but the Pentagon’s admission that it does not have any evidence of this kind still raises significant questions, since its jurisdiction includes the Navy Seals that conducted the raid and the Navy ship that buried Bin Laden at sea. The latest revelation drew the suspicion of Lt. Col. Robert Bowman (ret.), the former director of Advanced Space Programs Development for the U.S. Air Force. “It makes the official story sound very fishy,” Bowman said in an interview with Digital Journal. “Without proof, I’m not buying it carte blanche.”
Bowman also pointed to the reports that Bin Laden died in 2001 or 2002, which have been supported by former FBI counter-terrorism chief Dale Watson, former assistant Secretary of State Steve Pieczenik, former U.S. foreign intelligence officer Angelo Codevilla and other intelligence experts. “This smacks of a cover-up,” Bowman added. Some organizations contend that the cover-up extends beyond the Bin Laden raid, including Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, a group of over 1,600 technical professionals that is calling for a new 9/11 investigation.
“The raid is not the only part of the Bin Laden narrative that doesn’t add up,” said founder Richard Gage, AIA. “It’s also highly unlikely that Bin Laden and Al Qaeda had access to plant the explosives that brought down the Twin Towers and Building 7.”
Meanwhile, President Obama called for a time of remembrance and contemplation on the anniversary of the raid. “I think for us to use that time for some reflection, to give thanks to those who participated is entirely appropriate, and that’s what’s been taking place,” he said on Monday, according to McClatchy News.
It remains to be seen how the public will reflect on the lack of credible evidence surrounding the demise of the world’s most wanted terrorist.
Categories: Uncategorized