Saturday, March 12, 2011

There Are A Number Of Things Off Their Axis And They Are Not All Tectonics Driven!

There Are A Number Of Things Off Their Axis And They Are Not All Tectonics Driven!


WRAPUP 13-Radiation leaking from Japan's quake-hit nuclear plant

Sat Mar 12, 2011 6:15am EST
(Updates throughout)

* Report that nuclear building's outer structure blown off

* Death toll from quake and tsunami put at 1,300

* Huge trail of devastation along Japan's northeast coast

* Quake shifted earth's axis and main island of Japan
By Chris Meyers and Kim Kyung-hoon

 FUKUSHIMA, Japan, March 12 (Reuters) - Radiation leaked from a damaged Japanese nuclear reactor north of Tokyo on Saturday. The government said, after an explosion blew the roof off the facility in the wake of a massive earthquake.        
 The developments raised fears of a meltdown at the plant as officials scrambled to contain what could be the worst nuclear disaster since the Chernobyl explosion in 1986 that shocked the world.      
 The Japanese plant was damaged by Friday's 8.9-magnitude earthquake, which sent a 10-metre (33-foot) tsunami ripping through towns and cities across the northeast coast.
Japanese media estimate that at least 1,300 people were killed.  "We are looking into the cause and the situation and we'll make that public when we have further information," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said after confirming the explosion and radiation leak at the plant.     
 Edano said an evacuation radius of 10 km (6 miles) from the stricken 40-year-old Daiichi 1 reactor plant in Fukushima prefecture was adequate, but an hour later the boundary was extended to 20 km (13 miles). TV footage showed vapour rising
from the plant, 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo.  
Along Japan's northeast coast, rescue workers searched through the rubble of destroyed buildings, cars and boats, looking for survivors in hardest-hit areas such as the city of Sendai,  300 km (180 miles) northeast of Tokyo.        

Dazed residents hoarded water and huddled in makeshift shelters in near-freezing temperatures. Aerial footage showed buildings and trains strewn over mudflats like children's toys.

 "All the shops are closed, this is one of the few still open. I came to buy and stock up on diapers, drinking water and food," Kunio Iwatsuki, 68, told Reuters in Mito city, where residents queued outside a damaged supermarket for supplies.  

Across the coastline, survivors clambered over nearly impassable roads. In Iwanuma, not far from Sendai, people spelled S.O.S. out on the roof of a hospital surrounded bywater, one of many desperate scenes. 
The earthquake and tsunami, and now the radiation leak, present Japan's government with its biggest challenge in a generation.

The explosion at Chernobyl's nuclear plant's fourth reactor in 1986 sent thousands of tonnes of toxic nuclear dust billowing across the Ukraine, Russia and Belarus. It was the worst civil nuclear disaster.    
The blast at the Japanese nuclear facility came as plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) worked desperately to reduce pressures in the core of the reactor. 

The company has had a rocky past in an industry plagued by scandal. In 2002, the president of the country's largest power utility was forced to resign along with four other senior executives, taking responsibility for suspected falsification of nuclear plant safety records.   
 NHK television and Jiji news agency said the outer structure of the reactor building that houses the reactor appeared to have blown off, but nuclear experts said this did not necessarily mean the nuclear reactor had been breached.  
Earlier the operator released what it said was a tiny amount of radioactive steam to reduce the pressure and the danger was minimal because tens of thousands of people had already been evacuated from the vicinity.    

Reuters journalists were in Fukushima prefecture, about 70 km (40 miles) from the plant. Other media have reported police roadblocks in the area to prevent people getting closer.       

 Friday's tremor was so huge that thousands fled their homes from coastlines around the Pacific Rim, as far away as North and South America, fearful of a tsunami. 
 Most appeared to have been spared anything more serious than some high waves, unlike Japan's northeast coastline which was hammered by the huge tsunami that turned houses and ships into floating debris as it surged into cities and villages, sweeping aside everything in its path.        

 "I thought I was going to die," said Wataru Fujimura, a 38-year-old sales representative in Koriyama, Fukushima, north of Tokyo and close to the area worst hit by the quake.

 "Our furniture and shelves had all fallen over and there were cracks in the apartment building, so we spent the whole night in the car ... Now we're back home trying to clean."   
 In one of the worst-hit residential areas, people buried under rubble could be heard calling out for rescue, Kyodo news agency reported earlier.    

 The international community started to send disaster relief teams on Saturday to help Japan, with the United Nations sending a group to help coordinate work.   
Italy's National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology said the earth's axis shifted 25 cm as a result of the quake and the U.S. Geological Survey said the main island of Japan had shifted 2.4 metres.

 The earthquake was the fifth most powerful to hit the world in the past century. It surpassed the Great Kant quake of Sept. 1, 1923, which had a magnitude of 7.9 and killed more than 140,000 people in the Tokyo area.  

 The 1995 Kobe quake caused $100 billion in damage and was the most expensive natural disaster in history.   


MANCHESTER, N.H. — Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s suggestion Saturday that the Revolutionary War began in Concord, N.H., rather than Lexington and Concord, Mass., marks the third time in recent months that the potential GOP presidential hopeful has committed a puzzling gaffe about history and current affairs.

Making her first trek to New Hampshire as a 2012 prospect, Bachmann told a GOP crowd in Manchester: “You’re the state where the shot was heard around the world at Lexington and Concord.”
The Revolutionary War began, not in New Hampshire’s capital, but in the famous two towns more than 50 miles away in Massachusetts.
For Bachmann, who leads the House Tea Party caucus and champions a return to the Constitution, to get such basic facts wrong about the country’s birth is revealing.
Her comment wasn’t just an off-hand reference that she inserted in her remarks. At a fundraiser Friday night on the New Hampshire Seacoast, Bachmann said almost the exact same thing, according to the Minnesota Post.

“It’s your state that fired the shot that was heard around the world, you are the state of Lexington and Concord, you started the battle for liberty right here in your backyard,” Bachmann said.
Bachmann’s geographic mix-up prompted derision among some New Hampshire Republicans.
“Is she on her way to Lexington, N.H., now?” cracked Matt Suermann, who blogs for RedHampshire, in response to somebody who posted on Twitter that Bachmann had left the building.
Told of the congresswoman’s line, another prominent New Hampshire Republican asked: “Seriously, the real question is whether she knows she (got it wrong), I suspect not.”
The latest gaffe may not hurt her with those grass-roots activists who are attracted to her for her attacks against the Obama administration, but it could hamper her efforts to be taken seriously among the broader swath of Republicans she’d need to win the nomination.
“She makes Sarah Palin look like Count Metternich,” groaned longtime GOP consultant Mike Murphy on Twitter after reading about the Concord confusion.
And the Lexington and Concord error followed two other instances where Bachmann got important facts wrong.
Speaking in January to an Iowa anti-tax group, Bachmann claimed that the authors of the country’s founding documents sought to end slavery.
“The very founders that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States,” she said.
While some of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were in favor of abolishing slavery, they were, of course, dead when the institution was ended following the Civil War.
Bachmann singled out John Quincy Adams as someone who “would not rest until slavery was extinguished in the country.”
But John Quincy Adams, the sixth president who went on to campaign vigorously against slavery while serving in the U.S. House, was not yet 9 years old when the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776; he died in 1848 — nearly two decades before the 13th Amendment was ratified abolishing slavery.
Then, in an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” last Sunday, Bachmann seemed to rely on outdated talking points in suggesting that President Barack Obama should defer to Gen. David Petraeus on how to approach the crisis in Libya.
Asked whether it’s in America’s vital interest to remove Muammar Qadhafi from power, the Minnesotan cited Defense Secretary Robert Gates’s recent admonition about avoiding future land wars in Asia. Then she added: “We are extended now in Afghanistan and Iraq, and I think for us to consider further penetration at this time, we need to listen to Gen. Petraeus and what he has to say.”
Bachmann, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, should know that Petraeus is the commander of American forces in Afghanistan and is not in the chain of command when it comes to military decisions about Libya.
On Saturday morning, she may have served up her most damaging gaffe yet, though.
E. Nicholl Marshall of Manchester, who was at the Manchester event, credited Bachmann with delivering “a great speech,” but he added:” My only criticism is there is no Lexington in New Hampshire. And back then Concord was a backwater town, not even a city.”
Later in the day, after Bachmann made a stop in Barrington, Mike Castaldo of Dover, a transplant to the Granite State, called the “shot heard ‘round the world” line “a big mistake. They take their heritage very seriously.”
Getting Massachusetts confused with New Hampshire while speaking to a group of Granite State Republicans is something most GOP hopefuls avoid. New Hampshire conservatives are fiercely proud of their income-tax-free state’s libertarian traditions — see “Live Free or Die” — and consider their neighbor to the south a haven of left wingers.
By late Saturday, Bachmann had taken to Facebook in an attempt to swiftly address her Concord mix-up. “So I misplaced the battles Concord and Lexington by saying they were in New Hampshire,” she wrote. “It was my mistake, Massachusetts is where they happened. New Hampshire is where they are still proud of it!” 

— POLITICO’s Jonathan Martin reported from Washington.

Earlier today we reported on the new statement from Bradley Manning about the torture and psychological terrorism he's endured at Quantico military base. But just when it seemed like the administration would stay mum on the matter, a light: PJ Crowley, the US assistant secretary of state for public affairs -- and spokesperson to Hillary Clinton -- has spoken out against his 'mistreatment' at the hands of the Defense Department -- becoming the first high-up official to speak in Manning's favor. "What is being done to Bradley Manning,' he said, 'is ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid on the part of the department of defense."

PJ Crowley says Pentagon is being 'ridiculous and stupid' by subjecting WikiLeaks suspect to punitive conditions in jail.

Hillary Clinton's spokesman has launched a public attack on the Pentagon for the way it is treating military prisoner Bradley Manning, the US soldier suspected of handing the US embassy cables to WikiLeaks.

PJ Crowley, the assistant secretary of state for public affairs at the US state department, said Manning was being "mistreated" in the military brig at Quantico, Virginia. "What is being done to Bradley Manning is ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid on the part of the department of defence," he said.
Crowley's comments signal a crack within the Obama administration over the handling of the WikiLeaks saga in which hundreds of thousands of confidential documents were handed to the website.
As news of the remarks rippled through Washington, President Obama was forced to address the subject of Manning's treatment for the first time.
Asked about the controversy at a White House press conference, Obama revealed he had asked the Pentagon "whether or not the procedures that have been taken in terms of his confinement are appropriate and are meeting our basic standards. They assure me that they are."
Obama would not respond specifically to Crowley's comments, which are the first critical remarks from within the administration about the handling of Manning. The prisoner is being held for 23 hours in solitary confinement in his cell and stripped naked every night.
Until now the US government had presented a united front, promising to aggressively pursue anyone involved in leaking state secrets. Clinton herself described the WikiLeaks material as "an attack on America" and said "we are taking aggressive steps" to hold those who leaked it to account.
Manning has been charged with handing state secrets to an unauthorized party. The charges include aiding the enemy, which can carry the death penalty.
Crowley, speaking at an MIT seminar in Boston, did say he believed Manning was "in the right place". He was presumably referring to Quantico, where the intelligence specialist has been held pending a court martial since July last year.
Crowley said: "There is sometimes a need for secrets for diplomatic progress to be made." But when asked by one of the audience what he thought about the "elephant in the room" – the US "torturing a prisoner in a military brig" – he replied without pausing that he thought the Pentagon's actions were "ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid".
Details of Crowley's comments, which he said were on the record, were posted on the personal blog of Philippa Thomas, a BBC news correspondent on sabbatical doing a Nieman journalism fellowship at Harvard. The remarks were corroborated by another blogger at the seminar. The comments are likely to encourage protesters who have maintained steady pressure on the Pentagon.
The UN is investigating whether the treatment amounts to torture.
This week, in a legal letter, Manning gave his own description of conditions in the brig. "The determination to strip me of all my clothing every night since 2 March 2011 is without justification and therefore constitutes unlawful pretrial punishment," he wrote. The 11-page legal letter provided a rare insight into the state of mind of the prisoner, who has been held in solitary confinement for 10 months.
After he was arrested in Iraq in May, he was initially held in Kuwait before being transferred to Quantico in July. Manning says in the letter that he is being "left to languish under the unduly harsh conditions of max [security] custody".
He describes being stripped and made to stand naked for inspection. "The guard told me to stand at parade rest, with my hands behind my back and my legs spaced shoulder-width apart. I stood at parade rest for about three minutes. The [brig supervisor] and the other guards walked past my cell. He looked at me, paused for a moment, then continued to the next cell. I was incredibly embarrassed at having all these people stare at me naked."
Manning and his lawyer David Coombs have been trying to convince the military authorities that he is psychologically healthy and does not need such a harsh regime. His supporters argue the treatment is punitive and designed to force him into a coerced confession.


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