Sunday, December 02, 2012

PNN 12/2/2012 - Show Files


Dr Bob Bowman
Space Coast Progressive Alliance

Rebecca Marques

Matthew Schwartz
– Wildlands

Drew Martin               8:00-8:15pm
P. Bch Soil & Water Conservation Brd

Phil Compton             8:16-8:30pm
Sierra Club

Lighted Sign Revealed

at Lake Worth Holiday Wonderland Bears
 Message for Lame Duck Congressman:  
“West, Don’t be a Tax Cut Grinch”
At Lake Worth’s Holiday Wonderland, the crowd chuckled and clapped as local constituents   revealed a lighted “holiday” message for their lame duck congressman - West Don’t Be A Tax Cut Grinch. The activist, with the group StandUp Florida, emphasized that extending the middle class tax cuts averaging $2,200 per family is the holiday assurance people need that they can make ends meet in the New Year.    
The activists said the re-election of President Obama and defeat of Allen West was a clear mandate of the economic policy people want locally and nationally.  The President has called for extending middle class tax cuts and increasing taxes on the very wealthy. The constituents are calling on West to vote the will of the people as fiscal cliff negotiations continue in the lame duck Congress.
"Donald Trump doesn’t have to go to door buster sales in the middle of the night or worry about free shipping to be sure his family members receive a gift. But, the middle class do. We need the middle class tax cuts, it creates local jobs and keeps the economic recovery going,” said Carole Fields, a Palm Beach School System retiree.  
“It is not common to have political messages at holiday events, but this is important” said Louis Porteous, a local resident .  “We are trying to get the point across in a cheerful way to let people know what is at stake.  If the richest Americans pay a fair share of their income in taxes again, they will be doing their part to reduce the deficit.  If they don’t we could end up with a budget deal that cuts vital services people count on -- Medicare, Medicaid, childcare – resulting in job loses right here in our community. “
Petitions were circulated through the crowd for signature, which will be delivered to West’s office at a later date to get the point across.  Flyers were distributed with an 800 number requesting attendees they call their congressman on Wednesday (Dec. 5) about extending the middle class tax cuts.
Based on the crowd reaction the group said they will attend other events with the sign, so stay tuned for the where the fiscal cliff Grinch will be next.

A 14-year-old Afghan girl was beheaded and killed in an attack by two men, one of whom apparently asked her to marry him.
The attack happened Tuesday, a day before new legislation was introduced in Congress calling on the U.S. government to take steps to help protect Afghan women and girls as the U.S. military prepares to exit Afghanistan.
Gasitina, a student, was beheaded in the Imam Sahib district of Kunduz province. The attack was initially reported by local media, and was confirmed by Amnesty International researcher Horia Mosadiq in an email.
The girl was fetching water when she was accosted, according to reports. The men, who have not been identified, were arrested by police. The girl and her parents had refused a marriage proposal by one of the men, according to the Amnesty International report.
This was the 15th deadly attack on a female victim in Kunduz in 2012, the human rights organization said.
"Amnesty International is very concerned about the violations against women in Afghanistan," said Cristina Finch, director of the organization's Women's Human Rights program.
Amnesty reported a similar incident in October, when a young woman was murdered and her throat slashed. In that case, the woman apparently refused to work as a prostitute.
Although it appears such attacks are increasing in frequency, it may be that the world outside Afghanistan is just beginning to hear about them, Finch said.
On Wednesday, Sen. Bob Casey, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, and Kay Bailey Hutchison, a Republican from Texas, introduced the Afghan Women and Girls' Security Promotion Act. If passed in its current form, the bill addresses how women's security will be monitored as the U.S. military withdraws from the country.
The bill also calls for improved gender sensitivity among Afghanistan's national security forces and recruitment of women within the ranks of those forces.
Amnesty International USA's executive director Suzanne Nossel applauded Casey and Hutchison for introducing the bill.
"As the United States military transitions out of Afghanistan, Afghan women's human rights continue to be at grave risk and demand urgent attention," Nossel said in a statement. "The fate of women will be a crucial determinant of that country's prospects for a stable and prosperous future."
In a report on Afghan violence against women, Amnesty International wrote that one of the justifications of the U.S. military going into the country in 2001 was to ensure the protection of human rights, including women's rights.
"More than 10 years after the overthrow of the Taliban, modest advances have been made for girls and women in Afghanistan," the report said. "But much remains to be done. Peace talks between the Taliban, Afghan government and the U.S. jeopardize even these modest gains as the U.S. searches for a quick exit."

  First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Palm Beaches, 635
Prosperity Farm Rd, North Palm Beach 33408

Church of Ft Lauderdale, 3970 NW 21st Avenue, Oakland Park 33309


What Would Martin Luther King, Jr. Do And What Will You Do -  In 2013?

Commemorate Dr King’s Commitments-Sunday, January 13, 2013
Unitarian Universalist Church of Ft Lauderdale
3970 NW 21st Avenue, Oakland Park 33309

11 A.M. - Sunday Service
Sermon: Dr. King On Peace, Internationalism, Militarism
Judith Le Blanc, of Peace Action - the nation’s largest grassroots peace group

Occupy Fort Lauderdale Labor Outreach

After Lunch - 12:50 – 4 P.M.


Open Mik - Add your Activist Group's Message

Activist groups are invited to TABLE

Everyone is invited to FINISH THE PLANNING and PITCH  IN
Contact – 954-531-1928

The NYT has a long study on subsidies for profitable companies. Please explain to me why for profit companies needs subsidies .
Instead of giving grants, at least get an equity in the company.

What the NYT highlighted is that the companies take them and than leave the state or local region. It is not a surprise.

Therefore, the jobs they are supposed to bring did not happen......

Florida spends at least $3.98 billion per year on incentive programs, according to the most recent data available. That is roughly:
per capita
per dollar of state budget
        Top Incentives by type
    .    $3.66 billion in Sales tax refund, exemptions or other sales tax discounts
    .    $108 million in Cash grant, loan or loan guarantee
    .    $102 million in Corporate income tax credit, rebate or reduction
        Top Incentives by industry
    .    $142 million in Agriculture
    .    $83.9 million in Film
    .    $43 million in Manufacturing
    .    GRANTS TO COMPANIES (1,804)
    .    STATE PROGRAMS (43)

Drone Crashes At Civilian Airports Are Rising

Posted: 01 Dec 2012 05:00 PM PST

Don't worry, the defense contractors who make drones will cover up enough of these reports to make their widespread civilian use seem like a fine idea!
An inexperienced military contractor, operating by remote control in shorts and a T-shirt from a trailer at Seychelles International Airport, committed blunder after blunder during a six-minute span April 4.
The pilot of the unarmed MQ-9 Reaper drone took off without permission from the control tower. One minute later, he yanked the wrong lever at his console, killing the engine without realizing why.
As he tried to make an emergency landing, he forgot to put down the wheels. The $8.9 million aircraft belly-flopped on the runway, bounced and then plunged into the tropical waters at the airport’s edge, according to a previously undisclosed Air Force accident investigation report.
The drone crashed at a civilian airport that serves a half-million passengers a year, most of them sun-seeking tourists. No one was hurt, but it was the second Reaper accident there in five months — under eerily similar circumstances.
“I will be blunt here,” an Air Force official at the scene told investigators afterward. “I said, ‘I can’t believe this is happening again.’ ” He added: “You go, ‘How stupid are you?’ ”
The April wreck was the latest in a rash of U.S. military drone crashes at overseas civilian airports in the past two years. The accidents reinforce concerns about the risks of flying the robot aircraft outside war zones, including in the United States.
A review of thousands of pages of unclassified Air Force investigation reports, obtained by The Washington Post under public-records requests, shows that drones flying from civilian airports have been plagued by setbacks.
Among the problems repeatedly cited are pilot error, mechanical failure, software bugs in the “brains” of the aircraft and poor coordination with civilian air-traffic controllers.
On Jan. 14, 2011, a Predator drone crashed off the Horn of Africa while trying to return to an international airport next to a U.S. military base in Djibouti. It was the first known accident involving a Predator or Reaper drone near a civilian airport. Predators and Reapers can carry satellite-guided missiles and have become the Obama administration’s primary weapon against al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups.
Since then, at least six more Predators and Reapers have crashed in the vicinity of civilian airports overseas, including other instances in which contractors were at the controls.
The mishaps have become more common at a time when the Pentagon and domestic law-enforcement agencies are pressing the Federal Aviation Administration to open U.S. civil airspace to surveillance drones.
The FAA permits drone flights only in rare cases, citing the risk of midair collisions. The Defense Department can fly Predators and Reapers on training and testing missions in restricted U.S. airspace near military bases.
The pressure to fly drones in the same skies as passenger planes will only increase as the war in Afghanistan winds down and the military and CIA redeploy their growing fleets of Predators and Reapers.

1. DHS to Double US Drone Fleet
By Trevor Timm, Electronic Frontier Foundation
22 November 12

Despite renewed criticism from both parties in Congress that domestic drones pose a privacy danger to US citizens - and a report from its own Inspector General recommending to stop buying them - the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has indicated it wants to more than double its fleet of Predator drones used to fly surveillance missions inside the United States.
Yesterday, California Watch reported that DHS signed a contract that could be worth as much as $443 million with General Atomics for the purchase up to fourteen additional Predator drones to fly near the border of Mexico and Canada. Congress would still need to appropriate the funds, but if they did, DHS' drone fleet woud increase to twenty-four.
While many people may think the US only flies Predator drones overseas, DHS has already spent $250 million over the last six years on ten surveillance Predators of its own. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) - a division of DHS - uses the unmanned drones inside the U.S. to patrol the borders with surveillance equipment like video cameras, infrared cameras, heat sensors, and radar.
They say the drones are vital in the fight to stop illegal immigrants, but as EFF reported in June, the DHS Inspector General issued a report faulting DHS for wasting time, money, and resources using drones that were ineffective and lacked oversight. The Inspector General chastised the agency for buying two drones last year despite knowing these problems and recommended they cease buying them until the problems could be fixed.
Perhaps worse, DHS is also flying Predator drone missions on behalf of a diverse group of local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies for missions beyond immigration issues. We know they have lent the drones out to the county sheriff's department in North Dakota and the Texas Rangers, among others, but unfortunately, we don’t know the full extent DHS lending program. DHS, as is their custom, is keeping that information secret.
In response, last month EFF sued DHS under the Freedom of Information Act demanding answers about how and why it loans out its Predator drones to other law enforcement agencies across the country. EFF's lawsuit asks for the records and logs of CBP drone flights conducted in conjunction with other agencies.
These drones pose a multitude of privacy concerns to all Americans, as the Congressional Research Service (Congress’ non-partisan research arm) detailed in this comprehensive report on domestic drones and the Fourth Amendment. The report explains drones can be equipped with, among other capabilities, facial recognition technology, fake cell phone towers to intercept phone calls, texts and GPS locations, and in a few years, will even be able to see through walls.
Despite these concerns, DHS has not publicly issued any privacy rules to make sure drones do not spy on US residents in border states going about their daily lives. In fact, at a Congressional hearing on the subject, DHS refused to send anyone to testify, leading both parties to criticize their absence.
This is even more troubling given DHS is also leading the push to get local police agencies to purchase their own drones by handing out $4 million to agencies to “facilitate and accelerate” their use. The FAA estimates as many as 30,000 drones could be flying over US territory by the end of the decade.
The booming drone industry, which has announced a PR campaign in an attempt tamp down the public’s privacy concerns, is quick to point out that these police drones - which cost anywhere from under $100,000 to $1 million - are smaller than Predators and do not have the same flight time, so police would not be able to surveil Americans for hours or days at a time like Predator drones could. Yet as the technology advances rapidly and becomes cheaper every year, smaller drones will soon be able to fly for an extended time period as well.
For example, Lockhead Martin has developed a drone that weighs only 13.2 pounds, well within the FAA’s domestic weight limits, and can be recharged by a laser on the ground, allowing it remain in the air indefinitely.
Several members of Congress have commendably introduced bills that would protect the privacy of Americans and increase transparency surrounding their use. These members, who voted for increased drone use in February but have recently expressed second thoughts, should call DHS representatives before Congress to explain their position. The American people deserve answers about to whom Homeland Security is loaning its drones, how DHS plans on protecting Americans’ privacy, and why they even need any more, given they are misusing the drones they already have.

2. Pentagon officer gets restraining order against anti-drone activists

A US military commander has received a court order to keep a group of anti-drone activists at a distance, thereby suppressing criticism by preventing peace advocates from protesting in front of the military base where he works.
­The Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, located near Syracuse, NY, has an area where nonviolent protesters can demonstrate on a weekly basis. After anti-drone protesters repeatedly came to the base and vocalized their opinions on what they call President Obama’s “program of murder,” a lieutenant colonel at the base received a court order banning 17 peace activists from coming anywhere near him – even though some of them don’t know who he is.
The order came after the group protested in front of the entrance to the base in late October. The 17 individuals who remained in place when police told them to move were charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct – and were banned from nearing Lieutenant Colonel Earl A. Evans.
Under the order, the activists will be arrested and could face up to seven years in prison if they demonstrate anywhere near Evans – even if they are in the permitted demonstration area near the base, according to David Swan, anti-war activist and owner of the website They are also prohibited from going anywhere near the man’s home or school, the addresses of which are unknown to them. Not knowing what to avoid, the activists could very well accidentally stumble upon the places from which they are now banned.
The temporary protection order for the colonel also forbids protesters from assaulting, stalking, harassing, harming, touching, intimidating, and threatening Evans and his family. Swan believes this order is simply an attempt to silence the activists, since they have allegedly never even had an encounter with Evans.
“This looks to me like an outrageous court action to block us from using First Amendment rights to comply with international law,” said Elliott Adams, one of the protesters. “We’ve been arrested a number of times blocking one of the entrances to Hancock Air National Guard Base while trying to serve an indictment to the base for violation of international law with the drones operated from the base.”
Prior to the court order, officials at the Hancock Field have used other methods to keep concerned citizens out of sight and away from their entrance.
“Some friends of mine have gotten arrested more times than I can count now for the offense of protesting drone use outside Hancock Air Field,” Swan wrote for the online publication Dissident Voice. “Often they’ve been aware of the risk of being arrested. But they’ve gone into court and argued that the larger crime is being committed inside the base by drone pilots.”
But the arrests are not restricted to Hancock Field. Earlier this month, nine California residents were arrested and cited for trespassing at Beale Air Force Base for protesting the use of armed drones by the US military. The nine peace activists had been protesting in front of the main gate, thereby making it difficult for cars to pass. They are now awaiting court dates and could face up to six months in prison.

3. President Barack Obama's administration is in the process of drawing up a formal rulebook that will set out the circumstances in which targeted assassination by unmanned drones is justified, according to reports.
The New York Times, citing two unnamed sources, said explicit guidelines were being drawn up amid disagreement between the CIA and the departments of defense, justice and state over when lethal action is acceptable.
Human-rights groups and peace groups opposed to the CIA-operated targeted-killing programme, which remains officially classified, said the administration had already rejected international law in pursuing its drone operations.
"To say they are rewriting the rulebook implies that there isn't already a rulebook" said Jameel Jaffer, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Center for Democracy. "But what they are already doing is rejecting a rulebook – of international law – that has been in place since [the second world war]."
He said the news was "frustrating", because it relied on "self-serving sources". The New York Times piece was written by one of the journalists who first exposed the existence of a White House "kill list", in May.
The ACLU is currently involved in a legal battle with the US government over the legal memo underlying the controversial targeted killing programme, the basis for drone strikes that have killed American citizens and the process by which individuals are placed on the kill list.
Jaffer said it was impossible to make a judgement about whether the "rulebook" being discussed, according to the Times, was legal or illegal.
"It is frustrating how we are reliant on self-serving leaks" said Jaffer. "We are left with interpreting shadows cast on the wall. The terms that are being used by these officials are undefined, malleable and without definition. It is impossible to know whether they are talking about something lawful or unlawful.
"We are litigating for the release of legal memos. We don't think the public should have to reply on self-serving leaking by unnamed administrative officials."
The New York Times said that, facing the possibility that the president might not be re-elected, work began in the weeks running up to the 6 November election to "develop explicit rules for the targeted killing of terrorists by unmanned drones, so that a new president would inherit clear standards and procedures, according to two administration officials".
It went on to say that Obama and his advisers were still debating whether remote-controlled killing should be a measure of last resort against imminent threats to the US, or whether it should be more widely used, in order to "help allied governments attack their enemies or to prevent militants from controlling territories".
Jaffer said he was sceptical about the significance of the debate outlined in the piece. He said: "The suggestion is that there is a significant debate going on within the administration about the scope of the government's authority to carry out targeted killings. I would question the significance of the debate. If imminent is defined as broadly as some say it is within the administration then the gap between the sides is narrow.
"It matters how you define 'imminent'. The Bush administration was able to say it didn't condone torture because of the definition of torture. You might think that if someone says, 'I believe we should only use targeted killings only when there's an imminent threat,' you might think that sounds OK. But without terms like 'imminent' being defined it is impossible to evaluate the arguments."
Medea Benjamin, the co-founder of Code Pink, an anti-war group, said the news that formal rules were being written for targeted killing was "disgusting".
"That they are trying to write the rules for something that is illegal is disgusting" said Benjamin. "They are saying, 'The levers might be in the wrong hands.' What about the way they are using them right now? There is nothing about taking drones out of the hands of the CIA – which is not a military organisation – or getting rid of signature strikes, where there is no evidence that people are involved in terrorist activities."
In Pakistan and Yemen, the CIA and the military have carried out "signature strikes" against groups of suspected and unnamed militants, as well as strikes against named terrorists.
Benjamin said she had just come back from Pakistan, where the "intensity of the backlash will take generations to overcome".
The New York Times quotes an official who, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there was "concern that the levers might no longer be in our hands" after the election.
In October, Obama referred to efforts to codify the controversial drone programme. In an interview with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show on 18 October, the president said: "One of the things we've got to do is put legal architecture in place and we need congressional help in order to do that, to make sure that not only am I reined in but any president is reined in, in terms of some of the decisions we're making".

While Obama and administration officials have commented publicly on the legal basis for targeted killings, the program is officially secret. In court, government lawyers fighting lawsuits by the ACLU continue to claim that no official has ever formally acknowledged the drones, and that there might not even be a drone programme.
Two lawsuits – one by the ACLU and the other by the ACLU and the NYT – seeking information on the legal basis on targeted killing, are still pending.

Akiko Yoshida, Friends of the Earth – Tokyo:
This is the contamination survey in October this year.
4. The hot spots still remain in these areas and also in other cities in Fukushima.
The hotspots is moving from here to another place, but still remain there.
The government said that they do decontamination, but the effect of decontamination is very limited. […]

RELEASE THE REPORT on the 9/11 torturing (Maine Editorial)
We are at such a time when it comes to the CIA interrogations during the Bush administration that relied on torture to extract secrets from terror suspects.
This program is the subject of what has been described as a 6,000-page classified report in the hands of the Senate Intelligence Committee. It is said to exhaustively detail the techniques used and the results produced and should now be part of the public record.
The Intelligence Committee, which includes Maine's Sen. Olympia Snowe, should release the report and let the American people know, finally, what was done in the name of their security and whether it was worth it.
It's important that this report comes out and becomes part of the historical record. Otherwise, partial versions and misleading accounts will influence future policy makers.
Earlier this year, former CIA Deputy Director of Operations Jose Rodriguez told Time magazine that information produced by torturing a captive was instrumental in finding and killing Osama bin Laden.
Intelligence Committee Chairman Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., immediately issued a rebuttal, stating that the information that led to bin Laden's death did not come from CIA detainees who had been tortured. Feinstein had seen the report, and so should the rest of us.
There's plenty about torture that is not a secret. For one, it's illegal. For another, most experts consider it ineffective. And a country's willingness to use torture damages its reputation in the world and in history.
Now we should find out finally what was done in the war on terror and what was its result. Snowe and the other members of the committee should accept the report and submit it to the painstaking process of declassifying it for public consumption.
These secrets have been kept too long already.

IG Review of FISA Compliance Completed But Not Released

November 26th, 2012 by Steven Aftergood
The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Justice said it had recently completed a review of the Department’s use of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Amendments Act (FAA), but the report is classified and its findings have not been released.
“The OIG examined the number of disseminated FBI intelligence reports containing a reference to a U.S. person identity, the number of U.S. person identities subsequently disseminated in response to requests for identities not referred to by name or title in the original reporting, the number of targets later determined to be located in the United States, and whether communications of such targets were reviewed.  The OIG also reviewed the FBI’s compliance with the required targeting and minimization procedures,” according to a November 7 OIG memorandum on Top Management and Performance Challenges in the Department of Justice.

A copy of the classified report has been requested under the Freedom of Information Act.
Earlier this year, Sen. Ron Wyden placed a hold on reauthorization of the FISA Amendments Act “because I believe that Congress does not have enough information about this law’s impact on the privacy of law-abiding American citizens, and because I am concerned about a loophole in the law that could allow the government to effectively conduct warrantless searches for Americans’ communications.”

A new Florida law that contributed to long voter lines and caused some to abandon voting altogether was intentionally designed by Florida GOP staff and consultants to inhibit Democratic voters,
former GOP officials and current GOP consultants have told The Palm Beach Post.
Republican leaders said in proposing the law that it was meant to save money and fight voter fraud. But a former GOP chairman and former Gov. Charlie Crist, both of whom have been ousted from the party, now say that fraud concerns were advanced only as subterfuge for the law's main purpose: GOP victory.
Former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer says he attended various meetings, beginning in 2009, at which party staffers and consultants pushed for reductions in early voting days and hours.
"The Republican Party, the strategists, the consultants, they firmly believe that early voting is bad for Republican Party candidates," Greer told The Post. "It's done for one reason and one reason only. … 'We've got to cut down on early voting because early voting is not good for us,' " Greer said he was told by those staffers and consultants.
"They never came in to see me and tell me we had a (voter) fraud issue," Greer said. "It's all a marketing ploy."
Greer is now under indictment, accused of stealing $200,000 from the party through a phony campaign fundraising operation. He, in turn, has sued the party, saying GOP leaders knew what he was doing and voiced no objection.

Fukushima Update

Fukushima fish still contaminated from nuclear accident

Levels of radioactive contamination in fish caught off the east coast of Japan remain raised, official data shows.
It is a sign that the Dai-ichi power plant continues to be a source of pollution more than a year after the nuclear accident.
About 40% of fish caught close to Fukushima itself are regarded as unfit for humans under Japanese regulations.
The respected US marine chemist Ken Buesseler has reviewed the data in this week's Science journal.
He says there are probably two sources of lingering contamination.
"There is the on-going leakage into the ocean of polluted ground water from under Fukushima, and there is the contamination that's already in the sediments just offshore," he told BBC News.
Continue reading the main story
“Start Quote
With these results it's hard to predict for how long some fisheries might have to be closed”
Prof Ken Buesseler WHOI
"It all points to this issue being long-term and one that will need monitoring for decades into the future."
Prof Buesseler is affiliated to the US Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).
His evaluation covers a year's worth of data gathered by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF).
Its monthly records detail the levels of radioactive caesium found in fish and other seafood products from shortly after the March 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami - the double disaster that triggered the Fukushima crisis.
The caesium-134 and 137 isotopes can be traced directly to releases from the crippled power station.
MAFF uses the information to decide whether certain fisheries along five east-coast prefectures, including Fukushima, should be opened or closed (it is not a measure of contamination in actual market fish).
 The data is used to decide when fisheries should be opened or closed
The caesium does not normally stay in the tissues of saltwater fish for very long; a few percent per day on average should flow back into the ocean water. So, the fact that these animals continue to display elevated contamination strongly suggests the pollution source has not yet been completely shut off.
He notes that although caesium levels in any fish type and on any day can be highly variable, it is the bottom-dwelling species off Fukushima that consistently show the highest caesium counts.
For the WHOI researcher, this points to the seafloor being a major reservoir for the caesium pollution.
"It looks to me like the bottom fish, the fish that are eating, you know, crabs and shellfish, the kinds of things that are particle feeders - they seem to be increasing their accumulation of the caesium isotopes because of their habitat on the seafloor," he explained.

Prof Buesseler stresses however that the vast majority of fish caught off the northeast coast of Japan are fit for human consumption.

And while the 40% figure for unsafe catch in the Fukushima prefecture may sound alarming, the bald number is slightly misleading.

Last April, the Japanese authorities tried to instil greater market confidence by lowering the maximum permitted concentration of radioactivity in fish and fish products from 500 becquerels per kilogram of wet weight to 100 Bq/kg wet.

This tightening of the threshold immediately re-classified fish previously deemed fit as unfit, even though their actual contamination count had not changed.

It is also worth comparing the Japanese limit with international standards. In the US, for example, the threshold is set at 1,200 Bq/kg wet - significantly more lenient than even the pre-April Japanese requirement.
And Prof Buesseler makes the point that some naturally occurring radionuclides, such as potassium-40, appear in fish at similar or even higher levels than the radioactive caesium.
Nonetheless, the contamination question is a pertinent one in the Asian nation simply because its people consume far more fish per head than in most other countries.

"At one level, there shouldn't be any surprises here but on another, people need to come to grips with the fact that for some species and for some areas this is going to be a long-term issue; and with these results it's hard to predict for how long some fisheries might have to be closed," said the WHOI scientist.

Prof Buesseler, with Japanese colleagues, is organising a scientific symposium in Tokyo on 12/13 November to present the latest thinking on Fukushima and its impacts on the ocean. The information will then be shared with the public in a free colloquium on 14 November

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