Refugees keep drowning in Mediterranean


This Deutsche Welle video says about itself:

Death toll rises in Egypt boat tragedy | DW News

23 September 2016

Another tragedy for refugees attempting the journey to Europe. In Egypt, 162 bodies have been pulled from waters close to Rosetta, a city on the country’s northern coast. Authorities are still recovering bodies and searching for surivors. Dozens more are feared dead.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Number killed in refugee boat tragedy hits 162

Saturday 24th September 2016

THE full horror of Wednesday’s refugee boat disaster off Egypt began to emerge yesterday as more than 100 bodies were pulled from the sea.

The death toll stood at 162 and was expected to rise as the Morning Star went to press.

Up to 600 people may have been on board the appallingly overloaded people-traffickers’ boat that capsized and sank just eight miles off the port of Rosetta in the Nile Delta on Wednesday evening.

More than 160 have been rescued, most of them Egyptians along with some Sudanese, Somalians, Eritreans and other nationalities.

Local council chairman Ali Abdel-Sattar said currents had carried the bodies many miles from the site of the sinking.

“Today, four bodies, including two Egyptian children, were found 20km to the east,” he told reporters.

He added that many of the refugees were believed to have been “stored in the bottom of the boat, in the fridge.”

“Those are the ones who drowned first, most probably stuck, and their bodies might not be retrieved anytime soon,” he said.

“Those we found are the ones liberated from the boat. I believe many are stuck and now lying in the bottom of the sea.”

By Xinhua writer Wu Zhiqiang:

Commentary: Rosetta tragedy fresh reminder of Western responsibility

CAIRO, Sept. 24 — The death of more than 160 people in the sinking of an overloaded ship off Egypt’s Mediterranean city of Rosetta has once again focused world attention on the plight of refugees and migrants.

And on the causes behind tragedies like this.

The refugees, or migrants, however you describe them, were fleeing war and poverty for a safer, better life somewhere else.

A multitude of reasons may be given as to what caused the wars and the poverty, but the West cannot shirk their responsibility.

Colonial rule by Western powers in past centuries and their interventionist policies in recent decades both played a part.

Rosetta, appearing in the datelines of so many news stories on the sinking of the ship with up to 600 people aboard, happens to bear the same name of an ancient rock stele now sitting inside the British Museum and that Egyptian authorities want returned.

Dating back to 196 BC, the Rosetta Stone, which provided the key to deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs, was once “owned” by Napoleon’s troops and then ended up the “property” of Britain.

And now the city of Rosetta is bearing witness to a tragedy partly of Western making.

What a coincidence.

The euphoric atmosphere permeating Washington and other Western capitals at the start of the so-called “Arab Spring” five years ago has long been replaced by hand-wringing in the face of bloodshed, chaos, and misery from Syria to Iraq to Libya, and the terror attacks that filled news headlines so often around the world.

In a few hours, the foreign ministers of the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and the European Union are scheduled to gather at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, in northwest United States.

The serene campus of Tufts is a far cry from the turbulent Mediterranean seas, but the wars in the Middle East and the refugee crisis gripping the region and beyond sit near the top of the agenda when U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets his five counterparts.

Rosetta and Medford, in the final analysis, are not too far away.

One more death is too many. One day longer of suffering is too long.

It is high time that the United States and other Western countries reflected upon their flawed interventionist policies that often featured imposition of their values and sought regime changes.

It is high time that the West took constructive actions.

They have a moral obligation and historical responsibility to do so.

Fukushima nuclear disaster continuing


This CBS video from the USA says about itself:

Sailors, ex-Prime Minister file suit over Fukushima radiation exposure

27 June 2016

More than 400 Navy sailors and former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi are suing TEPCO for lying about the amount of radiation released during the Fukushima meltdown.

Read more here.

Japan’s former prime minister Junichiro Koizumi has labelled the country’s current leader, Shinzo Abe, a “liar” for telling the international community that the situation at the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is under control: here. And here.

Nuclear power may never recover its cachet as a clean energy source, irrespective of safety concerns, because of the ongoing saga of meltdown 3/11/11 at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Over time, the story only grows more horrific, painful, deceitful. It’s a story that will continue for generations to come: here.

Treated water from Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc.’s wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant north of Tokyo is safe to be released under controlled circumstances into the nearby Pacific Ocean, a [TEPCO] adviser said: here.

Ice wall at Fukushima Daiichi damaged by recent typhoons in Japan: here.

USA: Former Senator John Edwards has pledged to support hundreds of U.S. sailors, Marines and airmen who say they were sickened by radioactive fallout from the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant: here.

Fukushima, Japan disaster update


This 20 June 2016 video is called Fukushima rice to be sold in Britain.

7 million Bq of all β nuclides leaked as contaminated water in Fukushima plant: here.

Radioactive cesium fallout on Tokyo from Fukushima concentrated in glass microparticles: here.

Solar energy in Japan: here.

Fukushima rice will be available for sale in the UK starting in July. It will also be supplied to some restaurants in the city. … As was found in Taiwan, many times Japanese foods are not tested at all before being exported to other countries. Mixing of contaminated crops with those of lesser or no contamination is also not currently banned in Japan. The rice being exported from Fukushima is a variety called Ten no Tsubu: here.

Fukushima, Japan young woman about cancer


This video says about itself:

Young woman from Fukushima speaks out

This interview was filmed on February 12, 2016, in Fukushima Prefecture. The young woman was 15 at the time of the nuclear meltdown in Fukushima, and we are releasing this interview with her permission. She is one of the 166 Fukushima residents aged 18 or younger at the time of the nuclear disaster who has been diagnosed with or suspected of having thyroid cancer (as of February 2016).

Fukushima residents who were 18 years old or younger at the time of the nuclear accident have been asked to participate in the free and voluntary thyroid ultrasound examination which is part of the Fukushima Health Management Survey. However, 18.8% of this age group were not tested in the 1st round of testing. While the final results for the 2nd round of testing are not yet complete, every year the number of children participating in the official thyroid examinations is decreasing; the number of children who have not participated in the 2nd round of testing is currently 50.7%. For those young people aged 18-21 (as of April 1, 2014) and who were living in Fukushima at the time of the nuclear accident, 74.5% have not yet taken part in the official thyroid ultrasound examination.

This young woman’s reason for speaking out is to motivate the families of children who have not yet received the thyroid ultrasound examination to have their children tested. However, in sharing her story about a topic which has become increasingly difficult to talk publicly about in Japan, she faces inherent risks which may include those to her work, community life and personal relationships. I therefore ask that her privacy is respected.

From Associated Press:

Woman breaks silence among Fukushima thyroid cancer patients

Originally published June 7, 2016 at 12:01 am. Updated June 7, 2016 at 6:29 am

By YURI KAGEYAMA

KORIYAMA, Japan — She’s 21, has thyroid cancer, and wants people in her prefecture in northeastern Japan to get screened for it. That statement might not seem provocative, but her prefecture is Fukushima, and of the 173 young people with confirmed or suspected cases since the 2011 nuclear meltdowns there, she is the first to speak out.

That near-silence highlights the fear Fukushima thyroid-cancer patients have about being the “nail that sticks out,” and thus gets hammered.

The thyroid-cancer rate in the northern Japanese prefecture is many times higher than what is generally found, particularly among children, but the Japanese government says more cases are popping up because of rigorous screening, not the radiation that spewed from Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant.

To be seen as challenging that view carries consequences in this rigidly harmony-oriented society. Even just having cancer that might be related to radiation carries a stigma in the only country to be hit with atomic bombs.

“There aren’t many people like me who will openly speak out,” said the young woman, who requested anonymity because of fears about harassment. “That’s why I’m speaking out so others can feel the same. I can speak out because I’m the kind of person who believes things will be OK.”

She has a quick disarming smile and silky black hair. She wears flip-flops. She speaks passionately about her new job as a nursery school teacher. But she also has deep fears: Will she be able to get married? Will her children be healthy?

She suffers from the only disease that the medical community, including the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, has acknowledged is clearly related to the radioactive iodine that spewed into the surrounding areas after the only nuclear disaster worse than Fukushima’s, the 1986 explosion and fire at Chernobyl, Ukraine.

Though international reviews of Fukushima have predicted that cancer rates will not rise as a result of the meltdowns there, some researchers believe the prefecture’s high thyroid-cancer rate is related to the accident.

The government has ordered medical testing of the 380,000 people who were 18 years or under and in Fukushima prefecture at the time of the March 2011 tsunami and quake that sank three reactors into meltdowns. About 38 percent have yet to be screened, and the number is a whopping 75 percent for those who are now between the ages of 18 and 21.

The young woman said she came forward because she wants to help other patients, especially children, who may be afraid and confused. She doesn’t know whether her sickness was caused by the nuclear accident, but plans to get checked for other possible sicknesses, such as uterine cancer, just to be safe.

“I want everyone, all the children, to go to the hospital and get screened. They think it’s too much trouble, and there are no risks, and they don’t go,” the woman said in a recent interview in Fukushima. “My cancer was detected early, and I learned that was important.”

Thyroid cancer is among the most curable cancers, though some patients need medication for the rest of their lives, and all need regular checkups.

The young woman had one cancerous thyroid removed, and does not need medication except for painkillers. But she has become prone to hormonal imbalance and gets tired more easily. She used to be a star athlete, and snowboarding remains a hobby.

A barely discernible tiny scar is on her neck, like a pale kiss mark or scratch. She was hospitalized for nearly two weeks, but she was itching to get out. It really hurt then, but there is no pain now, she said with a smile.

“My ability to bounce right back is my trademark,” she said. “I’m always able to keep going.”

She was mainly worried about her parents, especially her mother, who cried when she found out her daughter had cancer. Her two older siblings also were screened but were fine.

Many Japanese have deep fears about genetic abnormalities caused by radiation. Many, especially older people, assume all cancers are fatal, and even the young woman did herself until her doctors explained her sickness to her.

The young woman said her former boyfriend’s family had expressed reservations about their relationship because of her sickness. She has a new boyfriend now, a member of Japan’s military, and he understands about her sickness, she said happily.

A support group for thyroid cancer patients was set up earlier this year. The group, which includes lawyers and medical doctors, has refused all media requests for interviews with the handful of families that have joined, saying that kind of attention may be dangerous.

When the group held a news conference in Tokyo in March, it connected by live video feed with two fathers with children with thyroid cancer, but their faces were not shown, to disguise their identities. They criticized the treatment their children received and said they’re not certain the government is right in saying the cancer and the nuclear meltdowns are unrelated.

Hiroyuki Kawai, a lawyer who also advises the group, believes patients should file Japan’s equivalent of a class-action lawsuit, demanding compensation, but he acknowledged more time will be needed for any legal action.

“The patients are divided. They need to unite, and they need to talk with each other,” he told AP in a recent interview.

The committee of doctors and other experts carrying out the screening of youngsters in Fukushima for thyroid cancer periodically update the numbers of cases found, and they have been steadily climbing.

In a news conference this week, they stuck to the view the cases weren’t related to radiation. Most disturbing was a cancer found in a child who was just 5 years old in 2011, the youngest case found so far. But the experts brushed it off, saying one wasn’t a significant number.

“It is hard to think there is any relationship,” with radiation, said Hokuto Hoshi, a medical doctor who heads the committee.

Shinsyuu Hida, a photographer from Fukushima and an adviser to the patients’ group, said fears are great not only about speaking out but also about cancer and radiation.

He said that when a little girl who lives in Fukushima once asked him if she would ever be able to get married, because of the stigma attached to radiation, he was lost for an answer and wept afterward.

“They feel alone. They can’t even tell their relatives,” Hida said of the patients. “They feel they can’t tell anyone. They felt they were not allowed to ask questions.”

The woman who spoke to AP also expressed her views on video for a film in the works by independent American filmmaker Ian Thomas Ash [see top of this blog post].

She counts herself lucky. About 18,000 people were killed in the tsunami, and many more lost their homes to the natural disaster and the subsequent nuclear accident, but her family’s home was unscathed.

When asked how she feels about nuclear power, she replied quietly that Japan doesn’t need nuclear plants. Without them, she added, maybe she would not have gotten sick.

Radioactive soil turns up at Fukushima high school — The Asahi Shimbun: here.