TEPCO: Fukushima Groundwater ‘Highly’ Radiation-Contaminated, Contains Radioactive Iodine 10,000 Times Legal Limit

TOKYO, April 1, Kyodo — More signs of serious radiation contamination in and near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant were detected Thursday, with the latest data finding groundwater containing radioactive iodine 10,000 times the legal threshold and the concentration of radioactive iodine-131 in nearby seawater rising to the highest level yet.

Radioactive material was confirmed from groundwater for the first time since the March 11 quake and tsunami hit the nuclear power plant on the Pacific coast, knocking out the reactors’ key cooling functions. An official of the plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said, ”We’re aware this is an extremely high figure.”

The contaminated groundwater was found from around the No. 1 reactor’s turbine building, although the radiation level of groundwater is usually so low that it cannot be measured.

Read moreTEPCO: Fukushima Groundwater ‘Highly’ Radiation-Contaminated, Contains Radioactive Iodine 10,000 Times Legal Limit

Federal Reserve Releases Discount-Window Loan Records During Crisis Under Court Order

Mar. 31 (Bloomberg) — The Federal Reserve released thousands of pages of secret loan documents under court order, almost three years after Bloomberg LP first requested details of the central bank’s unprecedented support to banks during the financial crisis.

The records reveal for the first time the names of financial institutions that borrowed directly from the central bank through the so-called discount window. The Fed provided the documents after the U.S. Supreme Court this month rejected a banking industry group’s attempt to shield them from public view.

“This is an enormous breakthrough in the public interest,” said Walker Todd, a former Cleveland Fed attorney who has written research on the Fed lending facility. “They have long wanted to keep the discount window confidential. They have always felt strongly about this. They don’t want to tell the public who they are lending to.”

The central bank has never revealed identities of borrowers since the discount window began lending in 1914. The Dodd-Frank law exempted the facility last year when it required the Fed to release details of emergency programs that extended $3.3 trillion to financial institutions to stem the credit crisis. While Congress mandated disclosure of discount-window loans made after July 21, 2010 with a two-year delay, the records released today represent the only public source of details on discount- window lending during the crisis.

Read moreFederal Reserve Releases Discount-Window Loan Records During Crisis Under Court Order

Farmers and Seed Producers Launch Preemptive Strike against Monsanto

Lawsuit Filed To Protect Themselves from Unfair Patent Enforcement on Genetically Modified Seed

Action Would Prohibit Biotechnology Giant from Suing Organic Farmers and Seed Growers If Innocently Contaminated by Roundup Ready Genes

NEW York: On behalf of 60 family farmers, seed businesses and organic agricultural organizations, the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) filed suit today against Monsanto Company challenging the chemical giant’s patents on genetically modified seed. The organic plaintiffs were forced to sue preemptively to protect themselves from being accused of patent infringement should their crops ever become contaminated by Monsanto’s genetically modified seed.

Monsanto has sued farmers in the United States and Canada, in the past, when their patented genetic material has inadvertently contaminated their crops.

A copy of the lawsuit can be found at:
(http://www.pubpat.org/assets/files/seed/OSGATA-v-Monsanto-Complaint.pdf)

The case, Organic Seed Growers & Trade Association, et al. v. Monsanto, was filed in federal district court in Manhattan and assigned to Judge Naomi Buchwald. Plaintiffs in the suit represent a broad array of family farmers, small businesses and organizations from within the organic agriculture community who are increasingly threatened by genetically modified seed contamination despite using their best efforts to avoid it. The plaintiff organizations have over 270,000 members, including thousands of certified organic family farmers.

“This case asks whether Monsanto has the right to sue organic farmers for patent infringement if Monsanto’s transgenic seed or pollen should land on their property,” said Dan Ravicher, PUBPAT’s Executive Director. “It seems quite perverse that an organic farmer contaminated by transgenic seed could be accused of patent infringement, but Monsanto has made such accusations before and is notorious for having sued hundreds of farmers for patent infringement, so we had to act to protect the interests of our clients.”

Read moreFarmers and Seed Producers Launch Preemptive Strike against Monsanto

‘Skunked’: Bill Gross On How ‘The U.S. Will Likely Default On Its Debt’

Captain Obvious strikes again.

More from Bill Gross:

PIMCO Total Return, The World’s Largest Bond Fund, Dumps All US Government Debt Holdings

PIMCO’s Bill Gross: US Treasuries Are Not Safe And ‘Most Overvalued’ Bonds

PIMCO’s Bill Gross: ‘No Way Out’ of Debt Trap, US Living Standards Doomed to Fall

PIMCO’s Bill Gross Asks The $64,000 Question: ‘Who Will Buy Treasuries When The Fed Doesn’t?’ His Answer: ‘I Don’t Know’; Gross Is Getting Out Of Risk


In a letter focusing on what has been well known to Zero Hedge readers for about two years now, Bill Gross’ latest investment outlook does the usual attack of Beltway stupidity (as if Congress is in any way competent of making math-related decisions – they do what Wall Street – that’s you Bill! – tell them to do, and you know it), emphasizing the impossible math of total US entitlement liabilities (on a net present value basis), which Gross estimates at $75 trillion. That Gross conclusion is predetermined from the onset is not surprising: “Unless entitlements are substantially reformed, I am confident that this country will default on its debt; not in conventional ways, but by picking the pocket of savers via a combination of less observable, yet historically verifiable policies – inflation, currency devaluation and low to negative real interest rates.”

Then again, that America is bankrupt is not really news to anyone. Neither is it news, that Gross, as we first reported, no longer has any US bonds to dispose of. What will be news is the inflection point at which Gross starts purchasing Treasuries once again. And after all with $220 billion in AUM in the Total Return Fund, what else will he do: hold on to cash? Buy Netflix? Then the only question will be how Gross spins the inevitable capitulation of the re-hypocrisy trade, validating that he, in a narrow sense, and PIMCO in a broad one, is perhaps the biggest cog in the very system that Bill spends so many hours writing letters about and complaining against. But yes, even that won’t be all that surprising to us. After all, in this bizarro world absolutely everything is now priced in.

From PIMCO

Skunked

  • Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security now account for 44% of total federal spending and are steadily rising.
  • Previous Congresses (and Administrations) have relied on the assumption that we can grow our way out of this onerous debt burden.
  • Unless entitlements are substantially reformed, the U.S. will likely default on its debt; not in conventional ways, but via inflation, currency devaluation and low to negative real interest rates.

Read more‘Skunked’: Bill Gross On How ‘The U.S. Will Likely Default On Its Debt’

Dangerous Levels of Radioactive Cesuim 137 Found 25 Miles From Fukushima Plant

WASHINGTON — A long-lasting radioactive element has been measured at levels that pose a long-term danger at one spot 25 miles from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, raising questions about whether Japan’s evacuation zone should be expanded and whether the land might need to be abandoned.

The isotope, cesium 137, was measured in one village by the International Atomic Energy Agency at a level exceeding the standard that the Soviet Union used as a gauge to recommend abandoning land surrounding the Chernobyl reactor, and at another location not precisely identified by the agency at more than double the Soviet standard.

The measurements, reported Wednesday, would not be high enough to cause acute radiation illness, but far exceed standards for the general public designed to cut the risks of cancer.

Read moreDangerous Levels of Radioactive Cesuim 137 Found 25 Miles From Fukushima Plant

FOIA Request Shows EPA Prepares To Dramatically Increase Permissible Radioactive Releases In Drinking Water, Food And Soil After ‘Radiological Incidents’

The EPA is preparing to dramatically increase permissible radioactive releases in drinking water, food and soil after “radiological incidents,” according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.

What is termed a guidance that EPA is considering – as opposed to a regulation – does not require public airing before it’s decided upon.

EPA officials contacted today in the Atlanta and D.C. offices had no response on the issue as of 6 p.m.

The radiation guides called Protective Action Guides or PAGs are protocols for responding to radiological events ranging from nuclear power-plant accidents to dirty bombs.

Drinking water, for example, would have a huge increase in allowable public exposure to radioactivity, the group says, that would include:

A nearly 1000-fold increase in strontium-90

A 3000 to 100,000-fold hike for iodine-131

An almost 25,000 rise for nickel-63

The new radiation guidance would also allow long-term cleanup standards thousands of times more lax than anything EPA has ever before accepted, permitting doses to the public that EPA itself estimates would cause a cancer in as much as every fourth person exposed, the group says.

These relaxed standards are opposed by public health professionals inside EPA, according to documents PEER said it obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

PEER is a national alliance of local state and federal resource professionals

Anne Paine
Mar 16, 2011‎

Source: The Tenessean

And Now: UK Teachers, Nurses And Youth Workers Urged To Ask 11-Year-Olds If They Are Gay

Fury at equality watchdog after it calls for teachers to ask 11-year-olds if they are gay


Teachers, nurses and youth workers are being urged to set up pilot studies aimed at monitoring adolescent sexual orientation for the first time.

Children as young as 11 could soon be asked about their sexuality without their parents’ consent, it has emerged.

Teachers, nurses and youth workers are being urged to set up pilot studies aimed at monitoring adolescent sexual orientation for the first time.

A report commissioned by the Government’s equalities watchdog found that it was ‘practically and ethically’ possible to interview young children about their sexuality.
Controversially, it says parental consent, while ‘considered good practice’, is not a legal necessity.

Read moreAnd Now: UK Teachers, Nurses And Youth Workers Urged To Ask 11-Year-Olds If They Are Gay

Unpaid Jobs: The New Normal?

A self-esteem boost will really make all the difference when you are hungry, right?

Mind-control obviously really does work.


While businesses are generally wary of the risks of using unpaid labor, companies that have used free workers say it can pay off when done right.

FORTUNE — With nearly 14 million unemployed workers in America, many have gotten so desperate that they’re willing to work for free. While some businesses are wary of the legal risks and supervision such an arrangement might require, companies that have used free workers say it can pay off when done right.

“People who work for free are far hungrier than anybody who has a salary, so they’re going to outperform, they’re going to try to please, they’re going to be creative,” says Kelly Fallis, chief executive of Remote Stylist, a Toronto and New York-based startup that provides Web-based interior design services. “From a cost savings perspective, to get something off the ground, it’s huge. Especially if you’re a small business.”

In the last three years, Fallis has used about 50 unpaid interns for duties in marketing, editorial, advertising, sales, account management and public relations. She’s convinced it’s the wave of the future in human resources. “Ten years from now, this is going to be the norm,” she says.

Why do people work for free?

The benefit unpaid labor offers to a business is pretty clear, but it can also give employees needed experience, a reference letter or even a self-esteem boost in a depressing economy.

Read moreUnpaid Jobs: The New Normal?