Posts tagged disaster

15 Reasons Why Your Food Bill Is Going To Start SOARING

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Source: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com

By Michael Snyder

15 Reasons Why Your Food Bill Is Going To Start SOARING

 

U.S.-Drought-Monitor-California-February-11-2014-300x231Did you know that the U.S. state that produces the most vegetables is going through the worst drought it has ever experienced and that the size of the total U.S. cattle herd is now the smallest that it has been since 1951?  Just the other day, a CBS News article boldly declared that “food prices soar as incomes stand still“, but the truth is that this is only just the beginning.  If the drought that has been devastating farmers and ranchers out west continues, we are going to see prices for meat, fruits and vegetables soar into the stratosphere.  Already, the federal government has declared portions of 11 states to be “disaster areas”, and California farmers are going to leave half a million acres sitting idle this year because of the extremely dry conditions.  Sadly, experts are telling us that things are probably going to get worse before they get better (if they ever do).  As you will read about below, one expert recently told National Geographic that throughout history it has been quite common for that region of North America to experience severe droughts that last for decades.  In fact, one drought actually lasted for about 200 years.  So there is the possibility that the drought that has begun in the state of California may not end during your entire lifetime.

This drought has gotten so bad that it is starting to get national attention.  Barack Obama visited the Fresno region on Friday, and he declared that “this is going to be a very challenging situation this year, and frankly, the trend lines are such where it’s going to be a challenging situation for some time to come.”

According to NBC News, businesses across the region are shutting down, large numbers of workers are leaving to search for other work, and things are already so bad that it “calls to mind the Dust Bowl of the 1930s“…

In the state’s Central Valley — where nearly 40 percent of all jobs are tied to agriculture production and related processing — the pain has already trickled down. Businesses across a wide swath of the region have shuttered, casting countless workers adrift in a downturn that calls to mind the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.

If you will recall, there have been warnings that Dust Bowl conditions were going to return to the western half of the country for quite some time.

Now the mainstream media is finally starting to catch up.

And of course these extremely dry conditions are going to severely affect food prices.  The following are 15 reasons why your food bill is going to start soaring…

#1 2013 was the driest year on record for the state of California, and 2014 has been exceptionally dry so far as well.

#2 According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 91.6 percent of the entire state of California is experiencing “severe to exceptional drought” even as you read this article.

#3 According to CNBC, it is being projected that California farmers are going to let half a million acres of farmland sit idle this year because of the crippling drought.

#4 Celeste Cantu, the general manager for the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority, says that this drought could have a “cataclysmic” impact on food prices…

Given that California is one of the largest agricultural regions in the world, the effects of any drought, never mind one that could last for centuries, are huge. About 80 percent of California’s freshwater supply is used for agriculture. The cost of fruits and vegetables could soar, says Cantu. “There will be cataclysmic impacts.”

#5 Mike Wade, the executive director of the California Farm Water Coalition, recently explained which crops he believes will be hit the hardest…

Hardest hit would be such annual row crops as tomatoes, broccoli, lettuce, cantaloupes, garlic, peppers and corn. Wade said consumers can also expect higher prices and reduced selection at grocery stores, particularly for products such as almonds, raisins, walnuts and olives.

#6 As I discussed in a previous article, the rest of the nation is extremely dependent on the fruits and vegetables grown in California.  Just consider the following statistics regarding what percentage of our produce is grown in the state…

-99 percent of the artichokes

-44 percent of asparagus

-two-thirds of carrots

-half of bell peppers

-89 percent of cauliflower

-94 percent of broccoli

-95 percent of celery

-90 percent of the leaf lettuce

-83 percent of Romaine lettuce

-83 percent of fresh spinach

-a third of the fresh tomatoes

-86 percent of lemons

-90 percent of avocados

-84 percent of peaches

-88 percent of fresh strawberries

-97 percent of fresh plums

#7 Of course it isn’t just agriculture which will be affected by this drought.  Just consider this chilling statement by Tim Quinn, the executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies…

“There are places in California that if we don’t do something about it, tens of thousands of people could turn on their water faucets and nothing would come out.”

#8 The Sierra Nevada snowpack is only about 15 percent of what it normally is.  As the New York Times recently explained, this is going to be absolutely devastating for Californians when the warmer months arrive…

Experts offer dire warnings. The current drought has already eclipsed previous water crises, like the one in 1977, which a meteorologist friend, translating into language we understand as historians, likened to the “Great Depression” of droughts. Most Californians depend on the Sierra Nevada for their water supply, but the snowpack there was just 15 percent of normal in early February.

#9 The underground aquifers that so many California farmers depend upon are being drained at a staggering rate

Pumping from aquifers is so intense that the ground in parts of the valley is sinking about a foot a year. Once aquifers compress, they can never fill with water again. It’s no surprise Tom Willey wakes every morning with a lump in his throat. When we ask which farmers will survive the summer, he responds quite simply: those who dig the deepest and pump the hardest.

#10 According to an expert interviewed by National Geographic, the current drought in the state of California could potentially last for 200 years or more as some mega-droughts in the region have done in the past…

California is experiencing its worst drought since record-keeping began in the mid 19th century, and scientists say this may be just the beginning. B. Lynn Ingram, a paleoclimatologist at the University of California at Berkeley, thinks that California needs to brace itself for a megadrought—one that could last for 200 years or more.

#11 Much of the western U.S. has been exceedingly dry for an extended period of time, and this is hurting huge numbers of farmers and ranchers all the way from Texas to the west coast…

The western United States has been in a drought that has been building for more than a decade, according to climatologist Bill Patzert of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
 
“Ranchers in the West are selling off their livestock,” Patzert said. “Farmers all over the Southwest, from Texas to Oregon, are fallowing in their fields because of a lack of water. For farmers and ranchers, this is a painful drought.”

#12 The size of the U.S. cattle herd has been shrinking for seven years in a row, and it is now the smallest that it has been since 1951.  But our population has more than doubled since then.

#13 Extremely unusual weather patterns are playing havoc with crops all over the planet right now.  The following is an excerpt from a recent article by Lizzie Bennett

Peru, Venezuela, and Bolivia have experienced rainfall heavy enough to flood fields and rot crops where they stand. Volcanic eruptions in Ecuador are also creating problems due to cattle ingesting ash with their feed leading to a slow and painful death.
 
Parts of Australia have been in drought for years affecting cattle and agricultural production.
 
Rice production in China has been affected by record low temperatures.
 
Large parts of the UK are underwater, and much of that water is sea water which is poisoning the soil. So wet is the UK that groundwater is so high it is actually coming out of the ground and adding to the water from rivers and the sea. With the official assessment being that groundwater flooding will continue until MAY, and that’s if it doesn’t rain again between now and then. The River Thames is 65 feet higher than normal in some areas, flooding town after town as it heads to the sea.

#14 As food prices rise, our incomes are staying about the same.  The following is from a CBS News article entitled “Food prices soar as incomes stand still“…

While the government says prices are up 6.4 percent since 2011, chicken is up 18.4 percent, ground beef is up 16.8 percent and bacon has skyrocketed up 22.8 percent, making it a holiday when it’s on sale.

#15 As I have written about previously, median household income has fallen for five years in a row.  So average Americans are going to have to make their food budgets stretch more than they ever have before as this drought drags on.

If the drought does continue to get worse, small agricultural towns all over California are going to die off.

For instance, consider what is already happening to the little town of Mendota

The farms in and around Mendota are dying of thirst. The signs are everywhere. Orchards with trees lying on their sides, as if shot. Former farm fields given over to tumbleweeds. Land and cattle for sale, cheap.

Large numbers of agricultural workers continue to hang on, hoping that somehow there will be enough work for them.  But as Evelyn Nieves recently observed, panic is starting to set in…

Off-season, by mid-February, idled workers are clearly anxious. Farmworkers and everyone else who waits out the winter for work (truckers, diesel providers, packing suppliers and the like) are nearing the end of the savings they squirrel away during the season. The season starts again in March, April at the latest, but no one knows who will get work when the season begins, or how much.

 
 
 

People are scared, panicked even.

I did not write this article so that you would panic.

Yes, incredibly hard times are coming.  If you will recall, the 1930s were also a time when the United States experienced extraordinarily dry weather conditions and a tremendous amount of financial turmoil.  We could very well be entering a similar time period.

Worrying about this drought is not going to change anything.  Instead of worrying, we should all be doing what we can to store some things up while food is still relatively cheap.  Our grandparents and our great-grandparents that lived during the days of the Great Depression knew the wisdom of having a well-stocked food pantry, and it would be wise to follow their examples.

Please share this article with as many people as you can.  The United States has never faced anything like this during most of our lifetimes.  We need to shake people out of their “normalcy bias” and get them to understand that big changes are coming.

This article first appeared here at the Economic Collapse Blog.  Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.

 

 

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Image credit: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com
 
 

Fukushima nuclear plant facing new disaster

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Source: http://www.cbc.ca

By Craig Dale, CBC News

Fukushima nuclear plant facing new disaster

 

Storage tank leak sparks fears more could follow suit
An aerial view shows Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and its contaminated water storage tanks, bottom, in Fukushima. Japan's nuclear watchdog is concerned that more storage tanks at the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant will spring leaks, following the discovery that highly contaminated water is leaking from one of the hastily built containers. (Reuters)

An aerial view shows Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and its contaminated water storage tanks, bottom, in Fukushima. Japan’s nuclear watchdog is concerned that more storage tanks at the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant will spring leaks, following the discovery that highly contaminated water is leaking from one of the hastily built containers. (Reuters)


 

Tokyo Electric Power Company workers have detected high levels of radiation in a ditch that flows into the ocean from a leaking tank at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

Japan’s nuclear watchdog said Thursday the leak could be the beginning of a new disaster — a series of leaks of contaminated water from hundreds of steel tanks holdng massive amounts of radioactive water coming from three melted reactors, as well as underground water running into reactor and turbine basements.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. says about 300,000 litres of contaminated water leaked from one of the tanks, possibly through a seam. The leak is the fifth, and worst, since last year involving tanks of the same design at the wrecked Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, raising concerns that contaminated water could begin leaking from storage tanks one after another.

“That’s what we fear the most. We must remain alert. We should assume that what has happened once could happen again, and prepare for more,” Nuclear Regulation Authority chairman Shunichi Tanaka told a news conference. “We are in a situation where there is no time to waste.”

The watchdog also proposed at a weekly meeting Wednesday to raise the rating of the seriousness of the leak to level three, a “serious incident,” from level one, “an anomaly,” on an International Nuclear and Radiological event scale from zero to seven.

The watchdog urged TEPCO to step up monitoring for leaks and take precautionary measures.

During the meeting, officials also revealed that plant workers apparently have overlooked several signs of leaks, suggesting their twice-daily patrols were largely just a walk. They have not monitored water levels inside tanks, obviously missed a puddle forming at the bottom of the tank earlier, and kept open a valve on an anti-leakage barrier around the tanks.

TEPCO said the leaked water is believed to have mostly seeped into the ground after escaping from the barrier around the tank. It initially said the leak did not pose an immediate threat to the sea because of its distance — about 500 metres from the coastline. But TEPCO reversed that view late Wednesday and acknowledged a possible leak to the sea after detecting high radioactivity inside a gutter extending to the ocean.

The company also said the tank may have been leaking slowly for weeks through a possible flaw in its bottom. That could create extensive soil contamination and a blow to plans to release untainted underground water into the sea as part of efforts to reduce the amount of radioactive water.

The leaks have shaken confidence in the reliability of hundreds of tanks that are crucial for storing water that has been pumped into the broken reactors to keep melted radioactive fuel cool.

Multiple meltdowns

The plant suffered multiple meltdowns following a massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 — a level seven “major accident” and the worst since Chernobyl, in Ukraine, in 1986.

About 350 of about 1,000 steel tanks built across the plant complex containing nearly 300 million litres of partially treated contaminated water are less-durable ones with rubber seams.

TEPCO says the tanks that have leaked use rubber seams that were intended to last about five years. TEPCO spokesman Masayuki Ono said it plans to build additional tanks with welded seams that are more watertight, but will still have to rely on ones with rubber seams.

Figuring out what to do with the radioactive water is among the most pressing issues affecting the cleanup process, which is expected to take decades.

The leaked water’s radiation level, measured about 50 centimetres above the puddle, was about 100 millisieverts per hour — the maximum cumulative exposure allowed for plant workers over five years, Ono said.

Contaminated water that TEPCO has been unable to contain continues to enter the Pacific Ocean at a rate of hundreds of tons per day. Much of that is ground water that has mixed with untreated radioactive water at the plant.

Updated map of the Fukushima complex showing where two high radiation readings near storage tanks were recorded on Wednesday. (Reuters Graphics)

Updated map of the Fukushima complex showing where two high radiation readings near storage tanks were recorded on Wednesday. (Reuters Graphics)


 

With files from Associated Press

Copyright © CBC 2013

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Republished with permission

Ron Paul: America has already gone over the fiscal cliff

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Source: http://rt.com

Ron Paul: America has already gone over the fiscal cliff

Former Republican presidential candidate, Representative Ron Paul (T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images/AFP)

US President Barack Obama demanded from Congress immediate action to prevent America from falling of a so-called fiscal cliff, but Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) says it might be too late to keep the country afloat.

Speaking with Bloomberg Television on Thursday, the lawmaker who ran against Pres. Obama during the last two elections said he expects that America’s financial woes are beyond repair.

“We’re so far gone,” said the congressman, who will retire from the Hill this year after serving 12 terms in the House. “We’re over the cliff. We cannot get enough people in Congress in the next 5 to 10 years who will do the wise things. We have to prepare for having already fallen off the fiscal cliff.”

On the campaign trail leading up to the Nov. 6, 2012 election, Rep. Paul proposed an array of ideas he said would save the country from economic disaster, including returning to a gold standard and abolishing the Federal Reserve, America’s central bank. On his part, Pres. Obama vowed to keep the company in tact if elected to a second term, and Friday told reporters at the White House that he expects Congress to come to his side and do what’s right to prevent what Rep. Paul says is inevitable now.

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Japanese brain wave-controlled robotic suit could help make Fukushima cleanup effort safer

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Source: http://endthelie.com

By Madison Ruppert

Editor of End the Lie

Japanese brain wave-controlled robotic suit could help make Fukushima cleanup effort safer, HAL

A robot suit entitled HAL (Hybrid Assistive Limb) is displayed at the Japan Robot Week exhibition in Tokyo. The brain wave-controlled robot suits that allow wearers to don heavy radiation protection without feeling the weight were unveiled in Japan (Image credit: AFP/Raw Story)

Contrary to popular belief, the horrific nuclear disaster at Fukushima is far from over. Indeed, as Agence France-Presse (AFP) points out, “The decommissioning of the crippled plant is expected to take several decades.”

However, the “profoundly man-made” disaster at Fukushima and the dangers associated with the ongoing cleanup effort could be mitigated, at least in part, by robotic suits controlled by the brain waves of the operator known as the Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL).

It is worth noting that the true state of the Fukushima plant remains largely mysterious because outside experts are not allowed to actually inspect the plant and give an independent report on the status of the reactors. Furthermore, the spent fuel rods in the pool at reactor four – which are currently in a precarious state – will not be moved until late next year.

HAL is outfitted with a network of sensors that pick up the electrical signals from the operator’s brain thus synchronizing the movement of the robot’s limbs with those of the wearer.

On a somewhat humorous note, HAL not only shares the name of the truly evil supercomputer in “2001: A Space Odyssey” but also is being developed by Cyberdyne, the fictional company that made the Terminator robot in the 1984 “Terminator” film.

Thankfully, it seems that this technology is at least slightly less wicked than the fictional ones mentioned above.

Indeed, according to Yoshiyuki Sankai, professor of engineering at the University of Tsukuba in Japan, the outer layer of the robotic suit helps block radiation while internal fans circulate air, keeping the operator comfortable, and an onboard computer monitors the operator’s heart-rate and breathing for signs of fatigue and distress.

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10 Best Survival Foods At Your Local Supermarket

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Source: http://rtr.org

 10 Best Survival Foods At Your Local Supermarket

Activist Post

As food prices continue to skyrocket, having a bulk supply of food is a great investment. But it also provides security and peace of mind against potential emergencies.

By now most people should be aware that grocery stores only have about 3 days of food in stock when crises strike. So if anything was to disrupt the food supply chain for an extended period of time, there would be untold chaos in most communities.

Any number of events could trigger mass disruption to a fragile food system, many of which are well documented and even predicted. Even NASA has warned its staff to prepare for potential disasters with survival foods and other precautions with their “Family Preparedness Program.”

Prepping for disasters can seem overwhelming with so many aspects to be considered. However, for those just beginning to recognize how perilous these times are and are new to prepping, you can find many great survival foods at your local grocery store.

There are many fancy freeze-dried food companies offering light-weight storable meals. These are cost effective and great for new preppers.  But if you don’t have $1000 laying around to by a large supply, it may be better to pick up a few key items each week at the supermarket to build up your food bank gradually. And by buying base foods at the store, you’ll ultimately save money.
It’s best to keep your survival food list simple, and concentrate on storing foods with the highest amount of calories and the longest shelf life. This list is geared toward foods that will help you survive a crisis that lasts for extended periods of time.

Here are the ten best and cheapest survival rations available at any store:

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Taiwan mobilizes its drones for the first time

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Source: http://www.rawstory.com

By Agence France-Presse

Taiwan mobilizes its drones for the first time

TAIPEI — Taiwan has mobilised its drones, which were introduced to the army earlier this year, for the first time to survey natural disasters, local media reported Sunday.

The unmanned aircraft were sent to areas inundated by flash flooding and mudslides sparked by a monsoon last week, the Taipei-based China Times said.

“The real-time flooding information they collected was transmitted immediately to the disaster command authorities to use in their dispatching of rescue troops and equipment,” the paper quoted an unnamed military source as saying.

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Operators Admit Fukushima Radiation Levels Exceed 2 1/2 Times Announced

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Source: http://naturalsociety.com

By Anthony Gucciardi

Operators Admit Fukushima Radiation Levels Exceed 2 1/2 Times Announced  Read more: http://naturalsociety.com/fukushima-radiation-levels-two-times-amount-claimed/#ixzz1w0aqX1gS

http://naturalsociety.com

Fukushima plant operators are now admitting that the Fukushima radiation levels emitted from the disaster exceeds almost two and a half times the initial ‘estimate’ produced by Japanese safety regulators. The announcementcomes after independent researchers exposed the true amount of radiation leaked from the plant back in October of 2011. The study revealed that significantly more radioactive caesium was released into the atmosphere as a result of the Fukushima explosion than many nuclear experts previously told the public.

Fukushima Radiation Levels: A Cause for Concern

The researchers from this study went against the official explanations (now confirmed as bogus by the operators themselves), and stated that the amount of radioactive isotope caesium-137 released at the height of the crisis was equivalent to 42% of that from Chernobyl. And that’s just the amount released at the height of the event. Many experts have actually labeled the Fukushima event to be even more catastrophic than the Chernobyl incident. Scientists who challenged the official report published their findings online in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, and authors state that Fukushima radiation levels truly began flooding the environment between being struck by the magnitude-9 earthquake on March 11th and being hit with a tsunami 45 minutes later.

Maxim Shingarkin, an expert in nuclear and radiation security, commented on the situation in Fukushima:

“In fact, this statement came with a big delay. The operating company deliberately concealed this information. The explanation is simple – the company is afraid that any checking by competent experts would reveal its inability to save the situation. Only recently, foreign experts founded a consultative body for the clean-up of the accident’s consequences. Moreover, the company is concealing the information about the amount of pollution of the environment.”

The plant now states that the meltdowns which took place at three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant released about 900,000 terabecquerels of radioactive substances into the air. But what happened to the majority of the radioactive contamination? According to the earlier report, 20% of the caesium-137 fell on Japanese land, and about 2% ended up on land outside the country. The remainder came down in the Pacific Ocean. Is it any wonder that ‘hidden’ deaths are now being reported by scientific research?

Health and radiation experts are now admitting that radiation stemming from the Fukushima disaster is leading to an unknown number of deaths as a result of increasing cancer rates around the globe. They are also stating that these deaths will be ‘hidden’ from the public eye due to a lack of accurate identification when it comes to targeting Fukushima-related cancer deaths.

It seems that Japanese government officials and plant higher-ups are now being forced to reveal certain details of the Fukushima disaster. From concealing integral information from the public to ignoring the real threat to public health, there is sincere lack of honesty and communication between many worldwide health officials and the citizens of the world. As information continues to surface, more and more truths will be expelled from the mainstream media and ‘health’ officials alike regarding the troubling event.

Coast Guard sinks Japan tsunami ‘ghost ship’

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Source: http://www.rawstory.com

By Agence France-Presse

Coast Guard sinks Japan tsunami ‘ghost ship’

The US Coast Guard sunk a Japanese “ghost ship” with bursts of heavy gunfire when it drifted into Alaskan waters more than a year after being set adrift by a devastating tsunami.

The deserted trawler, seen as a shipping hazard, was first spotted off the coast of Canada on March 24, having drifted thousands of miles (kilometers) across the Pacific Ocean on the current following the March 2011 tsunami.

The Ryou-Un Maru fishing vessel, which appeared about 180 miles off the coast in 6,000-foot (2,000-meter) deep water, was a significant navigation hazard, officials said.

“It’s between 150 and 200 feet long, it’s unmanned and unlit and adrift. In the dark, it presents a significant danger to other vessels transiting that area,” Sara Francis, a spokeswoman for the Alaska Coast Guard, told AFP.

The Japanese owners of the ship had said they did not want it back. Early Thursday, a Canadian crew had tried to save it, but after a closer inspection they abandoned the idea and the operation to sink the ship began.

“It’s between 150 and 200 feet long, it’s unmanned and unlit and adrift. In the dark, it presents a significant danger to other vessels transiting that area,” Sara Francis, a spokeswoman for the Alaska Coast Guard, told AFP.

The Japanese owners of the ship had said they did not want it back. Early Thursday, a Canadian crew had tried to save it, but after a closer inspection they abandoned the idea and the operation to sink the ship began.

The Coast Guard fired an initial salvo of 25 mm explosive rounds, causing the ship to catch fire and list slightly, according to Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Kip Wadlow, in the Alaskan capital of Juneau.

A second salvo was fired later in the afternoon, he said, and the Coast Guard confirmed the vessel sank at 6:15 pm Thursday (0215 GMT Friday).

It released pictures of the rusty-hulled vessel on fire, with a column of black smoke rising into the air.

The Coast Guard said that there was no risk that pollution from the ship would threaten the pristine Alaskan and Canadian coasts.

“If there is any fuel on board it’s expected to be diesel fuel, which will disappear very quickly and pose limited risk to the environment,” Francis said.

The boat was the largest piece of debris so far to appear off the US coast after the March 11, 2011 tsunami.

Some 20 million tons of debris have washed up since the disaster, and researchers in Hawaii have developed computer models to forecast its movement and predict where and when it could come ashore.

Japan marks 1 year since quake, tsunami disaster

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Source: http://xfinity.comcast.net

By MIKI TODA and MALCOLM FOSTER, AP
Japan, 1 year, disaster, nuclear plant,

A family observes a moment of silence in front of what is left of a disaster...

RIKUZENTAKATA, Japan — For 70-year-old Toshiko Murakami, memories of the terrifying earthquake and tsunami that destroyed much of her seaside town and swept away her sister brought fresh tears Sunday, exactly a year after the disaster.

“My sister is still missing so I can’t find peace within myself,” she said before attending a ceremony in a tent in Rikuzentaka marking the anniversary of the March 11, 2011, disaster that killed just over 19,000 people and unleashed the world’s worst nuclear crisis in a quarter century.

Across Japan, people paused at 2:46 p.m. — the moment the magnitude-9.0 quake struck a year ago — for moments of silence, prayer and reflection about the enormous losses suffered and monumental tasks ahead.

Japan must rebuild dozens of ravaged coastal communities, shut down the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant and decontaminate radiated land so it is inhabitable again.

These are enormous burdens on a country already straining under the weight of an aging, shrinking population, bulging national debt and an economy that’s been stagnant for two decades.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda reminded the Japanese people that they have overcome many disasters and difficulties in the past and pledged to rebuild the nation so it will be “reborn as an even better place.”

“Our predecessors who bought prosperity to Japan have repeatedly risen up from crises, every time becoming stronger,” Noda said at a ceremony at the National Theater attended by the emperor and empress.

Later, he told a news conference he hoped to see the disaster-hit areas fully rebuilt when “babies born on the day of the disasters turn 10 years old.”

The earthquake was the strongest recorded in Japan’s history, and set off a tsunami that swelled to more than 65 feet (20 meters) in some spots along the northeastern coast, destroying tens of thousands of homes and causing widespread destruction.

All told, some 325,000 people are still in temporary housing. While much of the debris along the tsunami-ravaged coast has been gathered into massive piles, only 6 percent has been disposed of through incineration.

(more…)

Maddow: Proof Ron Paul Was Robbed In Maine

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Rachel Maddow lays out some of the evidence of fraud that robbed Dr. Paul of the official win in Maine.

 

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