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Iran Asks UN to Address US Refusal to Issue Envoy Visa

FILE - Hamid Aboutalebi, an Iranian diplomat, who was recently named as Iran's ambassador at the United Nations, speaks at his office in Tehran, Iran.

FILE – Hamid Aboutalebi, an Iranian diplomat, who was recently named as Iran’s ambassador at the United Nations, speaks at his office in Tehran, Iran.

VOA News

Iran is asking a United Nations committee to hold a special meeting on the refusal of the United States to issue a visa to Iran’s choice for its ambassador to the U.N.

American officials object to Iran’s selection of Hamid Abutalebi because of his alleged involvement in the 1979 seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. White House spokesman Jay Carney said last week the choice is “not viable.”

In a letter Monday, Iran’s mission to the U.N. said that decision has “negative implications” diplomatically and creates a dangerous precedent. It says denying a visa to a U.N. member state goes against the U.N. charter and international law.

Iran wants the U.N. Committee on Relations with the Host Country to urgently address the issue.

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Trend .az

U.S. adopts harsher tone in U.N. envoy dispute with Iran

Photo: U.S. adopts harsher tone in U.N. envoy dispute with Iran / Iran

The United States adopted a harsher tone toward Iran’s proposed U.N. ambassador on Tuesday, calling Tehran’s choice of Hamid Abutalebi “unacceptable” and tying him to the 1979-1981 U.S. hostage crisis in Tehran, Reuters reported.

While it did not detail what the veteran diplomat may have done during the period, when radical Iranian students seized the U.S. embassy and held 52 U.S. hostages for 444 days, the State Department for the first time linked the U.S. decision not to issue him a visa to those events.

“He himself has said he was involved and, given his role in the events of 1979, which clearly matter profoundly to the American people, it would be unacceptable for the United States to grant this visa,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters at her daily briefing.

Abutalebi has said that he acted only as a translator.

Previously U.S. spokespeople used softer language, saying the choice was not “viable.”

 

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Daily International News

WHO: Ebola Death Toll Tops 120

Health workers walk in an isolation center for people infected with Ebola at Donka Hospital in Conakry, April 14, 2014.

Health workers walk in an isolation center for people infected with Ebola at Donka Hospital in Conakry, April 14, 2014.

VOA News

WHO says health ministries in Guinea, Liberia and other affected countries have reported about 200 confirmed or suspected cases of the virus.

The vast majority of victims are in Guinea, where officials have reported 168 cases, including 108 deaths. Liberia reports 13 deaths from the disease.

News reports Tuesday said Gambian authorities have ordered airlines not to pick up passengers from affected countries.

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The New Zealand Herald

The Gambia bans flights from ebola-hit countries

Health workers wearing protective suits walk in an isolation center for people infected with Ebola at Donka Hospital in Conakry, Guinea. Photo / AFP

Health workers wearing protective suits walk in an isolation center for people infected with Ebola at Donka Hospital in Conakry, Guinea. Photo / AFP

The Gambia has banned flights from Ebola-hit west African countries from landing in its territory, airport officials said.

Staff at Banjul International Airport said on condition of anonymity that President Yahya Jammeh had ordered airlines to cancel all flights from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in a bid to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.

“This decision by the Gambian authorities has left prospective passengers travelling to Banjul … stranded in these west African countries,” said an airport official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“Brussels Airlines, which transits in Freetown from Europe, is only allowed to drop passengers there, but not pick anyone up.”

The outbreak in Guinea is one of the deadliest in history, with 168 cases “clinically compatible” with Ebola virus disease reported, including 108 deaths, since the start of the year, according to the World Health Organisation.

The outbreak began in the impoverished country’s southern forests, but has spread to Conakry, a sprawling port city on the Atlantic coast and home to two million people

Neighbouring Liberia has reported 20 probable or suspected cases, six lab-confirmed cases and 13 deaths.

Mali also had suspected cases but was given the all-clear on Tuesday after samples taken from patients tested negative for Ebola in laboratories, the health ministry told reporters in Bamako.

There was no official confirmation of the ban from the Gambia but AFP has seen a letter dated April 10 from the transport ministry notifying airlines of the measures while Sierra Leone’s government said it was in talks with Banjul over the issue.

It was not immediately clear if sanctions were being threatened against airlines or airport authorities for ignoring the ban.

“I went to the Gambia Bird (airlines) office in the Greater Banjul area to purchase an air ticket for my elder brother currently in Monrovia but was informed by the travel agent that they are not selling tickets to passengers travelling from Monrovia and Freetown,” Banjul resident Nyima Sanneh told AFP.

 

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Washington Examiner

EXography: State government dependence on federal funding growing at alarming rate

By David Freddoso | APRIL 15, 2014 AT 5:18 AM

Source: Annual Survey of State Government Finances, U.S. Census Bureau

Only 11 states depended on the federal government for more than one-third of their total revenues in 2001. By 2012, 24 states found themselves in this situation.

State-by-state data from the U.S. Census Bureau, compiled by the State Budget Solutions nonprofit, illustrates the trend of increasing state dependence on federal financial assistance.

Forty-one of the 50 states have become more dependent on the federal government since 2001 — with federal dollars accounting for an increasing share of their total revenues.

This trend of increased state dependency on Washington reduces state and local control, while threatening the states’ long-run autonomy.

The reason is that with federal patronage comes federal leverage. The original Obamacare plan, for example, was to force states to expand Medicaid by threatening them with loss of all federal matching Medicaid funds if they refused.

Although that particular scheme was struck down by the Supreme Court, state governments hate to turn down revenue, and federal dollars have strings attached that force states either to operate as Washington prefers or lose the money.

This problem is exacerbated by the federal government’s control of the currency and ability to borrow virtually unlimited amounts of money.

 

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EU spy chief rules out Russian military presence in Ukraine

Published time: April 16, 2014 13:27
Pro-Russia protesters gather in front of a barricade outside a regional government building in Donetsk, in eastern Ukraine April 11, 2014. (Reuters/Gleb Garanich)

Pro-Russia protesters gather in front of a barricade outside a regional government building in Donetsk, in eastern Ukraine April 11, 2014. (Reuters/Gleb Garanich)

There is no large Russian military presence in East Ukraine, head of EU intelligence, Commodore Georgij Alafuzoff, has said. The spy chief has dismissed multiple accusations from the West alleging Russian involvement in the unrest in the region.

In an interview with Finnish national news broadcaster, Yle, Alafuzoff said the Russian military had nothing to do with the seizing of government buildings in eastern Ukraine.

“In my opinion, it’s mostly people who live in the region who are not satisfied with the current state of affairs,” said Alafuzoff, referring to the situation in East Ukraine. He went on to say that the people are worried for the welfare of those who speak Russian as their first language in the region.

Alafuzoff echoed the words of the Russian government which has categorically denied interfering in the ongoing unrest. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in a press conference on Monday that Moscow is not interested in destabilizing Ukraine and wants the country to remain united.

Anti-Kiev activists in the southeast of Ukraine have seized local government buildings as a mark of protest against the coup-appointed Ukrainian government. In response to the unrest, Ukraine’s interim President Aleksandr Turchinov announced the beginning of an “anti-terrorist” operation in eastern Ukraine.

 

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Dozens of Ukrainian troops surrender APCs in Slavyansk, refuse to ‘shoot at own people’ (PHOTO, VIDEO)

Published time: April 16, 2014 14:21
Edited time: April 16, 2014 20:18

Men wearing military fatigues sit by a Russian flag and a white flag reading "People's volunteer corps of Donetsk" as they ride on an armoured personnel carrier (APC) in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk on April 16, 2014. (AFP Photo)

Men wearing military fatigues sit by a Russian flag and a white flag reading “People’s volunteer corps of Donetsk” as they ride on an armoured personnel carrier (APC) in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk on April 16, 2014. (AFP Photo)

Dozens of army troops sent to the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk for an “anti-terrorist operation” refused to follow orders and surrendered their weapons and armored vehicles. Some troops openly voiced support for the eastern Ukrainians.

Follow RT’s LIVE UPDATES on military operation in eastern Ukraine

According to Interfax, citing local self-defense activists, some 300 Ukrainian troops agreed to lay down their weapons and “go home” following negotiations in Slavyansk.

“We managed to negotiate with them. About 300 military – only some of those who closed around the city – decided to lay down their arms and go home,” a self-defense activist was quoted as saying.

Reports from the scene said that the locals would not allow the soldiers to take back the APCs, but they were allowed to keep their rifles. The people were cheering the troops.

Meanwhile, the anti-government activists guarding the armored vehicles have said that they did not “seize” them as the media claimed, and that the troops “switched sides” peacefully.

“They were not seized by the self-defense forces. In fact, the Ukrainian troops arrived here flying a Russian flag. In this way, they have taken the side of the people,” a Slavyansk activist told Russia-24 TV.

 

Photos from the scene now show women and children climbing onto the APCs and taking photos with the armed men in camouflage with St. George ribbons.

A Ukrainian soldier interviewed by RIA Novosti in Slavyansk said the troops were told they are being sent against “Russian invaders who have taken the local population hostage and are waging war at us,” and that they must “free Donbas from occupants.”

“This morning, we started our attack, but the picture we saw in Kramatorsk turned out to be completely different. We saw in front of us a crowd of locals, mostly adults, women and men. They explained to us that there are no occupants here and there is no one to fight. Instead, they gave us food and talked to us,” the soldier was quoted as saying.

He added that the troops vowed “not to follow orders to shoot at these people.” Some soldiers chose to take the side of the locals, some decided to stay “neutral.” They are now “waiting what comes next.”

Photo from Twitter/@oivshina

Photo from Twitter/@oivshina

Similar developments were also seen in another Donetsk region city, Kramatorsk, where Ukrainian troops began entering Tuesday after taking a nearby airfield by force, captured a day earlier by armed self-defense activists.

As Ukrainian armored vehicles rolled into the city’s center Wednesday, they were surrounded by locals and surrendered. Some of the APCs were filmed flying Russian flags in support of the locals. Kiev eventually confirmed that six APCs were taken away in Kramatorsk but claimed that they were “captured by the extremists.” Earlier, coup-imposed Kiev officials dismissed the news as “fake” and even claimed that by raising Russian flags the troops “infiltrated” the areas “controlled by Russian Army units and separatists.”

In the village of Pchyolkino, south of Kramatorsk, locals blocked part of a large convoy of armored vehicles. The people are demanding that the troops turn back their vehicles and leave for Dnepropetrovsk, where they are stationed.

 

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cyweb74


Local residents trying to block troops on APCs in the same region were filmed showing bullets that they say were fired by the Ukrainian military as warning shots but in the direction of the people. At least one person was injured by such warning shots, according to reports.

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Witnesses:  Fighter jet was shot down Over Kramatorsk Airport

 

© Reuters/Michael Počuev
April 15, 18:31 UTC +4

Troops land in terminal area

 

Kyiv, April 15. /ITAR-TASS/.  Fighter  shot down over Kramatorsk Airport .  Reported by eyewitnesses on the scene.
In particular, they report that four fighter jets flew over Kramatorskom  , the Su-27, allegedly opened fire over the local airfield. Whose aircraft and who is responsible for  the fighter jet is still unknown. Witnesses noted that  an ambulance arrived on the scene to tend to  victims on the airfield.
Newspaper, News of Kramatorsk”, reports that three  were circling over the airfield.   According to  information,  a group of people had gathered near the aerodrome , some of them in camouflage uniforms, many local residents with  children. According to preliminary data, shooting in the aerodrome area wounded one person.

 

About 500 troops with military equipment  entered  Slavyansk
Witnesses report that troops had landed in the terminal area, there are no  more details available at this time.
The situation in Ukraine. Chronicle of events. 15 April
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SARS: French scientists lose 2,300 samples of potentially deadly virus

Institut Pasteur realised tubes were missing during a routine inventory check. Pictured posed.

Institut Pasteur realized tubes were missing during a routine inventory check. Pictured posed.

 

The renowned Institut Pasteur in France has admitted that it has misplaced 2,349 vials containing samples of the potentially deadly SARS virus and, despite enlisting help from France’s drug and health safety agency, have been unable to find them.

 

The investigation by the ANSM at the unnamed laboratory failed to locate the samples, which have been missing since January. It has now filed a case to the prosecutor of Paris to investigate the disappearance.

The Institut Pasteur has been quick to reassure the public that the vials do not pose any risk, according to The Local.

“The tubes concerned have no infectious potential,” a statement said. “Independent experts referred by health authorities have qualified the risk as ‘nil’ in regards to available evidence and literature on the survival of the SAS virus.”

 

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Paris laboratory loses deadly SARS virus samples

©

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-04-16

The Pasteur Institute in Paris has asked the authorities to investigate the disappearance of more than 2,000 vials containing fragments of the SARS virus, while insisting that missing samples represent no danger to the public.

The institute said it discovered the loss of 29 boxes containing 2,349 tiny vials during a routine inventory check.

Professor Christian Bréchot, the head of the Pasteur Institute, said “human error” was the most likely explanation, but that they “did not want to rule anything out.”
“From the start, we’ve known that the samples are harmless,’’ he said.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is an airborne virus.  In a 2003 outbreak, it  spread to 30 countries infecting  8,273 people and causing a reported 775 deaths, the majority in Hong Kong, for a mortality rate of almost 10 per cent.
An outbreak of a SARS-like illness in 2013 caused a reported  40 cases worldwide, two of them in France, where a 65-year old man died from the illness.

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TEPCO accidentally floods wrong building with 200 tons of radioactive water at Fukushima plant


TEPCO accidentally floods wrong building with 200 tons of radioactive water at Fukushima plant

Approximately 200 tons of highly radioactive water were redirected to the wrong building at the disaster stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant on April 14 when pumps that were not supposed to be used were incorrectly turned on, this according to plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO). The plant’s officials assured that there were no other channels the contaminated water could leak out of from the building, but the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) ordered the utility to monitor for leakage just the same.

TEPCO said that the highly contaminated water – used for cooling the molten down reactors – has been wrongly directed to a group of buildings that house the central waste processing facilities. The embattled operator said that the basements of these buildings were supposed to function as emergency storage for contaminated water anyway, but the water was not supposed to be directed to the buildings at this point. Fukushima workers noticed something was wrong on April 10, as the water levels in buildings that should have been pumping out water were noticed to be going up instead of down.

 

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Published on Apr 14, 2014

Published on Feb 19, 2014
Nuclear Hotseat~Host Libbe HaLevy

Please REMIX and SHARE this important information with Credits to:
Libbe HaLevy and Nuclear Hotseat
http://www.NuclearHotseat.com/blog

INTERVIEWS:
Don Hancock of the Southwest Research and Information Center on the fire and radiation release at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, NM — two separate incidents within 10 days that point to a company culture that fails to take proper precautions.
CONTACT: sricdon@earthlink.net

Indian filmmaker Pradeep Indulkar, director of “High Power,” winner of the 2013 Uranium Film Festival Yellow Oscar for Best Short Documentary. To book the film or purchase a DVD,
CONTACT: highpower@docwebs.com

NUMNUTZ OF THE WEEK:
Close this week, but we revisit the Fukushima Kids’ Cancer Seminar to learn how their slogan, “Especially because this is Fukushima, we need the best cancer education in Japan!” Learn what happens when the event’s organizer gets asked how that creepy slogan got picked and why children of Fukushima need “cancer education.”

PLUS:
*”Experts” miss possible Hanford implications in Washington state rare birth defect cluster;
*Massive cracks found at Fukushima near radioactive water storage tanks;
*Fukushima dental assn. to study radiation in baby teeth (shades of Operation Tooth Fairy);
*UK nuclear sites at risk of flooding;
*The Irish will soon be able to sue the UK for Sellafield radiation damages;
*The NRC DUCK! and Cover Report;
*Radcast w/Mimi German;
…and more!

LINKS:
Interview w/Tokyo-based physician Shigeru Mita on the need to evacuate from Tokyo, an interview by Nelson Groom for Vice.com: http://nsgroom.wordpress.com/2014/02/

Petition to support journalist Mari Takenouchi and support her effotts to protect children living in areas contaminated with radioactivity: http://www.credomobilize.com/petition

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Published on Apr 11, 2014

The Japanese government has decided on a new medium- and long-term basic energy plan that calls nuclear power a key energy source.
The Cabinet on Friday approved the plan, after modifying an initial version to take into account calls from within the governing coalition for more use of renewable energy sources.
The plan defines nuclear power as an important base-load power source that enables a stable supply of energy.
The government will allow nuclear plants to resume operations if they meet safety standards set by the Nuclear Regulation Authority.
But the plan calls for minimizing dependence on nuclear power by promoting renewable energy and making thermal power plants more efficient.
The plan cites a goal set 4 years ago to have renewable energy sources account for 20 percent of total demand in 2030. The figure is mentioned only as a reference in the plan. The government says it hopes to further increase the ratio.
On nuclear fuel recycling, the government says its basic policy is to promote it. Junior coalition partner New Komeito says the prototype Monju fast-breeder reactor should be scrapped.
But the government is sticking with its initial plan to use the facility as an international research base. Scientists will study ways to reduce radioactive waste through recycling.
Monju has been mostly idle since a sodium leak accident in 1995. A fast-breeder reactor can produce more nuclear fuel than it consumes.

More missed inspections found at Monju reactor
Japanese nuclear regulators are investigating more cases of missed inspections at the Monju fast-breeder prototype reactor. It’s located in Fukui Prefecture on the Sea of Japan Coast.
The Nuclear Regulation Authority, or NRA, found the lapses during regular safety checks in March.
Officials say at least 9 out of 80 targeted items had not been inspected. These include a temperature gauge and a switch for equipment that powers the secondary cooling pump.
NRA officials also say workers had revised inspection records without taking the required step of informing an in-house panel on more than 240 occasions.
The NRA last year found around 14,000 missed inspections at Monju, including those for critical safety equipment.

Govt. to set ratio for nuclear power
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says his government will set the ratio of nuclear power in Japan’s energy mix after considering the situation once the reactors are restarted.
Abe spoke to a plenary session of the Lower House on Friday about the basic energy plan approved by the Cabinet earlier in the day.
He said the government’s policy is to develop an energy-saving society and introduce renewable energy sources, while reducing dependence on nuclear power as much as possible.
But Abe said that given Japan’s increased dependence on natural gas and other fossil fuels, he can’t say that Japan will completely abandon nuclear power.
He added the government does not currently have any plans to build any more nuclear reactors or plants. Abe said the focus will be on diversifying energy resources and on how experts will view the resumption of existing reactors.
Abe said the government will set a target for the optimum mix of energy sources. He said the government will do that after looking into the situation regarding renewable energy and its potential, as well as the status of resumed operations at idled nuclear plants

Fukushima worker on verge of breakdown speaking about 3/11: “The earth around me distorting like Jell-O” — Massive upheavals taking entire Reactor 1 turbine building with it — “Sounds like it wants to come apart, going to explode” — “Concrete floor and walls around us began to crack” (AUDIO)
http://enenews.com/fukushima-supervis…

Nuclear Engineer: Radiation levels “much higher” in areas of Fukushima plume headed to west coast than models show — Radio: Concern “other isotopes” besides cesium to cross Pacific (AUDIO)
http://enenews.com/nuclear-engineer-i…

[Video column] Fukushima Diary talks “Tepco washing off Plutonium to the Pacific, huge risk for the least effect”
http://fukushima-diary.com/2014/04/vi…

Tepco started pumping up the bypass water to discharge / Tritium density jumped up to 87% of desired safety level
http://fukushima-diary.com/2014/04/te…

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