Evening News Wrap 16 December 2013.
- SNOOPS DOGGED: A federal judge says the NSA’s phone surveillance activities are likely unconstitutional, “almost Orwellian,” but holds off on issuing an injunction that would halt the agency’s program, giving the Obama administration time to prep an appeal. Snowden 1, Obama 0; terrorists laughing their evil asses off. (NY Times)
- And here’s Edward Snowden saying "I told ya so." (USA Today)
- Meanwhile, the White House still wants Snowden prosecuted. (Reuters)
- DEAL OR NOT NO DEAL: Looks like there are now enough votes in the Senate to pass that bi-partisan budget deal that sailed through the House last week. (WashPo)
- "OUR ESCAPE ROUTE HAS BEEN CUT OFF": Another firefighter unwittingly records the last transmission of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, 19 of whom perished in the Yarnell Hill fire. (WSOC TV via LA Times)
- The United Nations asks for a record $6.5 billion in aid to help Syrian refugees and their host countries. (AP)
- MEDI-SINS: A study shows that multivitamins are a waste, antibacterial soaps may not be safe, and a drug company will no longer pay doctors to plug their products. (CNN / NBC News / NYT)
- Ryan Freel, a professional baseball who committed suicide, is posthumously diagnosed with CTE. (Time)
- A group of U.S. scholars endorse an "academic boycott of Israel" over that country’s treatment of Palestinians. (AP via Yahoo! News)
- This while Israel and Lebanon trade fire; an Israeli soldier was killed by a Lebanese sniper Sunday; two Lebanese soldiers were shot today. (Guardian)
- FUKUSHIMA: Fifty-one U.S. Navy sailors who responded to the nuclear plant disaster are diagnosed with various types of cancer. (Al Jazeera)
- THAT’S RICH: Lottery prize nears $600 million. (CBS News)
- More senselessness, brought to you by guns. The NRA shrugs. (NY Post)
- And finally… WE-LINE: That’s the photo a magazine uses for an article titled "How Humans Created Cats." NB: worst human invention ever*. (The Atlantic)
(*Just kidding. Photo illustration: The Atlantic)
A vending machine, carried by the 2011 tsunami, sits in the middle of a rice field in Minamisoma, Japan. The Guardian has a gallery of photos from abandoned areas around the doomed Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. (Photo: Damir Sagoli / Reuters via The Guardian)
A couple returns to their abandoned hometown — and home — in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, two years after the tsunami. (Photo: Frank Robichon / EPA via NBC News)
The Washington Post visits the Japanese ghost town of Namie, which lies within the 12-mile exclusion zone around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, finding neatly-stacked newspapers dated March 12 — the day after an earthquake and tsunami devastated the nation.
Click through for more.
Journalists are allowed en masse for the first time inside the destroyed Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant — and the ghost towns within the 12-mile-radius exclusion zone.
(Pool photo: David Guttenfelder via the New York Times)
BABY’S LAMA Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama holds his hand up to a train window to greet a baby held by its mother at the Koriyama railway station in northern Japan. The Dalai Lama was there to deliver a speech to Fukushima residents racked with the aftermath of the March 11 tsunami and the accident at the city’s nuclear power plant. (Photo: Kimimasa Mayama / EPA via the Telegraph)
Thousands of people from across Japan, including a man and his daughter from Fukushima, attended an antinuclear rally in Tokyo on Monday. (Photo: Yuriko Nakao / Reuters via the Wall Street Journal)
Workers at the all-but-destroyed Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan continue to face dangerous — even deadly — levels of radiation in their ongoing attempts to stabilize the plant. Via MSNBC.com:
Pockets of lethal levels of radiation have been detected at Japan’s crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in a reminder of the risks faced by workers battling to contain the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl.
Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) reported on Monday that radiation exceeding 10 sieverts (10,000 millisieverts) per hour was found at the bottom of a ventilation stack standing between two reactors.
Tepco said Tuesday it found another spot on the ventilation stack itself where radiation exceeded 10 sieverts per hour, a level that could lead to incapacitation or death after just several seconds of exposure.
The company used equipment to measure radiation from a distance and was unable to ascertain the exact level because the device’s maximum reading is 10 sieverts.
While Tepco said the readings would not hinder its goal of stabilizing the Fukushima reactors by January, experts warned that worker safety could be at risk if the operator prioritized hitting the deadline over radiation risks.
(Handout image taken by a gamma ray camera showing the bottom of a ventilation stack where radiation exceeding 10 sieverts per hour - seen here in red - by TEPCO via Reuters / MSNBC.com)
Nuclear experts say new findings of highly toxic plutonium in the soil outside Japan’s beleaguered Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant show the crisis unleashed by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami is far from over.
"Minute amounts of plutonium have been detected for the first time in soil outside the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant," Japanese broadcaster NHK reported today.
Japanese researchers who analyzed roadside soil samples taken some 1.7 kilometers from the power station’s front gate on April 21 “found minute amounts of three kinds of plutonium,” NHK reported. The Japanese researchers said the quantities of plutonium found in the soil are roughly similar to that which has been found at past nuclear bomb test sites.
Plutonium is highly toxic—whether ingested or inhaled—because it emits alpha radiation “that can easily penetrate membranes inside the body,” Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Arms Control Association, told The Envoy.”
– "Plutonium Found Near Fukushima Shows Nuclear Crisis Is Far From Over" via Yahoo News