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Updated: 2014-10-06T19:14:49.207-07:00

 



High cesium levels detected in mud at Fukushima dam lake

2012-03-14T10:24:22.070-07:00

(image) Mud at the bottom of a dam lake near the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant is heavily contaminated with radioactive cesium, government research has shown.

Tsukuba University professor Yuichi Onda, commissioned by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology to conduct the survey, released the findings at a symposium on March 13.

Onda's team detected radioactive cesium of some 3 million becquerels per square meter at the bottom of the Horai Dam lake, about 60 kilometers west-northwest of the nuclear plant, along the Abukuma River in Nihonmatsu, Fukushima Prefecture. The level was 10 times higher than those of nearby reservoirs, and was roughly equivalent to soil contamination levels in the 20-kilometer radius exclusion zone around the Fukushima nuclear plant.

From July to August last year, Onda took samples from the 20-centimeter-deep mud on the bottom of the dam lake, dried them and compared them with mud samples from four nearby reservoirs registering contamination in the 200,000 to 400,000 becquerels per square meter range. Cesium from the crippled power station is believed to have condensed in the mud on the bottom of the Horai Dam after flowing into the river with soil and rainwater. Read More



Allyson McConnell drowned her two young sons in a bathtub and left them in the water to "rot"

2012-03-14T10:24:22.070-07:00

(image) Australian mother Allyson McConnell drowned her two young sons in a bathtub and left them in the water to "rot", the boys' father has told a Canadian court.

Curtis McConnell wept on Tuesday as he recalled frantically searching the family's home in Millet, Alberta, in February 2010 after receiving a call from police that his wife had jumped off a freeway overpass in an apparent suicide bid.

Mr McConnell said he rushed to the home and searched the bedrooms for his sons, 10-month-old Jayden and two-year-old Connor, but could not find them.

He then discovered a locked bathroom, used a knife to unlock it and found the lifeless bodies in the bathtub.

"I just dropped to my knees and I reached into the water and the water was so cold ...," Mr McConnell testified, according to the Edmonton Journal. Read More



Old TV tubes converted into radiation-shielding material, Japan

2012-03-14T10:24:22.070-07:00

(image) Tubes from old television sets can be recycled into radiation-proof materials suitable for use at temporary storage sites for contaminated soil and waste, two Japanese companies have found.

Shimizu Corp., a general contractor in Tokyo, and R Japan Corp., a manufacturer of eco-friendly products in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, developed concrete and waterproof materials, respectively, using television tubes ground into a form that can help shield against radiation.

The method takes advantage of the fact that cathode-ray tube (CRT) glass in television sets contains lead, which can shield against radiation. It is expected to be utilized at temporary storage sites for radioactive soil and waste.

While a 50-centimeter-thick chunk of concrete can lower the doses of penetrating radiation to a hundredth of the original amount, Shimizu Corp. found that the doses can be even lowered to one two-hundredth by replacing most of the crushed stone used in the concrete with ground television tubes. The strength of the two types of concrete was almost the same. Read More



Radioactive materials may have sunk 30 cm into ground

2012-03-14T10:24:22.071-07:00

(image) TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Radioactive materials released from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi power plant into the atmosphere were found 5 centimeters beneath the ground three months after the breakout of the nuclear crisis last March, but are now believed to have sunk 10 to 30 cm deep, a study by a research institution showed Wednesday.

The hazardous materials must have seeped into the land with rain, according to the Japan Atomic Energy Agency.

"Further delay in decontamination works will make the radioactive materials sink into the ground deeper, and it will impose more burdens on those involved in the decontamination," said Haruo Sato, researcher at the agency's Horonobe Underground Research Center in Hokkaido.

A group of researchers of the agency examined the penetration of four radioactive materials, including cesium 137, at 11 points in Nihonmatsu, Kawamata and Namie in Fukushima Prefecture, which are within a radius 20 to 60-kilometers from the Fukushima complex, in June. Read More



Moon exploration robots tested on sand dunes in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan

2012-03-14T10:24:22.071-07:00

(image) HAMAMATSU, Shizuoka -- The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has conducted tests of prototype moon exploration robots here, that were designed by several institutions to become part of Japan's next-generation lunar exploratory equipment.

On March 13, the agency conducted test runs on a total of eight robot prototypes at the Nakatajima sand dunes in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, a vast undulated land area somewhat resembling the moon's surface.

The eight robot prototypes were made by various research institutions, including Tohoku University, the Aichi University of Technology, Osaka University and Tokyu Construction, which are competing in JAXA's Lunar Robotics Challenge for designing robots to explore the moon's surface.

During the experimental run, the agency tested the robots' drivability and collected various data related to their performance.

Seeking to capitalize on their success with the SELENE (Selenological and Engineering Explorer), a lunar orbiter better known by its nickname Kaguya, JAXA is now looking into the development of next-generation moon exploratory equipment.

The Kaguya probe, after successfully orbiting the moon for approximately a year and nine months from September 2007, ended its mission and was crashed onto the lunar surface in June 2009. Read More



Strong quakes rattle Tokyo, northeast Japan

2012-03-14T10:24:22.071-07:00

TOKYO (AP) -- A series of earthquakes rattled Tokyo and northeast Japan late Wednesday evening but caused no apparent damage or injury in the same region hit by last year's devastating tsunami.The strongest tremor, off Hokkaido, had a magnitude of 6.8 and caused tidal changes that prompted some communities to issue evacuation orders or tsunami advisories to residents nearest the coast.A swelling of 20 centimeters was observed in the port of Hachinohe in Aomori, northern Japan, about one hour later. Smaller changes were reported in several locations in Hokkaido and Aomori Prefecture.The Japan Meteorological Agency lifted all tsunami advisories about an hour and half later.The earthquake felt in Tokyo was magnitude 6.1 and centered just off the coast of Chiba, east of Tokyo, at a rather shallow 10 kilometers below the sea surface. Read More[...]



Robert E. Underwood a Army Colonel arrested for 'paying a hitman $150,000 to kill his ex-wife and threatening to blow up state capital '

2012-03-14T10:24:22.071-07:00

(image) An Army officer in Washington state threatened to blow up the state capitol, personally kill his girlfriend, and hired a hit man for $150,000 to kill his estranged wife and his superior officer.

Lt. Col. Robert E. Underwood, who was arrested Monday night and pleaded not guilty to felony harassment charges, was stationed at the same base as the soldier who made headlines over the weekend for allegedly killing 16 Afghan civilians in a shooting spree.

Underwood threatened to kill girlfriend Serena Kiptoo after she confronted him about a naked photograph of his daughter on his laptop computer.

Court documents say that he then told her that he'd paid a hit man $150,000 to kill both his wife and superior officer. Read More



Raymond Scott aka Shakespeare Thief Found Dead In Prison

2012-03-14T10:24:22.071-07:00

(image) A serial thief who tried to make £2m by selling a stolen copy of a rare first collection of Shakespeare plays has been found dead in prison.

The body of 55-year-old Raymond Scott was found in his cell at Northumberland prison, on Wednesday morning after a lock down.

It is understood his throat was cut, but prison authorities are not believed to be treating the death as suspicious.

A Prison Service spokeswoman said: "HMP Northumberland prisoner Raymond Scott was pronounced dead at approximately 8.40am on Wednesday March 14 after being found unconscious in his cell.

"As with all deaths in custody, the independent Prisons and Probation Ombudsman will conduct an investigation."

Scott was jailed for eight years for handling a stolen copy of a rare first collection of Shakespeare's plays.

The 17th century folio had been taken from a display cabinet at Durham University in 1998.

Regarded as one of the most important printed works in the English language, fewer than 250 copies of the collection survive.

They were first printed in 1623, seven years after Shakespeare's death. Read More



'Car Bomb' As Panetta Lands In Afghanistan

2012-03-14T10:24:22.072-07:00

A suspected car bomb attack has taken place at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan, Sky Sources have revealed.The explosion came as US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta flew into Camp Bastion. It is believed that Mr Panetta was still landing or had landed at the time of the alleged attack, but it is not clear if he was a target.Sky's Stuart Ramsay said the explosion was caused when a vehicle drove on to the runway either during or after the landing.Sky Sources have been told the explosion was caused by the driver of the vehicle. An investigation has now been launched into the driver's identity.The driver, who appears to have survived the attack, has been taken into custody and is being treated for burns.It was not clear whether Mr Panetta was a specific target or not. Sky Sources said the explosion did appear to be an "attack of some description".The base was put on immediate lockdown after the explosion this morning - but Mr Panetta is understood to be in Kabul this afternoon and in talks with the government. Read More[...]



4.6 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN- 14th Mar 2012

2012-03-14T10:24:22.072-07:00

(image) A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck near the East Coast of Honshu, Japan at a depth of 7.7 km (4.8 miles), the quake hit at 14:54:19 UTC Wednesday 14th March 2012
The epicenter was 231 km (143 miles) South of Kushiro, Hokkaido, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time



4.6 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN- 14th Mar 2012

2012-03-14T10:24:22.072-07:00

(image) A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck near the East Coast of Honshu, Japan at a depth of 8.7 km (5.4 miles), the quake hit at 14:04:09 UTC Wednesday 14th March 2012
The epicenter was 226 km (140 miles) South of Kushiro, Hokkaido, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time



Danielle Yvonne Slaughter killed her 6-year-old daughter with scissors, because she used 'evil words'

2012-03-14T10:24:22.072-07:00

(image) A mom who killed her daughter in a brutal scissor attack wanted to clear an ‘evil presence’ from her Nevada home, police said.

Danielle Yvonne Slaughter, 27, was found by police on Sunday, naked and bloody, running through Las Vegas, according to court documents released Tuesday.

She told officers the blood on her hands was the ‘lamb of god’ and asked 'Did I kill my daughter?' Is she dead?’

Police went to Slaughter’s house, where her six-year-old daughter, Kayla Franks, was found dead.

The mom told police she had been having trouble sleeping since she began taking slimming pill Hydroxycut four days earlier, a drug which was temporarily withdrawn from the market in 2009 over liver damage fears. Read More



Man And Woman Arrested Over Toddler's Death at a property on Kilbourne Road, Belper, Derbyshire

2012-03-14T10:24:22.072-07:00

(image) Two people have been arrested on suspicion of murdering a two-year-old boy.

The child died after falling ill at a property on Kilbourne Road, Belper, Derbyshire, at 10.45am on Tuesday.

Police say he was taken to hospital but died a short time later.

Officers have cordoned off a former convenience store and flat above it. Both properties are for sale.

A 41-year-old man and a woman, 32, are being questioned over the boy's death, which is being treated as suspicious.

It is not yet known what caused the toddler's death.

A post-mortem examination was carried out on Tuesday night but detectives are waiting for the results of toxicology tests.

Neighbour Robert Egan told Sky News: "He was a lovely little lad, full of beans, we were all shocked when the paramedics turned up yesterday and the police interviewed us last night". Source



COMING CRISIS ALERT: Swarm of quakes strike Japan and Pacific region, with potential for more -- March 14, 2012

2012-03-14T10:24:22.073-07:00

A swarm of quakes has struck in the Pacific region, particularly off Japan. The first of the Japanese quakes was measured as a 7.0 mag, but was later reduced to a 6.8. However, many stations in the area reported the quake as a 8.0 or 8.1 magnitude event. The second major quake was a 7.x+, but for reasons unknown, was removed from USGS servers (it still exists on Japanese monitoring sites, leading us to believe that it did, in fact, occur just seconds after the initial quake).

We are issuing an alert out of concern that this swarm may lead to another major earthquake event in the Pacific, or near Japan. During the 3/11 event, a similar swarm with two major quakes was the precursor to the 9.0 magnitude event and the subsequent tsunami that killed 20,000 individuals. Japanese scientists have also expressed concern as of late that Japan may indeed be gearing up for another major seismic event, Tokyo in particular.

Emergency instructions:

1. In the event of an Earthquake get outside of any buildings immediately. Watch for falling debris or wires, and head to designated emergency zones.

2. Do not, we repeat, do not return to your homes in coastal areas once the quake has subsided. Wait at least several hours, or better yet, for official instructions indicated that it is safe for you to return. Keep alert for any tsunami warnings.

3. In the event of a tsunami warning, run for higher ground. Do not stop to collect things. Do not stop to see if others are coming. Do not pause to think. You literally will have just minutes to head for higher ground in the event of a tsunami.

3. Stay close to a radio or television for further official instructions or information.

Stay tuned to the Coming Crisis for updates on this situation.



Brooklyn Bridge closed for three hours after crane on tugboat scrapes off underside sheeting

2012-03-14T10:24:22.073-07:00

(image) Brooklyn Bridge was dramatically closed for three hours last night after a crane on top of a tugboat scraped 20ft of protective sheeting from its underside.

Firefighters and police raced to the New York landmark at 8pm as the canvas sheeting, in place for two years to catch paint chips from a long-standing paint job, collapsed into the river below.

Traffic was banned from using the bridge as Department of Transportation investigated. It re-opened shortly after 11.30pm.

One teenager who saw the accident told NY1.com. 'It sounded like a building collapsing.

'I heard the bottom of the bridge, it got ripped by the crane as it was going by. I saw debris falling from the bridge and everything,' Read More



Mysterious Foam Causing Hog Farms to Explode - February 8, 2012

2012-03-14T10:24:22.073-07:00

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Syrian army using 30 types of torture says Amnesty ... As Assad's troops plant landmines along border to stop refugees fleeing

2012-03-14T10:24:22.073-07:00

(image) Syrian forces are carrying out more than 30 types of torture on prisoners, a report claims.

Amnesty International said civilians held by security forces in the crackdown on anti-government protests were being horrifically abused.

The torture methods include crucifixion-type beatings, electric shocks and rape, according to a report based on accounts from Syrians who had fled to Jordan.

It said the testimonies were ‘further evidence that torture and other ill-treatment in Syria form part of a widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population’.

At least 276 people had died in custody, Amnesty International said.

Yesterday troops killed dozens near the city of Idlib, activists claimed.

Troops have planted landmines along routes used by people trying to flee President Bashar Assad's regime, it has been claimed. Read More



5.0 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN- 14th Mar 2012

2012-03-14T10:24:22.073-07:00

(image) A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck Hokkaido, Japan Region at a depth of 20 km (12.4 miles), the quake hit at 13:43:12 UTC Wednesday 14th March 2012
The epicenter was 221 km (137 miles) South of Kushiro, Honshu, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time



Butler 'injected millionaire socialite with deadly virus and told her she would die if she didn't hand over $8.5million for antidote'

2012-03-14T10:24:22.073-07:00

(image) The butler accused of holding millionaire socialite Anne Bass hostage for 12 hours in her Connecticut estate and injecting her with a 'deadly virus' is to face trial today.

Masked assailants convinced the philanthropist that she would die from the injection and demanded that she pay $8.5 million for an antidote.

The men said Bass and her boyfriend, artist Julian Lethbridge, had 20 hours to produce the cash and it was only after the men reconsidered and fled the house, that the victims learned that the substance was harmless, likely an ink.

A trial is starting in U.S. District Court this week for Emanuel Nicolescu, a former head butler at the Bass estate, who is the only person arrested in the crime. Nicolescu, 31, has pleaded not guilty to charges including attempted extortion. His attorney declined comment. Read More



Project X Copycats Wreck $500,000 Home

2012-03-14T10:24:22.074-07:00

(image) A group of teenagers have been accused of wrecking a $500,000 home in a copycat of the film 'Project X.'

The teens threw a party at the empty Texas home before going on a wrecking spree with the building owners saying it looked like it had been hit by a tornado.

Nearly every window in the Houston home had been smashed, and walls kicked in.
Police arrested 13 people Friday after being called to the property by a private investigator working for the builders who owned the property.

Investigator Mark Stephens said when he quizzed the teens over the damage they told him they were copying what happened in the film Project X.
'I asked some of the kids why, and they said 'Project X.' said Mr Stephens.

'And I said, 'OK what’s 'Project X?'

Released earlier this month, the film Project X fictionally documents the story of three High School teens in California who attempt to make a name for themselves by throwing the biggest party. Read More

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British pensioner and Thai bride found battered to death in remote bungalow

2012-03-14T10:24:22.074-07:00

(image) A British pensioner and his Thai wife have been found brutally murdered in a beach resort bungalow on the Gulf of Thailand.

Police were today holding a security guard, a chef and a local fisherman over the murder.

They say the men were looking for cash but only got the equivalent of £41, a bank card and a mobile phone.

The victims were named as Michael Raymond, aged 68, and his Thai wife Suchada Bonkamdi, aged 52.

Their bodies were discovered yesterday afternoon by a maid at the Jack Beach Resort in Prachuap Khiri Khan, 180 miles south of Bangkok.

Both Mr Raymond and his wife had been severely beaten about the face and head.

Case officer Captain Winai Raila-aied said: 'They were beaten with a chair and other hard objects.

'At first two suspects - a chef and a security guard - admitted they had robbed the couple of 2,000 baht (£41), a mobile phone and a Bangkok Bank ATM card.

'Now all three have confessed to their wrongdoing.' Read More



Homeless Hotspot plan 'to be axed' after ad agency backs away from plan to use real people as walking wi-fi zones

2012-03-14T10:24:22.075-07:00

(image) The New York advertising agency behind a plan to use homeless people as walking wi-fi hotspots has been forced to back off the controversial plan.

The Homeless Hotspots initiative was trialled at the SXSW music and technology conference in Austin, Texas using homeless people wearing T-shirts that said, 'I'm a 4G Hotspot' - with a suggested price of $2 per 15 minutes.

'We have no definite, specific future plans yet, in New York City or elsewhere. This was an initial trial program,' said Emma Cookson, chairman of BBH New York. 'We are now listening carefully to the high level of feedback.'

'We are trying to learn and respond, and we will then consider what is appropriate to do next,' said Cookson in an interview with the New York Post. Read More



'Death Star' captured on video as it 'refuels' at the surface of the sun

2012-03-14T10:24:22.075-07:00

(image) An orbiting Nasa space telescope captured a dark, planet-sized object flying close to the sun on Monday - and extending what looks like a refueling tube into the star's surface.

The black, Death Star-like, orb is briefly engulfed in light from the sun, then flies off into space.

A video edited from the Solar Dynamics Observatory's photos inspired a wave of speculation on YouTube.

The imagery was captured by Nasa's Solar Dynamics Observatory and edited together by a YouTube user, Sunsflare, who challenged experts to explain the strange 'visitor.'

Naturally, the space agency has a rather more ordinary explanation for the strange, black orb.

It's not a visitor from another solar system - or a planet being born out of the surface of the sun, as others had speculated.

Instead, it's a solar 'prominence' or 'filament' - a feature extending out from the sun which forms over the course of a day, and can extend hundreds of thousands of miles into space. Read More

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Leanne McNuff Killed by her Boyfriend after her FACEBOOK Account was hacked and status changed to Sleeping Around

2012-03-14T10:24:22.080-07:00

(image) A young mother was stabbed to death in front of her four-year-old son after someone changed her Facebook status to 'sleeping around'.

Leanne McNuff, 24, was knifed just an hour after phoning her best friend to say her account had been hacked.

Her soldier boyfriend Ian Lowe, 24, was arrested shortly after she was attacked in front of her son Jaden in her semi-detached home in Droylsden, Greater Manchester.

Today the Private, from 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment who was leave from serving in Afghanistan, was still being questioned by police over the killing on Sunday evening.

Leanne's best friend Emma Barlow, 26, said she had been worried that someone had hacked her Facebook account shortly before she was attacked.

Emma said: 'I spoke to her around 50 minutes before it happened. She was having problems with her Facebook and had phoned me for help.

'She thought someone had hacked into her account and changed her password. Jaden was still up and I could hear him in the background.'

'Someone had changed her Facebook status and it was saying nasty things about her - things that weren't true.

'She was upset because it was saying things about her sleeping around - it was all untrue. I was trying to contact Facebook.' Read More



Goldman Sachs exec exposes bank's 'toxic' greed in scathing public resignation letter

2012-03-14T10:24:22.081-07:00

(image) A Goldman Sachs exec has dealt a deeply embarrassing blow to the firm by quitting in an open letter in which he lambasts the working environment as 'toxic and destructive'.

Greg Smith, an executive director who has worked at the New York-based investment bank for 12 years, claimed it is more interested in making money for itself than its clients.

In a scathing resignation letter published in the New York Times on Wednesday, he reveals staff have so little respect for clients, they call them 'muppets' and talk of 'ripping eyeballs out'.

'I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it,' writes Smith, who headed the firm's U.S. equity derivatives business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

'To put the problem in the simplest terms, the interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money.' Read More