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 1 
 on: Today at 02:53 PM 
Started by Heidi - Last post by The Otherside
Hi Rad and Everyone,

Rad do you know what brain chemicals are released or responsible for Kundalini? Also can Kundalini starting to rise up cause imbalances in brain chemicals?

Thank you so much,
Heather

 2 
 on: Today at 05:45 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
U.S. Elections

Hillary Clinton accepts nomination with 'boundless confidence in America's promise'

‘To drive real progress, you have to change both hearts and laws’ she says in laying out a liberal and populist vision amid a thorough takedown of Trump

Dan Roberts, Sabrina Siddiqui and Lauren Gambino in Philadelphia
AFP
Friday 29 July 2016 07.09 BST

The words, when they came, had lost no power over a week of build-up, or almost a decade of rehearsal. “So it is with humility, determination and boundless confidence in America’s promise that I accept your nomination for president of the United States,” said Hillary Clinton – the first American to stand on the brink of being called madame president.

There were no gimmicks. No more videos of breaking glass. Just a familiar face in a trademark white suit, standing in a very unfamiliar spot.

“When there are no ceilings, the sky’s the limit,” she acknowledged briefly, before, eventually, the ceiling seemed to fall in, covering the floor of Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo arena in a carpet of red, white and blue balloons so thick, the candidate almost disappeared from view.

By the end of an hour-long acceptance speech, there were children on stage; some of them, daughters smuggled in by fathers to witness an undoubted leap forward along the long road to equality in America.

Clinton herself dwelled little on the symbolism of her acceptance speech – save for a cry of ‘Deal me in!” which was taken up lustily by the crowd. Instead, she went straight to her first big exposition of what she would do if she actually wins in November, including a jobs program and investment in infrastructure.

“To drive real progress, you have to change both hearts and laws,” she said, in clear contrast to the idealistic promises of her primary opponent Bernie Sanders and the big-talking Republican enemy Donald Trump.

The US, Clinton said, was “at a moment of reckoning” as she called on voters to reject Trump’s divisive rhetoric and policies. “Powerful forces are threatening to pull us apart, bonds of trust and respect are fraying,” she said.

But it was also a moment to turn slowly away from Barack Obama, a man who only yesterday had helped the campaign reclaim the mantle of patriotism from Trump. Now it was time for Clinton to do the same with the economy.

“Democrats, we are the party of working people but we haven’t done a good enough job showing that we get what you’re going through, and that we’re going to do something about it,” she said.

“There’s a lot to do,” acknowledged Clinton, a departure from the campaign’s recent insistence that Trump was exaggerating the pain felt by working families. “Too many people haven’t had a pay raise since the crash.”

She added: “Some of you are frustrated – even furious. And you know what? You’re right.”

To the confusion of a diehard band of Bernie Sanders supporters in luminous T-shirts, who sought to disrupt the speech, they were forced instead to pause and, even once or twice, applaud when Clinton presented an unashamedly liberal and populist vision of America.

“If you believe that we should say ‘no’ to unfair trade deals, that we should stand up to China, that we should support our steelworkers and autoworkers and homegrown manufacturers – join us,” said Clinton, in clear appeal to both right and left incarnations of the pitchfork outbreak sweeping the country in this election cycle.

“Whatever party you belong to, or if you belong to no party at all, if you share these beliefs, this is your campaign,” she added, promising she would be a president for all Americans, whether they voted for her or not.

But taking Trump’s appeal seriously was not the same as taking Trump seriously.
Hillary Clinton accepts the Democratic nomination for president: read the full transcript
Read more

An increasingly confident Clinton was merciless in skewering the celebrity billionaire as a “little man”.

“Really? I alone can fix it?” she asked at one point, letting the questions hang there as a description of everything that is absurd about this close-fought election race.

“He spoke for 70-odd minutes – and I do mean odd,” she continued, eliciting the kind of laughter that was bound to produce a tweetstorm of umbrage from the man himself, and did.

“Imagine him, if you dare, imagine him in the Oval Office facing a real crisis. A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons,” anticipated Clinton.

He might be a joke, she said, but his appeal was not. “For the past year, many people made the mistake of laughing off Donald Trump’s comments – excusing him as an entertainer just putting on a show,” warned the former secretary of state. “Here’s the sad truth: there is no other Donald Trump. This is it.”

The laughs came naturally for a crowd that warmed to a rare display of comic timing from Clinton: “Donald Trump says he wants to make America great again – well, he could start by actually making things in America again.”

There was a little shake of the head as if to say “duh” when she said: “I believe in science”, and rejected the denial of climate change in another year of temperature records smashed.

She turned to another first lady, Jackie Kennedy, for the insult that may yet stick. “She said that what worried President Kennedy during that very dangerous time was that a war might be started – not by big men with self-control and restraint, but by little men, the ones moved by fear and pride.”

Over the course of the evening, Trump was called many names. “A political pyromaniac”, said Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti, who suggested Trump should build his wall around the whole city.

“Hillary Clinton knows how to fight back against dangerous, loudmouth bullies ... She doesn’t run to Twitter to give people badmouth nicknames,” said Elizabeth Warren, who had been on the receiving end.

Some of Clinton’s own putdowns would end another campaign overnight. But this is a teflon Don, seemingly able to say anything without consequence, so Clinton refused the temptation to indulge in excessive Trump-bashing, preferring to paint her own vision.

There was plenty of policy: a bold promise to introduce the biggest jobs program since the second world war in her first 100 days as president, and invest money in infrastructure projects and political capital in gun control.

Rejecting the dangerously persistent notion that she simply wanted to be president because it was her turn, Clinton also used much of the packed speech to describe her real motivation.

Introduced by her daughter, Chelsea, she continued the week’s highly personal theme, by pinning this political philosophy on her own mother, Dorothy.

“She made sure I learned the words of our Methodist faith,” said the nominee. “Do all the good you can, for all the people you can, in all the ways you can, as long as ever you can.”

The moral vision continued to help defuse the still simmering revolt on the left, where a rump of Sanders supporters were largely drowned out in their attempt to disrupt the night.

“I want to thank Bernie Sanders,” said Clinton. “Bernie, your campaign inspired millions of Americans, particularly the young people who threw their hearts and souls into our primary.”

Mostly she ignored disruptions that were more noticeable in the hall than on television.

By the end, the chants were no longer papering over the cracks in the party, but rolling expressions of real enthusiasm waving up and down the stadium.

The crowd had been fired up earlier in the evening by another speech that could easily have been at home in a Sanders rally. “We are being called upon by our foremothers and fathers to be the moral defibrillator,” said Rev William Barber. “We cannot give up on the heart of democracy, not now, not ever … We need to fight for the heart of this nation.”

But it was the calm nobility of Khizr Khan, whose son died serving the US military in Iraq, who summed up why Clinton was really running – accusing Trump of “smearing the character” of patriotic American Muslims.

“Donald Trump, let me ask you: have you even read the US constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy. Look for the words ‘liberty’ and ‘equal protection under the law’,” said Khan.

Instead, Clinton made clear she would be a “president for Democrats, Republicans, and independents”.

“For the struggling, the striving, the successful. For those who vote for me and those who don’t. Whatever party you belong to, or if you belong to no party at all, if you share these beliefs, this is your campaign. For all Americans,” she said.

Appealing to those Reagan Democrats of a different age, Clinton said of Trump: “He’s taken the Republican party a long way – from ‘Morning in America’ to ‘Midnight in America’.

“He wants us to fear the future and fear each other. Well, a great Democratic president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, came up with the perfect rebuke to Trump more than 80 years ago, during a much more perilous time: ‘The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.’”

Click to watch: <iframe src="https://embed.theguardian.com/embed/video/us-news/video/2016/jul/29/hillary-clinton-presidential-nomination-video" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

 3 
 on: Today at 05:42 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Somali government pledges to fight FGM at first national forum

Attorney general Ahmed Ali Dahir calls for law to fight practice in country where 98% of females aged 15-49 have been cut

Claire Daly
AFP
Friday 29 July 2016 11.15 BST

The Somali government has reaffirmed its commitment to eradicate female genital mutilation in the country, where around 98% of females between 15 and 49 have undergone cutting.

The pledge was made at the first ever high-level forum on the issue in Somalia, which has the highest prevalence of FGM in the world. The practice has been unconstitutional in the country since 2012, but no bill has been passed to ban FGM outright, and open discussion about the issue has remained largely taboo until recently.

The country’s attorney general, Ahmed Ali Dahir, told the audience of religious leaders, politicians and women’s groups in Mogadishu: “We need to specifically fight FGM. We need an enabling law.”

Ifrah Ahmed, the Somali prime minister’s adviser on gender issues, was a key force behind Wednesday’s unprecedented gathering, which was supported by the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amison) and went ahead despite a suicide bombing near the original venue.

“The conference showed me how strong the ties are to practising FGM,” Ahmed told the Guardian, “but there is hope – government support and action are vital to begin the change we need to start moving away from the practice.”

Calls for a complete end to FGM were backed by the minister of religious affairs, Abdulkahdir Sheikh Ali Baghdad, who said it was a cultural practice that had no place in Islam.

“It is forbidden to cut … a girl because it is like any other part of the body. It is like the eye, tooth or the ears. If you abuse it, it is like you have abused any other part and I will not be ashamed to say it,” he said.

FGM is defined by the World Health Organisation as procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. More than 200 million girls and women alive today have been cut, mostly before they reached puberty. FGM has no health benefits and is recognised as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.

In west Africa, activists have condemned Liberia’s parliament for removing a ban on FGM from a new domestic violence law in a country. The legislation listed FGM as a criminal offence, along with threats and acts of physical and sexual violence, and emotional abuse, when first submitted last September. But opposition from several politicians in April led to the FGM provision being removed from the bill, which was passed into law last week, according to women’s rights campaigners.

 4 
 on: Today at 05:38 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
No words as Pope Francis visits Auschwitz death camp in silence

The pontiff visits camp where 1.1 million people were killed and later meets a group of former inmates

Harriet Sherwood in Kraków
AFP
Friday 29 July 2016 10.04 BST

Pope Francis has visited the Nazi death camps of Auschwitz-Birkenau, walking beneath the infamous gates emblazoned with the words arbeit macht frei, work sets you free.

After arriving at the museum and memorial to the 1.1 million people killed at Auschwitz-Birkenau during the second world war, the pope sat alone on a bench for several minutes of sombre contemplation and prayer.

Francis had said he wanted his visit – the third by a pope – to be conducted in silence. “I would like to go to that place of horror without speeches, without crowds – only the few people necessary. Alone, enter, pray. And may the Lord give me the grace to cry.”

His only public words were written in the Auschwitz guest book: “Lord, have pity on your people. Lord, forgive so much cruelty.”

At Block 11, Francis met a group of former inmates of the camp and some of those hailed as “righteous among nations” for risking their lives to save Jews during the Nazi occupation of Poland.
Pope Francis pays his respects at the ‘wall of death’.

One passed him a lit candle, which the pope carried to the “wall of death” at the end of the block’s yard, in front of which several thousand inmates were shot dead.

The pope spent several minutes alone in the cell of Maksymilian Kolbe, a Franciscan priest who volunteered to take the place of a prisoner selected for death. Kolbe died on 14 August 1941 and was later canonised by Pope John Paul II.

The visit falls on the 75th anniversary of the day Kolbe was condemned to death.

After signing a visitors’ book, Francis went to Birkenau, an adjacent camp, where he was to meet more former inmates and people who helped to save Jews. Psalm 130 – “Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord” – was recited by a rabbi in Hebrew.

Accompanying the pope was Father Stanisław Ruszała, the parish priest of Markowa, where in 1942 the parishioners Józef and Wiktoria Ulma and their seven children were shot dead for sheltering eight Jews.

Also present were the Polish president, Andrzej Duda, and prime minister, Beata Szydło.

The vast majority of those who died at Aushwitz-Birkenau were Jewish, but thousands of Polish Catholics, Roma and Soviet prisoners of war also lost their lives.

Speaking before the visit, Piotr Cywiński, the director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial complex, said: “There are places and tragedies which make you at a loss for words, where actually there are no words to express what so many still see as unimaginable.”

He said the world was markedly different today than at the times when previous popes visited Auschwitz: John Paul II in 1979, and Benedict in 2006.

“It is increasingly internally divided, threatened with terrorism and deterioration of human rights. It is a world where human solidarity is slowly being worn down.

“If 15 years ago someone had told us that we would so hysterically react to aiding refugees from war-torn territories, I would never have believed it.

“This is a world which is desperately in need of a wise message, of being reminded of the fundamental human truths. Auschwitz and the tragedy of the Holocaust sensitise us acutely to these issues.”

Among the former Auschwitz-Birkenau inmates who met the pope were:

Helena Dunicz Niwińska, camp number 64118

Born in 1915, she lived with her parents and brothers in Lviv. She was arrested with her mother in January 1943 and taken to Auschwitz on 3 October. As a violinist she became a member of an orchestra in the camp. Her mother died in December 1943.

Alojzy Fros, camp number 136223

Born in 1916 in Rybnik, he was arrested in April 1943 because of conspiracy work and deported to Auschwitz in August 1943. He spent the first two months in the camp hospital. After that he was hired to sort packages for prisoners.

Wacław Długoborski, camp number 138871

Born in 1926 in Warsaw, he was arrested there in May 1943 for conspiracy and was deported to Auschwitz in August 1943. He was employed in the camp hospital in Birkenau until the end of January 1945. After the war he worked as a university researcher and research curator at the State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Zbigniew Kaczkowski, camp number 125727

Born in 1921 in Kraków, he was arrested in April 1943 and sent to Auschwitz. His mother, Zofia, who died in the camp, was employed as a nurse in the camp hospital. In July 1944 he escaped from the camp but was captured and imprisoned in Block 11, then deported to Buchenwald, where he was transferred to Ravensbrück.

Valentina Nikodem, camp number 8737

Born in 1922 in Łódź, she and her mother were taken to Auschwitz in July 1942 after her father killed members of the Gestapo. Her mother died in the camp. Valentina worked in the packaging department, and helped women who gave birth to children.

Marian Majerowicz, camp number 157715

Born in 1926 in Myszków, in October 1943 he was taken to Auschwitz, where his parents and brother died. He is the president of the Association of Jewish Veterans and Victims of World War II in Warsaw.

Eva Umlauf, camp number A-26959

Now 74, she was taken to Auschwitz as a two-year-old with her family in November 1944.

Click to watch: <iframe src="https://embed.theguardian.com/embed/video/world/video/2016/jul/29/pope-francis-remembers-auschwitz-victims-video" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

 5 
 on: Today at 05:34 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Chernobyl could be reinvented as a solar farm, says Ukraine

Ministers create presentation to show how idle land around nuclear disaster site can be used to produce renewable energy

John Vidal
AFP
Friday 29 July 2016 11.04 BST

The contaminated nuclear wasteland around Chernobyl could be turned into one of the world’s largest solar farms, producing nearly a third of the electricity that the stricken plant generated at its height 30 years ago, according to the Ukrainian government.

In a presentation sent to major banks and seen by the Guardian, 6,000 hectares of “idle” land in Chernobyl’s 1,000 square km exclusion zone, which is considered too dangerous for people to live in or farm, could be turned to solar, biogas and heat and power generation.

Pressure has been mounting for years to allow industrial development, but no indication is given of where the solar panels would be located. “There has been a change in the perception of the exclusion zone in Ukraine. Thirty years after the Chernobyl tragedy [it] reveals opportunities for development. A special industrial area is to be created in compliance with all rules and regulations of radiation safety within the exclusion zone,” says the presentation.

Tens of thousands of people in Ukraine, Belarus and south Russia were evacuated immediately after the 1986 accident from a wide area around the nuclear plant and places where the radioactive plume descended. A few hundred people still live in 11 semi-deserted villages close to Chernobyl.

There is “about 6,000 hectares of idle land, some of which can be used for placement of electrical generation facilities, and some for energy crops”, according to the presentation.

The Ukrainian government said more than 1,000MW of solar and 400MW of other renewable energy could be generated. The nuclear plant had an installed capacity of around 4,000MW.

The advantage of generating renewable power at the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident is that the land is cheap and plentiful, and the sunshine is as strong as in southern Germany. In addition, the grid infrastructure and high-voltage power lines needed to transmit electricity to the national grid remain intact, the presentation added.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) this week indicated it would be prepared to lend money for the renewable energy plan. The EBRD has already provided more than $500m (£379m) to build a large stainless steel “sarcophagus” over the destroyed reactor, which will remain dangerous for thousands of years.

“The EBRD may consider participating in the project so long as there are viable investment proposals and all other environmental matters and risks can be addressed to the bank’s satisfaction,” said a spokesman.

The move to solar reflects a new energy reality involving plunging renewable energy costs and escalating costs of nuclear power. Hours of sunshine in the Chernobyl area compare favourably with southern Germany, one of the largest solar producers in the world.

In a recent interview, Ukraine’s ecology minister said the government was negotiating with two US investment firms and four Canadian energy companies, which have expressed interest in the Chernobyl’s solar potential.

Meanwhile in Belarus, just 20 miles from Chernobyl, a 22.3MW solar plant is already under construction in Brahin district, around 20 miles from Chernobyl. The district was one of the most contaminated by Chernobyl’s fallout and the land where the plant is to be built is not suitable for agriculture.

 6 
 on: Today at 05:33 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Record 46% of UK's electricity generated by clean energy sources in 2015

Official figures show low-carbon sources accounted for almost half of national electricity supply last year - outstripping coal for the first time

Press Association
Thursday 28 July 2016 15.44 BST   

Almost half the UK’s electricity came from clean energy sources such as wind and nuclear power last year, official figures have revealed.

Renewables accounted for a quarter of the country’s power supplies in 2015, outstripping coal power for the first time, the data published by the government revealed.

In total, low-carbon power sources, which produce little in the way of greenhouse gas emissions, supplied a record 46% of the UK’s electricity in 2015, as the amount of renewables grew and nuclear generation rose after outages in late 2014.

Coal supplied just over a fifth (22%) of power in 2015, down from 30% in 2014, while gas continued to provide around 30% of the UK’s electricity.

Nuclear power’s contribution rose slightly from 19% in 2014 to 21% last year, the figures from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy showed.

The amount of onshore and offshore wind turbines and solar panels increased, while higher wind speeds and more rainfall boosted hydropower - helping to generate more clean energy.

And the UK’s biggest coal-fired power station, Drax, in North Yorkshire, switched another unit from coal to mostly burning biomass - most of which is wood pellets.

Overall, renewable sources - which include onshore and offshore wind, solar farms, hydroelectric dams and biomass - accounted for 25% of the UK’s electricity generation.

The total amount of generation capacity was down as several power stations closed, but some of the fall was offset by new renewables.

The government wants to phase out polluting coal-fired power stations by 2025 as part of efforts to tackle climate change, but only if new gas plants can be built to meet demand.

Industry body RenewableUK’s deputy chief executive, Maf Smith, said: “The Government took the right decision when it announced the phasing out of coal.

“Now we can see renewable energy filling the gap, replacing old technology with new. 2015 was the first year that renewables outperformed coal.

“A quarter of Britain’s power is now coming from wind, wave and tidal power and other renewable energy sources.

“Renewables are now part of our energy mainstream, helping us modernise the way we keep the lights on by building new infrastructure for the generations to come.”

Across all energy use - including power, heating and transport - renewables accounted for 8.3% of consumption, up from 7.1% in 2014.

The UK has a target under European Union rules to source 15% of its energy from renewables by 2020.

****************

Hinkley Point C in doubt after British government delays approval

Ministers to conduct fresh review into long-delayed project, with no green light expected until autumn despite EDF’s confirmation

Graham Ruddick and Jamie Grierson
AFP
Friday 29 July 2016 10.03 BST

Britain’s first new nuclear power station for a generation is in fresh doubt after the government postponed a final decision on the £18bn project, despite the French energy company behind it voting to start work.

The government said ministers would now conduct another review of the controversial Hinkley Point C project and announce its decision in the early autumn.

The announcement surprised EDF, whose directors were preparing to sign contracts with the government on Friday.

EDF’s UK chief executive, Vincent De Rivaz, was expected in Somerset on Friday morning alongside senior company officials to give interviews about the project. But following the government statement, it emerged that no interviews would take place.

Officials from China General Nuclear (CGN), which has a one-third stake in the Hinkley project, had also been expected to attend an event.

Greg Clark, the business, energy and industrial strategy secretary, said: “The UK needs a reliable and secure energy supply and the government believes that nuclear energy is an important part of the mix.

“The government will now consider carefully all the component parts of this project and make its decision in the early autumn.”

The new nuclear power station would be Britain’s first since Sizewell B opened in 1995 and is considered vital in helping the country meet its energy requirements.
Cost of nuclear power generation in the UK.

However, Hinkley Point C could eventually cost British taxpayers almost £30bn in subsidies to EDF and its Chinese backer.

The government strongly backed the project when David Cameron was prime minister, and EDF’s commitment was expected to be welcomed as a vote of confidence in the economy after the country voted to leave the EU. The chancellor, Philip Hammond, gave his backing to Hinkley Point C two weeks ago, saying: “We have to make sure the project goes ahead.”

However, Theresa May’s government is understood to have agreed a new timetable with the French government for the project.

A No 10 source said: “EDF made their announcement, and we have agreed a timetable with the French government, which means we will consider all the component parts of this project and make a decision in the early autumn.”

Labour’s energy spokesperson said the Hinkley deal was in “absolute chaos” and accused the government of prevaricating.

“The government has said for two years now that they didn’t need a plan B,” Barry Gardiner told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Friday. “And now at a day’s notice they cancel the final signing agreement that they told all the press and everybody that they were going to do.”

However, Gardiner said Labour was in favour of changing the deal rather than scrapping it. He said the base price of £92.5 a megawatt-hour was too high and should be renegotiated and called for a root and branch review by the government.

“I welcome the jobs and I welcome the 7% electricity this will produce for the nation,” he added. “We’re not against nuclear power in principle. Let me be absolutely clear, I speak as the shadow secretary of state for energy and climate change in Jeremy’s shadow cabinet and we are absolutely clear we are in favour of nuclear power as part of the energy mix we need.

“But in 2025 we need that power because coal will no longer be producing, the government have said that, coal will be off the system. That means we need the base load nuclear would provide.”

After a decade of debate about the controversial project, the board of EDF approved Hinkley Point C by 10 votes to seven, according to sources close to the company.

The construction will create an estimated 25,000 jobs, with completion scheduled for 2025 and work potentially beginning next year. The two nuclear reactors at the plant will provide 7% of Britain’s electricity, enough power for 6 million homes.

EDF said in a statement: “Hinkley Point C is a unique asset for French and British industries as it will benefit the whole of the nuclear sectors in both countries and will support employment at major companies and smaller enterprises in the industry.”

There was another twist to the contentious project in the run-up to the meeting when an EDF director opposed to the nuclear plant resigned before the formal vote.

Gérard Magnin said the project was “very risky” in his resignation letter to EDF’s chief executive.

Magnin did not attend the board meeting in Paris on Thursday where EDF’s remaining 17 directors voted. His resignation follows that of EDF’s chief financial official, Thomas Piquemal, earlier this year, which was also linked to concerns about the cost of Hinkley Point C.

Electricity generation mix.

Their resignations and the narrow margin in the vote highlights the divisions created by the project.

John Sauven, the executive director of Greenpeace, called Hinkley Point “terrible value for money” for British families but said it had become “too big to fail” for politicians. EDF is 85% owned by the French government.

“Countless experts have warned that for British families this power station will be terrible value for money,” he said. “This is a bitter pill to swallow for hard-up people who have been told that the government is trying to keep bills down while dealing with energy security and lowering carbon emissions.

“Today’s decision doesn’t prove the UK is open for business post Brexit. It just shows the Hinkley deal became too big to fail in the eyes of British and French politicians.

“Theresa May now has a chance to stop this radioactive white elephant in its tracks. She should look at the evidence and see that this deal would be a monumental disaster for taxpayers and bill payers.”

The National Audit Office has warned taxpayers could end up paying more than £30bn through a range of subsidies designed to support the project. In a damning report, the NAO also said there could be potential liabilities for disposing of spent fuel and meeting claims in the event of a nuclear accident, meaning renewable energy sources may be a cheaper option.

The government has agreed a “strike price” – a guaranteed price for the electricity generated by Hinkley Point – of £92.50 a megawatt hour for 35 years. This is more than twice the cost of existing wholesale electricity prices.

But there is also concern in France about the cost of the project. EDF has net debt of more than €37bn (£31bn) and unions representing the company’s workers in France are concerned that Hinkley Point could jeopardise its survival.

Power generation.

The project will be part-funded by China after the China General Nuclear Power Corporation agreed to take a 33% stake in the project. Shareholders in EDF have also agreed to buy €4bn of new shares in the company to fund Hinkley Point C.

However, similar projects in Finland and Flamanville, in France, are years behind schedule and significantly over budget. Areva, the French nuclear group that works with EDF, had to be rescued from bankruptcy by the French government because of the problems in the industry.

In his resignation letter, Magnin wrote: “Let’s hope that Hinkley Point will not drag EDF into the same abyss as Areva.”

Magnin has a background in alternative energies and is the founder of Energy Cities, an association designed to help local authorities move to newer forms of energy. The French government proposed him as a board member in 2014, which was seen as an attempt to encourage the company to invest more in renewable energy.

Business leaders in Britain welcomed EDF’s announcement, saying that new investment in the country’s infrastructure is vital. Josh Hardie, deputy director general of the CBI, said: “The final green light for Hinkley Point is welcome news as now, more than ever, action is needed on key infrastructure projects which attract investment to the United Kingdom.

“The project represents a significant milestone in the United Kingdom’s energy future. It will play a key role in further securing and decarbonising our energy supply, putting us on the right path to a sustainable energy mix.

“We hope it will also help kickstart a new nuclear build programme, creating jobs for tens of thousands of people – not just in the local community but up and down the whole country.”

Hinkley Point has already been beset by delays due to concerns about cost and safety. The government initially gave the green light for new nuclear power stations in Britain in 2006, claiming they would make a “significant contribution” to lowering carbon emissions as polluting coal power stations are phased out.

 7 
 on: Today at 05:26 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Wildlife workers rescue six baby rhinos from flooding in India

Floods in Assam submerge Kaziranga national park, home to the world’s largest population of one-horned rhinoceros

AP in Kaziranga
AFP
Thursday 28 July 2016 15.56 BST

Wildlife workers have rescued a group of rhino calves at risk of being washed away by flood waters that have swamped a national park in northeastern India.

Monsoon rains have caused widespread flooding in Assam state and forced about 1.2 million people to leave their waterlogged homes. The rains have also flooded vast tracts of the Kaziranga national park, home to the world’s largest population of the one-horned rhinoceros.

Six baby rhinos have been rescued since the floods began last week, said Rathin Barman, an official at a wildlife research and conservation centre in Kaziranga. All of the rescued rhinos will stay at the centre and will be released in the wild once the flood waters recede.

At least one rhino drowned in the floods. Forest guards found its remains this week in the park, which is located alongside the Brahmaputra river. The river was overflowing the danger mark at several places and had breached its banks at others.

Kaziranga national park is home to a large number of wild animals including tigers and elephants.

 8 
 on: Today at 05:24 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
India launches huge search for Jai, the nation's famous tiger

Indian newspapers carry daily reports on speculation about whereabouts of tiger, with millions following search online

Agence France-Presse
Friday 29 July 2016 07.14 BST

A search is under way in India for the country’s most famous tiger, with millions of adoring fans worried about the big cat known as Jai who went missing three months ago.

Named after Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan’s character in the hit 1975 film Sholay, the tiger shot to nationwide fame three years ago after embarking on an epic hike through villages, rivers and perilously dangerous highways in successful pursuit of a mate.

A firm favourite with tourists and conservationists alike, the seven-year-old, 250kg big cat was last seen at the Umred Karhandla wildlife sanctuary, where he usually lives, on 18 April.

Wildlife officials in the western state of Maharashtra launched a search operation, hoping to find the beloved animal by Friday – International Tiger Day – but admit they are clueless as to his fate.

“Whether he has moved to forest interiors or is with a new mate, no information is available as of yet,” said MS Reddy, a tiger expert helping the search.

Forestry rangers said they first became worried about Jai’s fate after his electronic collar stopped transmitting his location three months ago, while tourist sightings of the animal have dried up.

The state government has offered a reward of 50,000 rupees ($745) for information on Jai’s location, a small fortune for the hundreds of local villagers engaged in the hunt.

Indian newspapers are carrying daily reports on the latest speculation about where Jai may be or what fate might have befallen him with some claiming reported, but unconfirmed, sightings.

In the eastern district of Nagpur this week, home to the Umred Karhandla sanctuary, worried locals held a pooja, or ceremony, praying that he would be found safe.

Some devotees threw religious offerings onto a fire while others held up posters of the missing beast. A small boy was seen stroking a tiger soft toy in local online news clips of the event.

Jai has been credited with both boosting tourism and helping to repopulate India’s tiger population.

“He’s successfully fathered more than 20 cubs and has boosted the local economy by attracting wildlife enthusiasts,” said Rohit Karoo, a conservationist helping co-ordinate the hunt.

“Losing such a majestic tiger would be a great loss for India.”

Karoo said no stone was being left unturned in the bid to track Jai down in a search extending over several hundred kilometres.

“Around ten non-governmental organisations, locals from nearly four hundred villages and forest officials are patrolling the forests in Maharashtra to locate Jai,” he told AFP on Thursday.

India is home to around 2,200 tigers, representing 70% of the world’s endangered tiger population.

Some reports have speculated that Jai may have been wounded in a fight with another tiger, poached by hunters involved in the illegal trade of endangered wildlife or merely fallen sick.

However, Karoo was quick to quash such rumours.

“I don’t think anything bad has befallen him as he is a dominant male tiger with the capacity to travel large distances,” he said.

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 on: Today at 05:22 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Girl, 7, dies after being hit by rock thrown by elephant in Morocco zoo

Child thought to have been lifted by her father on to his shoulders to give her a better view of animals at Rabat zoo

Chris Johnston
AFP
Thursday 28 July 2016 19.55 BST

A seven-year-old girl has died after being struck by a rock thrown by an elephant at a zoo in Morocco.

The incident occurred on Tuesday at Rabat zoo. The girl’s father is thought to have lifted her on to his shoulders to give her a better view of the animals. One of the elephants picked up a stone – nearly the size of half a brick – with its trunk and threw it. The stone struck the girl on the back of the head, knocking her unconscious.

Graphic video shot by another visitor after the incident shows bystanders trying to stem bleeding from the girl’s head as she lies on the ground waiting for an ambulance. She later died in hospital.

It is unclear what prompted the elephant to throw the stone, which experts said was unusual behaviour. Phyllis Lee, scientific director of the Amboseli Trust for Elephants, told the BBC that elephants could throw stones or branches when they were frustrated or bored. “In my opinion, it’s unlikely the elephant was directly targeting the girl but exhibiting frustration. You can’t predict what animals in captivity will do,” she said.

Rabat zoo issued a statement (pdf in French) offering its condolences to the girl’s family but denied responsibility for her death. It added that the enclosure, which housed three elephants, complied with international standards. It said the girl’s death was “rare, unpredictable and strange” and pointed out similar recent incidents in the US.

In May, a three-year-old boy entered a gorilla enclosure at Cincinnati zoo, prompting staff to shoot dead a 17-year-old male gorilla after he began to drag the child around.

In June, a two-year-old boy was killed after being snatched by an alligator on the shoreline of the Seven Seas Lagoon, an artificial lake at a Florida resort close to Disney World in Orlando.

 10 
 on: Today at 05:20 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Scottish farms face losing millions in subsidy after Brexit

UK government would need to increase funding to match common agricultural policy levels, Holyrood committee hears

Severin Carrell Scotland editor
AFP
Thursday 28 July 2016 15.13 BST

Scottish farmers face losing hundreds of millions of pounds in subsidy after Brexit unless the UK government increases funding for Holyrood, a Scottish parliament committee has been told.

A senior economist and the National Farmers Union Scotland (NFUS) said the EU referendum vote raised significant doubts over the future of £452m in common agriculture programme spending in Scotland, because of the current Treasury deal to fund Holyrood.

Pro-Brexit campaigners insisted during the referendum campaign that all agricultural funding would be protected, as Westminster would equally redistribute the £350m a week it would allegedly save from no longer funding the EU.

Prof Graeme Roy, director of the Fraser of Allander Institute, an economics thinktank at Strathclyde University, told Holyrood’s European and external relations committee, which was recalled from summer recess to investigate the ramifications of the Brexit vote, that this was not currently possible.

Under the latest fiscal framework deal for financing Scottish spending, signed off by the then chancellor George Osborne in February, Holyrood would continue to be funded largely by the UK Treasury on a rough per capita basis, through the so-called Barnett formula, and by Scottish taxation.

Scotland’s population is about 8% of the UK total, but Scottish farmers receive 18% of the UK’s overall common agricultural policy (CAP) funding under the EU system, including 85% of less-favoured area payments. The industry has slumped in the last few years due to falling prices, increasing its heavy reliance on subsidies.

UK ministers, Roy said, would have to find a way of changing the current fiscal support system or protecting Scottish agriculture funding through another route. “I think that’s quite a significant thing which needs to be resolved relatively quickly,” he told MSPs.

The NFUS said it is pressing the UK government to guarantee funding at the same levels set out by the CAP for the next four years. But Clare Slipper, the union’s Scottish parliamentary officer, said UK ministers had yet to make any concrete commitments.

Slipper added that there was also a “massive question mark” over what the Scottish government was planning to do on farm funding post-Brexit. Leaving the EU meant ministers in Edinburgh would need to introduce their own agricultural policies, which could be far more beneficial to farmers than the CAP.

Slipper said: “Our concern is we don’t know whether there will be agricultural funding through the block grant or whether it will be ringfenced or topped up by the Scottish government.”

James Withers, of the Scottish Food and Drink Federation, said protecting agricultural funding was crucial to the success of many industries that relied on farm produce. His group’s members converted £3bn in agricultural raw materials into products worth £11bn to the Scottish economy.

Shortly before the evidence session began, the Fraser of Allander Institute warned that Scotland’s already struggling economy was likely to be hit by a further slowing in the next two years as a direct result of Brexit, potentially going into a technical recession.

MSPs were told, however, that the UK’s decision to leave the EU could be very rewarding for Scotland, allowing its major industries such as financial services and fisheries to grow but in different ways.

Hugh Chater, director of banking for Virgin Money, which has a large base in Edinburgh, said the city could see a boom in financial services if Scotland won special concessions giving it much better access to the single market than the rest of the UK.

He said Scotland could offer “safe harbour” for some other UK banks or financial services firms which were worried about losing their so-called passporting rights to operate in the single market. “I think that’s a very credible view,” he said.

The loudest welcome for the UK leaving the EU came from Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fisherman’s Federation. He said leaving the common fisheries policy (CFP) was an extraordinary chance for Scotland to control fishing in a huge area of the continental shelf.

The UK’s exclusive economic zone in the North Sea and Atlantic “was a really, really big patch of prime maritime real estate,” he said. Control over that area had to be defended by UK and Scottish ministers during the Brexit negotiations; it would allow Scotland to overtake Norway and Iceland as major global fish producers.

“We have the opportunity, if there’s the political backbone not to trade it away again, to become managing partner in the best piece of the north-east Atlantic for harvesting seafood,” he said.

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