07 Feb

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

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Gerry Broome/AP

Environmental activists say NC river is ‘toxic soup’ after coal ash spill

by Peter Moskowitz

The leak, which started Sunday at a closed Duke Energy plant along the Dan River, has dumped 82,000 tons into waterway.

Environmentalists and residents of North Carolina and Virginia are anxiously waiting for toxicity test results from the Dan River, where tens of thousands of tons of coal ash spilled earlier this week. Danville’s city manager has released a statement saying that while preliminary findings indicate the area drinking water is safe, they await final confirmation. North Carolina’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources has yet to provide an official determination, but people around the Dan River report that the spill was having visible and adverse effects.

The spill originated from a 27-acre pond of coal ash and slurry — the waste product of burning coal — at a defunct Duke Energy power plant along the Dan River in Eden, N.C.

Hundreds of workers are trying to cap the leaking pipe, which has so far allowed 82,000 tons of toxic ash and 27 million gallons of contaminated water to escape into the river. The flow is down to a trickle, but that’s mostly because there’s not much liquid left in the unlined coal pond………………….






W. Virginians don’t fault coal for crisis

Navajo Nation split on coal deal

Dirty coal foretold W. Va. disaster



U.S. Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland, foreground, walks through the Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, Dec. 10, 2013.Sergei Chuzavkov/AP


US diplomats’ private Ukraine conversation leaked

State Department official, while speaking with US ambassador to Ukraine, reportedly curses European Union.

A conversation between a State Department official and the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine posted on YouTube revealed a frank exchange on U.S. strategy for a political transition in that country, including a crude swipe at the European Union .

In the audio posted Tuesday, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland told U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt she doesn’t think Vitaly Klitschko, the boxer-turned-politician who is a main opposition leader, should be in a new government.

“So I don’t think Klitsch (Klitschko) should go into the government,” she said in the recording, which appeared to describe events that occurred in late January. “I don’t think it’s necessary. I don’t think it’s a good idea.”








Pakistani government and Taliban hold talks

The first formal meeting between the Pakistani government and a Taliban-nominated team is described as ‘cordial’





The Guardian home

Female genital mutilation: pressure on Gove to inform teachers of practice

More than 100,000 people urge Department for Education to write to teachers and tell them to inform children and parents about FGM

Syria aid operation to begin in Homs as UN condemns barrel-bomb attacks

Bashar regime agrees ‘humanitarian pause’ to provide relief for trapped civilians as hundreds feared killed in fresh attacks


CIA director John Brennan  left, talks with the director of national intelligence James Clapper before Barack Obama outlined his NSA reforms.

CIA director John Brennan left, talks with the director of national intelligence James Clapper before Barack Obama outlined his NSA reforms on 17 January 2014. Photograph: Jim WatsonAFP/Getty Images

James Clapper might as well be called director of US fearmongering

James Clapper is very worried. It’s not the first time.

Last week the man who serves as America’s Director of National Intelligence trudged up to Capitol Hill to tell the assembled members of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee (pdf) that the annual worldwide threat assessment, put together by the intelligence community, has filled him with dread. He told the room:Looking back over my more than half a century in intelligence, I have not experienced a time when we have been beset by more crises and threats around the globe.

That is some scary stuff.

There are real threats to the US, but Clapper should be able to talk about them in sober, evidence-based, non-hysterical terms



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