Proposals to end nuclear power generation or ban the construction of new nuclear plants or reactors were submitted to this year’s general shareholder meetings of six major Japanese power suppliers, but none of the proposals was approved. The six firms are Tokyo Electric Power Co. <9501>, Tohoku Electric Power Co. <9506>, Chubu Electric Power Co. <9502>, Kansai Electric Power Co. <9503>, Chugoku Electric Power Co. <9504> and Kyushu Electric Power Co. <9508>. The six and four other major power firms held their shareholder meetings Tuesday or Wednesday. This year’s meetings drew keen attention after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami heavily damaged TEPCO’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant in northeastern Japan and led to massive leaks of radioactive materials from the plant. Shareholders focused on the safety of nuclear power plants in the wake of the worst nuclear disaster in Japan. TEPCO’s meeting was attended by a record 9,300 shareholders and lasted for some six hours, the longest on record. Many shareholders demanded that the nuclear power generation be scrapped. Meanwhile, executives of the power firms responded by saying that they are making efforts to ensure safety. from jiji press
from the houston chronicle
Just last week, Vince Cefalu, a special agent in the ATF for 24 years, was dismissed from his job after helping expose an operation code named “Operation Fast and Furious,” which was designed to purposefully put assault weapons into the hands of Mexican drug cartels so they could then be tracked to collect intelligence.
The operation itself is an exhausting series of unbelievable mistakes and lapses of judgment, but the Administration’s response is even more disturbing, as is the subdued media reaction.
According to the written testimony of Supervisory Special Agent Peter Forcelli: “ATF agents assigned to the Phoenix Field Division, with the concurrence of their local chain of command, ‘walked’ guns. ATF agents allowed weapons to be provided to individuals whom they knew would traffic them to members of Mexican drug trafficking organizations.”
The goal was to uncover larger criminal conspiracies across the border. Without informing Mexican authorities, the ATF facilitated over 2,500 assault weapons entering Mexico illegally. The only modern “tracking” method was a rigged-up GPS from Radio Shack that Forcelli took it upon himself to install, since the only other tracking method would be serial numbers on the guns. That device failed.
ATF agent John Dodson, who feared that this operation would cost lives, was told to stand down and “fall in line” by supervisors. Dodson testified to Congress: “Although my instincts made me want to intervene and interdict these weapons, my supervisors directed me and my colleagues not to make any stop or arrest.”
Later, guns sold in this operation were discovered at the scene of a shootout in Arizona in December 2010 in which Customs and Border Protection agent Brian Terry was killed. As Forcelli testified: “To allow a gun to walk is idiotic.… This was a catastrophic disaster.”
Since then, we have learned that this operation had support in Washington and that its tactics were not a secret. Forcelli testified that Assistant U.S. Attorney Emory Hurley helped orchestrate the operation and that U.S. Attorney Dennis Burk “agreed with the direction of the case.” E-mails show that Deputy Assistant Director for ATF Field Operations William McMahon was “so excited about Fast and Furious that he received a special briefing on the program in Phoenix.”
Acting ATF director Kenneth Melson actually watched—yes, watched—live video surveillance of the operations from his office in Washington. He and his deputy were briefed weekly on the operation.
President Obama said in a press conference today: “My Attorney General has made clear that he wouldn’t have ordered gun running into Mexico.… That would not be an appropriate step by the ATF.” He then deflected further questions by citing an “ongoing investigation.” Press Secretary Jay Carney had previously said that the President “did not know about or authorize this operation.”
If that’s the case, how could neither he nor Attorney General Eric Holder not know about an operation that everyone else at the Department of Justice seemed to be actively involved in, including the Assistant Attorney General, U.S. Attorney and head of the ATF? Melson has finally agreed to testify in the Senate in July, and hopefully that will answer some of those questions.
And it’s about time that Melson was finally authorized by Holder to testify. The Administration’s stonewalling on this subject has been embarrassing. Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich wrote to Senator Chuck Grassley (R–IA) in February that “the allegation described in your January 27 letter—that ATF ‘sanctioned’ or otherwise knowingly allowed the sale of assault weapons to a straw purchaser who then transported them into Mexico—is false.” We now know that this is not true.
see previous post:
Riot police fired volleys of tear gas at swarms of young men who were hurling rocks and other debris as well as setting fire to rubbish containers.
Police with truncheons occasionally charged the demonstrators, but pulled back just as quickly.
As stun grenades boomed and flashed, many members of the crowds jeered and booed.
Most of the anti-government protesters who marched to the square stayed clear of the fighting, but they vented their anger at the political establishment with chants and insults.
Al Jazeera’s Barnaby Phillips, reporting from Athens, said: “Right around the center of the city of Athens not just in sytagma square the atmosphere is extremely volatile.
“I think the majority of people who came here were always very peaceful in terms of their intentions and they have tried to spend the day, inspite of the swelling tear gas in front of the parliament building expressing their concern.”
Speaking to Al Jazeera, Matina Stevis, a Greek journalist, said: “I can almost hear the sighs of relief from the rest of Europe, but this is not good news, it has been an incredibly dramatic day in Athens.”
Stevis said that she was worried that the austerity package is too harsh and unimplementable.