12月28日，中国总理温家宝召开国务院常务会议，听取了关于中国高铁安全检查的报告。据法新社报道，这份备受瞩目的报告认为，今年夏天造成至少40人死 亡，近200受伤的甬温线动车追尾事故主要事故原因是：列车控制中心存在严重的设计缺陷、上道使用审查不严、雷击导致故障之后应急处理不力等人为原因。该 报告还指出，在7·23动车追尾事故发生之后，"在事故抢险救援过程中，铁道部和上海铁路局存在处置不当、信息发布不及时、对社会关切回应不准确等问题， 在社会上造成不良影响。"
这一动车事故不仅造成了严重的伤亡和损失，而且在社会上引起了强烈的批评浪潮。中国政府也不得不暂时控制高速铁路的发展速度。广大网民和微博用户要求查清 真相，为什么在前面一列火车因故障停下来之后，后面的一列动车竟然没有及时得到相关信息。还有很多网民对于官方公布的死亡人数表示质疑。甚至中国共产党的 党报《人民日报》也发表文章呼吁，发展必须安全至上，不要"带血的GDP"。
包括动车组在内的中国高速铁路网2007年才开通使用，但是由于国家投入巨资支持，高铁网以惊人的速度发展膨胀，截至今年年底，全国高速铁路全长已达 8358公里，为全世界之最。2010年12月，铁道部宣布，中国的高速铁路最高时速能够达到486公里，创下世界纪录。但是在高速铁路正式投入运营之后 不久，种种问题就接连暴露：多次出现列车因遭遇雷击而断电停车的情况，而7月23日的动车追尾事故更是造成了严重的伤亡。目前，出于安全问题的担忧，中国 当局决定，将高铁运行速度控制在300公里/小时以内。
The used batteries Americans turn in for recycling are increasingly processed in Mexico, their lead often extracted by crude methods that are illegal in the United States.
福島県からはすべての都道府県に避難しており、山形県の１万２７３４人、東京都の７３１８人、新潟県の６５６９人、埼玉県の４７０５人の順に多い。この ３カ月間の伸び方をみると、埼玉県がほぼ倍増しており、神奈川県が約４４％増。大阪府約３１％増、宮崎県約３４％増、沖縄県約３３％増など、遠い地域への 避難者も増えている。
Facing high insurance costs and driver health tests, trucking companies want to change truckers’ habits. Above, Roy Williams tries to eat better and exercise.
三軍總醫院表示，56歲雇員曹長發全身面積90%二度到三度燒燙傷，18日病況惡化，晚間由醫院醫師陪同返家，19日凌晨在家中過世。目前仍在三軍總醫院 接受治療的是全身55%燒燙傷黃銀裕，目前狀況穩定，也不需使用葉克膜治療。另外一位是42歲士官長張俊德，燒傷面積11%，在進行植皮手術之後，已在前 天出院回家休養。
(2011-11-21 20:00) 公視晚間新聞
還好政府最後決定停止興建國光石化；若 強制興建，昨天爆出高雄後勁地區的中油煉油廠，偷偷排放廢水多年，害得附近臭不可聞的新聞，豈不造成更大的抗爭運動？馬英九在南部還想不想要選票？現在因 政府紕漏連連而使馬的支持度從超過蔡英文最多時的10趴，已經跌到3趴左右，中油的排污事件足夠讓馬吳再脫一層皮。
這件事誇張到不行。其荒唐處在於：一，中油是國營機構、等於政府的一部分，竟然「偷偷」趁下雨把污水排放到後勁溪。堂堂國營企業年營業額數百億， 竟然猥猥瑣瑣偷偷排放廢水，成何體統？二，本來若各事業體的廢水將超過儲存槽容量時，下雨天可以排放多餘的廢水量。但中油鑽此漏洞排放的竟是高濃度揮發性 有機物VOCs污水。三，後勁溪果然有強烈後勁，久而久之造成後勁、左營、楠梓地區瀰漫著異味、臭味，影響居民的生活品質與健康。四，環保署查出是中油的 問題，並掌握近3年來共高達55次的不法排放廢水，將依《行政罰法》加重裁罰2630萬元。這筆錢對富可敵國的中油不過九牛一毛。
環保早已成為現代政府新加進去的任務之 一。政府比民眾及私部門更須守法，否則沒有立場要民眾守法。中油這個政府部門，竟比一般民間工廠還肆無忌憚地污染河流；河流進入地下成為地下水和灌溉水， 污染了飲水、土壤、稻米、蔬果，以及養殖業餵養的魚、蝦等水族食品，其傷害性非常廣大，受害民眾也多不勝數。
A federal investigation found that fatalities are more likely when “curbside” carriers are involved in accidents. Above, a bus crash killed 15 people in the Bronx in March.
I’m still not sure how she wasn’t hurt or killed.
Every family has its childproofing lapses. Most survive just fine, but the stakes are always high. To discuss the dangers, I spoke recently with three specialists: Colleen Driscoll, the executive director of the International Association for Child Safety, a trade association; Julie Vallese, a vice president of Dorel Juvenile Group, which makes Safety 1st childproofing products; and Don Mays, senior director of product safety for Consumer Reports. These experts underlined one lesson: if you get your childproofing advice from friends, don’t trust everything you hear.
That’s because childproofing has changed in recent years, both in the products offered and in the household hazards parents face. So, families with older children are working with yesterday’s ideas.
For example, our youngest child — our fourth — is 9, so we’re not too far removed from this topic. Yet those little plastic outlet covers that seem just fine to me are apparently now ruled unwise. Likewise, a video baby monitor sounds to me like a great new safety device. But I’m wrong again.
“We started seeing strangulations about three years ago,” Mr. Mays said, alluding to the monitor cords. “In one case, the very first day the child was able to stand up in the crib, the child grabbed the cord, got tangled and died.”
And even just a few years ago, flat-screen TVs were too expensive to put on every conceivable surface in the house — especially dressers. That is no longer true, and that’s a problem.
“If a child climbs on the drawers, that TV can come crashing down,” Ms. Driscoll said. “There have been lots of injuries and deaths associated with furniture and TV tip-overs.”
As for solutions, Ms. Vallese suggested starting early. “The best time to do this is before the child comes,” she said, “and before the craziness of being a parent sets in.”
Start low, too, she added.
“Get down to a child’s vantage point, and look around,” she said. “What they see is very different from what we see.”
Since parenthood will eventually bring you to your knees anyway, think of it as training. (At least this type of parenting pain can be mitigated: QEP kneepads are about $10.)
As you crawl around the living room, notice the outlets. Old-school baby-proofers like me used plastic covers because they plugged tightly into outlets, making them hard for babies to remove. The problem, my panelists said, is that the covers are also hard for parents to remove, so they are less likely to reinsert them if they expect to use the outlet again shortly.
And when a parent puts that outlet cover down, Mr. Mays added, it becomes a major choking hazard. (Use an empty toilet-paper tube to answer choking questions. Objects that easily pass through one can choke your child.)
To avoid such problems, Ms. Driscoll recommends outlet covers with horizontally sliding doors. They’re easier for parents to use, they needn’t be removed and reinserted, and they pose no choking danger. I found Safety 1st’s Swivel outlet cover easy to install and, at $2.25 each, inexpensive.
But, Mr. Mays warned, some retractable covers prevent plugs from fully engaging, which can lead to sparking and overheating with high-power items like hair dryers or vacuums. Another option is Leviton’s Decora tamper-resistant duplex receptacle, an outlet that requires no cover and costs about $2.50 at Home Depot.
When my children were younger, I fixated on the choking hazard posed by cords on our window treatments, but I overlooked the same danger from power cords. One remedy is a device that eliminates the slack in electric wires. (Safety 1st’s Cord Short’ner is about $4.)
Don’t use tacks to secure a cord, Mr. Mays added. Your child will yank them out, and they will naturally make their way to his mouth.
After your crawl, get up and stretch. Then grab a screwdriver and a bracket to secure the flat-screen TV to the wall. (The Safety 1st ProGrade flat-screen TV lock is $33.)
Next, secure any furniture more than 30 inches tall with wall restraints (Safety 1st furniture wall straps, about $6 for two). Screw the straps into a stud.
Now comes the most expensive childproofing task. Child-safety specialists now recommend cordless window treatments, and they mean completely cordless. Venetian blinds, in other words, won’t work because children can become entangled in the strings that control the slats.
For high-profile locations like living rooms, options include Hunter Douglas’s Vignette modern roman shades with LiteRise ($504 for the 30-by-40-inch model). For bedrooms, there are more basic alternatives, like Bali Today’s white fabric cordless cellular shade ($25 for a 23-by-48-inch window).
The kitchen is arguably the most dangerous room in the house — with sharp utensils, pet food, toxic cleaners, ovens and other items that figure prominently on the pediatric E.R. ledger.
The operative word here: lockdown.
For drawers and cabinets, Mr. Mays said, parents should use latches that automatically reset upon closing, because people are apt to forget. One option is Safety 1st’s No-Drill deluxe latch kit (about $31 for four). Instead of scraping your fingers on the cabinet edge as with old-style plastic latches, you use a magnetic handle to release the latch. Keep the handle in a cup on the counter, and the system will work fine.
Good as they are, though, these latches are a hassle to install (and though labeled “no drill,” the instructions recommend screws if your children are “persistent”). So, budget at least a half-hour for each latch set or hire someone to do it for you.
In the bathroom, get a toilet lock. Buy one that automatically resets and — especially if you have boys — make sure its components won’t be hard to clean.(KidCo’s is $15.)
Put doorknob covers in bathrooms, too, and keep the doors shut when they are empty. Here, at last, is a category that hasn’t changed much in the past decade. For standard doorknobs, the squeeze-and-turn covers work fine. (KidCo’s cost about $6 for two; its cover for door levers, about $8 each.)
People with two or three children may consider themselves old hands when it comes to child gates. I felt the same, until one of my children, at age 12, developed an attention span so short that she often forgot to shut the gate.
But resist the urge to get a self-closing model, Ms. Driscoll said; they are commonly pressure-mounted and so can become dislodged, and often have a threshold that people can trip on. (KidCo’s Angle Mount Safeway gate, a non-self-closer, costs about $70. )
Even if you follow all these childproofing steps, consider calling in a consultant. Every house poses different hazards — with fireplaces or wood-burning stoves, for instance — and first-time parents can’t see everything.
But at least you’ll have addressed most of the issues beforehand, so the consultant’s bill won’t be another thing that brings you to your knees.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: October 27, 2011
An earlier version of this article misstated the price of the Leviton Decora tamper resistant duplex receptacle as $20.
BY MUTSUMI MITOBE STAFF WRITER
Masami Narita shows the washi paper made from apple dregs. (Mutsumi Mitobe)The apple washi paper is used to wrap glass cups shaped like apples. (Mutsumi Mitobe)
AOMORI -- An eco-friendly wrapping paper used for Aomori Prefectures souvenirs is being made from a juicy and crunchy product people usually associate with this northern prefecture--apples.
Masami Narita has spent the past year coming up with the right formula of apple dregs, pulp and kozo fiber that is the raw material for ordinary washi, or handmade Japanese paper.
Until two years ago, Narita, 34, worked as an engineer, and her problem-solving skills obviously helped when she found a job with Gainz Co. in Aomori, an information services company.
In the spring of 2010, the company president said to Narita, "I want to start a new project taking advantage of local resources in Aomori."
When she worked as an engineer, Narita designed copy machines. She always enjoyed creating something from nothing, including doing the research before the work actually begins.
After doing research on the Internet and meeting with officials in government offices and the industry and technology center, Narita learned that hundreds of tons of apple dregs were disposed of every year after juice and other products were made. Disposing of the dregs costs several tens of millions of yen.
Because the main ingredient in the dregs was the cellulose that is also one of the raw materials for paper, Narita said she thought that finding an effective use for the dregs would help apple farmers.
That idea started her along on days of experimenting with various mixtures of materials. When she tried to make paper using only apple dregs, the product was so brittle it could not be used.
Narita gradually changed the mixture of apple dregs, pulp and kozo fiber and tried making paper at the company office.
She finally came up with a completed prototype after about two months. She then had to find a washi craftsman to commercialize the product. However, there were none in Aomori Prefecture, so Narita visited major washi production centers, such as Kochi, Kyoto and Fukui, to seek a partner in the venture.
This spring, about 100 sheets of washi paper, each measuring 60 centimeters by 90 centimeters, arrived from a craftsman in Fukui who agreed to cooperate.
Even with the apple skin, core and seeds giving a feel of the fruit to the paper, light passed evenly through it. Narita felt then that a true professional's skills had gone into the washi.
Once the product was completed, Narita received various requests to use the paper, including as wrapping paper for such Aomori products as apple soap and glass cups shaped like apples.
Narita talked up her product to various creators in Aomori and elsewhere in search of other uses for the paper.
The product came about because of ties among people who originally worked in different fields, such as apple farmers, washi craftsmen and creators.
This year, Narita has been busy creating a structure that would allow for increased production as well as expanding sales routes. One part of such efforts was a workshop on handmade washi that was held in Aomori Prefecture.
Aomori has an abundance of clean water and outstanding examples of art such as the Nebuta festival and block prints.
With such a background, Narita said, "I eventually want to produce the paper in Aomori. It would be so interesting if one day we could create Nebuta floats using our washi."
Oct 8th 2011 | IITATE | from the print edition
CREST the hill into the village of Iitate, and the reading on a radiation dosimeter surges eightfold—even with the car windows shut. “Don’t worry, I’ve been coming here for months and I’m still alive,” chuckles Chohei Sato, chief of the village council, as he rolls down the window and inhales cheerfully. He pulls off the road, gets out of the car and buries the dosimeter in the grass. The reading doubles again.
Iitate is located 45km (28 miles) from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant hit by a tsunami on March 11th this year. In the mountains above the town, the forests are turning the colour of autumn. But their beauty is deceptive. Every time a gust of wind blows, Mr Sato says it shakes invisible particles of radioactive caesium off the trees and showers them over the village. Radiation levels in the hills are so high that villagers dare not go near them. Mr Sato cannot bury his father’s bones, which he keeps in an urn in his abandoned farmhouse, because of the dangers of going up the hill to the graveyard.
Iitate had the misfortune to be caught by a wind that carried radioactive particles (including plutonium) much farther than anybody initially expected after the nuclear disaster. Almost all the 6,000 residents have been evacuated, albeit belatedly, because it took the government months to decide that some villages outside a 30km radius of the plant warranted special attention. Now it offers an extreme example of how difficult it will be to recover from the disaster.
That is mainly because of the enormous spread of radiation. Recently the government said it needed to clear about 2,419 square kilometres of contaminated soil—an area larger than greater Tokyo—that received an annual radiation dose of at least five millisieverts, or over 0.5 microsieverts an hour. That covered an area far beyond the official 30km restriction zone (see map). Besides pressure- hosing urban areas, this would involve removing about 5cm of topsoil from local farms as well as all the dead leaves in caesium-laden forests.
However, Iitate’s experience suggests the government may be underestimating the task. Villagers have removed 5cm of topsoil from one patch of land, but because radioactive particles continue to blow from the surrounding trees, the level of radiation remains high—about one microsievert an hour—even if lower than in nearby areas. Without cutting down the forests, Mr Sato reckons there will be a permanent risk of contamination. So far, nobody has any idea where any contaminated soil will be dumped.
The second problem is children’s health. On September 30th the government lifted an evacuation advisory warning to communities within a 20-30km radius of the plant. The aim was partly to show that the authorities were steadily bringing the crippled reactors under control.
But these areas are still riddled with radiation hot spots, including schools and public parks, which will need to be cleaned before public confidence is restored. Parents say they are particularly concerned about bringing their children back because the health effects of radiation on the young are so unclear. What is more, caesium particles tend to lurk in the grass, which means radiation is more of a risk at toddler height than for adults. In Iitate, Mihori Takahashi, a mother of two, “believes only half of what the doctors say” and says she never wants to bring her children back. That, in itself, may be a curse. “The revival of this town depends on the children returning,” says Mr Sato.
And even if people return, Mr Sato worries how they will make a living. These are farming villages, but it will take years to remove the stigma attached to food grown in Fukushima, he reckons. He is furious with Tokyo Electric Power, operator of the plant, for failing to acknowledge the long-term impacts of the disaster. He says it is a way of scrimping on compensation payouts.
One way to help overcome these problems would be to persuade people to accept relaxed safety standards. A government panel is due to propose lifting the advisory dose limit above one millisievert per year. This week in Tokyo, Wade Allison, a physics professor at Oxford University, argued that Japan’s dose limit could safely be raised to 100 millisieverts, based on current health statistics. Outside Mr Sato’s house, however, a reading of the equivalent of 150 millisieverts a year left your correspondent strangely reluctant to inhale.
Giving healthy men P.S.A. blood tests for prostate cancer does not save lives and often leads to treatment that can cause needless pain and side effects, a government panel said.
BY HIROSHI ISHIZUKA STAFF WRITER
Levels of radioactive cesium 137 in waters off Fukushima Prefecture are 58 times higher than before the March 11 quake that crippled a nuclear power plant there, a government survey shows.
The science ministry conducted sophisticated sensitive analysis of seawater sampled in 11 locations, mostly about 45-320 kilometers off the coasts of Fukushima, Miyagi, Ibaraki and Chiba prefectures, in late August.
Cesium 137 levels about 140 kilometers east of the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant came to 0.11 becquerel per liter, or 58 times more than in 2009, the ministry said Oct. 5.
Still, the figures for all locations were less than 1 percent of the legal standard of 90 becquerels for ocean waters.
It was the first sensitive analysis covering large areas.
In a 2009 ministry survey off the four prefectures, maximum readings were between 0.0015 and 0.0023 becquerel per liter.
The latest survey detected 0.10 becquerel about 215 kilometers southeast of the Fukushima No. 1 plant, 50 times more than in 2009, and 0.076 becquerel about 200 kilometers northeast of the plant, 33 times more.
Seawater sampled off Chiba Prefecture contained 0.0012-0.0023 becquerel, roughly unchanged from 2009.
Sunflowers in an untended rice paddy in the village of Iitate, Fukushima Prefecture, in July (The Asahi Shimbun)
Farm ministry research has dashed hopes that sunflower seeds planted in areas around the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant would help clean up radioactive contamination.
The seeds were sown within the evacuation areas in the belief they would soak up radioactive materials, but the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries reported Sept. 14 that sunflowers only absorbed about 0.05 percent of the radioactive cesium in contaminated ground.
The laborious process of scraping off surface soil was far more effective.
Since late May, the ministry has been studying farmland decontamination methods at six locations in Iitate village and Kawamata town.
The ministry found that removing 3 centimeters of topsoil together with shallow-rooted grass was the most effective method of decontamination, reducing radioactive cesium by 97 percent.
Scraping off about 4 cm of surface soil when shallow-rooted grass was not present removed about 75 percent of the radioactive cesium.
When the surface soil was removed after applying a solidifying agent, 82 percent of the radioactive cesium was removed.
Other methods tested included filling rice paddies with water, then tilling and stirring the soil and draining the water. That reduced cesium by 36 percent.
Sunflower planting was highly ineffective by comparison, absorbing only one-2,000th of the cesium.
According to the ministry, 95 percent of the cesium is concentrated in the top layer of soil, less than 2.5 cm from the surface. Sunflower roots grow more than 1 meter below the surface, making it difficult for them to absorb cesium near the surface.
"There is no alternative plant that has a higher rate of absorption (than sunflowers)," a ministry official said. "From a practical point of view, we cannot rely on plants for decontamination."
Over time, cesium bonds strongly with minerals in clay soil. This makes it very hard for plants to absorb the cesium. The ministry said the most effective decontamination method was removing the soil with the cesium.
(This article was compiled from reports by Keiichiro Inoue and Takashi Sugimoto.)
One person has been killed and four injured, one seriously, by an explosion at the southern French nuclear plant of Marcoule.
There were no radioactive leaks after the blast, caused by a fire near a furnace in a radioactive waste storage site, a French nuclear official said.
A security perimeter has been set up because of the risk of leakage.
The plant produces MOX fuel, which recycles plutonium from nuclear weapons, but does not include reactors.
It is a major site involved with the decommissioning of nuclear facilities.
The Centraco treatment centre belongs to a subsidiary of national electricity provider EDF.
The explosion hit the plant at 1145 local time (0945 GMT).
"For the time being nothing has made it outside," said a spokesman for France's Atomic Energy Commission (CEA).
Marcoule, one of France's oldest nuclear plants, is located in the Gard department in Languedoc-Roussillon region, near France's Mediterranean coast.
Nuclear energy provides more than 70% of France's energy needs.
All the country's 58 nuclear reactors have been put through stress tests in recent months, following the disaster at Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant which was hit by an earthquake and tsunami.
EDF's share prices fell by more than 6% as news of the blast emerged.