Fukushima Radioactive Seawater Passes Halfway Point To US West Coast (update: March 2012)

Radioactive Seawater Impact Map (update: March 2012)

ASR, a global coastal and marine consulting firm, is changing the way the world’s coasts and oceans are managed.


 ASR’s team includes experienced Ph.D. scientists, accomplished environmental business leaders, engineers, and dedicated research and programming staff. Our combination of scientific expertise, environmental stewardship, practical business experience, and technological knowledge allows us to provide proven and effective solutions for our clients’ complex challenges.

We use a Lagrangian particles dispersal method to track where free floating material (fish larvae, algae, phytoplankton, zooplankton…) present in the sea water near the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station plant could have gone since the earthquake on March 11th. THIS IS NOT A REPRESENTATION OF THE RADIOACTIVE PLUME CONCENTRATION. Since we do not know exactly how much contaminated water and at what concentration was released into the ocean, it is impossible to estimate the extent and dilution of the plume. However, field monitoring by TEPCOshowed concentration of radioactive Iodine and Cesium higher than the legal limit during the next two months following the event (with a peak at more than 100 Bq/cm3 early April 2011 for I-131 as shown by the following picture).Source: TEPCO

Assuming that a part of the passive biomass could have been contaminated in the area, we are trying to track where the radionuclides are spreading as it will eventually climb up the food chain. The computer simulation presented here is obtained by continuously releasing particles at the site during the 2 months folllowing the earthquake and then by tracing the path of these particles. The dispersal model is ASR’s Pol3DD. The model is forced by hydrodynamic data from theHYCOM/NCODA system which provides on a weekly basis, daily oceanic current in the world ocean. The resolution in this part of the Pacific Ocean is around 8km x 8km cells. We are treating only the sea surface currents. The dispersal model keeps a trace of their visits in the model cells. The results here are expressed in number of visit per surface area of material which has been in contact at least once with the highly concentrated radioactive water.

Hillary Losing the War for Afghan Women’s Liberation

Status of Afghan women threatens Hillary Clinton’s legacy

The secretary of State has devoted herself to the issue, but gains made may be reversed as Afghanistan’s conservatives become more powerful in the West’s wake.


By Paul Richter, Los Angeles TimesApril 8, 2012, 6:05 p.m.

WASHINGTON — In the final months of her tenure as secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton is fighting a long retreat on a cause close to her heart, and to her legacy — the status of Afghan women.

Clinton embraced the cause long before the first U.S. troops landed in the country, and as secretary of State she has brought Afghan women worldwide attention, political power and unbending promises of American support.

“We will not abandon you,” she pledged.

But now, with U.S. officials laying plans to remove most troops in two years, the Afghan government and other institutions appear to be adjusting their positions on women’s rights to accommodate conservative factions. Restrictions on women have made a comeback.

“Most of women’s important achievements over the last decade are likely to be reversed,” predicted a bleak report issued last month by the Afghan Human Rights and Democracy Organization, a nonprofit in Kabul funded by Western governments and private groups.

This puts Clinton in a tough spot. Among senior U.S. officials, none is more closely associated with women’s rights: When prominent Afghan women are alarmed by developments at home, they often fire off emails to Clinton’s staff.

“She has been a very strong conscience of the world on this issue,” said Wazhma Frogh, director of the Research Institute for Women, Peace and Security in the Afghan capital, Kabul. “We have leaned on her help in the past, and we are looking to her help for our future.”

Clinton insists that the United States views women’s rights as a nonnegotiable “red line.” At a recent meeting of the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council, she insisted that “any peace that is attempted to be made by excluding more than half the population is no peace at all. It is a figment that will not last…. We will not waver on this point.”

Yet administration officials also acknowledge sharp limits to what America can do. Even future U.S. funding to help women is uncertain.

Melanne Verveer, U.S. ambassador at large for women and a longtime Clinton aide, said that American officials remain influential and will do all they can.

“But this is going to be in the end an Afghan-led process,” she said. “Ultimately, it is going to be the Afghans who are in the driver’s seat. We can’t see the future. This is a work in progress — we don’t know — we hope it will be progress.”

Senior U.S. officials see Afghanistan as an intractable foreign policy mess that will only get worse as long as large numbers of U.S. troops remain in the country. Winding down the U.S. commitment has become an overriding priority.

As America’s chief diplomat, Clinton has won praise not only from liberals, but also from conservatives. Gallup polls have found she is the nation’s most admired woman for each of the last 10 years.

Clinton has signaled that she will step down as top U.S. diplomat early next year, and the fate of Afghan women may not be clear until long after her departure. Even so, a reversal on women’s rights would be a blow to Clinton’s legacy.

“People will identify her with whatever happens,” said Shamila Chaudhary, who was National Security Council advisor on Afghanistan and Pakistan until late last year and is now with the Eurasia Group research firm in Washington. “There’s a huge reputational risk in this for her.”

Clinton’s advocacy for women in Afghanistan goes back to her time in the Senate before the Sept . 11 attacks, when the world was horrified to see how the Taliban regime had marginalized women.

Clinton pushed for guaranteed seats for women in the Afghan parliament and other government bodies and has made sure that the United States has amply funded programs to supportwomen’s healthand education, businesses, legal clinics and shelters. Clinton was among the Western officials who lobbied the Afghan government to set up a women’s ministry and enact a tough law barring violence against women.

Her efforts have contributed to Afghan women’s gains. Over the last decade, women’s life expectancy there has increased from 42 to 64 years, and the number of girls in school has gone from 10,000 to 2.5 million.

But two months ago, the country’s top religious body, the Ulema Council, issued an edict that men are “fundamental” and women “secondary,” and barred women from mingling with men in schools or the workplace. Afghan President Hamid Karzai appeared to embrace the ruling, setting off an international outcry.

When Clinton called Karzai on March 8 to demand an explanation, Karzai said the ruling was only “advisory” and insisted that he stood by the Afghan Constitution’s guarantees of equality for women.

Yet the incident was widely seen as proof that Karzai and other Afghan institutions have started to position themselves for the more conservative era they see ahead.

Karzai “has a lot to lose if he can’t find a way to reach an accommodation with the Taliban,” said Heather Barr of Human Rights Watch in Kabul. “The consequences for him of moving against women’s rights are probably a lot less serious.”

Clinton’s pressure helped gain women nine seats in the High Peace Council, a body appointed to help direct the negotiations with the Taliban. But so far, Afghan women have been largely shut out of the preliminary talks, former First Lady Laura Bush, another advocate for the women’s cause, said during the meeting of the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council.

There are other trouble signs. Dozens of mixed-gender and girls schools have been destroyed by insurgents in recent years, including 74 in 2010 alone, Amnesty International says. Prominent female politicians have been killed and others face growing threats of violence, Amnesty says.

U.S. spending for Afghan women, like other aid, has begun to decline, women’s advocates say. Although the administration is committed to long-term development aid to Afghanistan, Verveer acknowledged that decisions on such appropriations “will be a negotiation between the administration and the Congress.”

Although Clinton has remained focused on women’s rights, others in the Obama administration have concentrated most on security goals, starting with winning Taliban commitments to break off ties with Al Qaeda, say current and former U.S. officials.

If the negotiators are able to work out an agreement on security and other key issues, “the final deal won’t be held up by a disagreement over women’s rights,” Chaudhary predicted. “No way.”


The Pak Army Can Drive the Terrorists from Swat, But They Cannot Jam A Simple FM Radio Broadcast

In eerie comeback, Taliban return to airwaves

After a successful 2009 army operation, locals fear that militant FM broadcasts could be significant. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: After relative peace since 2009, the Taliban are back in Swat Valley – at least on the airwaves.

Almost three years after battle-hardened militants loyal to Maulvi Fazlullah or ‘Mullah Radio’ were flushed out of the region in a military operation, it appears they are now trying to gain a foothold once again by re-establishing FM broadcasts.

The broadcasts had earlier been used as a propaganda tool to galvanise public support through a mixture of terror and persuasion.

“The same voices we used to hear four years ago when the Taliban started their campaign are echoing in the valleys again … it’s scary,” said a local resident from the Matta subdivision of Swat, who runs a small business in Mingora.

Matta was one of the towns where militants first established their bases and remained in control till they were chased out of the region by the army in 2009.

The Taliban insurgency in the valley, like in the neighbouring Mohmand and Bajaur tribal regions, began with several FM broadcasts.

These were used so regularly and effectively that Fazlullah, who led the militants in Swat and is reportedly hiding in Afghanistan’s Kunar province now, was given the title of Mullah Radio by the international media.

Several locals who spoke to The Express Tribune said the Taliban radio broadcasts were once again threatening people for siding with the military and claimed they would soon be making a comeback to the valley.

None of them was willing to give names in fear of their lives.

They added that the speeches of Taliban leaders could be heard in the upper parts of the valley including the former militant strongholds of Peochar, Matta and part of Charbagh. The FM broadcasts, however, did not last for more than an hour or, in most cases, less than that.

When contacted, a military spokesperson admitted ‘some activity’ was reported in parts of Swat in the recent past but said it wasn’t a ‘serious threat’.

“There are some elements, Taliban remnants who keep on giving an impression that they can still reemerge but they can’t,” said Brigadier Azmat Abbas, an Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) official.

Others, however, said the mere presence of the Taliban and their attempts to communicate to the people of Swat that they were still around were worrying in a way that it could lower the morale of the locals.

“Just when the people of Swat started thinking their valley is free of those who made their lives hell; such things may not help. It will shatter their confidence even if there is no substance in it,” said journalist Fida Khan, who has been travelling through the region as part of his reporting assignment for a Japanese publication.

“There is an administrative and political vacuum in Swat. Civilian authorities should step forward to fill in this void; everything shouldn’t be left to the military,” added Khan.

Published in The Express Tribune

Small, but very dangerous. Qatar could oust Russia from the global gas market

Small, but very dangerous. Qatar could oust Russia from the global gas market


Ironically, the tiny but ambitious and dynamic, Qatar is the main competitor of Russia in world energy markets.While Moscow, sinking into the international political and technical problems, build pipelines, which were to allow it to solve the problems with transit countries, Doha has created sweeping the entire world network of terminals for liquefied natural gas (LNG) and formed the largest specialized fleet of 54 vessels.

About stuck at the stage of negotiations, “South Stream” keep silent, but the Russian gas that goes to Europe on the “Nord Stream”, and in China and other Asian countries on the ESPO under construction, will meet in those markets most serious competition from Qatar.

In 2010, the emirate has put 55.7 million tons of LNG to 23 countries. In 2011 – 77 million tons by the end of 2012 plans to sell 120 million tons. 23% of EU gas consumption has Qatari origin. During the eight years of production and export of LNG in Qatar grew by six times, and five-year plan involves the development of its economy to invest more than $ 96 billion in deposits and the expansion of processing facilities, while maintaining a caretaker as a series of major gas fields.

Isolated from the land of Saudi Arabia, which at one time cut off from his UAE, Qatar was forced to concentrate on the manufacture and export of LNG and is now independent of the neighbor-rival. And its partners Exxon Mobil and British Petroleum have the most advanced technology liquefaction.

Growing market Qatari gas is Europe. In Asia, the number of his clients are India, China, Malaysia, Pakistan, South Korea and Japan. In North America – USA and Canada. In South America, from 2011 – Argentina and Brazil (Petrobras).

Competing in the EU with the Algerian and Egyptian gas, the main pressure on the emirate has a Russian “Gazprom”, pushing it even on the traditional markets such as Italy and Poland, where the LNG will begin in 2013. Active negotiations on the export of Qatari gas to the Baltic countries, Ukraine and Belarus. In Asia Qatari liquefied natural gas – a competitor of Russian LNG produced on Sakhalin and the Far East.

Russian politicians have believed in vain that the creation of the so-called “Gas OPEC” (Forum countries – exporters of natural gas) will be the basis of alliance of gas producers, who will be able to dictate its conditions to consumers the benefit of all market players. For Qatar, the whole point of this organization limited to the location of its headquarters in Doha, and the possibility of imitation in its framework for collective action, which allows competitors to divert attention from its offensive against their interests. At a red herring like and discussion about the emirate’s investment in the project “Yamal LNG.” While the economic cooperation of Qatar and Russia costavlyaet less than $ 20 million per year. And if Russia is open for cooperation, the presence of Russian business in Qatar is extremely complicated.

The rapid expansion of Qatar’s terminal network, dumping, and the transition from the spot to supply medium-and long-term contracts do not give a reason for the optimistic estimates of the possibilities for harmonizing Russian and Qatari gas strategy. Geography of Qatar LNG terminals covers the UK, continental Europe, the U.S. (only one Golden Pass terminal on the Gulf Coast has a capacity of 15.6 million tonnes of LNG per year), Latin America, the Middle East.

Requirements of European companies that rely on the Qatari dumping, the decline in prices for Russian gas complicate the situation of “Gazprom”, especially since the transition to long-term transactions Qatar neutralized the main traditional advantage of Russia. A precedent was a three-year contract for $ 3.25 billion signed in 2011 between Qatargas and the British company Centrica, to supply the last 2.4 million tons of LNG annually.

Described above – a reflection of the strategy, which adheres to the emirate in relations with Moscow for a long time. Support fur coat Afghan mujahideen in the 1980s gave way to the support of the Chechen separatists in the 1990s. The elimination of the territory of Qatar Zelimkhan (February of 2004) made the Emir Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani and Prime Minister Hamad bin Dzhassema Ben Jabra Al-Thani, the Russian leadership to demonstrate a change in course, but this period is over.

“Arab Spring”, with the participation of Qatar broke the most secular regimes in the Arab world, has strengthened alliance Doha to Paris, London and Washington, allowing the Emir be a leader worldwide. Cooperation with NATO in Libya, supported by the presence of more than four thousand U.S. military personnel at RAF “Al-Udeid,” guarantee its security. As a consequence of differences with Moscow on Syria caused not only an anti-Russian campaign of the Qatari “Al Jazeera” and fatwas head of the World Union of Muslim theologians, Youssef al-Qaradawi, but beating the Russian ambassador in the capital’s airport. Against this backdrop, what can we say about the competition in energy markets.

April 6 00:05 | Newspaper № 252 (252) | Yevgeny Satanovsky

Source – The Moscow News
Permanent address – http://www.centrasia.ru/newsA.php?st=1333724880

Competition Between Qatar and Gazprom Comes To Blows

Russia downgrades relations with Qatar over attack on ambassador

Russia downgrades relations with Qatar over attack on ambassador  

Russia downgrades relations with Qatar over attack on ambassador

© Сollage by RIA Novosti


Russia will downgrade its diplomatic relations with Qatar following an attack on the Russian ambassador by customs officers at Doha airport, the  Foreign Ministry said on its website on Monday.

The ministry said Russian Ambassador Vladimir Titorenko will leave Qatar “after he finishes a course of medical treatment as a result of the attack” and Russia’s interests in Qatar will be temporarily represented by a charge d’affaires.

Airport security and customs officials beat up Titorenko and two other Russian diplomats on November 29 in an attempt to seize the diplomatic dispatch the ambassador was carrying on a return trip from Jordan.

The Qatari officials reportedly tried to X-ray the diplomatic mail despite a bilateral agreement allowing diplomats from both countries to carry diplomatic bags through customs without any inspection under the 1961 Vienna Convention.

The Russian Foreign Ministry sent a protest note to Qatari authorities on November 30, demanding “an immediate and full investigation into the incident, the strict punishment of the culprits and the prevention of similar incidents in the future.”

There has been no official response from Qatar so far.

An anonymous diplomatic source earlier told RIA Novosti that the incident had been most likely provoked by Russia’s position on the Syrian crisis, which many Qatari analysts believe advocates the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad.

Qatar has been consistently supporting sanctions against the Syrian regime, while Russia stands against sanctioning Syria on all diplomatic levels, including the UN Security Council.