Whole lot of economic news goin’ on, especially in Greece, and notable environmental stories after the jump, along with the latest episode of Fukushimapocalypse Now!

We begin in the U.S. with three cheers to the activists who purged fellow citizens of $14,734,569.87 in personal, mainly medical, debt. Via The Guardian:

Occupy Wall Street activists buy $15m of Americans’ personal debt

Rolling Jubilee spent $400,000 to purchase debt cheaply from banks before ‘abolishing’ it, freeing individuals from their bills

Rolling Jubilee, set up by Occupy’s Strike Debt group following the street protests that swept the world in 2011, launched on 15 November 2012. The group purchases personal debt cheaply from banks before “abolishing” it, freeing individuals from their bills.

Salon casts a pall:

Scalia’s chance to smash unions: The huge under-the-radar case

A Supreme Court case being argued Wednesday could take away a tactic that’s kept unions alive

The case, Unite Here Local 355 v. Mulhall, involves the constitutionality of “card check neutrality agreements” between unions and companies they’re trying to organize.

And Wonkette takes a well-deserved shot at California’s contemptible plutocratic senator:

Dianne Feinstein Joins Colleagues In Undermining Affordable Care Act, Thanks Obama!

The Guardian poses what shouldn’t be a choice at all:

Detroit’s decision to fend off bankruptcy: pay pensions or banks?

Fears grow that fight to stave off city bankruptcy may hit the poorest hardest

From the Washington Post, a simple conclusion:

The Great Recession may have crushed America’s economic potential

And a parallel headline from GlobalPost:

America is losing its allure

Analysis: A disturbing new trend suggests foreign investors may be falling out of love with the US economy.

But there’s one aspect of the U.S. other countries still cherish, reports the Los Angeles Times:

Foreign students continue to flock to U.S. colleges

A record number of international students were in the U.S. in 2012, a new study reports, with USC attracting the largest number of them.

From the Oakland Tribune, a call for the former Homeland Security boss who now runs the University of California:

Napolitano: Freeze UC tuition, seek low-fee policy

New UC President Janet Napolitano marked her first regents meeting Wednesday with a vow to make the university more affordable and calling for an undergraduate tuition freeze in 2014-15.

Yahoo! Finance makes a point we’re always proclaiming:

United States of Underemployment: Dead-End Jobs Prop Up Employment Growth

And from Women Rock Science, a sordid tale about our brasve new media:

Female Science writer gets called a Whore for saying NO to working for free

This is Biologist Dr Danielle N. Lee also known as the Urban Scientist at Scientific American, she “draws from hip hop culture to share science with general audiences, particularly under-served groups.” Biology-Online liked her work so much they wanted her to write for them……for free. Danielle Lee politely declined so Biology-Online did what everyone does when women say no – they called her a “Whore”.

But the Contributor notes that some are winning big:

For First Time Since 1995, US Produced More Oil Domestically Than It Imported

For the first month in nearly two decades, the U.S. in October extracted more oil from the ground than it imported from abroad, marking an important milestone for a nation seeking to wean itself off foreign oil.

From Reuters, a prime market:

EU duty-free jet fuel sets new battle for world refiners

U.S. refiners are expected to ship large volumes of jet fuel across the Atlantic starting in 2014 after the European Union scrapped an import duty on the product, opening a new battleground for the world’s largest refineries, traders said.

The Guardian takes us to the dark side:

Over 3,000 US prisoners serving life without parole for non-violent crimes

ACLU report chronicles thousands of lives ruined by life sentences for crimes such as shoplifting or possession of a crack pipe

From the Verge, Obama’s latest sellout:

US patent moves are ‘profoundly bad’ in leaked TPP treaty

In new agreement, Obama sides with locked phones and Big Pharma

But the Contributor raises limited hope:

Not-So-Fast-Track: House Opposition to Secret International Trade Deal ‘Could Be the End of TPP’

From RT, a major investor:

Mormon Church purchases 2% of the state of Florida for half a billion dollars

A sect of the Mormon Church is poised to become the largest private landowner in the state of Florida after spending more than half a billion dollars to purchase hundreds of thousands of acres across three counties.

From the New Republic, a warning about the status of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission:

Congress Is Starving the Agency That’s Supposed to Prevent Another Meltdown

The chief regulator for over $300 trillion worth of derivatives trades has seen its operations squeezed by drastic underfunding, right at the time the Dodd-Frank financial reform law dropped a whole new set of responsibilities in its lap.

North of the border for the latest mayoral misbehavin’ from BBC News:

Toronto’s Rob Ford says he bought drugs in last two years

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has admitted buying illegal drugs in the past two years, at a raucous meeting at which city councillors asked him to take a leave of absence.

More from USA TODAY:

Santa parade officials ask Toronto mayor not to march

The mayor initially agreed to watch from the sidelines, but now wants to lead the march.

Our final Fordian frolic from National Post:

New Ford files: documents reveal staff suspicions over prostitutes, cocaine and OxyContin

Rob Ford court documents reveal staffers thought prostitute was in his office, mayor was driving drunk

Next, a global story from Bloomberg:

Emerging-Market Banks Threatened by End of Credit Boom

The world’s largest emerging markets recovered quickly from the 2008 financial crisis because consumers and companies went on a borrowing binge. Now that credit spree is coming back to haunt banks in those countries.

Another one, from the Mainichi:

World economy being sustained by extraordinary aid

Five years after a global financial crisis erupted, the world’s biggest economies still need to be propped up.

They’re growing and hiring a little faster and creating more jobs, but only with extraordinary aid from central banks or government spending. And economists say major countries may need help for years more.

Across the Atlantic, first with Europe Online:

Eurozone industrial production down 0.5 per cent in September

Industrial production in the eurozone fell by 0.5 per cent in September, performing worse than expected after spiking in the previous month, data released Wednesday showed.

From Reuters, cause for anxiety:

Analysis: Deflation threat in Europe may prompt investment rethink

The threat of deflation in the euro zone could reverse a major investment trend of 2013, drawing funds out of stocks and into government bonds and cash.

From Bloomberg, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi hosts a come-to-Jesus meeting:

Draghi Goes Face-to-Face With Bank Chiefs on Asset Health

Chief executive officers from banks from five countries — Germany, Belgium, Cyprus, Malta and Luxembourg — met today with Draghi and other board members at ECB headquarters, a spokeswoman for the central bank said by telephone. The list included Europe’s largest investment bank by revenue, Deutsche Bank AG, and lenders such as Malta’s Bank of Valletta Plc.

And BBC News covers an exodus:

Escape to Oz: Young Europeans head to Australia in search of work

Migration from countries such as Ireland is at levels not seen since the 1980s as Australia’s seemingly bulletproof economy, insulated from the global slowdown by a roaring mining industry, offers the chance of a fresh beginning.

While Spiegel covers eurofoes:

Euroskeptic Union: Right-Wing Populists Forge EU Alliance

Right-wing populists are trying to create a powerful faction in the European Parliament. Leading the efforts are Geert Wilders from the Netherlands and Marine le Pen of France — and their initiative has big implications for Europe.

More from DutchNews.nl:

Wilders commissions report into cost of Holland leaving the EU

PVV leader Geert Wilders has commissioned a British bureau to carry out new research into how much it would cost the Netherlands to leave the EU, the NRC reports on Tuesday.

To Britain with Channel NewsAsia Singapore and an uptick:

British official unemployment rate hits four-year low

Britain’s unemployment rate has fallen to a four-year low point, official data showed on Wednesday, putting pressure on the Bank of England to raise its record-low interest rate sooner than expected.

But RT takes another angle:

Cheese thieves: UK middle classes turn to stealing food they can’t afford

Gourmet cheese and beef joints are among the top stolen items in the UK, a new report has shown. Middle class shoppers have turned to stealing out of need for food, due to the weak economy, with the total cost of retail theft hitting £3.4bn last year.

But BBC News offers the declaration of victory:

Bank of England says the UK recovery has taken hold

Bank of England governor Mark Carney says the UK recovery has “taken hold” and unemployment will fall sooner than it had forecast.

Germany next, with a sharper focus from the Associated Press:

EU launches review of Germany’s export strength

The European Union is launching a review of Germany’s hard-charging export economy and whether its burgeoning trade surplus hampers the recovery of weaker countries.

The question is whether Germany should encourage wage growth and more spending at home to help growth in its European trade partners and the 17-country euro currency union as a whole.

But Europe Online spots shaky ground:

Germany Social Democrats: Coalition talks with Merkel could fail

Negotiations between German conservatives headed by Chancellor Angela Merkel and the left-leaning Social Democrats (SPD) on forming a coalition government could fail, a senior SPD member warned Wednesday.

While Spiegel proclaims a gerontocracy:

Punishing the Young: German Pension Reforms a Gift for the Elderly

Berlin’s incoming government is expected to institute a wave of pension reform that could exacerbate inequality, burden workers and create huge budget headaches. So why are the parties so intent on pushing it through?

Deutsche Welle invokes the technocrats:

Germany’s economic ‘wise men’ slam Merkel for costly coalition plans

Germany’s ‘wise men’ panel of economic advisers has warned Chancellor Merkel against striking costly deals in current coalition talks with the Social Democrats. They fear Germany’s nascent recovery might be slowed.

From DutchNews.nl, as on Wall Street, so in Amsterdam:

The Dutch rich are getting richer says Quote magazine

The 500 richest Dutch people have together become €7bn richer over the past year, according to the latest edition of the Quote 500 rich list.

And another DutchNews.nl headline sets the context:

Rabobank economists see no growth in 2014

The Dutch economy will not grow in 2014 and unemployment will continue to rise, according to economists from Rabobank in their latest forecast.

To France with RFI and the latest outburst of hard times intolerance:

Far-right paper causes storm with racist insult to French justice minister Taubira

A far-right paper in France has caused uproar with a headline comparing Guyanese-born Justice Minister Christiane Taubira to a monkey. The Minute front page is the latest of several racist insults that Taubira has faced since she guided the government’s gay marriage law through parliament.

RFI has more grief for the government:

Schools strike, mayors threaten non-compliance over French school reform

Schools in Paris were disrupted by strikes Wednesday morning on the second day of strikes against change to school hours. Mayors of 55 towns have declared that they will not implement the change when it comes into force across the whole of France in 2014.

And from RFI again, the pressure mounts:

Hollande under pressure to make changes amid mounting social discontent

The sight of protestors jeering at President François Hollande during the solemn Armistice Day Commemorations has stirred talk in France that the activities of various groups with different grievances are coalescing to form a more generalised revolt against the current government.

And the pressure intensifies again. From CNBC:

The euro could disappear in 10 years: BlackRock CEO

The euro could be in danger of disappearing within the next decade if France does not continue pushing economic reforms, BlackRock Capital boss Larry Fink said Tuesday.

Spain next, and a deflation alert from Europe Online:

Spain posts negative inflation for first time since 2009

Spain’s consumer price index dropped by 0.1 per cent in October, its first year-on-year fall since 2009, statistics body INE said Wednesday.

In September, inflation had registered an increase of 0.3 per cent.

While ANSAmed chronicles another deflationary alert:

Spanish real estate market down for 5th month

From El País, a mixed report card:

Spain fails Brussels’ economic imbalances probe in five areas

Germany cited for excess current account surplus.

Eurogroup to give thumbs up to Madrid on bank bailout conditions.

thinkSPAIN covers another austerian consequence:

Crisis causes fewer plane passengers and local travellers take the bus rather than the train

AIR passenger numbers are continuing to fall with a decrease of 14.5 per cent in the past year, reports the National Institute of Statistics (INE).

And El País reports a notable failure, a leading electrical appliance maker that is part of the world’s heretofore most successful co-op, Mondragon:

Fagor files for receivership

Other units of loss-making Basque electrical appliance manufacturer to follow suit in next few days

Portugal and a country where 100,o000 have already fled in search of work, via ANSAmed:

Portuguese unemployment falls from 17.7% to 16.4%

A total of 838,600 people out of a job

The Portugal News notices a debt shift:

Mortgage defaults up while personal credit defaults drop

The number of Portuguese families who are not managing to pay their loans fell in September to a total of 658,900, but the number who are finding it tough to pay their mortgages is increasing, according to data compiled by Lusa News Agency from Bank of Portugal data.

Italy next, and a declaration from Corriere della Sera:

Berlusconi to Withdraw from Government if Expelled from Senate

Former PM reflects bitterly: “For twenty years, I’ve been doing all I can to keep moderates united. Someone always turns up to split them”

And Reuters foresees a bite at the Apple:

Italy investigates Apple for alleged tax fraud: sources

U.S. tech giant Apple is under investigation in Italy for allegedly hiding 1 billion euros ($1.34 billion) from the local tax authority, two judicial sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

Bulgaria next, with GlobalPost:

It’s getting ugly in Sofia: Bulgarian students barricade university

After months of street demonstrations, the young take the vanguard of a popular protest movement.

Another take from EUobserver:

Bulgaria leaders condemn attacks on immigrants

Bulgaria’s president and prime minister on Tuesday jointly condemned the rise in racist attacks against immigrants and asylum seekers from Syria, reporters Reuters.

After the jump, Greek meltdown continues, mixed Latin American signals, Worries in India, China’s neoliberal surge, environmental alerts, and the latest chapter of Fukushimapocalypse Now! . . .

Greek good news, at least for the looting class, via ANA-MPA:

Greece registers primary surplus of 2.592 bln euros in Jan-Oct

Greece’s central government had a primary budget surplus of 2.592 billion euros in the ten-month period from January to October 2013, compared with a primary deficit of 1.139 billion euros for the same period in 2012 and a primary deficit target of 3.036 billion euros, Deputy Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said on Wednesday.

From Capital.gr, an eminent blessing:

Morgan Stanley: Growth in Greece is expected to stabilize next year

And the game’s still afoot, via Capital.gr:

Troika negotiations to resume on Friday

The troika delegates attending Thursday’s Eurogroup will be returning to Athens on Friday to resume the negotiations with the Greek govt.

To Vima offers an exercise in semantics:

EU officer quips “miles and billions” separate Greece and troika on 2014 budgetary needs

Stournaras responds “distance is meters, not miles”

A senior EU officer used harsh words to describe the results of the current Greek program review during the Tuesday afternoon briefing in Brussels ahead of Thursday’s Eurogroup meeting. This could mean that the discussions for reducing the Greek debt may not begin before European Parliamentary elections in May.’

ANA-MPA conveys ornamental umbrage:

Gov’t vice-president Venizelos criticises troika’s negotiating manner

Greece calls for reliable political interlocutors, government vice-president and Foreign minister Evangelos Venizelos told parliament’s committees of European and Foreign Affairs on Wednesday, while criticising the negotiating manner of the country’s troika of international lenders.

From To Vima, Byron Polydoras, a legislator from the dominant party, attacks the agenda of his government’s bagman:

Polydoras slams real estate tax for “punishing” taxpayers

New Democracy MP reacted to Minister of Finances attempt to justify the controversial tax as “normal”

During his speech in the stand in Parliament Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras claimed that “all developed countries in the world, especially the Anglo-Saxon ones which are a ‘Mecca of Capitalism’, are based on taxes like this”.

Another contrarian voice from the coalition’s other formerly major party via EnetEnglish.gr:

MP threatens to vote against government over property tax

Pasok’s Michalis Kassis says more rural backbenchers feel the same way

Pasok MP says he will vote against property tax even if it means bringing down the government, which has been left with a precarious majority of four seats since last weekend’s no confidence vote

From ANSAmed, yet another austerian consequence:

Greece: grid operator overwhelmed by power transformer theft

The grid operator Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator SA (Hedno) said on Tuesday that it is unable to contain the phenomena of illegal power reconnections and sabotage or theft of transformers by gangs looking to profit from selling the copper they contain on the black market.

While another virus attacks the same energy source, via Greek Reporter:

350,000 Households Without Power

350000-without-power-deiThere are thousands of households that cannot afford to pay their electricity bills. The power cut has been augmented due to the economic crisis. The debts of Greeks for electricity is over 1.3 billion Euros.

From EnetEnglish.gr, austerian hubris:

Health minister wants all the ‘glory’ for firing public doctors

Adonis Georgiadis says decision won’t be troika’s but his alone

If a review of Eopyy’s structures show that there is overstaffing of doctors or specialists not required at primary healthcare level, then they will be fired, Adonis Georgiadis vows

And ANSAmed covers an anti-austerian action:

Greece: civil servants’ union calls for walkout Thursday

Greece’s civil servants’ union, ADEDY, called yesterday for its members to walk off the job tomorrow afternoon to protest against the public sector mobility scheme, “which will speed up the destruction of public services and will lead thousands of civil servants to dismissal and unemployment.”

Kathimerini English covers another action:

Civil mobilization orders could be issued against striking university staff

As a strike by administrative staff at Athens University and the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) continues into its 10th week, putting in jeopardy the studies of thousands of students, the government is considering forcing the employees back to work by issuing civil mobilization orders, Kathimerini understands.

University of Athens Rector Theodosis Pelegrinis pulls no punches with To Vima:

Pelegrinis: “Teaching will resume if admin staff allow it”

The Rector of the University of Athens accused the Ministry of Education of causing serious problems

Mr. Pelegrinis explained that the Senate has decided that the University must reopen and teaching must resume “if the administrative employees allow it”. The Rector noted that the strike “is fully justified” and is “not asking them to end their strike, we ask that they allow [teaching staff and students] to enter”.

Greek Reporter counts bodies:

5,000 Layoffs of Civil Servants in March

The dismissal of 2,000 people in the next 45 days until the end of the year is very difficult, especially without horizontal measures. The case will be extended under negotiations with troika. The Greek side requested to join the layoffs of 2013 to those of the first quarter of 2014. Therefore, 5,000 people will be dismissed by next March.

While ANA-MPA covers a handout:

Greece to receive 160.2 mln euros in EU funds to support young employment

Greece will receive 160.24 million euros from community funds earmarked to support young employment in Greece in the period 2014-2015, the European Commission said in a statement released in Brussels on Wednesday.

Off to the Mideast with ANSAmed:

IMF warns of deficit risk for Gulf states after Arab uprisings

For excessive spending. Bahrain in deficit, Riyadh at risk from 2018

While RT documents a GWOT winner:

Poppy fields forever? Record opium output boosts Afghan warlords’ power base

Despite efforts to curb Afghan’s opium culture, cultivation has hit record levels as NATO forces prepare to exit the country. The UN warned warlords may be the biggest benefactor of the situation.

More from BBC News:

Afghanistan opium harvest at record high – UNODC

Afghan opium cultivation has reached a record level, with more than 200,000 hectares planted with the poppy for the first time, the United Nations says. The UNODC report said the harvest was 36% up on last year, and if fully realised would outstrip global demand.

Next, heading east with Channel NewsAsia Singapore:

Hungary supports EU-Singapore free trade agreement

Hungary has given its strong support for the early ratification of the European Union-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

Bloomberg takes us to Pakistan and an escalation:

Pakistan Raises Key Rate a Second Meeting to Fight Inflation

Pakistan’s central bank raised its benchmark interest rate for the second straight meeting, seeking to fight inflation and keep a struggling economy on track for help under an International Monetary Fund loan program.

India next, first with a signal from the Economic Times:

Decision on policy rate to depend on inflation, rupee value: RBI

The Reserve Bank today said any change in benchmark interest rate in its next month’s monetary policy review will depend upon the price situation and other macro economic factors, including the value of rupee.

The central bankster calls for a timeout, via the Financial Express:

Raghuram Rajan calls sudden news briefing to comfort investors, urges ‘deep breath’ after stock market tumble

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor, Raghuram Rajan, expressed comfort on Wednesday about core inflation and highlighted the narrowing current account deficit (CAD) as he sought to reassure investors worried the country would be hit hard in a global market sell-off.

A neoliberal setback to one form of foreign direct investment via the Press Trust of India:

Govt defers proposal to relax FDI norms for housing

The government today deferred a proposal on relaxing FDI norms for the housing sector.

“Minister of Urban Development Kamal Nath has requested for deferment of the proposal,” a source said.

While the Register hits ctrl/alt/del:

Microsoft fears XP could cause Indian BANKOCALYPSE

Up to 70 per cent of public banks could still be using ancient OS

And the former head of India’s FBI counterpart spreads scandal, via the Times of India:

Rajiv wanted Bofors payoffs in Congress coffers, ex-CBI chief says

Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi wanted commission paid by defence suppliers to be used exclusively for the purpose of meeting expenses of running the Congress, a former CBI director has claimed in his autobiography.

China next, with a neoliberal imperative via the South China Morning Post:

Communist Party urged to speed up China’s financial reforms

The party needs to speed up stalled reforms in capital markets and the financial industry to increase the role of free markets pledged by leaders, experts say.

A question from CNNMoney:

What was missing in China’s reform plan

After decades of rapid expansion, the world’s second-largest economy is entering a period of slower growth, and Beijing is under growing pressure to address issues that threaten further economic development and social stability.

China Daily hints at diminished expectations:

GDP growth target for 2014 may be 7%, expert says

The government could lower the growth target for the next year to 7 percent, an economist with ANZ Banking Group said in a research note on Wednesday.

While Want China Times warns:

Chinese investors must be cautious about overseas mining: expert

China’s overseas mining investments have slowed after experiencing a rapid period of growth earlier this year, with investors from non-mining sectors being advised to be cautious when investing in the area, reports Shanghai’s Oriental Morning Post.

China Daily addresses a flirtation:

Investment treaty with US offers risks and rewards

With China and the United States having made progress on the Bilateral Investment Treaty negotiations, investors from both sides are taking a second look at the risks and opportunities that the pact will bring in.

SINA English scents a shift:

One-child policy ‘set to be relaxed’

Couples with just one spouse from a one-child family may be allowed to have two children, according to Caixin.com. The magazine’s website said the policy was decided at the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee in Beijing, and would be announced soon.

And China Daily covers the simply astounding:

Robots help counter soaring labor costs

Zhejiang province is to invest 500 billion yuan ($82 billion) over the next five years to encourage manufacturers to adopt more robots to overcome the short supply and high cost of labor.

South China Morning Post covers another potentially seismic shift:

Li Keqiang tells local governments not to set up own businesses

Premier Li Keqiang said local governments should no longer set up their own business arms, a signal that the Communist Party would take further steps to rein in monopolies by the state sector and protectionism at the keynote third plenum opening today.

Japan next, where the Japan Times has the word from Nissan Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn, who says that the U.S. will be the prime market, along with other countries in the Americas:

Ghosn: Mexico to be key export hub

Nissan Motor Co. is accelerating operations in Mexico to allow the production of 1 million vehicles annually within three years, putting the country on par with Japan as an export hub for the carmaker.

The Japan Times again, with the latest bankster/gangster revelation:

Mizuho has more loans to the mob

President tells Diet panel deals preceded current screening system

Mizuho Bank has outstanding loans to yakuza and other antisocial elements apart from car loans extended through its affiliate credit company, Orient Corp., President Yasuhiro Sato told the Diet on Wednesday.

And off to Fukushimapocalypse Now!

First, the indirect route through the Japan Daily Press:

Nuclear regulator to begin inspection of Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear reactors

Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority has decided to begin their inspection of the reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant, the world’s biggest nuclear facility. The facility is operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the same utility operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which raises concerns over the possible restart of the plant in Niigata Prefecture.

And a very important story from the Asahi Shimbun:

More suspected and confirmed cases of thyroid cancer diagnosed in Fukushima children

Fifteen more young people in Fukushima Prefecture have received definitive or suspected diagnoses of thyroid cancer, which is often associated with radiation exposure, prefectural officials said Nov. 12.

While Jiji Press has the latest leak:

TEPCO Reports Water Leak from Pipe in Fukushima Reactor Bldg.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Wednesday it has confirmed a water leak from a pipe inside the No. 1 reactor building at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power station.

But Kyodo News gives a critical imprimatur:

TEPCO ready for fuel removal from No. 4 spent fuel pool: U.S. expert

U.S. nuclear expert Lake Barrett said Wednesday that Tokyo Electric Power Co. is “ready to start the safe removal” of fuel inside the spent fuel pool of the No. 4 unit at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, as he visited the site and talked to workers involved.

The Economist charts a different course:

The nuke that might have been

Today, the thorium reactor is a non-starter, at least in America and other countries that have invested heavily in light-water technology. But things are different in India, a country with no uranium but an abundance of thorium. India plans to produce 30% of its electricity from thorium reactors by 2050.

From the San Francisco Chronicle, world of another kind of nuclear threat, and much, much nearer to Casa esnl:

Radiation threat on Treasure Island, report says

Earlier this year, California Department of Public Health workers discovered radioactive shards buried in lawns near apartment buildings on the island’s western side. One small octagonal object was so radioactive that holding onto it for an hour could cause burns, hair loss and ulceration, according to the memo.

OilPrice.com brings us another fuel/another problem:

Brazil Grapples with Biofuel Supply Glut

Brazil is eyeing a 5% increase in biodiesel requirements in January 2014 and up to a 10% increase in biodiesel requirements for 2020 as the country deals with a supply glut.

The Guardian cites alarming rise:

Global warming since 1997 more than twice as fast as previously estimated, new study shows

A new study fills in the gaps missed by the Met Office, and finds the warming ‘pause’ is barely a speed bump

And from USA TODAY, yet another energy source and another problem:

California solar power plants singeing bird feathers

Trying to estimate how many birds could be injured or killed because of large-scale solar projects and what might be done to prevent deaths has become a pressing concern for solar developers and environmental agencies as these projects multiply. Developers hope to have the Palen project online in 2016.

And yet another energy source and yet another problem via IPS-Inter Press Service:

Oil Palm Expands on Deforested Land in Brazil’s Rainforest

But the fear is that this country will follow in the footsteps of Indonesia and Malaysia, which today supply 86 percent of the global market thanks to intense deforestation, partly by forest fires that create clouds of smoke that even affect the rest of Southeast Asia.

And another co-instance: from The Guardian:

Canada attacks EU data labelling tar sands as dirty

Natural Resources minister releases study questioning EU data that classifies tar sands oil as higher carbon than conventional oil

And, to close, betting green on green, from the Christian Science Monitor:

Norway weighs going green with its $800 billion pension fund

But while some are calling for Norway to divest itself of foreign coal companies to reduce global warming, there’s a wrinkle: Norway is itself a major coal producer.

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