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Fukushima Radiation Becomes Latest Japan-South Korea Sore Point -

Fukushima Radiation Becomes Latest Japan-South Korea Sore Point(Bloomberg) -- Radiation from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is becoming the latest source of tension between Japan and South Korea, potentially undercutting Tokyo’s effort to promote the 2020 Olympics.In recent days, South Korean officials have summoned a Japanese diplomat to express concern about a planned release of treated radioactive water into the ocean by Tepco, the plant’s owner. They’re also pushing for independent radiation checks at Olympic venues and proposing a separate cafeteria for their athletes, citing concerns about contaminated food.The radiation dispute is threatening to prolong tensions between the two U.S. allies, who have spent much of the summer trading economic sanctions and diplomatic threats in a tit-for-tat dispute. The feud has exposed lingering mistrust and disagreements over Japan’s colonial rule on the Korean Peninsula.South Korea’s radiation concerns contrast with signs of softening attitudes last week on the anniversary of Japan’s World War II surrender. Japan has also taken steps to show that its recent export controls won’t prevent legitimate sales to its neighbor. JSR Corp., one of the materials makers subject to the restrictions, received an export permit this week, according to a person familiar with the matter.No Backing Down“It’s gone so far that neither side can back down,” said Hiroyuki Kishi, a former trade official turned professor at Keio University in Yokohama, adding that the dispute would probably continue “or get worse.” “I’m concerned that Japan may respond emotionally, because the Olympics are seen as very important.”South Korea is also mulling whether to maintain an agreement on sharing military information with Japan, and may announce its decision as soon as Thursday, Yonhap News reported. Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono told reporters in Beijing following a meeting with his South Korean counterpart Kang Kyung-wha that the pact was important and should be maintained.‘Under Control’The issue of radiation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which was damaged in the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami, has loomed over Tokyo’s Olympic bid from the start. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe threw his weight behind the campaign, assuring the International Olympic Committee in a 2013 speech that the plant was “under control” and would have no impact on the capital.Now, Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc. is preparing a release from on-site storage tanks, which are expected to fill up by 2022 with water treated to remove most radioactive elements. An adviser for the company has recommended a controlled release into the Western Pacific -- a common practice at other reactors around the world -- while the environmental group Greenpeace has urged keeping the water in storage.South Korea summoned a Japanese diplomat on Monday, with the Foreign Ministry urging Tokyo to look into international organizations’ views on the matter and be more transparent about its plans.Separately, the Korea Sport & Olympic Committee is set to make an official request that international organizations such as Greenpeace monitor radiation at Tokyo Olympic venues, the committee’s press officer, Lee Mi-jin, said. South Korean officials have also drawn up a plan to run a separate cafeteria exclusively for South Korean athletes, to ensure they don’t eat food from Fukushima, Lee said.The South Korean Food Ministry also announced Wednesday it would step up radiation checks on 17 items imported from Japan, including tea and chocolate.Produce from Fukushima is screened before shipment and is widely available in Japanese supermarkets. Recent data from volunteer organization Safecast shows that radiation levels in Tokyo are somewhat lower than those in Seoul. The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee declined to comment on requests from other countries’ organizing committees.(Updates with comments from Japanese foreign minister in sixth paragraph. A previous version of this story misspelled the name of Hiroyuki Kishi in fifth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Stephen Stapczynski.To contact the reporters on this story: Isabel Reynolds in Tokyo at;Jihye Lee in Seoul at jlee2352@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at, Peter PaeFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

Wed, 21 Aug 2019 05:26:24 -0400

Money, muscle, media: how China has handled Hong Kong protests -

Money, muscle, media: how China has handled Hong Kong protestsChina has deployed a three-pronged strategy to suffocate pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong -- propaganda, economic leverage and intimidation. Here is a look at Beijing's efforts so far to squash a movement that has refused to die. As protests erupted in June, discussion inside authoritarian China was muted, censored on social media or played down on state outlets.

Wed, 21 Aug 2019 04:34:20 -0400

Kashmir families demand answers for 'unaccounted for' deaths -

Kashmir families demand answers for 'unaccounted for' deathsRafiq Shagu's wife died shortly after Friday prayers in India's Muslim-majority Kashmir when tear gas smashed through a window in their home and filled the room. Now, with Indian authorities denying their troops have caused any civilian deaths while enforcing a lockdown of more than two weeks in the Himalayan region, he is facing what may be a futile quest to hold those responsible to account. In an interview with AFP, Shagu recalled the horrific events of the August 9 afternoon when he said his wife, Fehmeeda, was teaching her two children at their home in Srinagar, the largest city in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

Wed, 21 Aug 2019 03:13:27 -0400

The Amazon is burning and smoke from the fires can be seen from space -

The Amazon is burning and smoke from the fires can be seen from spaceSmoke from record wildfires raging in the Amazon rainforest blanketed São Paulo on Monday and could be seen from space.

Tue, 20 Aug 2019 23:43:50 -0400

Trump Administration Launches Most Brazen Attack on Protections for Young Migrants -

Trump Administration Launches Most Brazen Attack on Protections for Young MigrantsLoren Elliott/AFP/GettyIn a stunning provocation, the Trump administration reportedly plans to announce on Wednesday that it will abrogate a decades-old legal agreement in order to detain immigrant families in government custody indefinitely.The planned termination of the original Flores Settlement Agreement (FSA), a 1997 court order that regulates the conditions and duration of detention for underage migrants, is President Donald Trump’s most aggressive—and most legally suspect—attempt to circumvent legal protections for undocumented children since his disastrous “zero tolerance” policy resulted in the separation of thousands of immigrant families.The Daily Caller first reported the impending changes to the agreement on Tuesday evening, quoting a senior administration official as saying that “today the administration is closing one of the legal loopholes that has allowed human traffickers and smugglers to exploit our vulnerabilities at the southern border.”Ending the FSA, the official continued, “plays a vital role in the strategy to restore the integrity to our immigration system and our national security.”The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the status of the agreement.Named for 15-year-old Jenny Lisette Flores, who fled El Salvador in the 1980s and was detained among adults in dangerous conditions by the Immigration and Naturalization Services—and not for a “Judge Flores,” as Trump once claimed—the FSA created stringent standards regarding the detention and release of undocumented children in U.S. government custody. Most notably, the federal government is required to release children into the custody of licensed care programs within 20 days, as well as to place children in the least restrictive setting possible, with access to sanitary facilities, medical treatment, and contact with family members.The FSA has long been one of the highest barriers to Trump’s immigration agenda, particularly in the context of the administration’s family separation policy. Trump and administration officials pointed to the FSA as the reason behind family separation, with then-White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders telling reporters in June that “the separation of illegal alien families is the product of the same legal loopholes that Democrats refuse to close, and these laws are the same that have been on the books for over a decade.”The Trump administration has supported legislation that would make it easier to hold children indefinitely, and has brazenly flouted many of the FSA’s key stipulations, including holding undocumented minors for weeks longer than the 20-day maximum, arguing that the FSA only applies to unaccompanied children, rather than those who arrived at the U.S. border with family members. (A federal appellate court ruled in 2016 that the FSA applies to all minors, unaccompanied and otherwise.)In September 2018, the Trump administration floated a potential rule change that would allow for the long-term detention of immigrant children and families by allowing the federal government to license detention centers run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement as suitable for the long-term detention of children. The FSA requires that children be released after 20 days into the custody of state-licensed residential facilities—the proposal would instead give that licensing authority to the federal government.“Today, legal loopholes significantly hinder the department’s ability to appropriately detain and promptly remove family units that have no legal basis to remain in the country,” then-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a statement at the time. “This rule addresses one of the primary pull factors for illegal immigration and allows the federal government to enforce immigration laws as passed by Congress.”After the plan was first crafted, the Department of Homeland Security punted on the proposal, instead asking Congress to re-work Flores.Like many of the Trump administration’s other attempts to weaken legal protections for immigrants, the decision to change the FSA to allow for the indefinite detention of families will almost certainly be met with legal challenges from advocacy organizations. The American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the reported rule change.Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

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