Natural disaster

மூலம் : மலேசிய நண்பன்


மூலம் : மக்கள் ஓசை


மூலம் : மக்கள் ஓசை

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Source :- BERNAMA

September 06, 2011 13:05 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 6 (Bernama) — Malaysian citizens aged 21 and above can now register online as voters by downloading and filling Form A from the Election Commission’s (EC) website,

EC secretary Datuk Kamaruddin Mohamed Baria said in a statement today that the facility was being provided from today to encourage more citizens to register as voters.

“This is provided for the voter registration assistant registrars and the public, whereby the assistant registrars appointed by the EC can download the Form A according to their needs,” he said.

Before this, they had to obtain the forms from the offices of the state election directors.

Kamaruddin said Malaysian citizens aged 21 and above who had not yet registered as voters, could download and fill Form A. However, they are required to keep a copy for themselves before submitting the downloaded form to the EC voter registration counter.

Information on how to fill up and send in the Form A is provided in the EC website.

More information on the online voter registration can be obtained by calling the EC headquarters in Putrajaya at 03-88856500.

Source: The New York Times

Ko Sasaki for The New York Times

The Chugoku Electric nuclear power plant in Kashima. A third reactor is currently under construction.

By and
Published: May 30, 2011

KASHIMA, Japan — When the Shimane nuclear plant was first proposed here more than 40 years ago, this rural port town put up such fierce resistance that the plant’s would-be operator, Chugoku Electric, almost scrapped the project. Angry fishermen vowed to defend areas where they had fished and harvested seaweed for generations.

Fishermen in Kashima, on the Sea of Japan, fiercely resisted plans for a nuclear plant 40 years ago. Now, many embrace the largess it provided.

Two decades later, when Chugoku Electric was considering whether to expand the plant with a third reactor, Kashima once again swung into action: this time, to rally in favor. Prodded by the local fishing cooperative, the town assembly voted 15 to 2 to make a public appeal for construction of the $4 billion reactor.

Kashima’s reversal is a common story in Japan, and one that helps explain what is, so far, this nation’s unwavering pursuit of nuclear power: a lack of widespread grass-roots opposition in the communities around its 54 nuclear reactors. This has held true even after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami generated a nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi station that has raised serious questions about whether this quake-prone nation has adequately ensured the safety of its plants. So far, it has spurred only muted public questioning in towns like this.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan has, at least temporarily, shelved plans to expand Japan’s use of nuclear power — plans promoted by the country’s powerful nuclear establishment. Communities appear willing to fight fiercely for nuclear power, despite concerns about safety that many residents refrain from voicing publicly.

To understand Kashima’s about-face, one need look no further than the Fukada Sports Park, which serves the 7,500 mostly older residents here with a baseball diamond, lighted tennis courts, a soccer field and a $35 million gymnasium with indoor pool and Olympic-size volleyball arena. The gym is just one of several big public works projects paid for with the hundreds of millions of dollars this community is receiving for accepting the No. 3 reactor, which is still under construction.

As Kashima’s story suggests, Tokyo has been able to essentially buy the support, or at least the silent acquiescence, of communities by showering them with generous subsidies, payouts and jobs. In 2009 alone, Tokyo gave $1.15 billion for public works projects to communities that have electric plants, according to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Experts say the majority of that money goes to communities near nuclear plants.

And that is just the tip of the iceberg, experts say, as the communities also receive a host of subsidies, property and income tax revenues, compensation to individuals and even “anonymous” donations to local treasuries that are widely believed to come from plant operators.

Unquestionably, the aid has enriched rural communities that were rapidly losing jobs and people to the cities. With no substantial reserves of oil or coal, Japan relies on nuclear power for the energy needed to drive its economic machine. But critics contend that the largess has also made communities dependent on central government spending — and thus unwilling to rock the boat by pushing for robust safety measures.

In a process that critics have likened to drug addiction, the flow of easy money and higher-paying jobs quickly replaces the communities’ original economic basis, usually farming or fishing.

Nor did planners offer alternatives to public works projects like nuclear plants. Keeping the spending spigots open became the only way to maintain newly elevated living standards.

Experts and some residents say this dependency helps explain why, despite the legacy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the accidents at the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl nuclear plants, Japan never faced the levels of popular opposition to nuclear power seen in the United States and Europe — and is less likely than the United States to stop building new plants. Towns become enmeshed in the same circle — which includes politicians, bureaucrats, judges and nuclear industry executives — that has relentlessly promoted the expansion of nuclear power over safety concerns.


NUCLEAR POWER | 21.05.2011


Precautionary measures and routine maintenance have shut down all but four German nuclear power plants. Chancellor Merkel’s Bavarian sister party now says it wants to bring down the curtain on atomic energy altogether.


German power companies have warned consumers that they might face power shortages in the coming weeks, as only four of the country’s 17 nuclear power plants were providing electricity to the national grid starting from Saturday, May 21.


Eight of the stations were taken offline as a result of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s three-month moratorium on a law lengthening the running time of German nuclear plants. This freeze on the extension, introduced in response to the problems at the Fukushima plant in Japan, effectively removed the mandate allowing the oldest stations in the country to operate.


As of Saturday, the Emsland bei Lingen nuclear plant in north-western Germany became the fifth station to close its doors for three weeks of routine maintenance and safety checks, meaning that 13 of the country’s power plants are temporarily out of commission for one reason or another.


The German power grid says it’s currently buying electricity from Poland and the Czech Republic at most times of the day and night.


Bavaria goes anti-nuclear


The Bavarian faction of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative union, the CSU, set its first-ever target for Germany to stop using nuclear power late on Friday, suggesting a total withdrawal by 2022. The markedly conservative group that dominates Bavarian politics held a closed-door meeting for its top brass which ran several hours late as they debated the issue.


Bavarian State Premier Horst Seehofer said providing a fixed date would encourage the energy sector to concentrate on alternative solutions like renewable energies.


“There will only be investment if we establish clarity,” Seehofer said.


This puts the CSU at odds with their national sister-party, Merkel’s CDU, and with their pro-business FDP coalition partners, both of whom have not named a date for nuclear shutdown. Merkel tends to refer to nuclear power as a bridging technology on the path towards increased renewable-usage, but has shied away from any specific timelines.


“There will be very tight-knit solidarity within the Union,” Seehofer said after the meeting, when asked whether his party’s stance could damage relations with the national office. Merkel was also present in Andechs on Friday evening, although officially, she was visiting the after-party, not the CSU debate.


Workers at the Isar I nuclear plant in Bavaria protested the CSU decision, asking party leaders in an official letter to “stop fuelling fear and mistrust of nuclear power among the people.”


Not soon enough?


Germany had been scheduled to stop all nuclear power production by 2020 as part of a legislation introduced by Chancellor Gerhard Schröder’s Social Democrat and Green coalition, until the current administration overturned this law.


The Social Democrats were also set to debate Germany’s energy policy over the weekend, with party leader Sigmar Gabriel advocating a return to the 2020 shutdown, and a reduced market share for the major players E.On, RWE, Vattenfall and EnBW.


The Green party, meanwhile, says the current government should complete a nuclear withdrawal before the end of the current legislative period in 2017, arguing that events at the Fukushima plant showed that nuclear power is not safe.


For years, Germany’s anti-nuclear movement has been particularly strong, and public opposition has been further fueled first by the government’s new energy policy and then by the earthquake- and tsunami-triggered accident at Fukushima. Poor showings in recent regional elections for Merkel’s conservatives and their liberal allies were perceived in part as a public expression of this dissatisfaction.


Author: Mark Hallam (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

Editor: Toma Tasovac


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