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Archive for May 27th, 2011|Daily archive page

Angry parents in Japan confront government over radiation levels

In World News on May 27, 2011 at 7:20 am

By Hiroko Tabuchi

The accusations flew on Wednesday at the local school board meeting, packed with parents worried and angry about radiation levels in this city at the heart of Japan’s nuclear crisis.

“Do you really care about our children’s health?” one parent shouted. “Why have you acted so late?” said another. Among other concerns: isn’t radiation still raining down on Fukushima? Shouldn’t the entire school building be decontaminated? The entire city? Can we trust you?

“We are doing all we can,” pleaded Tomio Watanabe, a senior official of Fukushima’s education board.

A huge outcry is erupting in Fukushima over what parents say is a blatant government failure to protect their children from dangerous levels of radiation. The issue has prompted unusually direct confrontations in this conflict-averse society, and has quickly become a focal point for…

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Google announces mobile payment system: Google Wallet

In Big Brother, Tech on May 27, 2011 at 7:19 am

By Edward C. Baid

Are you ready to pay for everything via your smartphone? Google is the latest tech company banking on it. At a packed press event in New York, the search giant launched Google Wallet, a method to pay for goods via your smartphone. Google also unveiled a separate initiative, Google Offers, for mobile coupons, working with partners such as Citi, MasterCard, First Data and Sprint, as well as merchants that include Subway, Macy’s, Walgreens and American Eagle. Google says it is building an open solution to other financial companies and retailers.

“Your phone will be your wallet — just tap, pay and save,” says Stephanie Tilenius, vice president of commerce at Google. Adds Osama Bedier, vice president of payments at Google, “This is just the beginning. We plan to push the limit and innovate in that space.”

Google isn’t the only one at it, of course. The Google announcement follows word that Square, a company headed by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, will also pursue mobile contact-less payments.

For mobile payments to take off, consumer behavior will have to change. But Google points out that while a decade ago 70% of consumers were reluctant to pay for stuff online, today 70% access their credit card information over the Internet. At the start, a Google Wallet will give…

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Marine life soaking up radiation along Fukushima coast

In World News on May 27, 2011 at 7:19 am

By Greg McNevin

Two week’s ago we released preliminary results from our marine radiation monitoring work off the coast of Japan, near the melted-down and leakingFukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. These results showed worrying levels of radioactive contamination in seaweed – a staple of the Japanese diet.

After having difficulties finding a lab in Japan to do detailed analysis, we sent samples of seaweed, fish, and shellfish collected by our radiation monitoring teams both onshore and on the Rainbow to professional labs in France and Belgium. The results of the details analysis are back – and we can say that the situation in the ocean along the Fukushima coast is worse than we originally thought.

The new data shows that some seaweed contamination levels are not only 50 times higher than safety limits – far higher than our initial measurements showed – but also that the contamination is spreading over a wide area, and accumulating in sea life, rather than simply dispersing like the Japanese authorities originally claimed would happen.

Other samples showed lower than expected concentrations of caesium, but much higher levels of iodine than expected, which raises serious concerns that contaminated water is continually leaking from…

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