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"I get very passionate about what I think is right."-Hillary Rodham Clinton

Sunday Reads: Lost cities…ancient and contemporary

A child is rescued from a building in Kesennuma, north-eastern Japan. Photograph: AP/Kyodo News

It’s Sunday morning, Minx here, and let me just say this….What a week!  The Japanese earthquake and tsunami are dominating the news cycle, with stories of rescues and loss. It is very upsetting to see some of these images.  It brings back memories of the tsunami of 2004. There is a lot to cover, so let’s get to it shall we? Japan mourns amid fears quake toll could run into many thousands | World news | guardian.co.uk

The full horror of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan is starting to emerge amid fears that the death toll could run into many thousands. A day of high tension saw workers battle to save a nuclear plant from meltdown and 50,000 rescuers fight their way to victims in the midst of mud, flood waters, collapsed buildings and continuing blazes.

It looks like a nuclear disaster may just add to the destruction and misery. Japanese nuclear plants’ operator scrambles to avert meltdowns

Japanese authorities said Sunday that efforts to restart the cooling system at one of the nuclear reactors damaged by Friday’s earthquake had failed, even as officials struggled to bring several other damaged reactors under control.

More technical information here at the World Nuclear News website:  Battle to stabilise earthquake reactors

Attention remains focused on the Fukushima Daiichi and Daini nuclear power plants as Japan struggles to cope in the aftermath of its worst earthquake in recorded history. A dramatic explosion did not damage containment and sea water injection continues through the night. Three of Fukushima Daiichi’s six reactors were in operation when yesterday’s quake hit, at which point they shut down automatically and commenced removal of residual heat with the help of emergency diesel generators. These suddenly stopped about an hour later, and this has been put down to tsunami flooding by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

There is an easier explanation of exactly how these nuclear reactors work, and helpful images showing what a “meltdown” really is. I mean, we all aren’t nuclear scientist, right? Japan Nuclear Watch: Struggling to Prevent and Limit Meltdowns | MyFDL Earlier this week I mentioned the city of Juarez, Mexico and the femicide that has been ongoing. Some sad news to relate once again. American Professor Kidnapped in Mexican Border City – FoxNews.com There is a good picture on the Fox Site, but for more information look to the Daily Mail: American professor kidnapped at gunpoint as visits her mother in Mexican border city | Mail Online

An American university professor has been kidnapped in a violent Mexican border city by a group of armed men. Veronica Perez Rodriguez was snatched by the gunmen in Ciudad Juarez after visiting her mother, who lives there, on Friday afternoon. The archaeologist has been an associate professor of anthropology at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona since 2003. A source at the Chihuahua state prosecutor’s office said: ‘The moment she left her family’s house she was intercepted by armed men and deprived of her liberty.’

Horrible, I can only hope that she gets away from these “armed men” but the sad reality is she probably won’t.  The Silencing of Women’ Voices – Salem-News.Com

On the second Tuesday in March; International Women’s Day 2011, the voices of many prominent human rights defenders will be absent from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Within the past 14 months, human rights campaigner Josefina Reyes, poet Susana Chavez and activist mother Marisela Escobedo all have been murdered, while Cipriana Jurado of the Worker Solidarity and Research Center and Paula Flores have been forced to flee the city. Eva Arce, another well-known women’s activist, has been the target of previous attacks and threats, and Malu Garcia, a founder of the anti-femicide organization May Our Daughters Return Home, had her house set on fire last month. Paula Flores, whose young daughter Sagrario Gonzalez was abducted and murdered in 1998, not only was a strong advocate for relatives of femicide victims, but a community organizer who worked to keep young people out of the cycle of crime and violence in the low-income Lomas de Poleo section of the border city. “The murders of human rights activists show that public space can’t be used,” asserted Dr. Julia Monarrez Fragoso, researcher and director of El Colegio de la Frontera Norte (COLEF) in Ciudad Juarez. “You can’t raise your voice and those that do are ‘deserving’ of their deaths.” […] For nearly a decade, Amigos de las Mujeres has worked in support of relatives of femicide victims in Ciudad Juarez and Chihuahua. And like many advocates on both sides the border, group members have observed violence against women and their advocates in Ciudad Juarez and Chihuahua spiral upward with no let-up in sight. According to a new report from COLEF, at least 1,192 women have been murdered in Ciudad Juarez since 1993, with 442 of the homicides occurring in the 12-year period from 1993 to 2005 when the city become known internationally for the crimes committed against women.

At what point will these women’s murderers be held accountable? Let’s see what is done about Veronica. I hope that Hillary Clinton will mention her plight and shed some attention on this disturbing and upsetting hot spot of violence against women. For an update on the Wisconsin 14: Missing Wisconsin Lawmakers Return – NYTimes.com

They are the unlikeliest of folk heroes. But this group of once-obscure lawmakers — a dairy farmer, a lawyer and a woman who is seven months pregnant, among others — that fled this capital nearly a month ago, returned Saturday to the cheers of tens of thousands who once again packed the streets in protest.
Many in the crowd wore buttons or held signs bearing admiring nicknames for the group: the “Fighting 14,” the “Fab 14” or, simply, “the Wisconsin 14.” They chanted, “Thank you” and “Welcome home.”

There are some real great pictures on this link, be sure to check it out. Earlier this week Obama dodged a question by Jake Tapper, we discussed his pathetic response here on Sky Dancing. I just wanted to share this link here: This shameful abuse of Bradley Manning | Daniel Ellsberg | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

President Obama tells us that he’s asked the Pentagon whether the conditions of confinement of Bradley Manning, the soldier charged with leaking state secrets, “are appropriate and are meeting our basic standards. They assure me that they are.” If Obama believes that, he’ll believe anything. I would hope he would know better than to ask the perpetrators whether they’ve been behaving appropriately. I can just hear President Nixon saying to a press conference the same thing: “I was assured by the the White House Plumbers that their burglary of the office of Daniel Ellsberg’s doctor in Los Angeles was appropriate and met basic standards.” When that criminal behaviour ordered from the Oval Office came out, Nixon faced impeachment and had to resign. Well, times have changed. But if President Obama really doesn’t yet know the actual conditions of Manning’s detention – if he really believes, as he’s said, that “some of this [nudity, isolation, harassment, sleep-deprivation] has to do with Private Manning’s wellbeing”, despite the contrary judgments of the prison psychologist – then he’s being lied to, and he needs to get a grip on his administration. If he does know, and agrees that it’s appropriate or even legal, that doesn’t speak well for his memory of the courses he taught on constitutional law.

I think that Ellsberg comments are spot on, Obama knows exactly what he is doing with Manning. Just carrying on the Bush tradition, don’t ya think? Minx’s Missing Link of the Week: With all the news about entire towns being wiped out by the tsunami in Japan this week, I thought this new discovery was real timely. Have scientists found Atlantis? | The Raw Story

A U.S.-led research team may have finally located the lost city of Atlantis, the legendary metropolis believed swamped by a tsunami thousands of years ago in mud flats in southern Spain. “This is the power of tsunamis,” head researcher Richard Freund told Reuters. […] To solve the age-old mystery, the team used a satellite photo of a suspected submerged city to find the site just north of Cadiz, Spain. There, buried in the vast marshlands of the Dona Ana Park, they believe that they pinpointed the ancient, multi-ringed dominion known as Atlantis.

There will be a new National Geographic show on tonight, Sunday, March 13, at 9 p.m. ET, that will explain more about it. Finding Atlantis | National Geographic Channel

Forget the health police for once and tuck into Hugh's yummy churros. Hot chocolate essential... Photograph: Colin Campbell for the Guardian

Easy Like Sunday Morning: There is nothing better than food that is deep fried, am I right? So for your easy like Sunday morning link, here is some of that deep fried goodness. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s deep-fried delights recipes | Life and style | The Guardian

Fried food has had a bad rap. To hear some, you’d think the frying pan was the source of all earthly evils – or at least dietary problems. And if you can get past that, there are those who fear they can’t rustle up a plate of chips without setting fire to the house. Today, I’m flying in the face of fears and fashion – and giving you my favourite deep-fried treats. I don’t advocate you eat them every day, but once in a while the lure of a crisp, golden coating is too strong to resist.

We have a regular fry fest on a weekly basis at my house, got to love those Fry Daddies. Check out the link above, there are some recipes that certainly got my mouth watering. Which I must admit…eventually leads to my ass widening.

What are you reading today? Any recipes for deep-fried goodies you would like to share? Comments are below, look forward to reading about what you are thinking…

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