Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sunday, January 17, 2010

RTBU Song Competition Winner

Don't Close The Depot Down
A Song by John Hospodaryk©John Hospodaryk 2009
[Winner of the 2009 RTBU Railway Song and Poem Competition]

Two thousand trucks across the Great Divide,
Two thousand truckloads of fuel that will ride
Upon the road when there's a train that can bring it safely to your town,
Safely to, safely to your town.
So all I ask of you is don't you, don't you close that depot down,
Don't you close, don't you close that depot down.

We gotta let that rolling stock stay upon the rail,
It's rolled a hundred years, it has never failed.
Don't wanna see them trucks crowdin' up the whole highway,
Whole, whole, whole highway,
So all I ask of you is don't you, don't you take that train away,
Don't you take that, take that train away.

Carbon footprints are truckin' up 'n' down the road,
Up 'n' down, up 'n' down the road.
One of these days one of them rigs you know is bound to explode,
How can we bear such a heavy load!

They're layin' off the workers, I heard it on the news,
'Cos private contractors is what they wanna use,
You know we gotta get together, people, spread the news all around,
All around, spread the word around. We must demand that they don't,
they don't close that depot down,
They must not close, close that depot down.

HAITI: Drop the $890 million debt

Cancel Haiti's existing debt and ensure new aid is in the form of grants.

As more news reaches us from Haiti following Tuesday’s earthquake, the true scale of the disaster is now emerging. Reports now suggest as many as 50,000 people may have died, with hundreds of thousands made homeless.


Dear Finance Ministers, IMF, World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank and bilateral creditors,

As Haiti rebuilds from this disaster, please work to secure the immediate cancellation of Haiti’s $890 million debt and ensure that any emergency earthquake assistance is provided in the forms of grants, not debt-incurring loans.


Saturday, January 09, 2010

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Tsutomu Yamaguchi: 1916 - 2010

Tsutomu Yamaguchi, survivor of both atomic blasts to hit Japan in World War II, died of stomach cancer on Monday 4 Jan 2010 in Nagasaki, Japan. He was 93.

Mr. Yamaguchi, as a 29 year-old engineer for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, was in Hiroshima on a business trip when the United States dropped the first atomic bomb on the morning of 6 August, 1945. He was getting off a streetcar when the so-called Little Boy device detonated above the city.

Mr. Yamaguchi said he was less than two miles away from ground zero that day. His eardrums were ruptured, and his upper torso was burned by the blast, which destroyed most of the city's buildings and killed 80,000 people.

Mr. Yamaguchi spent the night in a Hiroshima bomb shelter and returned to Nagasaki, his hometown, the following day, according to interviews he gave over the years. The second bomb, known as Fat Man, was dropped on Nagasaki on 9 August, killing 70,000 people.

Mr. Yamaguchi was in his Nagasaki office, telling his boss about the Hiroshima blast, when "suddenly the same white light filled the room," he said in an interview last March with the British newspaper The Independent.

"I thought the mushroom cloud had followed me from Hiroshima," he said.

Japan surrendered six days after the Nagasaki attack.

Mr. Yamaguchi recovered from his wounds, went to work for the American occupation forces, became a teacher and eventually returned to work at Mitsubishi.

There were believed to have been about 165 twice-bombed people, known as nijyuu hibakusha, although municipal officials in both cities have said that Mr. Yamaguchi was the only person to be officially acknowledged as such.

One of his daughters, Toshiko Yamasaki, who was born in 1948, said her mother had also been "soaked in black rain and was poisoned" by the fallout from the Nagasaki blast. Her mother died in 2008 from kidney and liver cancer. She was 88.

"We think she passed the poison on to us," Ms. Yamasaki said, noting that her brother died of cancer at 59 and that her sister has been chronically ill throughout her life.

In his later years Mr. Yamaguchi spoke out against atomic weapons, though he had earlier avoided joining antinuclear protests because of the attention he might have attracted, Ms. Yamasaki told The Independent. "He was so healthy, he thought it would have been unfair to people who were really sick" she added.

Mr. Yamaguchi rarely gave interviews, but he wrote a memoir and was part of a 2006 documentary about the double bombing survivors. He called for the abolition of nuclear weapons at a showing of the documentary, "Niju Hibaku" ("Twice Bombed"), at the United Nations that year.

At a lecture he gave in Nagasaki last June, Mr. Yamaguchi said he had written to President Obama about banning nuclear arms. And he was recently visited by the American film director James Cameron to discuss a film project on atomic bombs, Ms. Yamasaki said.

Mr. Yamaguchi was philosophical about his surviving the blasts. "I could have died on either of those days. Everything that follows is a bonus."

Ice age captured in frozen image?

Captured by a Nasa satellite and beamed down 
to a receiving station at the University of Dundee

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Friday, January 01, 2010