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Tokyo welcomes election of Japanese diplomat as IAEA chief



Related News

* Russian State Duma calls peace talks with Japan ‘senseless’


TOKYO, July 3 (RIA Novosti) – Japan lays hopes on the election of Yukiya Amano as the first Japanese national to head the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a senior government official said on Friday.

“We are glad that Amano received great international support and [Japan] managed to increase its significance in the world. It is very important that the citizen of the world’s only nation that suffered atomic bombings has been elected [as IAEA chief],” Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura said.

The 62-year-old Amano, who is currently Japan’s ambassador to the United Nations in Vienna, gained two-thirds of the vote from the IAEA board of governors on Thursday.

Amano will take up the post on December 1, becoming the UN nuclear watchdog’s fifth director general when he replaces Egypt’s Mohamed ElBaradei, who has been in office since 1997.

“As a national of Japan, I intend to do my best to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons,” Amano told reporters soon after he was elected.

The mayor of Hiroshima, which was struck by an atomic bomb dropped by the United States in 1945, said in an open letter to Amano that he hoped the new IAEA head would “apply his strengths to forging a concrete path toward the abolition of nuclear arms.”

The IAEA director general, who is elected for a term of four years, will be formally approved at the organization’s general conference in Vienna in September.


International Atomic Energy (Commission) Agency


[and for quick navigation – ]


U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission



Design Certification Applications for New Reactors

By issuing a design certification, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approves a nuclear power plant design, independent of an application to construct or operate a plant. A design certification is valid for 15 years from the date of issuance, but can be renewed for an additional 10 to 15 years.

Design certification is achieved through the NRC’s rulemaking process, and is founded on the staff’s review of the application, which addresses the various safety issues associated with the proposed nuclear power plant design, independent of a specific site. During this process, the NRC notifies all stakeholders (including the public) as to how and when they may participate in the regulatory process, which may include participating in public meetings and rulemaking activities related to design certifications. See our Backgrounder on New Nuclear Plant Designs for an overview of new nuclear plant designs and the status of their respective reviews.

The links below provide information on the design certifications that the NRC has issued to date, as well as the applications that are currently under review. The activities associated with reviewing these applications are reflected in the individual links for docketed design certification applications.

Issued Design Certifications

The NRC staff has issued the following design certifications:

Design Applicant
Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR) General Electric (GE) Nuclear Energy
System 80+ Westinghouse Electric Company
Advanced Passive 600 (AP600) Westinghouse Electric Company
Advanced Passive 1000 (AP1000) Westinghouse Electric Company

Design Certification Applications Currently Under Review

The staff is currently reviewing the following design certification applications:

Design Applicant
AP1000 Amendment Westinghouse Electric Company
Economic Simplified Boiling-Water Reactor (ESBWR) GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy
U.S. Evolutionary Power Reactor (U.S. EPR) AREVA Nuclear Power
U.S. Advanced Pressurized-Water Reactor (US-APWR) Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.

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** My Note –

Just in case it escaped anyone’s notice – they are boiling water here . . . All that effort and money is being used to “boil water” which powers turbines. Unbelievable . . .

– cricketdiane




Moscow pulling out all the stops for President Obama
02/07/2009 Moscow pulling out all the stops for President Obama


Seven banks fail, pushing 2009 tally to 52

Regulators close six Illinois banks and one Texas bank, setting the FDIC back a total of $314.3 million.

By Catherine Clifford, CNNMoney.com staff writer
Last Updated: July 3, 2009: 12:29 AM ET

Where the banks are failing


Bank failures and foreclosures keep mounting

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Seven banks were shut down by authorities Thursday, pushing the tally of failed banks for 2009 to 52, more than doubling the failures in 2008.

Six regional banks in Illinois and one in Texas closed their doors, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

The rash of Illinois failures are interlinked: All six banks were controlled by one family and followed a similar business model that “created concentrated exposure in each institution,” according to the FDIC.

The agency said that the six failures stemmed from the banks’ investments in collateralized debt obligations and other loan losses.

[ . . . ]

Last year, 25 banks failed in the United States.

Local banks have been hard hit as plummeting home values devalued mortgage-backed assets and rising unemployment rates caused an increasing number of consumers to default on their loans.

[ . . . ]

FDIC fund: The total cost of Thursday’s bank failures to the FDIC is $314.3 million, bringing the FDIC fund’s total cost for failed banks to $12.3 billion this year. That compares with $17.6 billion in all of 2008.

[etc. – a lot more information in this story – very interesting]

* For more information visit www.fdic.gov

Video of Citibank being told by Japan to halt its retail operations because it has not assured the necessary procedures to prevent and track possible money laundering ( on this page near center of page in story)

Embedded video from &amp;amp;lt;a href=”http://money.cnn.com/video&#8221; mce_href=”http://money.cnn.com/video”&amp;amp;gt;CNNMoney.com Video&amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;gt;



auction_bentley.03.jpgAmong the many non-traditional assets regulators seized when New Frontier Bank failed was this 2003 Bentley Arnage, which was sold for $50,000 at an auction held in May.


Psst! Wanna own a bit of a failed bank?

With bank failures mounting, the FDIC is stuck trying to sell loans, real estate and more exotic assets like lawnmowers and even a Bentley.

By David Ellis, CNNMoney.com staff writer
Last Updated: June 30, 2009: 4:33 PM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — When New Frontier Bank failed in April, regulators failed to find a buyer, forcing the FDIC to absorb the roughly $2 billion in assets that were once owned by the Colorado-based lender.

But what the FDIC may not have anticipated at the time was that the agency would be stuck with a grab-bag of other exotic assets including a white Bentley Arnage, three lawnmowers, a Fleetwood Motor home and more than two dozen works of art, most of which reflected the bank’s rural surroundings in northern Colorado.

The demise of New Frontier is just one example of the asset messes regulators are often stuck with once a bank is shuttered. At an auction held last month, regulators auctioned off a combined 300 copiers, printers and scanners that were once owned by the California mortgage lender IndyMac (IDMCQ), which collapsed last July in one of the biggest bank failures in history.

[ . . . ]

As of the end of March, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. had roughly $16 billion worth of failed bank assets just waiting to be liquidated, according to an agency report published earlier this month.

But that number is poised to climb higher as more banks fail. Last Friday, regulators seized five institutions across the country, the largest one-day instance of failures in years. Experts widely believe that hundreds more banks could fail in the years ahead as a result of the current recession, which means plenty of work for the FDIC.

When a bank fails, the FDIC typically tries to find a buyer for the deposits and branches first before. If it’s unsuccessful, as was the case with New Frontier, the FDIC then looks to sell off the bank’s remaining assets.

Some of that work is handled by the agency itself, but much of it is farmed out to private-firms that specialize in managing and selling assets.


Timing, however, can be everything when a bank fails, especially as regulators scramble to squeeze every dime out of a failed bank’s remaining assets.

Consider the case of Downey Financial (DWNFQ). Last fall, just two months before regulators seized the California-based lender, the company was shopping its twin-towered, six-story headquarters in Newport Beach for a reported $115 million.

The nearly 43,000-square-foot piece of property is still up for grabs, albeit at a deep discount. Prescient is currently asking for $59 million for the property, according to its Web site.

Bliss Morris, president and CEO of First Financial Network, a 20-year-old Oklahoma-City-based firm, said the same holds true in trying to sell loans on behalf of the FDIC — the longer it takes to make a sale, the more likely it is that the loans will lose even more of their value.

[lots more in this story – great info and maybe some opportunities for new small business models to offer some help liquidating these things – ]

“It doesn’t always take a Morgan Stanley or Goldman Sachs to come to the table,” he said. “This really is an opportunity.”

First Published: June 30, 2009: 3:53 PM ET






NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — The battered U.S. labor market took a step backwards last month as employers trimmed more jobs from their payrolls in June, according to a government report Thursday.

There was a net loss of 467,000 jobs in June, compared with a revised loss of 322,000 jobs in May. This was the first time in four months that the number of jobs lost rose from the prior month.

The June job losses were also far worse than the forecast of a loss of 365,000 jobs by economists surveyed by Briefing.com.

The unemployment rate rose for the ninth straight month, climbing to 9.5% from 9.4%, and hitting another 26-year high. Economists had been expecting that the unemployment rate would hit 9.6%.

Nearly 3.4 million jobs have been lost during the first half of 2009, more than the 3.1 million lost in all of 2008.




My Note –

How could that possibly come as a surprise to experts, analysts and economists? Yesterday, when the report was released, every news show that I watched across every cable station was surprised and evidenced the accompanying surprise and shock from the Wall Street investment community. What did they think was happening and what it would mean?

It isn’t even funny that the “experts” who are being paid to make these analyses of the same data available to all of us are getting it so wrong, so consistently. They had it wrong last year as they told us it was no more than a little dip in the “bubble”. They had it wrong last fall when they told us that it would all be okay and was no more than a little “contraction” in the economy. They had it wrong when they told their clients and subsequently, the rest of us that it wasn’t the “R” word (Recession, certainly not). Why do they get paid?

– cricketdiane


Medvedev says he wants a “more modern relationship” with the US – (on his blog) as just reported by 12.12 p.m. 07-03-09 on CNNI (206 – comcast)


Scotland Yard to quiz Tory peer over £100,000 expenses claim

By Ian Drury and Rebecca Camber
Last updated at 12:18 PM on 03rd July 2009

Lord Hanningfield is accused of staying at his farmhouse in Essex while claiming for overnight stays close to Parliament

A Tory peer who claimed nearly £100,000 for staying in London despite living less than 50 miles from the capital is being investigated by Scotland Yard.

Lord Hanningfield, a frontbencher in the House of Lords, is at the centre of a police probe into accusations he stayed at his farmhouse in Essex while claiming for overnight stays near Parliament.

Peers who live outside the capital are entitled to collect up to £174 a day for overnight accommodation if their stay is ‘for the purpose of attending sittings of the House’.

[ . . . ]

The others being investigated are all Labour politicians: Lord Clarke of Hampstead, a former party chairman, and Baroness Uddin, plus former fisheries minister Elliot Morley and backbench MP David Chaytor.

Lord Hanningfield, 68, who has a taxpayer-funded full-time chauffeur provided by the local authority, has a family home in West Hanningfield, near Chelmsford, which is 46 miles from London.

(Lord Hanningfield, centre, with a group of Essex MPs including Bernard Jenkin, third rear, and Eric Pickles, second right – photo)

Police are keen to find out whether he travelled back there on the nights he claimed to have stayed in the capital.

Since 2001-02, he has claimed £99,970 in ‘overnight subsistence’ and £49,955 for meals and ‘incidental’ travel – paid at £86.50 a day last year.

Peers do not have to provide receipts and can simply ‘clock in’ at the Lords in order to qualify for their allowances.

But those who travel home at night are not permitted to pocket the cash.

Lord Hanningfield on his elevation to the Lords

Scotland Yard refused to confirm Lord Hanningfield’s involvement, but a Tory source said he was being investigated.

He is also able to claim expenses as Essex County Council leader. In 2006-07 he claimed £59,110 including £5,319 for travel and £7,466 for fares and subsistence.

He joined the House of Lords in 1998 and since 2005 has been Shadow Minister for Transport, as well as Tory Whip.

His role in setting up the Local Government Association in 1997 helped to get him the peerage.

Lord Hanningfield exposed the fact that the Prime Minister Tony Blair spent £1,000 of taxpayers’ money a year on make-up.

But he faced criticism last year after spending £62,000 of council money on a ‘fact-finding’ business-class trip to the US.

[ . . . ]

Earlier this month it emerged that the Metropolitan Police had formally launched criminal investigations into three Peers and two MPs following a month-long exercise by detectives and Crown Prosecution Service lawyers.

It followed revelations that Mr Morley claimed £800 a month for a home in his Scunthorpe constituency even though the mortgage had already been paid off.

Mr Chaytor claimed £13,000 for a ‘phantom’ mortgage he had paid off.

Baroness Uddin allegedly claimed an empty Kent flat was her main home so she could receive expenses despite living in Wapping, east London.

Lord Clarke admitted fiddling his expenses by claiming for stays in London when he drove home to St Albans, Hertfordshire, about an hour from the capital.

The MPs could be charged with fraud, theft or misconduct in a public office.

The maximum sentence under both the Serious Fraud Act 2006 and the Theft Act 1968 is ten years. Misconduct in public office carries a maximum life sentence.



June 26, 2009
Russia Profile Weekly Experts Panel: the Quest to Boost Russia’s Image

Introduced by Vladimir Frolov
(from – ) Russia Profile

Contributors: Vladimir Belaeff, Stephen Blank, Ethan Burger, Edward Lozansky, Sergei Roy

“The main task of the new structure,” wrote Nezavisimaya Gazeta, “is to correct the image mistakes committed over the last year,” since Dmitry Medvedev became president, including Moscow’s failure to persuade other countries to recognize the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and as well as the prevailing negative attitude toward Russia in the CIS concerning various financial arrangements.

The Kremlin has finally understood that it makes more sense to attempt to predict the reaction of the international community at an early stage, and to incorporate these forecasts into major policy decisions, as opposed to putting out public relations fires post factum.

The emphasis on careful policy planning, strict inter-agency coordination and effective policy implementation is a welcome change in the Kremlin’s approach to public relations.


[etc. – very long-winded and highly questionable with these experts’ viewpoints based in “perception management” and spin rather than on the validity of fluid accurate information – my note]



from RIA Novosti sponsored site – links they consider important –

Portal on International Relations by the German Council on Foreign Relations. (http://www.weltpolitik.net)
The Moscow Expat Site – the virtual community for English-speaking expats and Russians. (http://www.expat.ru)
Cafebabel.com is the leading European current affairs magazine. Published in 7 languages (English, French, Catalan, Spanish, Italian, German and Polish), it analyses current affairs from a resolutely European perspective. (http://www.cafebabel.com)
The RBCC, Russo-British Chamber of Commerce exists to facilitate trade between Britain and Russia. Services include a monthly business digest, in-depth regional and company profiles, exhibitions, conferences and up to the minute Russian business advice. (http://www.rbcc.com )
The EBRD is the largest single investor in central Europe and central Asia and mobilises significant foreign direct investment beyond its own financing. It provides project financing for banks, industries and businesses, both new ventures and investments in existing companies. It also works with publicly owned companies, to support privatisation, restructuring state-owned firms and improvement of municipal services. (http://www.ebrd.com/new/am/)
Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard (http://www.daviscenter.fas.harvard.edu )
EurasiaNet is the most comprehensive source for news and information about the countries of the Caucasus and Central Asia found anywhere on the World Wide Web. (http://www.eurasianet.org)
For the past ten years, MARBC has worked to foster business relations between Russia and the Newly Independent States (NIS), and the U.S. Mid-Atlantic Region, while cultivating mutual appreciation of political, economic, cultural, and educational interests. (http://www.ma-rbc.org )
Foreign Policy is the premier, award-winning magazine of global politics, economics, and ideas. (http://www.foreignpolicy.com)
Foreign Affairs is America’s most influential publication on international affairs and foreign policy. (http://www.foreignaffairs.org)
Worldpress.org is a nonpartisan magazine whose mission is to foster the international exchange of perspectives and information. It contains articles reprinted from the press outside the United States, as well as originally written material. (http://www.worldpress.org)
BBC News Europe (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/default.stm)
Radio Free Europe – Radio Liberty – your source for news and information from Eastern and Southeastern Europe, Russia, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and Southwestern Asia. (http://www.rferl.org)
Inside Russia and Eurasia is the website of the monthly intelligence report of the European Press Agency. Independent of government or political ties, it reports and analyses political, economic, social and security developments in Russia and Eurasia without regard for the prevailing consensus. (http://www.russia-eurasia.net)
ACTR/ACCELS is an international not-for-profit organization working to advance education, research, and mutual understanding across the United States and the nations of Eastern Europe, Eurasia, and Southeast Europe. (http://www.americancouncils.org )
The School of Russian and Asian Studies is a team of specialists dedicated to education in and about Russia. In addition to offering accredited Russian language courses, they also offer classes in art, history, int’l relations, journalism, and more in locations across the FSU. (http://www.sras.org)
Russia Today TV is a news channel oriented to global viewers, it broadcasts in English, 24 hours a day. Russia Today is first in line bringing news of key events in Russia to the world. Exclusive coverage makes this channel indispensable for businessmen, diplomats, journalists and decision-makers in the field of politics and the economy. (http://www.russiatoday.ru)
Russia Beyond the Headlines is a monthly supplement to the world’s leading newspapers: The Washington Post (US), The Daily Telegraph (UK), The Economic Times (India), Duma (Bulgaria). Russia Beyond the Headlines provides comments, analysis and information on trends in Russia. We dispel stereotypes and help you to understand Russia as a historic, complex nation undergoing change in response to the challenges of modern times, while trying to preserve its traditions and identity. (http://rbth.rg.)
Defense nationale is a publication whose purpose is to tackle all – national and international – political, economic, social and scientific issues by considering them from the viewpoint of defence. (http://www.defnat.com)
Oil & Gas Eurasia is Russia’s № 1 oil and gas technology magazine for operators, service and supply companies. US owned, OGE was first to use a bi-lingual format and the first Russian-based publication to audit its circulation. OGE’s parent company, Eurasia Press, also publishes Eurasia Offshore, a quarterly technology supplement for the offshore industry. (www.oilandgaseurasia.com)
PMR Ltd. is a publishing, consulting and market research company providing information, advice and services to international business interested in Central and Eastern Europe. With highly skilled staff, top ranked web sites such as www.ictrussia.com, www.constructionrussia.com, and www.russiaretail.com, and over 10 years of experience, PMR is one of the largest companies of it’s type in the region. (www.pmrcorporate.com)
Information Agency “FC-Novosti” provides exclusive information and digests of press reports on the key issues of the Russian economy bearing on investments in Russia and it’s regions; news about major Russian issuers and companies involved in foreign projects; analytical reports and comments on the financial, stock and commodity markets. (http://www.rfcm.ru)
The European Finance Convention Foundation is an independent Body which was set-up as a non profit organisation in 1987. It has been collaborating over the years with the European Commission and most of the International Financial Institutions, on some of the major matters related to the EU economical and financial integration like the ECU and later on the EURO, the Enlargement process and the EU mediterranean co-operation. (http://www.euroconvention.com/6251-Moscow1.htm)

Economist Conferences, a division of the Economist Intelligence Unit, is the leading provider of international forums for senior executives seeking new insights into strategic issues. These meetings include industry conferences, management events and government roundtables held around the world. As part of The Economist Group, the publisher of The Economist newspaper, we are a highly respected brand with a 162-year history and an unrivalled reputation for excellence and independence.
Founded in 1995, the AEB is an independent non-commercial association with a membership of over 600 companies from across the European Union and Russia. Our members range from large multi-national corporations to SMBs and are united by their commitment to forging stronger economic ties between the EU and Russia, as well as improving the business environment here in Russia. The AEB conducts lobbying activity through its 26 committees and working groups, which cover a wide spectrum of industries and sectors, including Energy, Customs & Transport, Airlines, Legal, Taxation and Banking – to name but a few. (www.aebrus.ru)
Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC – the international publishing, events and electronic information group, delivering business information to the finance, law, energy and transport sectors for over 35 years.
Euromoney Seminars is a division of Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC. The business hosts over 80 content led events worldwide. Renowned for the seniority of the audience and quality of the debate, Euromoney
Seminars offer the perfect mix of market insight and networking. (www.euromoneyseminars.com)
Marcus evans is one of the world’s leading providers and promoters of global summits strategic conferences, professional training, in-Company training, business-to-business congresses, sports hospitality and on-line information.
RedTram is a multi-language news search engine delivering news in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Chinese, Ukrainian and Russian. RedTram offers its readers a well-structured and detailed catalogue, an opportunity of viewing archived news and an advanced search.

The German-Russian Forum organizes the dialogue and meetings between the Russian and the German communities. We provide discussion platforms for political and economic talks and cultural meetings while supporting young managers and regional cooperation.

Combining social and entrepreneurial responsibilities, we help to build up German-Russian relations and recommend ourselves as a partner for Corporate Citizenship in Russia.


[From – ]



My Note –

Last year, when I was researching something else, a Google search that I had made with conferences or conventions and Moscow, St. Petersburg and other Russian cities yielded an amazing array of international conventions that were being hosted there for 2009 and beyond, (including interpol having their international meeting there.)

Footballers and fans will certainly remember the world class contest that happened there. Even with the frailty of the world economies, these events are still drawing participants from around the world throughout many and varied communities, industries, sciences, and focused audiences.

That is no small thing, but the Russian group of leaders do not seem to understand how inappropriate it is to stop or limit the flow of heating products to a wider world whose families are dependent upon it to survive the winter as happened last year.

We do look to Russia to make it right when that happens whether the countries along the routes of pipelines caused the problems or not, because Mother Russia is the player with the most to lose on the world stage and has the ability to resolve it.

I am glad to hear that Medvedev has a blog – it would seem such an uneasy balance if only President Obama was using that medium . . . (there are a few others from leaders around Europe and elsewhere, although my guess is that the poor staffer who is actually writing it has more to do than God ever intended a human to get done in a day . . . )

– cricketdiane, 07-03-09


a little international security info, bank failures, atomic power plants boiling water using the most expensive tab ever created, UK creative expense accounting for Parliamentarians for that tough and difficult work they do, and assorted other US and Global resources for information and opportunities to make new business models that work –