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Historic signing pledges more First Nations in work force
SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN--(Marketwire - March 11, 2011) - The Government of Canada, the Government of Saskatchewan and five Tribal Councils in Saskatchewan, representing more than half of Saskatchewan's 70 First Nations, have signed a historic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreeing to work together to increase labour force participation for First Nation people in Saskatchewan.
The MOU was signed by the Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians; the Honourable Rob Norris, Saskatchewan Minister of Advanced Education, Employment and Immigration; Saskatoon Tribal Council Chief Felix Thomas; Meadow Lake Tribal Council Chief Eric Sylvestre; Agency Chiefs Tribal Council Chief Steven Jim; Yorkton Tribal Council Chief Gilbert Panipekeesick; and File Hills Qu'Appelle Tribal Council Chairman Edmund Bellegarde.
"This Active Measures MOU is an example of the kind of progress made possible when there is collaboration between the federal, provincial and First Nations governments and a willingness to succeed by all parties," said Minister Duncan. "Through this partnership, we will work together to implement strategies that will increase skills training and employment opportunities for First Nations in Saskatchewan."
Active Measures refers to partnerships, programs, policies and investments that: increase the labour force participation rate and employment; decrease the income assistance dependency on reserve; and create incentives for individuals to pursue skills training.
"The Government of Saskatchewan is committed to improving the education and employment outcomes for First Nations people," Minister Norris said. "We are pleased to partner with the Federal Government and Saskatchewan Tribal Councils to ensure First Nations people are full participants in our economic prosperity."
The MOU is intended to enhance collaboration and partnership among the parties in order to improve labour force outcomes for First Nation people in Saskatchewan – particularly youth. The Agreement will focus on improving job readiness to successfully transition First Nations income assistance recipients to employment through the development and implementation of Active Measures strategies.
"The Active Measures MOU is a reflection of the critical role First Nations are playing in order to improve training and employment outcomes for their membership," said Rob Clarke, MP for Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River. "I want to congratulate the First Nations that have already started successful initiatives focused on employment counselling, improving access to life skills and literacy training and improving program delivery models."
"The MOU signatories recognize that our collaboration will be needed to address challenges at the local level that deter young people from entering the workforce," said Tribal Chief Steven Jim of the Agency Chiefs Tribal Council. "We will use this two-year agreement to bring attention to basic challenges that must be overcome to enable our youth to reach their potential."
"This agreement establishes a formal avenue to explore and shape policies that affect the lives and futures of First Nations communities," said Tribal Chairman Edmund Bellegarde of the File Hills Qu'Appelle Tribal Council. "The MOU opens the door for meaningful discussions to occur at the local level to identify and address specific policy barriers that are preventing a level playing field for First Nations people to engage in the provincial economy."
"Improving the quality of life for the families of our member communities is essential, and improving their participation in the workforce is key to making this happen," said Tribal Chief Felix Thomas of the Saskatoon Tribal Council. "The MOU will connect leaders and partners to focus on the unique conditions of First Nations communities and develop training programs, opportunities and supports they need to break the cycle of dependency."
"Signatories to this agreement recognize that the systems that are in place are not working for First Nations communities and changes need to be made," said Tribal Chief Gilbert Panipekeesick of the Yorkton Tribal Council. "We are hopeful the MOU will stimulate both discussion and action to address deficiencies in these systems to both enable and compel our communities to take a more active role in the workforce."
"First Nations communities encourage young people to access training and enter the workforce and we have developed many business partnerships to help our young employees make a successful transition to the workforce," said Tribal Chief Eric Sylvestre, Meadow Lake Tribal Council. "We are hopeful this MOU will help develop programs and structures that motivate to enhance industry partnerships across the province."
The MOU identifies a number of priority areas such as: youth career planning and skills development; strategies to address barriers to training and employment; short-term training, including literacy, adult basic education, and essential skills; and partnership development with industry and private and public sectors in the development of training and employment opportunities.
A multi-partner Active Measures Steering Committee will be formed to provide leadership and oversee implementation of the MOU.
In Saskatchewan, INAC has invested more than $5 million in strategic pilot projects since 2007-2008, including approximately $3 million in 2010-2011.
Sent: Friday, March 11, 2011 10:45 AM
To: Indigenous Action
Subject: ALERT: ADEQ Approves Permits for New Uranium Mines Near Grand Canyon
Please spread the word!
There will also be a benefit concert to Stop Uranium Mining at the Grand Canyon on March 26th in Flagstaff at the Orpheum Theater.
ALERT: ADEQ Approves Permits for New Uranium Mines Near Grand Canyon
The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) has approved water and air quality permit applications for Denison Mines Corp. to operate uranium mines near the Grand Canyon.
These mines include the currently operating Arizona 1 Mine and the proposed Pinenut and EZ mines north of the Grand Canyon and the proposed Canyon Mine on the south rim near Red Butte, a site held holy by the Havasupai Nation.
Read the Arizona Daily Sun article here: Three uranium mines advance - Friday, March 11, 2011 (http://azdailysun.com/news/
Read the Sierra Club's news release here: Arizona Regulators Risk Damage to Water, Air Near Grand Canyon With Uranium Mine Permits(http://arizona.
Although environmental groups have successfully lobbied the US Secretary of Interior to suspend new uranium claims in a buffer zone near the Grand Canyon, the suspension does not include pre-existing claims such as Denison’s.
Currently there is a 30 day comment period for public input on the US Dept of Interior's proposal to withdraw 1 million acres of land in the Grand Canyon watershed that would affect, "uranium and other hardrock mineral development in that area".
Comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement are due by April 4th, 2011 and can be made in writing and either mailed to Bureau of Land Management, Arizona Strip District, 345 East Riverside Drive , St. George, UT 84790 or sent as an email toNAZproposedwithdrawal@azblm.
Please support Alternative B.
"Alternative B is to withdraw about 1 million acres from hardrock mineral exploration and mining for 20 years subject to valid existing rights. The land is in three parcels: two are north of the Grand Canyon National Park on BLM Arizona Strip and Kaibab National Forest lands; and one is south of the Grand Canyon also in the Kaibab National Forest. The authority for the withdrawal comes from Section 204 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act. If implemented, this withdrawal would not prevent any other development under laws regulating mineral leasing, geothermal leasing, mineral materials or public lands."
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NEW: www.dinewaterrights.org - Water is Life! Protect our Future!
www.indigenousaction.org - Independent Indigenous Media
www.oybm.org - Indigenous Youth Empowerment!
www.savethepeaks.org - Protect Sacred Places
www.truesnow.org - Water is Life! No Snowmaking
www.taalahooghan.org - Flagstaff Infoshop
Opponents of forbidding undocumented students from attending ANY Ga. institution of higher learning even if paying out-of-state tuition will rally on the Washington St. steps MONDAY, March 14 at 2pm. Call your representative and say NO to HB59. Sponsored by GLAHR and the Georgia Dreamers.
On Tuesday, there will be another rally in solidarity with Wisconsin and the struggle to stop union-busting. March 15 at 5:30pm. Wear red. Initiated byhttp://www.facebook.com/l/
Join Ms. Roberta Weighill, from the Chumash Nation, as she interview John Abraham Powell, President of Get Oil Out ( http://www.facebook.com/l/
Interview in 3 parts
For more information on AIM SB
for more info on Get Oil Out
Fouroverturned train carriages lie at impossibly skewed angles. A cruise ship sits on its side. Another teeters perilously on the edge of a quay.
All had been flung from their courses by the devastating force of the tsunami, but pictured from above – in such unlikely settings – they appear almost as toys scattered by a child who has grown bored with playing.
Elsewhere, terrified survivors wait to be rescued atop a building in Kesennuma, in north-east Japan, after fashioning a giant SOS sign from bedsheets.
And residents in Rikuzentakata can be seen on the roof of a block of flats that appears to have been put through a shredder.
N.S. chief demands report on fatal shooting of band member be released
WAGMATCOOK, N.S. - Members of a Nova Scotia First Nation and the family of John Simon, a Mi'kmaq man who was fatally shot by an RCMP officer in 2008, repeated demands Sunday for the release of an RCMP Public Complaints Commission interim report into the death.
The commission forwarded its findings on the shooting to RCMP Commissioner Bill Elliott and the federal minister of public safety in early December, but Simon's relatives and Wagmatcook band members are still waiting for word on what it says.
"This report from the complaints commission was supposed to be independent, yet the RCMP gets it before anyone else," said Patsy MacKay, Simon's widow. "I mean, why do they get to see it where they're the ones being investigated? I don't understand."
More than two years after the death of her husband, MacKay said she finds it frustrating that no one has accepted any responsibility or owned up to what happened.
"It's all damage control from this point. They have to have more time to weave some more nonsense," she said, repeating a demand for a full public inquiry.
Simon was shot and killed in his home in Wagmatcook on Dec. 2, 2008, by an RCMP officer. Simon, who was a diabetic, had been drinking and was without insulin for days when he barricaded himself alone inside his home in the Cape Breton community.
An investigation by Halifax Regional Police concluded that RCMP Const. Jeremy Frenette entered Simon's house against direct orders from his supervisor and that Simon had a rifle and was potentially suicidal.
The investigation found that Frenette shot Simon in self-defence and indicated no criminal charges would be laid.
That report was given to the Mounties for input before it was released to the Simon family on Dec. 8, 2009, six days too late to pursue any disciplinary action against Frenette. The RCMP has said a disciplinary review must occur within 12 months of the incident and it didn't begin that process in this case.
After it became public that no action would be taken, the complaints commission started its own investigation in March 2010.
The Wagmatcook band council and MacKay submitted a 22-page brief questioning the independence of the Halifax police report, arguing that it was based on poor reasoning and biased assumptions and conclusions.
"Bottom line is that the RCMP made a fatal mistake by allowing Const. Frenette to go into John Simon's house and shoot him," said Brian Arbuthnot, the band's manager.
"We have some concerns with the integrity and the objectivity of that (Halifax police) report," he said. "The longer we wait for the public complaints commission report, we're worried about breaches of trust and responsibility to the family."
Arbuthnot said they have contacted the commission several times in the past couple of months but without results.
"The response has come back that they're not prepared to release the report until the RCMP has commented on it and have added their advice," said Arbuthnot. "There's concern about the lack of transparency here."
Arbuthnot said Simon's death will continue to resonate in native circles and hinder the RCMP's ability to police any First Nations community until the issue is resolved.
"This is not going to go away, even if the RCMP would like it to," he said.
There was no immediate response Sunday from either the RCMP or the complaints commission.
Kevin Brousseau, the commission's director of operations, had said earlier that it was standard practice for the agency to send reports to the RCMP commissioner for comment before wider release.
He said the RCMP commissioner's office won't alter the report, but can comment on the recommendations it contains.
Texas plants planned by Tokyo Electric. Image:NINA
But what will Obama plead? The Administration, just months ago, asked Congress to provide a $4 billion loan guarantee for two new nuclear reactors to be built and operated on the Gulf Coast of Texas — by Tokyo Electric Power and local partners. As if the Gulf hasn't suffered enough.
Here are the facts about Tokyo Electric and the industry you haven't heard on CNN:
The failure of emergency systems at Japan's nuclear plants comes as no surprise to those of us who have worked in the field.
Nuclear plants the world over must be certified for what is called "SQ" or "Seismic Qualification." That is, the owners swear that all components are designed for the maximum conceivable shaking event, be it from an earthquake or an exploding Christmas card from Al Qaeda.
The most inexpensive way to meet your SQ is to lie. The industry does it all the time. The government team I worked with caught them once, in 1988, at the Shoreham plant in New York. Correcting the SQ problem at Shoreham would have cost a cool billion, so engineers were told to change the tests from 'failed' to 'passed.'
The company that put in the false safety report? Stone & Webster, now the nuclear unit of Shaw Construction which will work with Tokyo Electric to build the Texas plant, Lord help us.
Last night I heard CNN reporters repeat the official line that the tsunami disabled the pumps needed to cool the reactors, implying that water unexpectedly got into the diesel generators that run the pumps.
These safety back-up systems are the 'EDGs' in nuke-speak: Emergency Diesel Generators. That they didn't work in an emergency is like a fire department telling us they couldn't save a building because "it was on fire."
What dim bulbs designed this system? One of the reactors dancing with death at Fukushima Station 1 was built by Toshiba. Toshiba was also an architect of the emergency diesel system.
Now be afraid. Obama's $4 billion bail-out-in-the-making is called the South Texas Project. It's been sold as a red-white-and-blue way to make power domestically with a reactor from Westinghouse, a great American brand. However, the reactor will be made substantially in Japan by the company that bought the US brand name, Westinghouse — Toshiba.
I once had a Toshiba computer. I only had to send it in once for warranty work. However, it's kind of hard to mail back a reactor with the warranty slip inside the box if the fuel rods are melted and sinking halfway to the earth's core.
TEPCO and Toshiba don't know what my son learned in 8th grade science class: tsunamis follow Pacific Rim earthquakes. So these companies are real stupid, eh? Maybe. More likely is that the diesels and related systems wouldn't have worked on a fine, dry afternoon.
Back in the day, when we checked the emergency back-up diesels in America, a mind-blowing number flunked. At the New York nuke, for example, the builders swore under oath that their three diesel engines were ready for an emergency. They'd been tested. The tests were faked, the diesels run for just a short time at low speed. When the diesels were put through a real test under emergency-like conditions, the crankshaft on the first one snapped in about an hour, then the second and third. We nicknamed the diesels, "Snap, Crackle and Pop."
(Note: Moments after I wrote that sentence, word came that two of three diesels failed at the Tokai Station as well.)
In the US, we supposedly fixed our diesels after much complaining by the industry. But in Japan, no one tells Tokyo Electric to do anything the Emperor of Electricity doesn't want to do.
I get lots of confidential notes from nuclear industry insiders. One engineer, a big name in the field, is especially concerned that Obama waved the come-hither check to Toshiba and Tokyo Electric to lure them to America. The US has a long history of whistleblowers willing to put themselves on the line to save the public. In our racketeering case in New York, the government only found out about the seismic test fraud because two courageous engineers, Gordon Dick and John Daly, gave our team the documentary evidence.
In Japan, it's simply not done. The culture does not allow the salary-men, who work all their their lives for one company, to drop the dime.
Not that US law is a wondrous shield: both engineers in the New York case were fired and blacklisted by the industry. Nevertheless, the government (local, state, federal) brought civil racketeering charges against the builders. The jury didn't buy the corporation's excuses and, in the end, the plant was, thankfully, dismantled.
Am I on some kind of xenophobic anti-Nippon crusade? No. In fact, I'm far more frightened by the American operators in the South Texas nuclear project, especially Shaw. Stone & Webster, now the Shaw nuclear division, was also the firm that conspired to fake the EDG tests in New York. (The company's other exploits have been exposed by their former consultant, John Perkins, in his book, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.)
If the planet wants to shiver, consider this: Toshiba and Shaw have recently signed a deal to become world-wide partners in the construction of nuclear stations.
The other characters involved at the South Texas Plant that Obama is backing should also give you the willies. But as I'm in the middle of investigating the American partners, I'll save that for another day.
So, if we turned to America's own nuclear contractors, would we be safe? Well, two of the melting Japanese reactors, including the one whose building blew sky high, were built by General Electric of the Good Old US of A.
After Texas, you're next. The Obama Administration is planning a total of $56 billion in loans for nuclear reactors all over America.
And now, the homicides:
CNN is only interested in body counts, how many workers burnt by radiation, swept away or lost in the explosion. These plants are now releasing radioactive steam into the atmosphere. Be skeptical about the statements that the "levels are not dangerous." These are the same people who said these meltdowns could never happen. Over years, not days, there may be a thousand people, two thousand, ten thousand who will suffer from cancers induced by this radiation.
In my New York investigation, I had the unhappy job of totaling up post-meltdown "morbidity" rates for the county government. It would be irresponsible for me to estimate the number of cancer deaths that will occur from these releases without further information; but it is just plain criminal for the Tokyo Electric shoguns to say that these releases are not dangerous. Indeed, the fact that residents near the Japanese nuclear plants were not issued iodine pills to keep at the ready shows TEPCO doesn't care who lives and who dies whether in Japan or the USA. The carcinogenic isotopes that are released at Fukushima are already floating to Seattle with effects we simply cannot measure.
Heaven help us. Because Obama won't.
Greg Palast is the co-author of Democracy and Regulation, the United Nations ILO guide for public service regulators, with Jerrold Oppenheim and Theo MacGregor. Palast has advised regulators in 26 states and in 12 nations on the regulation of the utility industry.
Palast, whose reports can be seen on BBC Television Newsnight, is a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow for investigative reporting.
Urgent breaking: Radiation Is Leaking At Ibaraki --Radiation leaking due to core problem at Fukushima Unit 2 Nuclear Reactor 15 Mar 2011 [This story will be updated.]
Breaking: Explosion at Fukushima Unit 2 Nuclear Reactor: Government --'Most ominous news' --75 Kilometers have been evacuated. Evacuation zones to be expanded. (Fox News) Japanese government confirms the explosion. Sirens heard in Tokyo, an early warning sign of tremors, not related to the nuclear issue. [This story will be updated.]
Japan Reports: Explosion At Third Reactor --Govt trying to prevent meltdowns in three nuclear reactors14 Mar 2011 A fresh explosion was heard on Tuesday at a quake-stricken Japanese nuclear power plant, the country's nuclear safety agency said. Authorities at the Fukushima Daiichi complex, damaged in Friday's 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami, are trying to prevent meltdowns in three of the plant's nuclear reactors. Two previous explosions ripped through unit 1 and 3 reactor buildings, but these had not damaged the nuclear vessels, authorities have said. There was no immediate word on any damage from this third blast, which is now believed to have occurred in the remaining reactor, unit 2.
Plutonium threat at Japan reactor, expert warns --The Fukushima facility began using MOX fuel last September, becoming the third plant in Japan to do so. 14 Mar 2011 The fuel used in the Japanese nuclear reactor where an explosion occurred today is more volatile and toxic than the fuel used in the other reactors there, a Japanese nuclear expert warned. At a press conference in Tokyo, Masashi Goto, who worked for Toshiba as a reactor researcher and designer, said the mixed oxide (MOX) fuel used in unit 3 of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant contains plutonium, which is much more toxic than the fuel used in the other reactors. MOX fuel is a mixture of uranium and plutonium reprocessed from spent uranium, and is sometimes involved in the disposal of weapons-grade plutonium.
TSA to retest airport body scanners for radiation 12 Mar 2011 The Transportation Security Administration announced Friday that it would retest every full-body X-ray scanner that emits ionizing radiation -- 247 machines at 38 airports -- after maintenance records on some of the devices showed radiation levels 10 times higher than expected... The TSA released inspection reports from 40 backscatter machines, and reports for 19 of those machines had errors, including six that were deemed "considerable."
Bank of America Unit Tried to Hide Foreclosure Information, Hackers Say 14 Mar 2011 A hacker organization known as Anonymous released a series of e-mails on Monday provided by a former Bank of America employee who claims they show how a division of the bank sought to hide information on foreclosures. The bank unit, Balboa Insurance, was acquired by Bank of America when it bought the mortgage lender Countrywide Financial in 2008. Balboa deals in so-called force-placed insurance coverage on mortgages.
The Rally against the Re-Segregation of our Universities is on WEDNESDAY, March 16 from 2-4pm at the Capitol.
Tuesday, March 15 at 8:30pm, there will be a Funeral for HOPE at the Capitol.
Join Ms. Roberta Weighill of the Chumash Nation as she sits down with Mr. Thunderwolf, Deleware Nation, and founder of BICONA (Black Indian Confederacy Of North America). BICONA mission is to wake up the Black community to the problems that plague Indian country.
Thunderwolf discusses his childhood during the height of the civil rights movement and the discovery of his Indian blood. He also discusses the similarities of Black and Indian oppression throughout history, the need for the Black community to be more supportive for their Native family, and the obligation to lend a hand.
For more information on BICONA
BICONA stands for
Black Indian Confederacy Of North America
for more information on AIM SB
Over the last several days, we've received many calls and emails from UCS members and supporters asking about the current crisis involving several of Japan's nuclear power reactors. Like most of you, we are deeply saddened by the terrible tragedy of last week's earthquake and tsunami, and our hearts go out to the many victims.
For more than 40 years, UCS has served as a nuclear safety watchdog and a reliable, independent source of information on nuclear power technology and its risks. UCS technical experts are working hard to provide timely, updated analysis of what is happening at the stricken facilities and what the implications may be.
You can find regular updates on our blog "All Things Nuclear" and learn about why events have unfolded in the way they have, where the situation may be headed, and what it may mean for the people around the facilities and the environment.
We are also being called on frequently by a wide range of media outlets to provide independent, unbiased information and analysis about the rapidly changing situation on the ground.
For more information, see our Nuclear Accident ABCs factsheet, which provides background information on nuclear accidents and explains some of the terms frequently being used in media reports about the crisis.
As events unfold in Japan, we will be regularly updating the UCS website with our most current assessment of conditions at the affected facilities.
"When crazy people call you crazy,