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Threat Assessment: October 12-16

threat assessment fukushima radioactive rice

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WITH US

Fukushima rice crop declared safe to eat


This year's rice crop in Japan's Fukushima Prefecture has been cleared for human consumption after extensive testing. The crop was grown outside the 20-kilometer "no-go zone" around the radiation-leaking nuclear plant stricken by April's massive earthquake and tsunami. Fukushima governor Yuhei Sato will personally encourage residents to consume the rice, saying that he "will take the initiative in marketing by stressing [its] safety and good taste." [Japan Times]

threat assessment occupy wall street goldman sachs

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AGAINST US

Goldman employees told to skip OWS protests


Goldman Sach's Manhattan headquarters is just 1,000 yards from Zuccotti Park, the site of the Occupy Wall Street protests. According to CNBC correspondent John Carney, who was dispatched to lower Manhattan to cover the movement, Goldman employees have been told to stay away from Zuccotti Park;  one confided that being spotted there could "endanger your career." [CNBC]

threat assessment occupy wall street

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WITH US

Occupy Wall Street polling higher than Tea Party


Over half of Americans view the Occupy Wall Street movement favorably, according to a new Time poll, while only 27 percent feel the same way about the Tea Party. The survey also found that 40 percent of Americans believe the Tea Party has had a negative impact on national politics. [Washington Post]

threat assessment americans hungry

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AGAINST US

More Americans than Chinese going hungry


Nearly 20 percent of Americans say they've struggled to put food on their tables in the last year, compared to nine percent just three years ago, according to Gallup. Compare that to China, where six percent of people have gone hungry in the past year, compared to 16 percent in 2008. [Huffington Post]

threat assessment commute

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AGAINST US

Americans' commutes getting longer, starting earlier


More Americans are facing nightmare commutes, with the percentage of people leaving for work before 6:00 AM having risen from 8.9 percent to 12.6 in the last two decades, according to Census figures. Among the reasons: The relative scarcity of good jobs has forced Americans to look further from home for work, putting more cars on the road. [BBC]

threat assessment carbon tax

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WITH US

Australian carbon tax clears important hurdle


The lower house of Australia's parliament has narrowly passed a bill that would levy a $23 tax on corporations for each ton of carbon dioxide they emit. The controversial measure is key to the government's strategy to combat climate change, but opponents — when they're not flat-out denying the reality of global warming — say it will end up costing jobs.  Australia is the world's largest coal exporter and among the biggest greenhouse gas emitters. If the legislation passes the country's other house of parliament next month, as expected, it will go into effect in July 2012. [BBC]

threat assessment tuberculosis

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WITH US

GLOBAL TB CASES DOWN FOR FIRST TIME


Worldwide TB cases have dropped to their lowest level in decade, the World Health Organization reports. The number of people who contracted TB in 2010 dropped to 8.8 million, down from a high of 9 million in 2005. One of the most dramatic success stories comes out of China, where a mix of domestic investment and international collaboration have cut TB illnesses and deaths by 80 percent from 1990. [NPR ]

threat assessment starbucks

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WITH US

CEOS SUSPEND POLITICAL GIVING


Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz says 150 business leaders have signed on to his plan to suspend campaign spending until Washington gets its act together. "I don't believe that writing a check … is what we should be doing," Schultz said on CNN. "Instead, I want to send this powerful signal to Washington that I and other like-minded CEOs … are dissatisfied with the status quo. And we are begging you to understand that we need solutions to significant problems." [USA Today]

threat assessment greece

ANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/Getty Images

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AGAINST US

AUSTERITY MAKING GREEKS SICK


Greece's debt crisis isn't just taking a toll on Greek citizens' financial health — it's making them physically ill. According to the British medical journal The Lancet, all kinds of health problems are on the rise in that country, from new HIV infections (related to increased drug use and expected to rise by 52 percent in 2011), to suicides (up 25 percent in 2010). It doesn't help that the government has cut spending on hospitals (even as admissions rise), welfare programs, and even garbage collection. [The Week]

threat assessment torture afghan detainees

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AGAINST US

UN REPORT: AFGHAN DETAINEES TORTURED


UN investigators interviewed 273 detainees held at Afghan-government facilities in recent years and found that 125 were tortured during interrogations. "Torture is practiced systematically in a number of … detention facilities throughout Afghanistan," their report concludes. Detainees "described experiencing torture in the form of suspension (being hung by the wrists from chains or other devices attached to the wall, ceiling, iron bars or other fixtures for lengthy periods) and beatings, especially with rubber hoses, electric cables or wires or wooden sticks and most frequently on the soles of the feet." [NPR ]

threat assessment dr pepper

Courtesy Facebook Screenshot

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AGAINST US

NEW DR PEPPER DRINK 'NOT FOR WOMEN'


Dr Pepper Snapple Group rolled out an ad campaign Monday for Dr Pepper Ten, a new 10-calorie soft drink that glories in the tag line: "It's not for women." You see, the company's research found that men tend to shun diet drinks as not being "manly" enough; and so Dr Pepper Ten is manly … to the point of absurdity (not to mention offensiveness). For instance, a Facebook page for the drink, which comes in a gunmetal grey can featuring silver bullets, has an app that allows it to exclude women from viewing content, which, as AP reports, includes a shooting gallery game "where you shoot things like high heels and lipstick." [AP ]

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