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Japan's Abe orders surviving Fukushima reactors scrapped, pledges safe Olympics | Reuters.com

Japan's Abe orders surviving Fukushima reactors scrapped, pledges safe Olympics | Reuters.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered the scrapping of two Fukushima nuclear reactors that survived the 2011 tsunami, a write-off that threatens to complicate a turnaround plan the operator has presented to creditors.


He also said he stood by his commitments to the International Olympic Committee of insuring a safe 2020 Summer Games.


"I will work hard to counter rumours questioning the safety of the Fukushima plant," he said.


Abe, speaking to reporters after a tour of the plant on Thursday, said he told Tokyo Electric Power Co to set a time frame for dealing with leaking contaminated water.


"In order for them to concentrate on this, I have directed them to decommission the No. 5 and No. 6 reactors that are now halted," Abe said.


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Android vulnerability allows malware to compromise most devices and apps | Lucian Constantin | NetworkWorld.com

Android vulnerability allows malware to compromise most devices and apps | Lucian Constantin | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The majority of Android devices currently in use contain a vulnerability that allows malware to completely hijack installed apps and their data or even the entire device.


The core problem is that Android fails to validate public key infrastructure certificate chains for app digital signatures, said Jeff Forristal, chief technology officer of Bluebox Security, a San Francisco company whose researchers discovered the issue.


According to Google’s documentation, Android applications must be signed in order to be installed on the OS, but the digital certificate used to sign them does not need to be issued by a digital certificate authority. “It is perfectly allowable, and typical, for Android applications to use self-signed certificates,” the documentation says.


However, Android contains hard-coded certificates from several developers so it can give apps created by those developers special access and privileges inside the OS, Forristal said.


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India: Incumbents to pressure DoT to auction extra 1800MHz spectrum | TeleGeography.com

India’s cellcos are pushing for the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to make more 1800MHz spectrum available at the next auction, the Economic Times writes.


Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Reliance Communications (RCOM) are pressuring the regulator to ensure that there are sufficient 1800MHz spectrum resources for operators that fail to win back their 900MHz licences as they expire over the next two to three years.


The cellcos expect the DoT to strip unused spectrum from a number of government agencies to make up the shortfall. 26MHz of 1800MHz will be up for renewal, whilst a further 78MHz left unsold from the previous tender will also be up for grabs. However, 184MHz of 900MHz spectrum will expire in 2015-2016, with Airtel needing to repurchase 13 concessions in non-metro circles, Vodafone and Idea nine apiece and RCOM seven.


The paper quotes an unnamed official from one of the companies as saying: ‘There’s clearly insufficient spectrum for operators whose licences are due for extension to continue their current level of service, which is why we will urge the DoT to auction the bulk of the 1800MHz spectrum inventory with multiple government agencies, including the armed forces.’


The same official noted that the 1800MHz band cannot sustain mobile broadband services in many areas – including Delhi, Mumbai, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Punjab – as the spectrum is non-contiguous. With the exception of Kolkata, Orissa, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu, the 1800MHz is ‘fragments and can at best be used for 2G services.’


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Georgia Tech launches early warning system for cyberthreats | Antone Gonsalves | NetworkWorld.com

Georgia Tech launches early warning system for cyberthreats | Antone Gonsalves | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Georgia Institute of Technology's applied research arm has launched an early warning system to help organizations prepare for possible cyberattacks.


The Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) developed the open source system called BlackForest, which will complement the institute's malware and spear-phishing intelligence systems.


GTRI describes BlackForest as being on the "cutting edge" of anticipating when cybercriminals may be planning a distributed denial-of-service attack or the latest malware variations under development.


To gain insight on attackers, the system collects information from hacker forums and other sites where malware developers post new code to advertise its availability and ask questions or seek feedback from other code writers.


Other discussions BlackForest can tap into include planning of distributed denial-of-service attacks, advice given on network break-ins and the posting of stolen digital assets, such as payment card data and login credentials.


By collecting the information and relating it to past activities, the system can help organizations understand the nature of the threat and whether it's building toward a possible attack.


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About those alleged backdoors in Microsoft products... | Ms. Smith | NetworkWorld.com

About those alleged backdoors in Microsoft products... | Ms. Smith | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Four of Microsoft's offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu, China, were raided as part of an official government investigation. Microsoft China spokeswoman Joan Li confirmed that Investigators of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce were investigating the company and that Microsoft would “actively cooperate”’ with the Chinese government. The South China Morning Post reported that the investigation may involve antitrust matters.


In May, China cited computer security concerns and banned Windows 8 from being installed on government PCs. After China claimed Microsoft had backdoors in the OS to allow for U.S. government spying, Microsoft issued the following five statements:


  1. Microsoft has never assisted any government in an attack of another government or clients.
  2. Microsoft has never provided any government the authority to directly visit our products or services.
  3. Microsoft has never provided any so-called "Backdoor" into its products or services.
  4. Microsoft has never provided the data or info of our clients to the U.S. Govt. or National Security Agency.
  5. Microsoft has never concealed any requests from any government for information about its clients.


Regarding the raid on Microsoft offices, a Microsoft spokeswoman told NDTV, "We aim to build products that deliver the features, security and reliability customers expect and we're happy to answer the government's questions."


Last week, attorneys for the NSA, CIA and DNI joined Microsoft’s Scott Charney, Corporate Vice President for Trustworthy Computing, in “Striking the Right Balance between Security and Liberty,” a panel discussion at the Aspen Institute moderated by the Washington Post’s Greg Miller.


When asked if the government compelled Microsoft to add a backdoor to Skype, Charney replied that the government had “never done that” and that Microsoft “would fight it tooth and nail in the courts.”


The government can use FISA to compel companies “to provide technical assistance,” but if the government said “put in a backdoor,” then Microsoft “would fight it all the way to the Supreme Court.” Charney added, “If the government did that, and I really don’t think they would, it would be at the complete expense of American competitiveness. Because if we put in a backdoor for the U.S. government, we couldn’t sell anywhere in the world, not even in America.”


Yet in September 2013, The New York Times reported the NSA worked with Microsoft “officials to get pre-encryption access to Microsoft’s most popular services, including Outlook e-mail, Skype Internet phone calls and chats, and SkyDrive, the company’s cloud storage service. Microsoft asserted that it had merely complied with ‘lawful demands’ of the government, and in some cases, the collaboration was clearly coerced.”


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Fracking push gets go-ahead across UK as ministers tighten safeguards | TheGuardian.com

Fracking push gets go-ahead across UK as ministers tighten safeguards | TheGuardian.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Ministers will give the go-ahead on Monday for a big expansion of fracking across Britain that will allow drilling in national parks and other protected areas in "exceptional circumstances".


The government will invite firms to bid for onshore oil and gas licences for the first time in six years, with about half of the country advertised for exploration. Ministers are also clarifying the rules on when drilling can take place in national parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONBs) and world heritage sites, following calls by environmental campaigners for an outright ban on drilling in them.


In a tightening of the guidance, the government will ask energy firms to submit an environmental statement that is "particularly comprehensive and detailed" if they want to frack on or near protected countryside, forcing them to demonstrate their understanding of local sensitivities. It will make clear that the applications "should be refused in these areas other than in exceptional circumstances and in the public interest".


In addition, Eric Pickles, the communities secretary, is likely to make a final decision on more appeals related to protected areas over the next 12 months, instead of leaving it to the planning watchdog.


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Google sets up Community Site For Translate Service | TheNextWeb.com

Google sets up Community Site For Translate Service | TheNextWeb.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Google today launched a new community site to help improve Google Translate, its free online language translation service.


Aimed at language connoisseurs and professional translators, it can be used to rate and compare existing translations, as well as create new ones and match words to their correct counterparts. Over time, Google said it will give contributors more ways to pitch in and offer better “visibility” regarding how the submissions are being used to improve its translation tools.


“We will also localize Community pages to support your preferred display language,” Google added in a blog post.


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Cambodia: Telecoms operators concerned over new draft law that separates conduit from content | TeleGeography.com

Cambodia’s telecoms operators have allegedly voiced opposition to a draft law from the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications Cambodia (MPTC) which states that no company can operate infrastructure assets and also provide retail services.


According to a report by the Phnom Penh Post, if the draft legislation is approved, telecoms operators that choose to retain their retail operations will be forced to sell off their network assets and rely on government-controlled infrastructure providers.


The draft law also reportedly states that all telecom licences will be reassessed on new criteria, and some companies could be forced to hand back their existing permits.


In addition, the Post cites a section of the draft law as saying that ‘to ensure the effective security, national stability and public order, the minister of the MPTC has the right to order operators to transfer their systems, which control their telecom operations, to the Ministry.’


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France: Arcep launches public consultation on use of open spectrum | TeleGeography.com

French telecoms watchdog, the Autorite de Regulation des Communications Electroniques et des Postes (Arcep), has opened a public consultation on the use of ‘free frequencies’ (not requiring prior authorisation) by short-range devices (SRDs), including Wi-Fi and radio frequency identification (RFID) systems.


The regulator has noted that the move was prompted by a report by Joelle Toledano, titled ‘Dynamic Spectrum Management to Bolster Innovation and Growth’, which was submitted to the French government on 1 July 2014.


As such, Arcep has outlined new spectrum available for use by SRDs in the 2.6GHz-2.7GHz and 5.7GHz-5.8GHz frequency bands; the regulator seeks to assess the future requirements of these frequencies, with a particular focus on Wi-Fi, and machine-to-machine (M2M)/Internet of Things (IoT) developments.


All interested parties are invited to submit their comments by 15 October 2014.

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Exposing Monsanto: Herbicide Linked to Birth Defects - the Vitamin A Connection | Truth-Out.org

Exposing Monsanto: Herbicide Linked to Birth Defects - the Vitamin A Connection | Truth-Out.org | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Monsanto's herbicide Roundup, with glyphosate as the primary ingredient, has recently been linked to a fatal kidney disease epidemic ravaging parts of Central America, India and Sri Lanka. A leading theory hypothesizes that complexes of glyphosate and heavy metals poison the kidney tubules. El Salvador and Sri Lanka have adopted the precautionary principle and taken action to ban the herbicide. In the United States, glyphosate is coming up for review by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in late 2014. Monsanto claims a low risk to human health, but the research is showing something very different. Will these health concerns be enough for the EPA to put restrictions on the herbicide - or to ban it altogether?


Thus far, Monsanto has been successful in portraying Roundup as a safe and effective herbicide. The Monsanto website claims:


"Glyphosate binds tightly to most types of soil so it is not available for uptake by roots of nearby plants. It works by disrupting a plant enzyme involved in the production of amino acids that are essential to plant growth. The enzyme, EPSP synthase, is not present in humans or animals, contributing to the low risk to human health from the use of glyphosate according to label directions."


Contrary to the company's claims of safety, a virtual avalanche of scientific studies on animals, including some funded by Monsanto itself, show alarming incidences of fetal deaths and birth defects. The record also shows that Monsanto has known since the 1980s that glyphosate in high doses causes malformations in experimental animals. Since 1993, the company has been aware that even middle and low doses can cause these malformations. These malformations include absent kidneys and lungs, enlarged hearts, extra ribs, and missing and abnormally formed bones of the limbs, ribs, sternum, spine and skull.


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Two new mysterious giant holes found in Siberia, scientists puzzled | Gizmodo.com

Two new mysterious giant holes found in Siberia, scientists puzzled | Gizmodo.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Scientists have found two new mysterious giant holes in Siberia, like the one that appeared in Siberia two weeks ago.


The new craters are smaller than the first but they share a similar structure.


Scientists are still puzzled by the origin of these formations.


Here are all the details:


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DailyDirt: There's No Such Thing As Free Water | Techdirt.com

DailyDirt: There's No Such Thing As Free Water | Techdirt.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Americans drink billions of gallons of bottled water each year. Despite a significant fraction of bottled water being simply re-packaged tap water, consumers still buy water is relatively expensive bottles when potable water in generally available for free (or at subsidized prices).


Studies have shown that, in blind taste tests, people can't really tell the difference between tap and bottled water. (Wine drinkers have also failed similar kinds of taste tests over inexpensive versus expensive wines.)


So here are just a few links on the curious phenomenon of drinking bottled water when equally healthy tap water is widely available.


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Vivood retreat can be assembled within a day | GizMag.com

Vivood retreat can be assembled within a day | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Spanish architectural collective Vivood recently produced an eponymous shelter that could serve as glamping retreat, guesthouse, or basic tiny house. The prefabricated structure is delivered in "easy-to-fit" modular sections that have the electrics and plumbing already installed, and it can be assembled within a day by a small group of people.


Vivood is sparsely finished compared to many other similar models, like the ÁPH80, for example. It also appears better suited to an undemanding climate, but with the company offering its smallest unit from €6,800 (around US$9,160), can be considered a relatively inexpensive option.


The shelter is constructed from sustainably-sourced wood, and several sizes are on offer, ranging from 14.35 sq m (154.5 sq ft) to 33.1 sq m (356 sq ft). The small interior layout features one living space, with room for a bed, couch, and books, but little else.


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B-And-Bee shelter looks to comfort festival goers | GizMag.com

B-And-Bee shelter looks to comfort festival goers | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Each year, millions of people head to their festival of choice with tent and sleeping bag in hand. Belgian company Achilles Design aims to bring those festival goers a little extra comfort – and save space too – with its honeycomb-shaped B-And-Bee shelter.


Bearing some resemblance to the Japanese Capsule Hotels we covered back in 2011, the B-And-Bee features a modular, stackable design that takes up a relatively small physical footprint when compared to a large number of tents. The company also states that it's easily transported and assembled.


Access is gained via metal steps and a roll-up canvas sheet serves as a zip-up door. There's a king-size bed inside that converts to seating, and the snug interior also sports luggage storage, a locker, light, and a power supply.


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Australian environmental watchdog approves Cameco uranium mine | Mining.com

Australian environmental watchdog approves Cameco uranium mine | Mining.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Western Australia's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said Monday it has completed its assessment of Cameco-Mitsubishi’s proposed Kintyre uranium mine and recommended state approval for the project, under certain conditions.


According to the regulator, Kintyre —located in the east Pilbara, near Karlamilyi National Park— can go ahead as far as Cameco monitors close by fauna including bilbies, mulgaras and rock wallabies, and assess any potential "radiological impacts to plants and animals.”


The project has an expected mine life of about 13.5 years and includes the construction of mineral processing facilities, offices, accommodation and the discharge of waste.


It also includes the upgrade and construction of 90km of access road for the transportation of uranium oxide concentrate to the WA-South Australian border on route to the Port of Adelaide.


In announcing today’s decision EPA’s chairman Paul Vogel said the Radiological Council and the Department of Mines and Petroleum were responsible for ensuring radiation risks were managed during the mining, handling, packaging, storage and transportation of uranium oxide concentrate.


The report to the Environment Minister is now open for a public appeal period, closing on August 11.


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Taiwanese operators have signed up a total of 300,000 4G users since launch | TeleGeography.com

Some 300,000 subscribers in Taiwan have signed up for a 4G tariff since such services were first introduced in late-May 2014, the China Post reports.


With Chunghwa Telecom (CHT), Far EasTone (FET) and Taiwan Mobile now having all inaugurated LTE networks, it is understood that each operator has pulled in around 100,000 4G customers apiece.


For its part, the wireless sector’s leading cellco by total subscribers, CHT, was said to have confirmed last week that its 4G customer base had surpassed 100,000. Looking ahead the operator is aiming to have increased that figure to 600,000 by the end of this year, and is aiming for a 40% market share.


FET meanwhile has also seen its LTE subscriber base surpass 100,000, with uptake said to have picked up this month as its network footprint became more widely available; the cellco aims to have upped its customer numbers to 500,000 by end-2014.


Rounding out those operators to have launched thus far, Taiwan Mobile, which also aims to amass around half a million 4G subscribers by the end of the year, has attracted around 100,000 to its LTE-based offerings since launching in early-June 2014.

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Privacy groups call for action to stop Facebook's off site user tracking plans | Loek Essers | NetworkWorld.com

Privacy groups call for action to stop Facebook's off site user tracking plans | Loek Essers | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

U.S. and EU privacy and consumer groups called on privacy regulators to stop Facebook’s plans to gather the Internet browsing patterns of its users while they visit other sites.


The groups, gathered in the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD) asked the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Irish Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) to stop Facebook collecting the web browsing activities of Internet users in order to target advertising. They made the request in a letter sent to the authorities on Tuesday. Facebook’s European headquarters is in Ireland, giving the Irish data protection commissioner responsibility for defending its European users’ personal data and privacy rights under EU law.


The privacy groups expressed “deep alarm” about Facebook’s June announcement that it would start tracking information from some of the websites and apps its users are visiting in order to serve more relevant ads.


At the time, Facebook said: “When we ask people about our ads, one of the top things they tell us is that they want to see ads that are more relevant to their interests,” the company said at the time, adding that in the U.S. it would “soon” start tracking users’ off-site surfing behavior. Anyone who doesn’t want to be tracked can opt out via the Digital Advertising Alliance website.


But on Tuesday the groups said: “Facebook already installs cookies and pixel tags on users’ computers to track browsing activity on Facebook.com and Facebook apps. If Facebook is permitted to expand its data collection practices, those cookies and pixel tags will also track users’ browsing activity on any website that includes a few lines of Facebook code.”


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Australia approves $15.5bn coal mine | BBC News

Australia approves $15.5bn coal mine | BBC News | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The Carmichael project in Queensland would include one of the world's biggest coal mines and a new railway.


It would be overseen by the Indian mining company Adani, which has already won approval to build a new coal port terminal at Abbott Point in Queensland.


But critics have voiced concern over local water use and possible indirect impact on the Great Barrier Reef.


The decision to approve the Carmichael project, which will dig up and transport about 60m tonnes of coal a year for export, mostly to India, was announced on Monday.


Adani is yet to make a final commitment to the project, which would be biggest coal mine ever proposed for Australia.


Situated in the Galilee Basin in the central Queensland region, the Carmichael project would include open cut and underground mines.


Coal would be taken from the new mines by rail to Abbott Point coal port north of Bowen.


There are concerns that the mine, which will require some 12 billion litres of water every year, would drain groundwater supplies in the Galilee Basin.


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Real-life Atlantis? The world's megacities that are sinking 10 times faster than water levels are rising | Independent.co.uk

Real-life Atlantis? The world's megacities that are sinking 10 times faster than water levels are rising | Independent.co.uk | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Scientists have issued a new warning to the world’s coastal megacities that the threat from subsiding land is a more immediate problem than rising sea levels caused by global warming.


A new paper from the Deltares Research Institute in the Netherlands published earlier this month identified regions of the globe where the ground level is falling 10 times faster than water levels are rising - with human activity often to blame.


In Jakarta, Indonesia’s largest city, the population has grown from around half a million in the 1930s to just under 10 million today, with heavily populated areas dropping by as much as six and a half feet as groundwater is pumped up from the Earth to drink.


The same practice led to Tokyo’s ground level falling by two metres before new restrictions were introduced, and in Venice, this sort of extraction has only compounded the effects of natural subsidence caused by long-term geological processes.


"Land subsidence and sea level rise are both happening, and they are both contributing to the same problem - larger and longer floods, and bigger inundation depth of floods," Dr Gilles Erkens, who led the research from Deltares, told the BBC


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Germany Says It Won't Agree To CETA With Current Corporate Sovereignty Chapter | Techdirt.com

Germany Says It Won't Agree To CETA With Current Corporate Sovereignty Chapter | Techdirt.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

This is potentially huge: according to the leading German newspaper S&uumlddeutsche Zeitung, Germany will not accept CETA, the Canadian-EU trade agreement, if it contains a corporate sovereignty chapter in its present form (original in German, pointed out to us by @TeraEuro):


German EU diplomats confirmed in Brussels on Friday that the [German] federal government could not sign the agreement with Canada "as it is now negotiated." Although Germany was, in principle, ready to initial the agreement in September, the chapter on the legal protection of investors is however 'problematic' and currently not acceptable.


This confirms rumors that CETA is finally completed, and that the plan is for the EU member states to "initial" it -- accept it in principle -- in September. However, if Germany really does refuse to sign up with investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) included in its current form, the pressure will be on the European Commission to take it out -- because of the nature of CETA, all 28 EU member states must approve it before it is fully ratified. However, here's what the Commission told S&uumlddeutsche Zeitung regarding that idea:


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Algeria: Algerie Telecom to deploy 20,000km of fibre by end-2015 | TeleGeography.com

Mehmel Azouaou, CEO of Algerian fixed line incumbent Algerie Telecom (AT), has announced that the company is planning to deploy an additional 20,000km worth of fibre-optic cables by the end of 2015, Agence Ecofin reports.


The executive also revealed that the company has already deployed around 57,000km of fibre; further, Algerie Telecom has received funding from the government in order to proceed with its goals of improving its quality of service (QoS) and reducing costs.


As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, the operator recently revealed that it faced major challenges in deploying fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) cabling, due to ‘a lack of qualified civil engineering companies’.


As a result, AT’s previous aim to connect towns with more than 1,000 inhabitants with fibre broadband was not met; a total of 20,000km of fibre cabling was earmarked for deployment in 2013/2014, but only 20% of it had been rolled out by mid-May.

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Spain: Jazztel issues update on FTTH network deployment | TeleGeography.com

Alternative Spanish broadband provider Jazz Telecom (Jazztel) has announced that it expects to have passed a total of 2.2 million households with its fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network by the end of this month.


With the company noting that its rollout programme remains in line with its previously stated aim of reaching three million premises by the end of 2014, it has now said that it is working on an additional deployment plan which would see coverage boosted to a total of seven million premises.


Further information regarding such plans, it noted, is expected to be provided ‘before the end of the year’.

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Ireland announces review of radio frequency spectrum policy | TeleGeography.com

Ireland’s Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources has published a spectrum policy consultation paper, marking the first step in a comprehensive review of the country’s radio frequency spectrum policy and a further step in meeting the commitments made in the National Broadband Plan.


The Department is responsible for the development of effective policies for the regulation and optimum use of Ireland’s national radio frequency spectrum, underpinned by an appropriate legislative framework.


According to the Department, the current Spectrum Policy Statement was published in September 2010 and needs to be revisited ‘in light of the rapid technological changes and the increased demands on this limited and valuable resource’.


The purpose of the consultation is to assist the Department in its consideration of spectrum policy issues and the development of updated legislation in this area; the implementation of those national policies then rests with the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg).


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Oil drilling in North Dakota raises concerns about radioactive waste | LATimes.com

Oil drilling in North Dakota raises concerns about radioactive waste | LATimes.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Every weekday, about a dozen large garbage trucks peel away from the oil boom that has spread through western North Dakota to bump along a gravel road to the McKenzie County landfill.


The trucks drive up to a scale flanked by something seldom found in rural dumps — two 8-foot-tall yellow panels that essentially form a giant Geiger counter.


Two or three times a day, the radiation detector blares like a squad car, because under tons of refuse someone has stashed yard-long filters clotted with radioactive dirt from drilling sites.


The "socks" are supposed to be shipped to out-of-state processing plants. But some oil field operators, hoping to save tens of thousands of dollars, dump the socks in fields, abandoned buildings and landfills.


"It's a game of cat-and-mouse now," said Rick Schreiber, the landfill's director. "They put the sock in a bag inside a bag inside a bag."


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Boom-or-doom riddle for nuclear industry | Climate News Network

Boom-or-doom riddle for nuclear industry | Climate News Network | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The headline figures for 2014 from the nuclear industry describe a worldwide boom in progress, with 73 reactors presently being built and another 481 new ones either planned or approved.


The World Nuclear Association (WNA) official website paints a rosy picture of an industry expected to expand dramatically by 2030. It says that over the period 1996 to 2013 the world retired 66 reactors, and 71 started operation. Between now and 2030, the industry expects another 74 reactors to close, but 272 new ones to come on line.


This represents a much larger net increase in nuclear electricity production than the basic figures suggest because most of the newer power stations have a bigger capacity than those closing down.


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Tallest chimney at Sellafield to be demolished using self-climbing platform | GizMag.com

Tallest chimney at Sellafield to be demolished using self-climbing platform | GizMag.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Sellafield is Europe's largest nuclear site and although operations including spent fuel management and nuclear waste storage continue on-site, power generation ceased in 2003. As part of the decommissioning process, the site's tallest chimney will now be demolished.


"This is part of a whole program of decommissioning work that is being carried out at Sellafield to clean-up historic nuclear facilities, many of which were built in the 1940s and 1950s in support of the defense industry," explains Ali McKibbin of Sellafield Ltd, the company responsible for delivering the decommissioning, to Gizmag.


The chimney is 61 m (200 ft) tall and sits on top of an 11-story reprocessing plant. The entire structure reaches 122 m (400 ft) above the ground. Its location, atop the reprocessing plant and surround by other nuclear facilities which are still in operation, means that the demolition of the chimney be undertaken without explosives.


"The job of bringing down the stack is going to be a delicate operation to ensure 100 percent safety of all personnel and surrounding nuclear plants," explains project manager Matthew Hodgson. "Because we can’t use explosives, we will use an ingenious self-climbing platform which will [allow us to] bring the chimney down bit by bit in a controlled manner."


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