Top news: Radioactive water from Fukushima dumped into the Pacific; US denies giving BP permission to drill in Gulf of Mexico; protests outside UN climate talks; lost Japanese dog is reunited with owner.


© Roengchai Kongmuang / Greenpeace. Activists from Greenpeace, Oxfam and WWF protest outside UN climate talks in Bangkok.

#Nuclear: TEPCO has dumped more than 11,500 tonnes of radioactive water from the crisis-struck Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean - to free up space for storing water with even higher levels of radiation. The released water contained radioactive substances up to 500 times the legal limit. “We didn’t have any other alternatives,” said Yukio Edano, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary. “This is a measure we had to take to secure safety.” The total amount dumped in the ocean may reach 60,900 tonnes, the amount believed to be flooding the basement of the plant. Greenpeace is concerned about the impact on marine ecosystems caused by this radiation, and on fishing and seafood.

The deployment of an expanded Greenpeace radiation monitoring team in Japan, who will be investigating the contamination of food and milk products, was widely reported on in national media outlets from France to Oman to Columbia.

#Oil: Yesterday we reported on news from The Guardian that BP was to restart deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, after their plan to reopen 10 wells met with US regulators’ approval. But today the US government denied the claim. “There is absolutely no such agreement nor would there be such an agreement,” said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

Salazar also condemned Transocean – the company who owns the Deepwater Horizon rig, which exploded spilling billions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico last year – for awarding bonuses to its chief executives for an “exemplary” safety record in 2010. “In my own view, 2010 was probably the greatest year of pain in terms of oil and gas development in the deep water all across the world,” he said.

#Climate: If you saw climate activists wearing warm winter jackets, beach wear and waterproof clothing outside the UN Convention Centre in Bangkok, Thailand, yesterday, you might have thought they were suffering from flu or fever. But this odd combination of clothing symbolized the extreme weather events that are occurring throughout south east Asia – such as the recent floods and landslides in southern Thaliand and parts of central and southern Philippines. The coalition of protestors from Greenpeace, Oxfam and WWF called upon the Association of Southeast Asian Nations [ASEAN] to show leadership and unity in the latest round of UN climate negotiations.

#Animal: A dog was spotted drifting on the roof of a house in the Pacific ocean by a Japanese helicopter search and rescue team, who winched the terrified animal to safety. By chance, the dog’s owner saw the rescue mission on TV, and the two were eventually reunited at the animal refuge where the dog was being cared for. Watch the video of their reunion here. Awh.

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