Daily Archives: December 10, 2011

Draft U.N. climate accord emerges, debate turns ugly

Kyoto Protocol participation map 2005 Iraq

By Jon Herskovitz and Nina Chestney

DURBAN | Sat Dec 10, 2011 6:11pm EST

(Reuters) – The chairwoman of U.N. climate talks urged delegates to approve a compromise deal on fighting global warming in the interests of the planet, but an accord remained elusive on Sunday and rich and poor states traded barbs over the limited scope of the package.

South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said the four separate texts represented a good outcome after two weeks of sometimes angry debates in the port city of Durban.

“I think we all realize they are not perfect. But we should not let the perfect become the enemy of the good and the possible,” she told the conference.

Much of the discussion has focused on an EU plan designed to push major polluters — from developed and fast-growing emerging economies like China and India — to accept legally binding cuts in their greenhouse gas emissions.

EU negotiators had accepted “legal instrument” in one draft as a phrase implying a more binding commitment. But the latest version spoke of a “protocol, another legal instrument or a legal outcome,” the sort of weak phrasing that almost collapsed the talks on Friday.

Asked if the latest language was acceptable, Karl Hood, who represents an alliance of 43 small island states, said: “No it’s not. Never was and never will be. It’s too broad a statement.”

His alliance colleague MJ Mace, added: “You need a legally binding instrument. You have legal outcomes all the time. A decision is an outcome. You need something treaty like.”

“BLACKMAIL”

The discussions took an increasingly bitter turn as they headed into Sunday, a second extra day that made the negotiations the longest in two decades of U.N. climate talks.

Venezuela’s climate envoy Claudia Salerno said she had received threats because of her objections to the draft texts.

“In the corridor, I have received two threats. One, that if Venezuela do not adopt the text, they will not give us the second commitment period,” she said, referring to an extension of the Kyoto Protocol, the only global pact enforcing carbon cuts.

“The most pathetic and the most lowest threat… we are not going to have the Green Climate Fund,” which is designed to help poor nations tackle global warming and nudge them towards a new global effort to fight climate change.

She did not say who had made the threat and delegates heard her allegation in silence.

Among the sticking points holding up a deal were an extension of the Kyoto Protocol. The draft text says the second Kyoto phase should end in 2017, but that clashes with the EU’s own binding goal to cut carbon emissions by 20 percent by 2020.

U.S. VS CHINA AND INDIA

But behind the back and forth over language and technical details, the talks have boiled down to a tussle between the United States, which wants all polluters to be held to the same legal standard on emissions cuts, and China and India who want to ensure their fast growing economies are not shackled.

The fractious late night exchanges punctured the earlier mood of cautious optimism which had suggested agreement on the four separate accord in the package was possible.

Should the talks collapse on Sunday, that would represent a major setback for host South Africa and raise the prospect that the Kyoto Protocol could expire at the end of 2012 with no successor treaty in place.

Scientists warn that time is running out to close the gap between current pledges on cutting greenhouse gases and avoiding a catastrophic rise in average global temperatures.

U.N. reports released in the last month warned delays on a global agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions will make it harder to keep the average temperature rise to within 2 Celsius over the next century.

A warming planet has already intensified droughts and floods, increased crop failures and sea levels could rise to levels that would submerge several small island nations, who are holding out for more ambitious targets in emissions cuts.

(Reporting by Nina Chestney, Barbara Lewis, Agnieszka Flak, Andrew Allan, Michael Szabo and Stian Reklev; editing by Jon Boyle)

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Cuba Oil Drilling Tests U.S. on Protecting Florida or Embargo

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By Katarzyna Klimasinska

Dec. 8 (Bloomberg) — Four U.S. inspectors armed with safety glasses and notebooks will set out on a mission next month to protect Florida’s beaches from a Cuban threat.

They’ll rendezvous in Trinidad and Tobago with the Scarabeo 9, a rig headed to deep waters off Cuba to drill for oil about 70 miles (113 kilometers) south of Florida’s Key West.

Repsol YPF SA is making the Scarabeo 9 available to the U.S. inspectors before the rig starts drilling closer to Florida than the BP Plc well that failed last year in the Gulf of Mexico, causing the biggest U.S. offshore oil spill. The exploration poses an environmental, political and diplomatic challenge to the U.S. more than 50 years after cutting off relations with Cuba’s communist regime.

The Obama administration’s dilemma is “what steps to take for environmental protection and how much to honor current Cuba policy,” Dan Whittle, Cuba program director at the New York- based Environmental Defense Fund, said in an interview.

In the aftermath of the revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power, the U.S. banned exports to Cuba in 1960, withdrew diplomatic recognition, backed the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 and imposed a full trade embargo in 1962.

Now generations of animosity between the two nations limit cooperation on safety standards and cleanup precautions for the Cuba drilling planned by Madrid-based Repsol, which would be followed by state-owned companies from Malaysia to Venezuela. A conference on regional oil-spill response being held this week in Nassau, Bahamas, may provide a forum for discussions by U.S. and Cuban representatives.

Juan Jacomino, a spokesman for the Cuban Interests Section at the Swiss embassy in Washington, declined in an interview to comment on drilling off of the island nation.

Spare Parts

Repsol can use the Scarabeo 9 without violating the U.S. trade embargo because it was built at shipyards in China and Singapore, and fewer than 10 percent of its components are American, according to its owner, Eni SpA.

The sanctions would block spare parts from the U.S. for the rig’s blowout preventer, a safety device that failed in the BP spill. The restrictions also require Helix Energy Solutions Group Inc. of Houston, which provides oil-spill containment equipment for Repsol in the Gulf of Mexico, to seek a waiver to do so in Cuban waters in case of an accident.

U.S. companies seeking to do business with Cuba must ask the Commerce Department, which considers most applications “subject to a policy of denial,” the agency says on its website. The Treasury Department weighs requests to travel from the U.S. to Cuba.

Granting too few permits for spill prevention and response would keep contractors from offering the technology and services developed after the BP spill, Lee Hunt, president of the Houston-based International Association of Drilling Contractors, said in an interview.

Cuban Exiles

Approving too many licenses would undermine the embargo, enriching a regime listed by the U.S. State Department as a nation supporting terrorism along with Iran, Sudan and Syria, according to anti-Castro lawmakers such as Republican Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, who heads the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

U.S. “assistance, guidance and technical advice” to Repsol, including the planned visit to Scarabeo 9, may violate the law by “helping to facilitate” the company’s work and providing the Cuban government “with a financial windfall,” Ros-Lehtinen said in a Nov. 1 letter to President Barack Obama.

Ros-Lehtinen, who immigrated from Cuba with her family at age 8, is a leader among Cuban exiles in South Florida who have opposed easing U.S. restrictions. Florida, which has been a swing state in presidential elections, also has been a bastion of opposition to oil drilling that opponents say could despoil the beaches that are a prime draw for tourists.

Florida Drilling Foes

Lawmakers such as Senator Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat, have fought to keep drilling out of U.S. waters in the eastern Gulf of Mexico bordering Florida.

Nelson and Senator Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, introduced a bill Nov. 9 that would require foreign companies drilling in Cuban waters to pay for damage to U.S. territory without liability limits. Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, joined as a cosponsor.

Oil from BP’s spill tarred beaches 150 miles away in Florida’s northwestern Panhandle.

Now Floridians are faced with drilling under the jurisdiction of Cubans, who “don’t have the resources” to control a blowout, Jorge Pinon, an energy consultant and visiting research fellow at the Cuban Research Institute at Florida International University in Miami, said in an interview.

“If the U.S. is not willing to help” in an emergency, “the resources are going to come from Canada, Norway and the U.K., and it will take a very long time,” said Pinon, who led Amoco Corp. units in Mexico City and retired from BP in 2003, according to his biography.

Repsol’s Contract

Repsol signed a contract with Cuba in 2000, according to the company’s website, and confirmed the presence of oil with a Norwegian rig in 2004. Repsol will drill in about 5,000 feet (1.5 kilometers) to 6,000 feet of water, about the depth of BP’s Macondo well, according to Pinon.

Petroliam Nasional Bhd., or Petronas, based in Kuala Lumpur; New Delhi-based Oil & Natural Gas Corp.; Hanoi-based Vietnam Oil & Gas Group, known as PetroVietnam; Caracas-based Petroleos de Venezuela SA; and Sonangol SA of Luanda, Angola, also hold Cuban blocks, Pinon said.

U.S. officials say they are doing all they can to ensure safe drilling off Cuba.

“We are quite focused, and have been for many, many months” on “doing anything within our power to protect U.S. shores and U.S. coastline,” Tommy Beaudreau, director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, an industry regulator, said in a Nov. 29 interview at Bloomberg’s Washington office.

Wild Well Control

The administration has issued some licenses to U.S. companies to respond to a spill in Cuban waters, Mark Toner, a spokesman for the State Department, said in an e-mail. He didn’t say how many have been approved, and the Commerce and Treasury departments didn’t respond to e-mailed requests for comment.

Wild Well Control Inc. of Houston is one permit recipient, according to Hunt of the drilling contractors’ trade group. The company didn’t respond to e-mails and phone calls seeking comment.

“Helix plans to build a new subsea containment cap to safeguard drilling operations in Cuba,” Cameron Wallace, a spokesman for that company said in an e-mail about its request for U.S. licenses. “The cap and associated equipment will be staged at a U.S. port near to the drilling site to minimize response time.”

Walking the Deck

In their visit to the Scarabeo 9, two inspectors from the U.S. Coast Guard and two from the Interior Department will walk the deck and check generators, the positioning system and firefighting equipment, Brian Khey, who will be on the team, said in an interview.

The Americans will watch a firefighting simulation and conduct an abandon-ship drill, according to Khey, the supervisor at the Coast Guard’s Outer Continental Shelf National Center of Expertise in Morgan City, Louisiana,

While the visitors will discuss with Repsol any deficiencies they find, they won’t have enforcement powers, Khey said. Nor will they be able to check the blowout preventer or the well casing and drilling fluid that will be used on site, according to the Interior Department.

Scarabeo 9 was built “according to the latest and most advanced international standards available at the time of her design and construction,” Rome-based Eni said in an e-mailed statement. “Health, safety and environmental protection are always a top priority.”

Eni Subsidiary

The vessel “is one of the very few units in the industry which is using a technology which is not an American one,” Pietro Franco Tali, chief executive officer of Eni’s oilfield- services subsidiary, Saipem SpA, said on an Oct. 27, 2010, conference call.

One U.S. component is the blowout preventer, made by Houston-based National Oilwell Varco Inc. The company hasn’t applied for a license to do business with Cuba and doesn’t plan to, Chief Financial Officer Clay Williams said in a phone interview.

That means rig operators will have to seek training and spare parts in Europe or Asia, according to Hunt, whose group represents 1,494 companies including Saipem.

“It’s like buying a Mercedes and being told you have to go to a Ford dealer for parts,” Hunt said in an interview.

The results of Cuba’s drilling may affect U.S. energy policy. Success would put pressure on the U.S. to open its waters surrounding Florida for exploration, Pinon said.

A serious accident off of Cuba could throw the industry out of the Gulf of Mexico, according to Brian Petty, executive vice president for governmental affairs of the drilling contractors’ group.

“A mess” in Cuban waters would lead critics of drilling to say, “Stop it, don’t let it go on anywhere,” Petty said.

–With assistance from Nicole Gaouette in Washington and Nguyen Dieu Tu Uyen in Hanoi. Editors: Judy Pasternak, Larry Liebert

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Liebert at lliebert@bloomberg.net

Reversing U.S. Retreat from the Arctic

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By Ariel Cohen and Anatoliy Khomenko

As the Arctic ice cap is decreasing in size, the international race for Arctic resources is heating up.

The High North countries—including Russia, Denmark, Norway, and Canada—are scrambling to lay claims on previously inaccessible giant oil reserves and begin their development. Richard Weitz, Ph.D., senior fellow at Hudson Institute, recently published a report on the subject that comes to an unpalatable conclusion: “U.S. is dead last in committing resources to the Arctic mission.”

There are a number of reasons for that strategic blunder. First is the lack of public and government attention to the issue and an unwillingness to allocate resources to Arctic exploration. There are certainly some costs involved—the U.S. spent a total of $5.6 million in the Arctic in 2008—but, as The Heritage Foundation rightly notes, that is “a pittance compared to the billions of dollars of Arctic natural resources that are at stake.”

A key national interest like this is not an appropriate target for budget cuts. After all, if successful, Arctic exploration could solve multiple economic problems, from creating jobs to reducing dependency on foreign oil from unstable regions.

Another reason is that the U.S. is behind countries like Russia and Canada in naval assets and technologies necessary for Arctic exploration and development. Compared to Russia’s flotilla of 18 icebreakers, including seven nuclear-powered ones, the U.S. only has three, two of which are nearing the end of their service lives. Russia is developing new models of nuclear ice breakers, anticipating demand for their services, but unlike Russia, the U.S. government and the private sector are hesitant to commit more funds to building and developing new icebreakers given the current economic situation.

Weitz believes that the Arctic “is not fated to become an arena of international conflict” and that most of the disputes will be resolved with international cooperation or negotiations through intergovernmental organizations. However, Russia’s increasingly aggressive posture in the Arctic suggests otherwise.

As we wrote, Russia “is increasingly relying on power, not international law, to settle its claims.” To support its Arctic claims, Moscow not only deployed civilian research expeditions; it also resumed military navy and air patrols of the region for the first time since the end of the Cold War. And unlike the U.S., Russia has a number of elite military units trained specifically for combat in the Arctic.

We further concluded that that such an aggressive stance and “the current rush to dominate the Arctic Ocean and everything under it indicates that greed and aggression characterize the new Russian polar bear.” Under these circumstances, it remains to be seen whether Russia will use diplomacy, as Weitz outlines. Even if they do, at this point in time it is Russia, not the U.S., who is able to negotiate from a position of strength in the Arctic.

Finally, Weitz, mentions that the Arctic countries may use the U.N. Law of the Seas Treaty (LOST) to make resolve disputes. The U.S. is not a party to LOST and thus cannot use the same international legal mechanisms, which he believes somehow may put the U.S. at a disadvantage, as Washington would not be able to use the same international legal mechanisms to enforce its claims as the other Arctic countries. Still, as we wrote before, the claims may still be legally enforceable using President Harry Truman’s Presidential Proclamation No. 2667, which declares that “any hydrocarbon or other resources discovered beneath the U.S. continental shelf are the property of the United States.”

To conclude, the U.S. should secure a strong position in the Arctic. Heritage Foundation scholars have written extensively on the issue, and the primary suggestions could be summarized as follows:

  • Increase budget spending on Arctic operations, including oil exploration, U.S. coast guard maintenance, and acquisition of icebreakers;
  • Check Russian activities in the Arctic;
  • Negotiate with other countries with disputed Arctic claims who also oppose Russia’s expansion and are likely to be more friendly to the U.S.;
  • Establish secure control over the region with the help of U.S. NATO allies; and
  • Using NATO, expand cooperation with other international security organizations, especially EUROCOM, in order to maximize U.S. presence in the region.

The stakes in the Arctic are too high for the U.S. to procrastinate on addressing its challenges in the region.

For more detailed information about Heritage’s suggested policies to revive U.S. presence in the Arctic, see these writings:

EUCOM Should Lead U.S. Combatant Commands in Defense of National Interests in the Arctic

Ariel Cohen PhD. is a Senior Research Fellow for Russian and Eurasian Studies and International Energy Policy at The Heritage Foundation http://www.heritage.org/  and he contributes Posts at The Foundry.

Read more informative articles at Heritage – The Foundry . http://blog.heritage.org/

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The Lone Icebreaker: U.S. Sovereignty in the Arctic

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Tyler Davis

The United States Coast Guard is being left behind in the Arctic. While countries such as Russia are building up their icebreaker fleet and actively increasing their presence in the Arctic, the United States is losing its only form of sovereignty in the region.

On December 1, Rear Admiral Jeffrey M. Garrett, U.S. Coast Guard, testified before Congress on protecting U.S. sovereignty in the Arctic. He stated in Second Line of Defense that “the Icebreaker fleet represents the main surface presence that the U.S. can exert in what is essentially a maritime domain in the Arctic Ocean.” Yet today, the Coast Guard has an icebreaker fleet of only three ships. Worse yet, two of these ships are out of commission due to maintenance work and will not be available for at least seven more years.

The lone icebreaker in commission is the USCGC Healy, which conducts all types of missions from search and rescue to navigational aid to scientific research. Though the ship has been effective at its job in the Arctic, it is designed to break through ice of only medium thickness; for ice of heavy thickness, the Healy is absolutely useless. And like the other two icebreakers, it is quickly aging.

Without efforts to modernize the fleet, the future of the U.S. national maritime interest and security in the Arctic is looking pretty bleak. Icebreakers are a necessity in the region, and without them the U.S. might as well throw in the towel. These ships are key to year-round access to the Arctic and are the only U.S. insurance policy for future hazardous events. If something happens to the Healy, then the United States would not only lose access to the region but would not be able to react to potential oil spills and would become less effective in search-and-rescue missions.

Complicating matters even further, ice in the Arctic is melting, producing more ocean area for the transportation of goods and services in the region. Essentially, whoever best utilizes this route will control trade and transportation of goods and materials in the upper hemisphere. With all other nations around the Arctic building their icebreaker fleets and exploiting the key transportation route that connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the United States is falling behind.

In order to create an icebreaking fleet to maintain U.S. presence in the region, the Administration should look toward privatizing the fleet. Allowing private companies to own and operate the U.S. icebreaking fleet and perform national security functions would not only allow for crucial modernization but also save federal dollars and expand U.S. capabilities in the Arctic. This is particularly important at a time when the government is looking to cut corners in federal spending.

Ultimately, something must be done. If the U.S. does not act fast, it will come in last in the race for the Arctic.

Tyler Davis is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit: http://www.heritage.org/about/departments/ylp.cfm

Posted in American Leadership

Top nuke regulators tell White House of ‘grave concerns’ with NRC chairman

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By Andrew Restuccia and Ben Geman

Members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission have told the White House that NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko is causing “serious damage” to the agency that could harm the body’s ability to protect health and safety.

An Oct. 13 letter from Jaczko’s four NRC colleagues to White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley is a powerful, unified rebuke of the agency’s leader by his fellow commissioners, who cite “grave concerns” about his conduct and allege it’s increasingly “erratic.”

“We believe that his actions and behavior are causing serious damage to this institution and are creating a chilled work environment at the NRC,” states the letter to Daley from NRC commissioners Kristine L. Svinicki, George Apostolakis, William D. Magwood, IV, and William C. Ostendorff.

“We are concerned that this will adversely affect the NRC’s central mission to protect the health, safety and security of the American people,” the letter adds.

Svinicki and Ostendorff are Republicans, the other three NRC commissioners, including Jaczko, are Democrats.

The four NRC members laid out their concerns to Jaczko directly in an Oct. 13 memo that mirrors the complaints in their letter to Daley. The memo tells Jaczko of the letter to Daley and acknowledges it is an “extraordinary step,” while adding that Jaczko has left them without “viable alternatives.”

The White House did not respond to a request for comment on the letter to Daley Friday evening.

The NRC is the independent agency that regulates the country’s 104 nuclear power reactors.

The letter comes at a time when the NRC is grappling with issues including safety upgrades in the wake of the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi plant and weighing industry applications to build the first new U.S. reactors in decades.

The four commissioners say Jaczko, a former aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), has “intimidated and bullied” senior staff; ordered staff to withhold information meant for NRC members; and tried to “intimidate” an independent NRC committee from reviewing aspects of the NRC’s analysis of the accident at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi plant.

The letter also alleges that Jaczko has “ignored the will” of the majority of the commission and treated his fellow commissioners with such “intemperance and disrespect” that the commission no longer functions as effectively as it should.

The letter was released Friday by House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who has scheduled a Dec. 14 hearing on NRC leadership.

Jaczko defended his leadership on the commission in a Dec. 7 letter to Daley released Friday by the NRC.

He acknowledged that there are often major policy disagreements on the commission, adding that he believes the commission “has taken an approach that is not as protective of public health and safety as I believe is necessary.” But he said he respects their right to disagree.

“I follow the law, I respect the policy duly established by the Commission even if I disagree with it, and I faithfully executive Commission policy as I oversee the staff of the agency,” he said.

Jaczko argued that the commissioners have a “lack of understanding” of their statutory responsibilities. They are responsible for “policymaking, rulemaking and adjudications,” while the chairman is in charge of “all other functions.”

The commissioners are raising concerns about management decisions that are in the chairman’s purview, Jaczko said in the letter.

“I seek to consult with my colleagues on a great number of the decisions I make whether they are policy or management related,” he said. “I do not always agree with their suggestions and advice, however, and that has led to a circular claim that if I exercise my statutory authority I am somehow abusing them.”

Jaczko apologized to Daley for “any distractions” the disagreements on the commission may have caused and said he takes “responsibility for improving the level of our dialogue.”

The letter comes amid simmering tensions on the commission.

NRC Inspector General Hubert Bell released a report in June that alleged Jaczko “controls information” provided to the other NRC commissioners by designating issues as administrative matters, which he has control over, rather than policy matters.

“Because he acts as the gatekeeper to determine what is a policy matter versus what is an administrative matter and controls information available to the other commissioners, they are uncertain as to whether they are adequately informed of policy matters that should be brought to their attention,” the report, which was requested by House Republicans, says.

The report also raised questions about Jaczko’s handling of the decision to stop work on a multi-part evaluation of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in light of the Obama administration’s decision to abandon the long-delayed project.

Additionally, the commission has disagreed in recent months over how to deal with the recommendations of a task force assigned to reevaluate the country’s nuclear safety regulations in light of the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan.

The report called on the commission to make sweeping improvements to NRC’s “existing patchwork of regulatory requirements and other safety initiatives.”

Jaczko called on the commission to quickly evaluate the report and implement the necessary recommendations. But the commissioners initially resisted Jaczko’s call for swift action. Ultimately, they agreed to move forward quickly on the recommendations identified by staff as the highest priority.

All five NRC members are slated to testify at the House hearing next week, according to Issa’s office.

Issa, in a letter to Daley Friday, asks the White House to designate a witness for the hearing.

“The White House has now been aware of the Commissioners concerns for nearly two months, and the public deserves to understand what actions have been taken and whether the President still believes that Chairman Jaczko is capable of leading the NRC,” Issa writes.

Meanwhile, a panel of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will examine the post-Fukushima task force’s recommendations at a hearing Thursday.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the committee’s top Republican, said in a statement Friday evening that he’s taking the NRC commissioners concerns very seriously, and commends their “courage” for coming forward.

But amid the newly revealed attacks on Jaczko, Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), a senior Democrat and longtime critic of nuclear power, issued a report Friday that blames the other four NRC commissioners for stymieing NRC efforts to boost safety after the Fukushima disaster.

Markey accuses Jaczko’s four NRC colleagues of attempting a “coup.”

“The actions of these four Commissioners since the Fukushima nuclear disaster has caused a regulatory meltdown that has left America’s nuclear fleet and the general public at risk,” Markey said in a statement.

“Instead of doing what they have been sworn to do, these four Commissioners have attempted a coup on the Chairman and have abdicated their responsibility to the American public to assure the safety of America’s nuclear industry. I call on these four Commissioners to stop the obstruction, do their jobs and quickly move to fully implement the lessons learned from the Fukushima disaster,” he said.

This story was updated at 8:08 p.m.

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Only 6 Countries Have Sound Pension Systems, And America Isn’t On The List

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Andrew Shen and Gus Lubin

Only six national pension systems earned a ‘B’ grade on Mercer’s 2011 global index, which was given to systems with “sound structure” and “room for improvement.”

The best systems are in the Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, Australia, Canada and the UK.

Every other pension system was rated as unsound, jeopardizing the future of the elderly population. The U.S. earned a C grade, signifying “some major risks and/or shortcomings.”

Click here to see the best and worst national pension systems >

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Update: Iran Conducting Anti-U.S. Operations from Latin America

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Israel Ortega and James Phillips

December 9, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Iran is conducting anti-U.S. operations from Latin America, including military training camps in Venezuela, and expanding its reach across the border from the U.S. in Mexico, according to footage unveiled late Thursday by the largest Spanish-language network in the United States, Univision. The documentary showed a former Iran senior official accepting a plan to launch from Mexico a cyber war on the United States, one that would cripple U.S. computer systems, including the White House, the FBI, the CIA and several nuclear plants. The official, former Iranian Ambassador to Mexico … More

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