Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

July 14, 2009



Tree Hugger
- According to new data from the Energy Information Agency, for the 12 month period ending in April low-carbon electricity set a new record: nearly 10% of overall generation, a figure that rose sharply in the beginning of 2009. In fact in April of this year renewable energy contributed 13% to total US electrical generation. Hydropower made up the majority of that (as it historically has) at 9%; non-hydro renewables (wind, solar, biomass & geothermal) made up 4%, another new record. Keep in mind that all of this is framed in the context of net electric generation dropping 5% over the past year.


McClatchy - All but invisible in Latin America a decade ago, China now is building cars in Uruguay, donating a soccer stadium to Costa Rica and lending $10 billion to Brazil's biggest oil company. It's supplanted the United States to become the biggest trading partner with Brazil, South America's biggest economy. China has moved aggressively to fill a vacuum left by the United States in recent years, as the U.S. focused on wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the global economic crisis sapped its economy. "China is rising while the U.S. is declining in Latin America," Riordan Roett, a professor of international relations at Johns Hopkins University, said by telephone while visiting Sao Paulo. "China is all over this region. They are following a state-driven policy to expand their peaceful presence."


LA Times
- Late-night military helicopter flights over downtown Los Angeles this week are part of training exercises to familiarize military personnel with urban settings and prepare them for future assignments overseas, authorities said. The Black Hawk helicopters, which have appeared nightly for almost a week, have attracted the attention of residents as they hovered over downtown landmarks like City Hall, or maneuvered quickly between office skyscrapers on Bunker Hill. A brief notice saying the Los Angeles Police Department would be supporting an urban military exercise was posted on the department's official blog.


Press of Atlantic City -
91 lobster tails got an Atlantic City man four years in prison Friday. Anthony Jones, 38, admitted in May that he hid the frozen delicacies in his backpack and jacket, then tried to sneak them out of the Bally's Atlantic City kitchen. But a security worker with his eye on the surveillance camera noticed something wasn't kosher. "His clothing was very bulky and he appeared to be concealing items beneath his clothing," police relayed at the time of the arrest. Jones was quickly stopped and "he and the lobsters were escorted to the security holding facility to await the arrival of the police," according to the police report. . . As for the stolen seafood: "The lobster was destroyed," Bally's spokeswoman Alyce Parker confirmed.


- A Japanese rail firm has introduced a system to check that staff are smiling enough at all times. Computerized scanners around 15 Tokyo stations will measure the smile's curvature to ensure it is broad enough.
Those failing to measure up - literally - will be advised to look less serious and more cheerful.


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