MILLIONS OF U.S. dollars provided to compensate for nuclear damage in the Marshall Islands in the 1950s have caused a flare-up over distribution among the islanders.
Law suits and the like are breaking up formerly close knit communities, such as those on Rongelap and Utirik Atolls. These were exposed to radioactive fall-out from the Bikini atoll hydrogen bomb test in 1954. The approximately 250 people then exposed have suffered various disorders, including a high incidence of thyroid tumors and cancers. The two atolls between them will receive U.S. $4 million a year for 15 years. Some of the people making claims have never even lived on either of the atolls. Other people object to the list of names established for compensation and are pressing claims even though they are not on that list.
Neither the Rongelap nor Utirik councils initially had the accounting procedures and other means to administer the funds effectively and so lost control of them. Exposure to fallout is seen by many as an income ticket. People with the most tenuous connections to the two atolls are submitting claims. The initial number of people exposed was 241, but there are 5,000 claims. Even with the large amount of dollars involved, com-pensation to Rongelap people exposed to fallout in 1954 and still living, is only $325 per quarter.
THE 5,500 arrests for anti-nuclear pro-tests in the United States and Canada in 1989 exceed the number reported for any previous year.
"Reports of the death of the anti-nuclear movement were greatly exaggerated in the second half of the 1980s," notes Felice Cohen-Joppa, co-editor of the Nuclear Resister newsletter. "The numbers testify to the vitality of a nonviolent movement that made the 1980s a decade of unprecedented anti-nuclear civil resistance, resulting in more than 37,000 arrests in North America." The annual statistics show that 5,010 such arrests were made in the United States and nearly 500 in Canada during almost 150 protests at more than 70 nuclear power and weapons plants, test sites, along transportation routes and at military bases, government offices and proposed nuclear waste dumps. As a result of these anti-nuclear arrests, in 1989 alone more than 90 people served or are serving from two weeks to 17 years in prison, while hundreds more served lesser sentences.
NUCLEAR RESISTANCE ARRESTS, U.S. AND CANADA, 1983-1989
1989 1988 1987 1986 1985 1984 1983
Total arrests: 5,500 4,470 5,300 3,200 3,300 3,010 5,300
#of Sites 74 65 70 75 120 85 60
#of actions 145 160 180 165 170 160 140
These statistics for anti-nuclear civil disobedience are compiled each January by Jack and Felice Cohen-Joppa, editors of the Nuclear Resister. Documentation is provided in the pages of the newsletter and available on request from the Nuclear Resister, P.O. Box 43383, Tucson, AZ 85733.
UNITED NATIONS-The 44th General Assembly has been the most environmen-tally active to date, adopting 15 resolutions on problems as diverse as floods, drought, large scale driftnet fishing, pollution, and the threat of sea levels rising due to global warming.
Preparations are underway for the 1992 Conference on Environment and Development, to be held in Brazil. A centerpiece of that conference will be a frame-work Treaty on the Global Environment, a law of the atmosphere, following the example of the Law of the Sea, though more compli-cated. Achieving it would be the foundation for a new world order.
UNITED NATIONS-A Special Session on economic growth in developing countries is scheduled for April 23-27 to consider rec-ommendations for action on sustained and equitable growth. The U.S. was the only country to vote against holding the session.