Monday, March 14, 2011

Morning Brief, the second: Report of explosion at another Japanese reactor; newly released documents reveal questionable practices at BofA; troops from Saudi Arabia reportedly enter Bahrain

Loads more important news and fast moving developments this morning:

Technicians at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are fighting to stabilize a third reactor following another hydrogen explosion at the facility. Technicians are reportedly injecting more sea water in an attempt to prevent a fuel rod meltdown. The explosion, caused by a build-up of hydrogen, injured at least 11 workers, according to a report by the BBC.

While officials continue to maintain that no massive release of radioactivity has been released, the level of concern seems to be rising.

Meanwhile, the NYT reports that 17 Navy personnel have been treated for exposure to what it describes as "low levels of contamination" caused when the military personnel flew through a radioactive plume from one of the damaged nuclear power plants. This is getting ugly.

Video of the Number 3 reactor at the Fukushima Nuclear Plan:

Speaking of "ugly", that is how Yves Smith describes the situation now at banker Bank of America.

Months ago WikiLeaks warned that they may release potentially damaging documents concerning a major US bank. But now a website named has released documents from a source that shows that Bank of America, through its subsidiary Balboa Insurance, engaged in “force placed insurance” whereby the lender buys insurance when the homeowner fails to keep up their own insurance premiums.

Naked Capitalism has a good explanation of both the practice and its implications.

"And if these allegations are indeed accurate, they make a mockery of the settlement charade underway among 50 state attorneys general, Federal regulators, and what amount to banking industry crooks, aka servicers," writes Yves Smith, creator of Naked Capitalism.

The BBC is reporting that troops from neighboring countries have entered Bahrain at the request of the kingdom.

"Gulf Cooperation Council forces will arrive in Bahrain today to take part in maintaining law and order," said Nabeel al-Hamer, a former information minister, via Twitter.

The action follows some of the most intense protests in Bahrain occurred over the weekend. Al Jazeera English reports that protesters overwhelmed police and cut off roads.