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Brockton Man Will Face Charges After Police Standoff

By Phillip Martin   |   Monday, April 4, 2011
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Apr, 4, 2011

BROCKTON, Mass. — A Brockton man will face charges after engaging in a three-hour standoff with tactical police on Sunday.

David Luke, the father of a self-proclaimed white supremacist, telephoned police On Sunday to say he was heavily armed, and demanded to speak with Boston television reporters. Police were concerned because they had removed weapons from Luke's home two weeks earlier.

A SWAT team surrounded the house on Crescent Street, and cordoned off the area. Police entered the residence a couple of hours later and reported finding Luke in a drug-induced state. No weapons were found.  

Police had been called to David Luke’s home on several occasions following the arrests two years ago of his now 24-year-old son, Keith.

Keith Luke is accused of shooting and killing two Cape Verdean immigrants, and raping and attempting to murder a third.  The murder victims, 20-year-Selma Goncalves and 72-year-old Arlindo Goncalves (no relation), and the rape victim lived in or near the same building as the assailant.

Keith Luke told police he had decided to kill blacks, Latinos and Jews after reading about what he called “the demise of the white race” on a neo-Nazi website. The murders occurred the day after Barack Obama was sworn in as the nation’s first black president.  

Luke infamously appeared in court in 2009 with a jagged swastika newly carved into his forehead. His father, David, told police during the standoff Sunday that he wanted to talk about the crimes that his son is accused of committing.

David Luke was taken away by ambulance and will be charged with threatening police and creating a disturbance.  Two years ago he was charged  with the exact same offense, but was subsequently released. 

AG Coakley Warns Federal Government of Nuclear Storage Risks

By Ben Taylor   |   Tuesday, March 22, 2011
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Mar. 23, 2011

This undated photo released by Entergy Corp. shows the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon, Vt.(AP Photo/Entergy)


BOSTON — Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley is calling on the federal government to help find alternative storage for spent fuel rods at the state's Pilgrim nuclear plant and Vermont's Yankee plant.

The storage and security of fuel rods is one of the issues at the heart of the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan — and Coakley says the rods at Pilgrim and Yankee pose more danger than the federal government has been willing to acknowledge in the past.
 
These rods, having been used in nuclear reactors, are presently stored in pools of water at these two plants — a mechanism similar to how active rods are used. The problem, according to Coakley, is that in the event of a natural disaster these storage tanks can crack, possibly causing fires and releasing radiation, similar to what happened recently at the Daiichi plant in Japan.
 
In an interview with WGBH's The Emily Rooney show, Coakley said the government and businesses need to be investigating dry forms of storage. She is worried for the densely populated areas that surround a plant like Pilgrim, which is located in Plymouth County. “The federal government has been telling us for a long time that the risk is insignificant,” she said. “What’s also been concerning is that they haven’t been very transparent about why they reached that conclusion.”
 
All the parties involved know that the spent rods can’t stay on-site forever, but efforts to relocate them have been halting and impractical. Nuclear companies have been paying into a fund for the federal government to put towards a long-term solution since 1983, which has by now accumulated $24 billion. The Department of Energy determined in 2009 that relocating it to the Yucca Mountain waste repository in Nevada was not a feasible plan.
 
“So we don’t have either a short-term-long-term or long-term-long-term plan for what to do with the spent fuel,” Coakley said. “Everybody recognizes that these things can’t and shouldn’t stay, you know, on site forever. So we need to move on this.”
 
She is now similarly hoping to force federal agencies to act. The state has sued the NRC on rule-making complaints multiple times since 2006, but has been unsuccessful thus far. The state government is nearly out of options at the federal level, but Coakley sees an opportunity in that President Obama has recently directed the NRC to reassess the risk of these storage methods.
 
At this moment of renewed national focus, Coakley thinks that Massachusetts may finally be recognized for its past efforts, and that the state’s concerns may finally be vindicated. “We’ve been saying this for a long time,” she said. “(The NRC) need to look at this in light of what happened in Japan, and they need to be transparent about what their determinations are.”
 
Certain plants around the country have developed safer procedures for their spent fuel rods, which at Seabrook, in New Hampshire, for instance, are stored underground. But dry storage is more expensive, which has been the industry’s argument against adopting it.
 
Coakley thinks the NRC may be nearly as intransigent and opaque as the industry. The chairman, Gregory Jaczko, says post-9/11 safety checks have made nuclear plants especially safe. But Coakley says terrorism is just one consideration. As the earthquake in Japan demonstrated, a natural disaster could be just as devastating.
 
“We’re on the coast, we’re not impervious to earthquakes. There are plenty of nuclear power plants in California. You have to put them into the calculus of what the risks are,” she said.
 
Her concern is that the NRC is focused too narrowly on the benefits of nuclear power and the sense that it will be integral to future U.S. energy policy. “The federal government gets a little removed from what the risks are and the damages are, actually, on the ground,” she said.

Interview with Rick Steves

Monday, August 30, 2010
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When Frontline Uncovered The WikiSecrets

Tuesday, May 24, 2011
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A Film Unfinished

By Independent Lens   |   Thursday, May 19, 2011
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Chinese Student Considers Freedom Ride's Lessons For Home

Friday, April 22, 2011
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April 22, 2011

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1961 Freedom Rides, WGBH's American Experience invited college students to apply to retrace the route with a group of their peers. Here is a profile of one of those chosen who attends school in Massachusetts. The American Experience documentary "Freedom Riders" will air May 16.

Watch the full episode. See more Freedom Riders.

In this video, Zilong Wang introduces himself as a 2011 student Freedom Rider.

BOSTON — Zilong Wang, a sophomore at Hampshire College, is used to travel. Born in the Inner Mongolia region of China, he spent his childhood moving around that country before leaving, after high school, to study in Germany before coming to the U.S. for college. And this May, Wang will have a chance to follow an historic course through the U.S., as part of the 2011 Student Freedom Ride.
 
A remarkably diverse bunch, the 40 young people involved were selected from all across the country and from divergent backgrounds. They represent state universities, community colleges and Ivy League institutions. A few besides Wang are international students, having come from as far as Kuwait and Tajikistan.

Wang said international interest in the Student Freedom Ride is no surprise.
 
“Right now, the civil rights movement has a global mark on it,” Wang said.
 
For Wang, the chance to travel the trail of the 1961 Freedom Rides, from Washington, D.C. to New Orleans and in the company of several of the original riders themselves, is a matter of seeing firsthand how civil rights progress gets made. He is eager to someday take what he learns about the struggles in 1960s America back to China.
 
“China really needs to figure out a way to balance social reform, social progress, and (the) stability and harmony of the society,” he said.
 
Wang looks forward to returning to China to help facilitate the growth of civil society there, though he sees that growth as halting and uneven for now. “Because China is really a continental — is like America, is like a continent, so different regions have different paces of progress,” he said.
 
Civil rights movements have gone global, Wang said. But he is still worried that the legacy and lessons of movements like the Freedom Rides are not broadly felt in China.
 
“That’s something we cannot afford to lose,” Wang said. “Otherwise we’ll be like a boy waking up every morning forgetting what he learned yesterday.”
 
Still, Wang doesn’t assume his global education entitles him to take a leadership role in anything, just yet. He said he still has plenty of studying to do.
 
“I still have a rather limited understanding of the whole Chinese society, not to say the global society. So before I can jump in and say, ‘Oh I know what’s the right thing to do’…I hope I will take it easy, take it slower, be more modest about what I already know,” Wang said.
 
In that vein, he would like to learn hands-on about efforts like the Freedom Rides, hopefully in various places the world over. He wants to travel to learn more about issues and movements at the global level.
 
“And to keep that nomadic, moving-around tradition,” he said.

About the Authors
Phillip Martin Phillip Martin
Phillip W. D. Martin is the senior investigative reporter for WGBH Radio News and executive producer for Lifted Veils Productions. In the past, he was a supervising senior editor for NPR, an NPR race relations correspondent and one of the senior producers responsible for creating The World radio program in 1995. He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard in 1998. Learn more at liftedveils.org.

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