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LONDON - British Nuclear Fuels Limited (BNFL) has owned Westinghouse since 1999. But now three heavyweight Japanese and South Korean companies are bidding to take it over amid U.S. concerns that foreign ownership of a major nuclear energy company could threaten national security. As a result, pressure is mounting on the British government, which owns BNFL, to sell the company to a U.S. business, according to the U.K.'s Independent newspaper.

Among the contenders are Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, a long-time business partner of Westinghouse, and Toshiba, as well South Korea's Doosan Heavy Industries. But the most likely winner is apt to be General Electric, which has teamed up with the New York-based hedge fund Cerberus and Louisiana-based Shaw.

NM Rothschild, BNFL's banker, is considering the offers. The British government wants to sell in part because nuclear assets bring a high price, but also to remove the risk of possible accidents from being a public responsibility.

Richard Shelby, chairman of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, is one of several politicians who want to investigate potential national security threats of foreign ownership of U.S.-based companies. A move last summer by China's CNOOC to buy Unocal, the California-based oil company, caused anxiety on Capitol Hill. Although the White House-controlled Committee on Foreign Investments reviews such bids, it never had to rule on the Unocal bid because CNOOC pulled out.

Since Westinghouse operates in the nuclear sector, with military applications, any foreign buyer will find it difficult to overcome the national security concerns. The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission will also review any deal.

   

Youth

John Holt: Homeschooling Pioneer and Visionary Progressive

One of the homeschooling movement’s foremost pioneers, John Holt, was an egalitarian atheist who explicitly opposed patriarchy, corresponded with progressive thinkers and helped initiate the still emerging children’s rights movement.

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Activism

“We're Under Attack”: Burlington, VT Holds Vigil for Orlando Shooting

More than 1,500 people gathered in Burlington on the evening of Monday, June 13th to hold a collective vigil for the 49 victims of the recent mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Organized on the fly by the Pride Center of Vermont, the vigil celebrated Burlington's LGBTQ community and condemned ongoing violent homophobia and transphobia in Vermont and across the nation.

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Environment

Vandana Shiva: The Great Seed Piracy

A great seed and biodiversity piracy is underway and it must be stopped. The privateers of today include not just the corporations — which are becoming fewer and larger through mergers — but also individuals like Bill Gates, the “richest man in the world”.

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