Chernobyl was bleak brutal and absolutely necessary

first_img Comments 4:09 12 Almost all of the Chernobyl miniseries is this bleak. But given the subject matter — the worst nuclear disaster in history until 2011’s Fukushima — the tone is absolutely necessary. When potential additional catastrophes like the thermal explosion are averted, the show’s characters greet the successes with weary resignation rather than joyous celebration. Because Chernobyl is like a disaster Pez dispenser delivering a continuous stream of terrible news. Even after the tanks are drained, coal miners are drafted to stop the meltdown from contaminating the groundwater and eventually poisoning the Black Sea.chernobyl-hbo-3Emily Watson is riveting as a nuclear physicist who aids the investigation and the responses.  HBO The series is more than enough reason to keep your HBO subscription following the end of record-breaking hit Game of Thrones. The drab Soviet interiors reinforce a sense of gloom, and the gripping, accessible script by Craig Mazin doesn’t get bogged down in nuclear jargon. I like that the first episode opens with the explosion itself rather than the events leading up to it. A deeper dive into the cause comes only in the fifth and final episode. Chernobyl tells the story of an extraordinary event, but the series is also about something ordinary: people doing their jobs. Following the explosion, some do them well, and others do them poorly. Chernobyl is also grotesque. We see how acute radiation rots the bodies of plant workers and firefighters from the inside, we watch children play near the reactor as it burns and we witness the plant’s arrogant and abusive chief engineer refuse to believe the reactor has exploded at all. Then there’s a lumbering Soviet bureaucracy struggling to respond. In a scene from the first episode almost as disturbing as the one in the basement, a bumbling group of local Communist Party officials deflect responsibility and debate what to do. Rather than evacuating the area immediately, they decide misinformation will only distract residents from “the fruits of their own labor.” (Despite alarmingly high radiation levels, the now ghost town of Pripyat wasn’t evacuated until the day after the explosion.)chernobyl-hbo-4Paul Ritter is Anatoly Dyatlov, the inept chief engineer at the time of the Chernobyl explosion and the main villain of the story. HBO Later in Moscow, as officials in Premier Mikhail Gorbachev’s inner circle brief him on the news. They say there’s nothing to worry about as the radiation released amounts to a “chest X-ray.” It takes Valery Legasov, a nuclear expert with the Science Academy of the USSR, to break through the stonewalling and explain to Gorbachev just how dire things are. Onlookers are shocked at Legasov’s gall, but Gorby sends him and Minister of Energy Boris Shcherbina to Chernobyl to evaluate the situation manage the government response. The two are an odd couple — a party loyalist and a skeptical truth-teller — but they begin to work together to control the fallout, all the while dodging KGB minders bent on stopping the spread of news that will embarrass the nation. No one says “fake news,” but the debates about what’s true and not, are uncomfortably familiar in 2019.Legasov and Shcherbina, real people who are now deceased, are brilliantly played by Jared Harris and Stellan Skarsgård, respectively. Harris’ best moments happen when his simmering exasperation suddenly erupts as he contradicts a government or military official with cold, hard facts. He’s there not to downplay things. He’s there to tell like it is. Meanwhile, as Skarsgård’s confidence in the Communist system slowly erodes, he speaks with a barely decipherable mumble that belies his fatigue (thankfully, all actors speak in English in their natural voices).chernobyl-hbo-2It was hard not to be a bit distracted by the birthmark on David Dencik’s Mikhail Gorbachev. HBO But the performance that stole the show was Emily Watson as Ulyana Khomyuk, a Belarusian nuclear physicist who detects the fallout 250 miles away and rushes to Chernobyl to find out what happened. Watson’s character is a composite of several scientists who investigated the disaster, but she comes across as totally convincing. She works tirelessly to contain the damage and find the cause of the explosion, in the process getting arrested by the KGB for talking too much about what happened. When she’s freed at the end of the third episode, Legasov tells her that despite the stupidity and lies surrounding them, she’ll continue her work. Because like those three workers who drained the tanks, she really has no choice.Chernobyl concluded Monday, June 3. You can catch all episodes on HBO.com and the channel’s other platforms. In the UK, you can watch it on Sky Atlantic, HBO’s production partner. Share your voice More on nuclear disasters TV and Moviescenter_img Now playing: Watch this: Inside Fukushima: Standing 60 feet from a nuclear disaster There were a ton of gut-wrenching moments in Chernobyl, the five-part miniseries on HBO and Sky Atlantic that recently concluded on Monday. But the one that left me squirming in my seat, barely able to watch, comes at the end of the second episode. A few days after the April 26, 1986 explosion at the nuclear power plant in then-Soviet Ukraine, three workers volunteer for an insanely dangerous mission to drain water held in tanks beneath the damaged reactor core. The enormous stakes if they fail are made fervently clear: Burning nuclear fuel will melt through the reactor floor, hit the water and produce a radioactive thermal explosion that will kill the population of Kiev and render Ukraine and Belarus uninhabitable for a century. Jared Harris and Stellan Skarsgård deliver excellent performances as a scientist and a Communist Party official coming to grips with the scale of the disaster. HBO I’m not spoiling anything here because what happened is history. Ukraine is not a radioactive wasteland today so we know the workers succeeded. But how they did it is told in horrifying, utterly compelling detail. (Reportedly, the workers did not die right away, but the real Chernobyl death toll remains a topic of heavy debate).We watch them enter a pitch black basement, stumbling through knee-deep water so radioactive the clicks on their Geiger counters merge into one continuous buzz. You feel their fear and claustrophobia and hear their labored breaths through their scuba equipment. Their flashlights dim, but they labor on. With millions of lives all over Europe at stake, it’s the only thing they can do. Tags VR brought me inside a scary-real radioactive Fukushima reactor Fukushima’s underground ice wall keeps nuclear radiation at bay For Fukushima’s nuclear disaster, robots offer a sliver of hope HBOlast_img read more

Speech impaired girl raped

first_imgProthom Alo illustrationAn eight-year-old speech impaired girl was raped by a man in Bhugoil village of Kalai upazila in Joypurhat on Thursday, reports UNB.Police arrested Mehedi Hasan, 37, son of a certain Makbul Hossain of the village in connection with the incident.Abdul Latif Khan, officer-in-charge of Kalai police station, said Mehedi, a neighbour of the victim, took the girl to his house and violated her in absence of his family members in the afternoon.Being informed by locals, police went to the spot and sent the victim to Joypurhat Modern Hospital.Following the complaint of the victim’s mother, police arrested Mehedi at night.A case was filed.last_img read more

Harris County Nixes Private Prisons

first_imgListen X To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Share 00:00 /01:07 Allison LeeSince January, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez (right) has moved over 400 outsourced inmates back to Harris County.Private prisons usually get a bad wrap from advocates, for a lack of oversight. But, that wasn’t main reason behind Sheriff Ed Gonzalez shifting the department away from private prisons. Gonzalez became Harris County Sheriff, back in January.   “Within three months, we were able to move everybody back in house,” Gonzalez said. “When I came in, one of the first things we wanted to do was get the budget under control.”According to the Harris County Sheriff’s office, the department spent $4.5 million on outsourced inmates last fiscal year. This fiscal year, they’re projecting to spend just under $300,000 (for what’s been spent before the transition). “I simply think we incarcerate way too many folks; and there is a cost associated with that. Whether it be the cost of daily housing or sometimes outsourcing inmates. So I think that we need to change those practices… And that’s why I’m a big advocate for reform, and really addressing our mass incarceration complex that we have in this country,” Gonzalez said.He says there are also other benefits to bringing inmates back in-house.“We have more control of what we’re doing. You know, the medical records, things like that,” Gonzalez said.   Another benefit? Loved ones can visit inmates, without having to travel to other municipalities or cities.last_img read more

Puja organisers use govt grant to promote road safety

first_imgKolkata: With the Mamata Banerjee government giving a grant of Rs 10,000 to each Durga Puja committee, the Puja organisers have utilised it by taking various steps to make people aware about road safety norms.In the past two years, a section of Durga Puja organisers were found taking steps to create awareness on road safety measures. But this year, almost all the Durga Puja organisers have made elaborate arrangements in and around their Puja pandals, so that people can pick up lessons on road safety while visiting the pandals with their near and dear ones. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeIt may be mentioned that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had made the announcement of giving the Rs 10,000 grant to each of the 28,000 Durga Puja committees in the state.Subsequently, the Puja committees had submitted applications for the same with the police and cheques were distributed among the Puja committees after the Calcutta High Court decided not to interfere into the matter. The state government had decided to give the grant to the Puja committees for traffic safety campaigns. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedThe Puja organisers had started making various plans since the day the Chief Minister announced that they will be receiving the grant.The Chief Minister had introduced the statewide Safe Drive Save Life campaign, which has helped in reducing the number of road accidents to a large extent.Now, with the help of the grant, the Puja organisers have taken initiatives to create awareness regarding the same. The song on Safe Drive Save Life is getting played in different pandals and is reaching people from all walks of life, including those who drive vehicles. At the same time, placards and banners carrying the message of Safe Drive Save Life have been put up at different places in and around different Puja pandals. There are many Puja organisers who have set up giant screens on which video clippings of different road accidents are being shown. Many people were found watching the video clippings ardently.A large section of the Puja committees have also left messages of Safe Drive Save Life in the leaflets that they are distributing to let people know their programme schedule during the Puja.Some have even deployed volunteers at the roads close to the Puja pandals to make people wear helmets while riding bikes. The volunteers were found wearing white t-shirts with the message of Safe Drive Save Life printed on it.last_img read more