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25 years ago in Metro Times: The Japanese word "hibakusha" translates to "explosion-affected people," which is a massive understatement, considering that the word refers to the fortunate — or unfortunate — few who survived the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Koji Ando and Akita Asano were both soldiers stationed in Hiroshima when the bomb fell, and, as first-hand witnesses of the horrors of atomic warfare, they are powerful voices in advocacy for nuclear disarmament. Speaking at the Birmingham Unitarian Church, on the first stop of their 11-city speaking tour of the Midwest, they tell MT in detail their experiences surviving the destruction of Hiroshima, and state their desire for an end to nuclear weapons forever. "After 40 years, we don't have just three bombs, but thousands of them," Asano says. "There are only two choices that we have. One is to survive by eliminating nuclear weapons. The other is to die from nuclear weapons." Today, the Obama administration has been talking with other nations about further scaling back the world's combined nuclear arsenal, while others worry that other countries are hoping to add to it. What was happening: B.B. King at Chene Park, Black Uhuru at the Michigan Theater, and Ray Charles at Meadowbrook.
16 years ago in Metro Times: The Big Three get a new ally in the war for automotive dominance: the CIA. The Clinton administration has announced that it will work in conjunction with Ford, GM and Chrysler to develop a super fuel-efficient "supercar," working with them to develop new technology. Washington is only worried about one competitor, Japan, who they suspect has been working on the same thing. So, the president has authorized the CIA to spy on such Japanese companies as Toyota and Honda. The CIA spying on foreign companies is not terribly new — it's practically in its job description — but "the new wrinkle" writes MT, "is that Washington is now talking about passing along such secrets to private industry." The recent recall of Toyota vehicles, which resulted in much embarrassment for the Japanese company, has caused even more strain between the United States and Japan, with Japan accusing the United States of sabotaging Toyota's image in order to boost sales of GM, which the government now controls. What was happening: Spin Doctors at Pine Knob, Highland Games in Livonia, and Immorality Fest 1 at Oxbow Roadhouse.
8 years ago in Metro Times: Austin Marshall, Vice-President of Birmingham-based Environmental Disposal Systems, tries to calm yet another crowd of citizens angry about EDS' plans to open a pair of deep-injection hazardous waste wells in the city of Romulus. Residents of Romulus are understandably concerned that these wells, which would be the first for-profit waste wells in the state, would eventually contaminate the city's underground supply of drinking water. State Representative Raymond Basham, who represents Romulus, repeatedly calls his former political ally, Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, for help. Jermaine Dickens, Kilpatrick's spokesman, says, "Since [Kilpatrick] became mayor, he is focusing on the most pressing issues ... which are balancing the budget and proposing casino agreements." The well would open in 2005, and was closed 10 months later for failure to conform to health and safety standards. This month, the company that now owns the well, Romulus Deep Disposal, is working a deal that could get the potentially hazardous well up and running once again. What was happening: Ozzfest at DTE Energy Music Theatre, the White Stripes at Chene Park, and Billy Idol at Clio Area Amphitheatre.