March 21, 2011

life in general: (part 5) japanquake11mar11: when disaster strikes

Humankind is selfish. It thrives on planet Earth thanks to the bounty of natural resources that our Earth provides with major support from our Sun's energy and a little support from universal energy. But most of us are not sensitive, or grateful, to this bounty from nature. On the contrary, there is limitless arrogance on the part of industrialists, owners of companies, government heads, politicians, bureaucrats, senior scientists, media editors and almost every other influential category of people that humankind can keep on exploiting natural resources endlessly because human beings are so very intelligent.

But when an intense disaster strikes, emanating from a natural phenomenon, such as one we have seen in Japan last week, at least some among us begin to fathom the power of the forces of nature operating on our Earth. The connection with Earth is felt the most by those directly affected by the disaster. For instance, the people of Japan are today grieving intensely for the enormous loss of life, homes and property that have been thrust upon them due to the earthquake and tsunami.

But natural disasters have happened in the past too. With honorable exceptions, most of us tend to see just the technical reasons behind a natural disaster. So, if we are struck by an earthquake, we say the tectonic plates below the surface of Earth moved. Or, if we are struck by a flood, we attribute it to heavy rains.

Some of us, however, acknowledge that there is some kind of connection with the unbridled exploitation of natural resources for man's consumption pleasure and the forces of nature.

Japan's quake has brought out the dangers of nuclear energy, a strong example of mankind's arrogance to fiddle with natural elements. I don't think there will be many among those Japanese falling sick due to the radiation leakage who will ever favour nuclear energy. There has been a major move by Indian government recently to kickstart nuclear energy plants. A mild dose of the leaking radiation in Japan should be imparted to those in government and industry who are forcing nuclear energy on India.

March 13, 2011

life in financial markets: (part 1) india's budget 28feb11 -- govt. of india's balance sheet & P&L

This is the state of government of India's finances:

Government of India's Balance Sheet & Profit & Loss Account
Gap between expenditure and revenues keeps on widening, reaching
dangerous proportions

2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11
Revenue Receipts 541864 540259 572811 783833
Capital Receipts 170807 343697 453063 447743
- Borrowings 126912 336992 419869 415998
Total Receipts 712671 883956 1024487 1216576
Revenue Expenditure 594433 793798 911809 1053677
- Interest Payments 171030 192204 213093 240757
Capital Expenditure 118238 90158 112678 162899
Total expenditure 712671 883956 1024487 1216576
Revenue Deficit* 52569 253539 338998 269844
Fiscal Deficit** 126912 336992 418482 400998
Primary Deficit*** -44118 144788 205389 160241
Figures in Rs crore

*  Revenue Expenditure - Revenue Receipts

** Total Expenditure - Revenue Receipts - Capital Receipts (excluding

*** Revenue Expenditure (excluding Interest Payments) + Capital
Expenditure - Revenue Receipts - Capital Receipts (excluding Borrowings)
Figures are actuals for 2007-08 and 2008-09, provisional actuals for
2009-10 and revised estimates for 2010-11

life in general: (part 4) japanquake11mar11: how the meltdown risk of japan's affected nuclear reactors could play out

I share below an insightul write-up by a BBC environment correspondent on how the earthquake-affected nuclear reactors pose the risk of a meltdown.

Here goes:

The word "meltdown" goes to the heart of the big nuclear question - is nuclear power safe?
The term is associated in the public mind with the two most notorious accidents in recent memory - Three Mile Island, in the US, in 1979, and Chernobyl, in Ukraine, seven years later.
You can think of the core of a Boiling Water Reactor (BWR), such as the ones at Fukushima Daiichi, as a massive version of the electrical element you may have in your kettle.
It sits there, immersed in water, getting very hot.
The water cools it, and also carries the heat away - usually as steam - so it can be used to turn turbines and generate electricity.
If the water stops flowing, there is a problem. The core overheats and more of the water turns to steam.
The steam generates huge pressures inside the reactor vessel - a big, sealed container - and if the largely metal core gets too hot, it will just melt, with some components perhaps catching fire.
In the worst-case scenario, the core melts through the bottom of the reactor vessel and falls onto the floor of the containment vessel - an outer sealed unit.
This is designed to prevent the molten reactor from penetrating any further. Local damage in this case will be serious, but in principle there should be no leakage of radioactive material into the outside world.
But the term "in principle" is the difficult one.
Reactors are designed to have "multiply redundant" safety features: if one fails, another should contain the problem.
However, the fact that this does not always work is shown at Fukushima Daiichi.
The earthquake meant the three functioning reactors shut down. But it also removed the power that kept the vital water pumps running, sending cooling water around the hot core.
Diesel generators were installed to provide power in such a situation. They did cut in - but then they cut out again an hour later, for reasons that have not yet been revealed.
In this case, redundancy did not work.
And the big fear within the anti-nuclear movement, as used in the film The China Syndrome, is that the multiple containment of a molten core might not work either, allowing highly radioactive and toxic metals to burrow into the ground, with serious and long-lasting environmental impacts - total meltdown.
Boiling water reactor system schematic diagram
However, the counter-argument from nuclear proponents is that the partial meltdown at Three Mile Island did not cause any serious effects.
Yes, the core melted, but the containment systems held.
And at Chernobyl - a reactor design regarded in the West as inherently unsafe, and which would not have been sanctioned in any non-Soviet bloc nation - the environmental impacts occurred through explosive release of material into the air, not from a melting reactor core.
To keep things in perspective, no nuclear accident has caused anything approaching the 1,000 short-term fatalities stemming from Friday's earthquake and tsunami.
'Subcritical' reactors
Whether a partial meltdown is under way at Fukushima Daiichi is not yet clear.
The most important factor is summed up in a bulletin from the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) that owns the facility: "Control rods are fully inserted (reactor is in subcritical status)."
Smoke billowing from Fukushima nuclear plant A large explosion was seen at the plant with debris blown out from the building
Control rods shut off the nuclear reaction. Heat continues to be produced at that stage through the decay of radioactive nuclei - but that process in turn will begin to tail off.
Intriguingly, Ryohei Shiomi, an official at Japan's Nuclear Safety Commission, is widely quoted as having said a meltdown was possible and that officials were checking.
Meanwhile, a visually dramatic explosion in one of the reactor buildings has at least severely damaged the external walls.
In principle, this should not cause leakage of radioactive material because the building is just an outside shell; the job of keeping dangerous materials sealed in falls to the the metal containment vessel inside.
Chief cabinet secretary Chief Yukio Edano confirmed this was the case, saying: "The concrete building collapsed. We found out that the reactor container inside didn't explode."
He attributed the explosion to a build-up of hydrogen, related in turn to the cooling problem.
Under pressure
The only release of any radioactive material that we know about so far concerns venting of the containment vessel.
When steam pressure builds up in the reactor vessel, it stops some of the emergency cooling systems working, and so some of the steam is released into the containment vessel.
However, according to World Nuclear News, an industry newsletter, this caused pressure in the containment vessel to rise to twice the intended operating level, so the decision was taken to vent some of this into the atmosphere.
In principle, this should contain only short-lived radioactive isotopes such as nitrogen-16 produced through the water's exposure to the core. Venting this would be likely to produce short-lived gamma-ray activity - which has, reportedly, been detected.
One factor that has yet to be explained is the apparent detection of radioactive isotopes of caesium.
This is produced during the nuclear reaction, and should be confined within the reactor core.
If it has been detected outside the plant, that could imply that the core has begun to disintegrate.
"If any of the fuel rods have been compromised, there would be evidence of a small amount of radioisotopes in the atmosphere [such as] radio-caesium and radio-iodine," says Paddy Regan, professor of nuclear physics at the UK's University of Surrey.
"The amount that you measure would tell you to what degree the fuel rods have been compromised."
It is an important question - but as yet, unanswered.
Cover-ups and questions
In fact, the whole incident so far contains more questions than answers.
Parallels with Three Mile Island and Chernobyl suggest that while some answers will materialise soon, it may takes months, even years, for the full picture to emerge.
How that happens depends in large part on the approach taken by Tepco and Japan's nuclear authorities.
As with its counterparts in many other countries, Japan's nuclear industry has not exactly been renowned for openness and transparency.
Tepco itself has been implicated in a series of cover-ups down the years.
In 2002, the chairman and four other executives resigned, suspected of having falsified safety records at Tepco power stations.
Further examples of falsification were identified in 2006 and 2007.
In the longer term, Fukushima Daiichi raises several more very big questions, inside and outside Japan.
Given that this is not the first time a Japanese nuclear station has been hit by earthquake damage, is it wise to build such stations along the east coast, given that such a seismically active zone lies just offshore?
And given that Three Mile Island effectively shut down the construction of civilian nuclear reactors in the US for 30 years, what impact is Fukushima Daiichi likely to have in an era when many countries, not least the UK, are looking to re-enter the nuclear industry?
Explosion at Fukushima power station

life in general: (part 3) japanquake11mar11: japan's self-inflicted nuclear danger

The whole of Japan and its nearby sea area lies above a seismic hotspot. Yet Japan has several nuclear power plants that run on dangerously radioactive nuclear fuels. It is a shame on the past government officials and industry officials who were arrogant enough to think they could design nuclear power plants that would withstand a very powerful earthquake such as the one that hit Japan on 11 March. 

Here is a technical update by another blogger on the nuclear emergency Japan is facing currently:

............Following the fifth largest earthquake in recorded world history, a magnitude 8.9 earthquake, has resulted in the closure of all Japan’s nuclear power reactors, one of which, the Fukushima reactor, is overheating and in danger of a meltdown if coolant is not restored soon. It’s like a pressure cooker… when you have something generating heat and you don’t cool it off or release the steam…
Reported from abc NEWS, Scientists said that even though the reactor had stopped producing energy, its fuel continues to generate heat and needs steady levels of coolant to prevent it from overheating and triggering a dangerous cascade of events.
They go on to say, “Up to 100 percent of the volatile radioactive Cesium-137 content of the pools could go up in flames and smoke, to blow downwind over large distances,”
“Given the large quantity of irradiated nuclear fuel in the pool, the radioactivity release could be worse than the Chernobyl nuclear reactor catastrophe of 25 years ago.” said Kevin Kamps, a nuclear waste specialist.
Fukushima I (there are two plant locations) is one of the 25 largest nuclear power stations in the world.
How would a nuclear plant meltdown unfold?
Control rods are driven back down into the core upon emergency (if rods don’t make it all the way… trouble)The coolant (water) could cease if backup systems fail (electricity, pumps, generators, batteries)Reactor continues to produce heatNumerous venting valve systems would release pressure above ~1,000 psi into containment vesselEventually the uranium fuel encasement metal will melt (2,200 deg F)Radioactive contamination then released into the reactor vesselRadiation escapes into an outer, concrete containment buildingRadiation escapes into the environment.
Not only would such a disaster be horrible for the local region and Japan, but other countries, namely the U.S. would be effected next by airborne radiation particles, the magnitude of which is yet to be determined.
BBC News Asia-Pacific is now reporting that radiation levels inside the nuclear reactor are 1,000 times of normal, and there are now high levels (unspecified) ‘outside’ of the nuclear reactor plant. They report that people are being evacuated in an approximate 6-mile perimeter.
The Washington Post reports that a second nuclear reactor in the Fukushima power plant is also affected. The plant has a total of six reactors. Reports only a few hours left on battery power for cooling systems.
Clarification from NHK Wolrd News Japan… a second location, Fukushima II, not far from the Fukushima I nuclear power plant, is also experiencing cooling problems. The government’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said equipment failures have made it impossible to cool 3 of the plant’s 4 reactors. (Translation: ‘impossible’ is not a good word).
Reuters is now reporting that Tokyo Electric Power Company has lost ability to control pressure at some of the reactors at its Fukushima II (Daini) plant nearby the Daiichi power plant (Fukushima I), both suffering from core cooling problems. If battery power at Fukushima II is depleted before AC power is restored, the plant will stop supplying water to the core and the cooling water level in the reactor core will drop.
Kyodo news reports that the cooling system has now failed at three nuclear reactors at Fukushima II, and the coolant water temperature has reached boiling level.
Kyodo news reports, “the operator of the two plants in Fukushima Prefecture is set to release pressure in containers housing their reactors under an unprecedented government order, so as to avoid the plants sustaining damage and losing their critical containment function.” …”the action would involve the release of steam that would likely include radioactive materials”
From Kyodo news, Japan, URGENT: Concerns of core partially melting at Fukushima nuke plant. The core at Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant’s No. 1 reactor may be partially melting, the nuclear safety agency said Saturday.
Reuters, Japan authorities: TEPCO plant fuel rods may have melted -Jiji, …could develop into a breach of the nuclear reactor vessel and the question then becomes one of how strong the containment structure around the vessel is and whether it has been undermined by the earthquake

March 11, 2011

life in general: (part 2) japanquake11mar11: solar flares' impact on earth & a reason behind japan's massive quake

I have no doubt in my mind that today's massive earthquake in Japan and the quake that hit New Zealand a few days back were caused, in part, due to renewed flaring activity of our Sun in the last one month. To know what is a solar flare click here.

I get daily emails about solar flares and solar wind from Belgium-based Solar Influences Data Center. When there is something intense happening with regard to solar activity I get a separate alert from them by email.

I share below 4 alert emails I got from SIDC in the last 3 days (starting from the latest to the earliest). They are self-explanatory as to the intensity of the solar activity.

From: Solar Influences Data analysis Center
Date: 11 March 2011 03:42
:Issued: 2011 Mar 10 2210 UTC
:Product: documentation at
# FAST WARNING 'PRESTO' MESSAGE  from the SIDC (RWC-Belgium)         #
A second shock in the solar wind parameters was observed around 17h30
UT this evening. Kp reached a value of 4 during the past 3h-period.
Unsettled to active periods are possible in the coming hours.
# Solar Influences Data analysis Center - RWC Belgium                #
# Royal Observatory of Belgium                                       #
# Fax : 32 (0) 2 373 0 224                                           #
# Tel.: 32 (0) 2 373 0 491                                           #
#                                                                    #
# For more information, see  Please do not reply #

From: Solar Influences Data analysis Center
Date: 10 March 2011 14:46

:Issued: 2011 Mar 10 0915 UTC
:Product: documentation at
# FAST WARNING 'PRESTO' MESSAGE  from the SIDC (RWC-Belgium)         #
A shock was observed in the solar wind speed as observed by the ACE
spacecraft around 6h10 UT this morning. This indicated the arrival of
the CME that left the Sun around 20h12 on March 7. As BZ is negative
with a value of -10, active conditions are expected in the coming hours.

From: Solar Influences Data analysis Center
Date: 10 March 2011 12:18

:Issued: 2011 Mar 10 0646 UTC
:Product: documentation at
# FAST WARNING 'PRESTO' MESSAGE  from the SIDC (RWC-Belgium)         #
An X1.5 flare occurred yesterday evening at 23h16 in NOAA AR 11166,
which is on the center of the solar disk. No coronographic data from
LASCO is available yet, but SDO/AIA images suggest a CME associated to
this event.
From: Solar Influences Data analysis Center
Date: 8 March 2011 14:52
:Issued: 2011 Mar 08 0920 UTC
:Product: documentation at
# FAST WARNING 'PRESTO' MESSAGE  from the SIDC (RWC-Belgium)         #
A proton event is ongoing. It originates from a long duration flare
M3.7 that occurred yesterday evening in NOAA AR 11164 around 20h01. The
CME associated with this event was seen in SOHO/LASCO and STEREO-B/COR2.
It is not directed straight towards Earth, but we can expect a glancing
blow to hit Earth around March 10th. With three beta-gamma-delta regions
on the solar disk at the moment, we can expect more flaring activity in
the coming hours.

life in general: (part 1) japanquake11mar11: prayer for japan - it has been hit by a devastating quake & tsunami

Some parts of Japan have been devastatingly hit by a large earthquake and 10-metre high tsunami waves.

I hold all Japanese in prayer and hope that the situation stabilises without further damage to life and property.

Some initial videos of the effects of the quake and tsunami can be seen here, here and here.

March 10, 2011

life in journalism: bbc journalists in libya experience detention & torture

Libya's dictator ruler, Muammar Gaddafi, is as brutal as dictators go. He has been using terro against the entire population of Libya to sustain his dictatorial rule. With the recent protests against his regime in Libya, he has intensified his terror tactics against anyone whom he thinks is not in his favour.

A few BBC journalists got a first-hand experience of the terror inflicted by Gaddafi and his men in Libya when they were arrested and beaten up a few days back.

Well, Gaddafi's days are numbered and I am sure the people of Libya will be freed from his rule soon.

Below are the details from BBC's website:


BBC team's Libya ordeal in their own words

Three members of a BBC team covering the conflict in Libya have been detained and mistreated for 21 hours by the Libyan military.
Feras Killani, a Palestinian refugee with a Syrian passport; Goktay Koraltan, who is Turkish; and Chris Cobb-Smith, British, were stopped at a checkpoint at Al-Zahra south of Zawiya on Monday 7 March. Their local driver was also taken. Here, they describe what happened to them in their own words.
Feras: "They took everything, cameras, mobiles, asked for any memory cards and the bad thing was they asked 'whose gun is this in the car?'."
Did they show you a gun? Did the driver have one?
Feras: "No, there was no gun in the car."
Chris: "They weren't too bad to us."
The team was taken next to a barracks on the main highway, known locally as the kilometre 27 centre. They were interrogated by an officer who asked if they had permission to be out reporting.
Chris: "We had passed the barracks before, it had a distinctive black-and-white tank outside it."
Feras: "I think it was the main headquarters outside the city. It was a huge barracks."
Goktay: "We stayed in a room for a while. There was nice captain, he gave us Turkish coffee and cigarettes."
Feras: "They wanted to know how journalists worked, how Sky worked when they were in Zawiya. I told them in general how we work. He had some information but they wanted details.
"We were there about another 30 minutes and then a bad guy arrived. He had three stars on this shoulder, a captain."
Goktay: "He looked pissed off. He was a tall guy, aggressive as he came into the room."
End Quote Chris Cobb-Smith
Chris: "It was almost like good cop, bad cop. The good one left and then the other one stormed in."
Feras: "He asked a few questions in a very bad way, in Arabic. He was aggressive. I tried to explain we had only been in Zawiya a week before with the authorities.
"He said something bad about Palestinians, a lot of bad things, and he asked his team what they thought about Palestinians and they said the same things. He thought they had helped the Palestinians a lot, but Hamas has given a very bad reaction to Gaddafi. Lots of bad language.
"When I tried to respond he took me out to the car park behind the guard room. Then he started hitting me without saying anything. First with his fist, then boots, then knees. Then he found a plastic pipe on the ground and beat me with that. Then one of the soldiers gave him a long stick. I'm standing trying to protect myself, I'm trying to tell him we're working, I'm a Palestinian, I have a good impression of the country. He knew who we were [ie journalists] and what we were doing.
"I think there was something personal against me. They knew me and the sort of coverage I had been doing, especially from Tajoura the Friday before. I think they monitored the BBC and had an idea, not just the reports but also DTLs [interviews from the studio with a correspondent in the field]. They don't like us or Al-Arabiya or Al-Jazeera."
"He told me to return to the room and not to tell the other guys anything."
At this point Chris managed to get a call out - he hadn't been searched and had a phone - and called for help.
Chris: "We knew we were in trouble then. I said this is not good."
Feras: "The captain came in again after five minutes and asked if I spoke to the other guys. They had asked me if I was all right and I said OK. One of the guards said: 'Yes, he said one word.' So he took me out into the yard again."
"He asked the other guards to come and started to hit and kick me. I was speaking with him saying I only said yes and I explained we were nervous. At this point he sent me back to room after he cuffed me with plastic cuffs behind my back."
Goktay: "We were shocked when we saw him."
Chris: "Obviously the whole situation was deteriorating. In English he said to me: 'One question and you die.' He asked me if I had worked with National Geographic. Obviously they were doing their homework."
Feras was taken outside the room where they were being questioned and was beaten by a captain and others.
Feras: "They hit me with a stick, they used their army boots on me and their knees."
"It made it worse that I was a Palestinian… and they said you are all spies. Sometimes they said I was a journalist who was covering stories in a bad way.
"They put us in a car and the captain, the one who beat me, told the guard: 'If they say one word kill them'.
"He said to Chris: 'One question and you die.' He said if I say one word in English, he would kill me."
The car had a driver and a guard who kept his gun levelled on the three men throughout the journey.
Goktay: "He was pointing the gun at us, each of us in turn, an AK47."
They drove back towards Tripoli, past the Rixos Hotel where foreign media are based.
Goktay: "I felt horrible passing the hotel. The soldier had his finger on the trigger and I was worrying it would go off when we went over a bump."
Chris: "It made it even worse, an extra stab in your morale seeing the hotel appear and disappear but it was good because we knew exactly where we were."
It looked as if they were going to be driven into a military compound.
Chris: "I thought it was a good sign we were going to a legitimate barracks, it was a compound with an eagle on the gate, but we went straight past the front gate down a back street. The building was down the side, attached to the barracks and not behind the perimeter wall. It was a dirty, scruffy little compound about 100m (330ft) square. It was still light when we got there."
Goktay: "There was a big iron gate. It looked like a film set, like an execution place. They took us out of the car and in the middle of the compound there was a cage, they put three of us in the cage and the last thing I saw before the door shut, they hit Feras with an AK47. We started hearing him groaning. They turned up the radio, all Gaddafi songs."
Chris: "They were wearing uniforms with no badges of rank. Some of them had their faces covered."
Feras: "They were kicking and punching me, four or five men. I went down on to my knees. They attacked me as soon as I got out of the car. They knocked me down to the ground with their guns, AK47s. I was down on my knees and I heard them cocking their guns. I thought they were going to shoot me. It was a fake execution. Then they took me into the room."
It seemed to be something like a guard room. Plain concrete with a heavy door, looked like a cell though they wondered if the guards slept there.
Feras: "They took me inside and left me alone for a few minutes and then they started. It was three by four, with an iron door, like a cell. After 15 minutes they were hitting me and kicking me very hard, the worst since I arrived, they put cuffs on my legs. They put three layers over my face, something like a surgical hat, the thing a nurse would wear but over my face."
"I was on the floor on my side, hands and feet cuffed, lying half on a mattress, and they were beating me."
"Before they covered my face up, a big black guy, a very strong guy, pulled my head back by my hair and hit me on the face.
"They were saying I'm a spy working for British intelligence. They asked me about the $400 and £60 and some dinars I was carrying. They asked if I was given the money from the intelligence department I worked for.
"I can't remember how long it went for."
Goktay: "It was about half an hour. We could hear it… I think it was Feras, maybe it was another inmate. The driver was constantly praying. We could hear screams. I thought it was Feras."
At this point Chris was able to ring the BBC team in the Rixos Hotel again. In the call he said the Libyans were torturing Feras.
Chris: "I waited until I calculated the guard had walked off and chanced it. The driver was going spare, he knew that if we were caught with a phone at that stage, let alone actually using it, it would make things even worse, if that was possible."
Feras: "After they finished beating me they taped the mask on my head. Then another guy came in and I heard him ask the other guards: 'Why have you covered his face, he's a journalist, he can't breathe?' He told them to uncover my face. I was like that struggling to breathe for seven or eight minutes. I was in a very bad position. My face was on the floor. They pulled the mask back."
Goktay: "The black guy came into our cage and they put masks on us. Gaffer taped them on and handcuffed us. They took the driver out and then me. They said in Arabic 'go' - I thought they would shoot us from behind. I was saying in Turkish that I'm a friend. I thought they would shoot us, I could hear guns loading. I was scared to death I thought it was the execution moment."
Chris: "I could see out from the mask, I wasn't convinced we were going to be shot. I wasn't being pushed around as if they were about to shoot me. They helped me get out of the cage. It was a bit of a drop and they helped me down, it still wasn't pleasant. I could breathe. I think they did this [masked them] so we couldn't see the surroundings when they led us to the cell."
The driver was taken elsewhere. In the room/cell they rejoined Feras.
Goktay: "His face was pale, and twice the size. His hands covered in blood."
Feras: "A good guy had cut the cuffs off. They were so tight he cut me slightly. They put other cuffs on less tight."
Goktay: "He was lying on the floor, cuffed."
Chris: "We were hooded and cuffed and we saw Feras bent double, lying on the floor, face swollen, obviously in pain."
Goktay: "I was really scared, panicked. Chris was trying to say to me it was going to be OK. I thought they were going to kill us and blame al-Qaeda or the rebels."
Feras: "I was taken back out to the cage and the others were left in the room."
Chris: "It was probably the guardroom, where the guards usually rested. There was a metal door but it wasn't locked and bolted the whole time. We were there from about half eight or nine until three in the morning."
Chris and Goktay had no food, water or access to lavatories. Throughout the night they could hear the screams of people being tortured. Goktay said he saw women who had injuries, he presumed inflicted by their interrogators.
A young man from Zawiya was brought in to the room/cell where Chris and Goktay were held.
Chris: "He was terrified. He prayed all night. He peed himself. They threw the mattress out. He kept making throat slitting gestures as if he knew he would die, but he made it clear those gestures applied to us too. The guards kept coming in, screaming at him, terrorising him. They wouldn't let us stand up. If we did, they would scream at us too. The guards were also making throat slitting gestures to all of us.
"We were pretty much left alone but not allowed to stand up and stretch. They got angry if we tried. They didn't mind us talking.
"I sat on a filthy mattress with my back against the wall but facing the door so I could see anything that happened outside when it opened and through a crack when it was closed. I didn't sleep a wink, just watched the seconds tick by, trying to remain upbeat, trying to read something optimistic into every little incident.
"Gok and I shared the few cigarettes we had sparingly through the night, and then smoked the butts of the floor. It was cold but I didn't want to use the filthy blankets, or have them see me huddled and pathetic, though Gok told me later I sometimes was shaking."
Feras was in the yard in the metal cell, described as something like a prison van but without wheels. One guard believed Feras when he said he was a journalist, and cut off his plastic handcuffs. He spent the night doing what he could for the other prisoners, who were all handcuffed.
Some of them told him they had been arrested because their phone calls had been intercepted - including ones to the foreign media. At first there were four others already in the cage - two Egyptians who said they had lost their papers and two Libyans. Later they were joined by others.
Feras: "I spent the night in a cell. There were 10 to 12 men from Zawiya. Some were in a bad situation, with broken ribs."
Four of the other captives brought in after Feras were masked, with ankles and wrists cuffed. They were from Zawiya.
Feras: "The four from Zawiya tried not to tell me anything but later one of the guards told me they were fighters from Zawiya.
"All the guys were handcuffed and asking me to help them. There was water, one of them had two or three cigarettes so the good guard gave me a light. I helped them with water, helped them to pee.
"I was looking out of the cage. Cars were coming and going. I saw them bring in a guy and three girls, prisoners, too.
"Two of them told me they had broken ribs. The four who were masked. I helped them breathe by lifting their masks, saw they had been badly beaten.
"The four who were masked said they had been three days without food and with arms and legs cuffed. They said where they were now was like heaven compared to where they had been. They said they had been tortured for three days, and were from Zawiya. The four all knew each other. They didn't want to talk much. None of them said they were involved in fighting but the guard told me. Their hands were swollen and so were their faces.
"In the cage they were talking about what might happen next. They were speaking of their situation. Two of them asked me to burn their cuffs with a cigarette I refused. One of them said he had bad pains in his stomach, I called the guard who said: 'Shut up and let him die, don't ask again'."
The others were reunited with Feras and with their taxi driver when they were moved to another building at about 0300. They were crammed into a pick-up with a steel box on the back with other detainees.
Chris: "We were crammed in worse than sardines. The others were so badly beaten, and it was so full, that every time you moved someone screamed. They had mashed faces, broken ribs. We were handcuffed, really tightly, behind our backs."
Goktay: "We were put into a vehicle, a pick-up with an iron box on the back. Almost 20 of us."
Chris: "There was a jumble of arms and legs and bodies. They were beating one man who couldn't get in because it was too full, so we pushed up to make space for him. There was a community feeling in there. People were trying to help each other. Some people without handcuffs heaved me up to help me sit."
Feras: "Our driver told me we were driving towards the airport."
They were driven to a building that was much cleaner and seemed better organised. They believe it was the headquarters of the foreign intelligence service.
Chris: "It was smarter than the other places, better organised, less chaotic. It was good we hadn't been driven out of Tripoli into the countryside."
Feras: "I saw one of the guys who had arrested me at Tajoura last Friday. He said 'Feras, you again' and punched me on the side of my head."
Goktay: "There was a big operation going on. Lots of people. I could hear screams coming from the second floor. I could see people being taking to other parts of the building hooded and handcuffed."
Chris: "I could hear howls and yelps of pain [coming from the building]. There was a lot of coming and going."
Outside the building they were lined up facing the wall, and told to bend their heads and not look up. One of them screamed at Chris when he did look up. A man moved down the line with a small sub-machine gun equipped with a silencer.
Chris: "As you walk up the steps there was a big entrance and I was last in line. There were four of us including the driver. We were lined up against the wall facing it. I stepped aside to face a gap so they wouldn't be able to smash my face into the wall. A man with a small sub-machine gun was putting it to the nape of everyone's neck in turn. He pointed the barrel at each of us. When he got to me at the end of the line, he pulled the trigger twice. The shots went past my ear.
"They all laughed as though it was very funny. There was a whole group of them in plain clothes."
"After the shooting incident one man who spoke very good English, almost Oxford English, came to ask who we were, home towns and so on. Big fat chap. He was very pleasant, ordered them to cut off our handcuffs. When he had filled in the paper work, it was suddenly all over. They took us to their rest room. It was a charm offensive, packets of cigarettes, tea, coffee, offers of food."
Feras: "One man said to me 'sorry it was a mistake by the military'. But he said we were wrong first because we went out without permission."
The men sat there for another seven hours until they were returned to the Rixos Hotel and released.

Gaddafi forces beat up BBC team 

Goktay Koraltan and Feras Killani said other detainees had been badly beaten
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Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi's security forces detained and beat up a BBC news team who were trying to reach the strife-torn western city of Zawiya.
The three were beaten with fists, knees and rifles, hooded and subjected to mock executions by members of Libya's army and secret police.
The men were detained on Monday and held for 21 hours, but have now flown out of Libya.
Government forces are in a fierce fight to wrest Zawiya from rebel control.
Artillery and tanks have pounded the city - which lies 50km (30 miles) from the capital Tripoli - over the past four days.
The BBC said in a statement that it strongly condemned the "abusive treatment" of its journalists.
"The safety of our staff is our primary concern especially when they are working in such difficult circumstances and it is essential that journalists working for the BBC, or any media organisation, are allowed to report on the situation in Libya without fear of attack," said the statement from Liliane Landor, languages controller of BBC Global News.
"Despite these attacks, the BBC will continue to cover the evolving story in Libya for our audiences both inside and outside the country."
The BBC Arabic Service team showed their identification when they were detained at an army roadblock on Monday.
They had been seeking, like many journalists, to get around government restrictions by reaching besieged Zawiya.
The three of them were taken to a huge military barracks in Tripoli, where they were blindfolded, handcuffed and beaten.
One of the three, Chris Cobb-Smith, said: "We were lined up against the wall. I was the last in line - facing the wall.
"I looked and I saw a plain-clothes guy with a small sub-machine gun. He put it to everyone's neck. I saw him and he screamed at me.
"Then he walked up to me, put the gun to my neck and pulled the trigger twice. The bullets whisked past my ear. The soldiers just laughed."
A second member of the team - Feras Killani, a correspondent of Palestinian descent - appears to have been singled out for repeated beatings.
Their captors told him they did not like his reporting of the Libyan popular uprising and accused him of being a spy.
The third member of the team, cameraman Goktay Koraltan, said they were all convinced they were going to die.
During their detention, the BBC team saw evidence of torture against Libyan detainees, many of whom were from Zawiya.
Koraltan said: "I cannot describe how bad it was. Most of them [other detainees] were hooded and handcuffed really tightly, all with swollen hands and broken ribs. They were in agony. They were screaming."
Killani said: "Four of them [detainees] were in a very bad situation. There was evidence of torture on their faces and bodies. One of them said he had at least two broken ribs. I spent at least six hours helping them drink, sleep, urinate and move from one side to another."
A senior Libyan government official later apologised for the BBC team's ordeal.
Meanwhile, a meeting of Nato defence ministers on Thursday will discuss military options related to Libya including a proposed no-fly zone.
BBC Diplomatic Correspondent Jonathan Marcus says no decisions are likely to be taken, although contingency planning may well be intensified.
EU foreign ministers will also hold informal talks on Thursday ahead of a European Council summit on Friday that is expected to toughen sanctions against the Gaddafi regime.
Libyan government forces have been mounting a strong fightback against the rebels who rose up in mid-February to end Col Gaddafi's 41 years in power.
The main square of Zawiya reportedly changed hands twice on Wednesday in the fighting between pro-Gaddafi forces and the insurgents.
State TV reported that the army had retaken Zawiya, and showed pictures of what it said were residents staging a pro-Gaddafi rally.
Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen: We have decided to extend our surveillance
On the eastern front around the Mediterranean oil port of Ras Lanuf, rebels retreated in the face of heavy government shelling and ongoing air strikes, amid reports that oil facilities were blown up.
Col Gaddafi also launched a diplomatic offensive, dispatching envoys overseas on the eve of a summit by Nato defence ministers in Brussels.
High-ranking members of the Libyan leader's inner circle were sent to Cairo, Brussels, Lisbon and Malta to approach government officials.
The Libyan government meanwhile offered a reward for the capture of rebel leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the ex-justice minister. The amount was 500,000 Libyan dinars ($400,000; £250,000).