Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Incredible video: Japan tsunami engulfs everything in its path

Japan earthquake: France tells nationals to leave Tokyo

France has advised its nationals to leave Tokyo because of threats posed by the nuclear power plants, 160 miles north of the Japanese capital.

The advice from Paris is the most alarmist response from any major country. It warned its nationals to leave the Tokyo area "for a few days" due to the risks of a possible strong new quake in Japan and problems posed by the Fukushima nuclear plant.

Britain, in contrast, has told its citizens that non-essential travel to Tokyo and the north-east of the country should be avoided, while its authorities assessed the damage. It did not suggest any Britons should leave Tokyo.

The French embassy in Tokyo said it had based its assessment on a warning from the Japan meteorological agency that an aftershock with a magnitude of seven or higher was probable in the region.

"The probability of such an event taking place in the next three days is 70 per cent, and 50 per cent in the two days following," the embassy said.

The French authorities also noted the "uncertainty over the nuclear issue" after Tokyo said small levels of radiation had escaped from reactors at Fukushima.

It warned that should one of the reactors explode, radioactive steam could reach the Tokyo area "in a matter of hours", depending on the direction and speed of the wind, creating a possible risk of contamination.

"It seems reasonable to advise those who don't have a specific reason to stay in the Tokyo area to get away ... for a few days," the statement said. (read more)

Japan earthquake: race to prevent a humanitarian disaster

The world’s third richest country was forced to send out an urgent international appeal for tents, blankets and other life-saving supplies to prevent the death toll rising beyond the current estimate of 10,000.

With night-time temperatures dropping below zero in some of the isolated towns and villages worst-affected by the disaster, charities warned that further lives could be lost if survivors were not given food and shelter quickly.

Last night 590,000 people, many of whom have lost their homes, were living in temporary shelters, including 210,000 people evacuated from the area around the Fukushima nuclear power plant, which suffered an explosion in a reactor building at the weekend.

Officials admitted that a second reactor at Fukushima could explode. A state of emergency was also declared at a separate site in Onagawa because of unusually high levels of radioactivity, while engineers reported problems with the cooling system at a third site in Tokai.

Although the official death toll stood at 1,596, the true scale of the tragedy remained unclear last night, with tens of thousands of people — including hundreds of Britons — still unaccounted for. (read more)

BREAKING NEWS: Japan stockmarket (Nikkei 225) plummets nearly 500 points within 5 minutes of opening -- quake, tsunami to blame

The leading Japanese stock index recovered a little after dropping nearly 6% early Monday, the first full day of trading following last week's earthquake, but remained sharply lower.

The Nikkei-225 index tumbled 457 points, or 4.5%, to about 9,759. It was down even further, almost 598 points, in the first few minutes before rebounding.

Some of the biggest names in Japanese industry fell sharply. Toyota was down more than 8%, while Sony was 10% lower.

Elsewhere in Asia, stocks in China and Hong Kong were each down less than 1% with the trading day about halfway through.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange opened as usual at 9 a.m. Japan time on Monday. The exchange had issued a statement saying that it has contingency plans in the event of blackouts or other disruptions. (read more)

Manramisanriku, Japan: "Nothing left"

BREAKING NEWS: Japan -- 2,000 bodies found on quake-hit Miyagi's coastal areas

Some 2,000 bodies were found Monday on two shores in Miyagi Prefecture following Friday's devastating earthquake and massive tsunami, as Japan continued to struggle to grasp the whole picture of the disaster.

The findings will significantly increase the death toll from the magnitude 9.0 quake and ensuing tsunami, with police having so far confirmed 1,597 deaths and 1,481 people missing across the affected areas in northeastern and eastern Japan.

About 1,000 bodies were found coming ashore on hardest-hit Miyagi's Ojika Peninsula and another 1,000 have been spotted in the town of Minamisanriku where the prefectural government has been unable to contact about 10,000 people, or over half the local population.

The official death toll excludes about 200 to 300 bodies in Sendai, the capital of Miyagi, that have yet to be recovered by police and other workers due to the difficulty of reaching them amid the devastation and rubble.

The Miyagi prefectural government has decided to ask for help from other prefectures as work to cremate bodies is falling behind, it said.

About 450,000 people had evacuated by Sunday in Miyagi and five other prefectures but water, food and fuel are in short supply in various locations where they have taken refuge, prompting the government to decide to airlift supplies by Self-Defense Forces helicopters.

While the Miyagi prefectural government has been unable to contact about 10,000 people in Minamisanriku, comprising more than half the town's population, information has been received that many town residents have evacuated to neighboring Tome city, officials said, adding they are trying to confirm the report. (read more)

Japan: 6.2 magnitude aftershock quake rocks Ibaraki, vicinity

A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.2 rocked Ibaraki Prefecture and its vicinity Monday morning, following the catastrophic quake on Friday, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

There were no immediate reports of injuries and no tsunami warning was issued after the 10:02 a.m. quake, which measured 5 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale of 7 in the southern part of Ibaraki.

The focus of the quake was at 10 kilometers depth in the Pacific Ocean off Ibaraki Prefecture. (read more)

Second explosion at Japan Nuclear Plant: Hydrogen blast occurs at Fukushima nuke plant's No. 3 reactor

A hydrogen explosion occurred Monday morning at the quake-hit Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant's troubled No. 3 reactor, the government's nuclear safety agency said.

The 11:01 a.m. incident came after a hydrogen explosion hit the No. 1 reactor at the same plant Saturday, and prompted the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency to urge residents within a 20-kilometer radius to take shelter inside buildings.

It also followed a report by Tokyo Electric Power Co., the plant's operator, to the government earlier in the day that the radiation level at the plant had again exceeded the legal limit and pressure in the container of the No. 3 reactor had increased.

The Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant has been shut down since a magnitude 9.0 quake struck northeastern and eastern Japan on Friday, but some of its reactors have lost their cooling functions, leading to brief rises in the radiation level over the weekend. (read more)

Bank of Japan braced to stabilize markets against quake and tsunami panic

The Bank of Japan will act quickly to stabilize the markets and the banking system when its monetary board meets on Monday.

Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa said on Sunday the central bank would provide huge amounts of liquidity to the banking system, reinforcing the bank's determination to keep markets stable in the wake of the devastating earthquake that struck northeastern Japan.

The BoJ is likely to provide Y2000bn-Y3000bn ($24.4bn-$36.6bn) in funds through its market operations Monday morning, two to three times the normal amount, to soothe markets and keep short-term borrowing costs from spiking, Reuters reported.

Economics Minister Kaoru Yosano said the government would fight decisively against speculative moves and would not tolerate short selling to take advantage of the quake. (read more)

Don't give up, Japan: Tsunami survivor Hiromitsu Shinkawa found 10 miles out at sea

A 65-year-old man has been found on the roof of his floating house nearly 10 miles out at sea, two days after the tsunami that devastated the north-east coast of Japan.

Hiromitsu Shinkawa must have resigned himself to his fate when he was swept away by the retreating tsunami that roared ashore in his home town of Minami Soma in Fukushima prefecture.

As the wave approached, Shinkawa took the fateful decision to return home to collect belongings. Minutes later he was out at sea clinging to a piece of the roof from his own home.

Incredibly, he was spotted by a maritime self-defence force destroyer taking part in the rescue effort as he clung to the wreckage with one hand and waved a self-made red flag with the other. He had been at sea for two days.

Reports said that on being handed a drink aboard the rescue boat, Shinkawa gulped it down and immediately burst into tears. His wife, with whom he had returned home as the tsunami approached, is still missing.

He was quoted as saying: "No helicopters or boats that came nearby noticed me. I thought that day was going to be the last day of my life."

Officials said Shinkawa was in good condition after being taken to hospital by helicopter. (read more)

Shocking satellite photos -- Japan Earthquake: before and after

Aerial photos taken over Japan have revealed the scale of devastation across dozens of suburbs and tens of thousands of homes and businesses.

View the incredible gallery here.

TSA to retest airport body scanners for radiation -- maintenance records on some of the devices showed radiation levels 10 times higher than expected

The Transportation Security Administration announced Friday that it would retest every full-body X-ray scanner that emits ionizing radiation — 247 machines at 38 airports — after maintenance records on some of the devices showed radiation levels 10 times higher than expected.

The TSA says that the records reflect math mistakes and that all the machines are safe. Indeed, even the highest readings listed on some of the records — the numbers that the TSA says were mistakes — appear to be many times less than what the agency says a person absorbs through one day of natural background radiation.

Even so, the TSA has ordered the new tests out of "an abundance of caution to reassure the public," spokesman Nicholas Kimball says. The tests will be finished by the end of the month, and the results will be released "as they are completed," the agency said on its website. (read more)

Nikkei set to fall below 10,000 due to Japan quake and tsunami devastation

Japanese shares look set to tumble this week while government bonds and the yen are expected to gain, although market players are still trying to gauge the impact of the country's worst earthquake in modern history.

Japan's Nikkei average .N225 may tumble below 10,000 on Monday as investors will likely shift to safer assets following after Friday's massive earthquake and tsunami, with the long-term impact uncertain as nuclear disaster looms.

The Nikkei futures last traded in Chicago on Friday at 10,005, and initially investors said the slide might be limited as major cities and manufacturing sites were mostly intact.

But investors sentiment soured by Sunday night, with Japan scrambling to avert potentially disastrous meltdowns at two nuclear reactors and the extent of the total damage unclear.

Market players also said a long-term rebound for stocks may take much longer than after the 1995 Kobe earthquake. They noted that holdings by foreigners, who deal heavily in large-cap stocks affected by the quake, account for more than 60 percent of the total market. In 1995, they accounted for 29 percent.

"Initially all sectors will be under selling pressure. The Nikkei can drop about 20 percent from a recent high of around 10,900. It could fall below 9,000 in the near term," said Masaru Hamasaki, senior strategist at Toyota Asset Management. (read more)

Economic Losses from the Japan eathrquake pegged at between $14.5 billion and $34.6 billion

This week's earthquake in Japan could lead to insured losses of nearly $35 billion, risk modeling company AIR Worldwide said, making it one of the most expensive catastrophes in history.

That figure is nearly as much as the entire worldwide catastrophe loss to the global insurance industry in 2010, and could be the triggering event that forces higher prices in the insurance market after years of declines.

AIR said its loss estimate range was $14.5 billion to $34.6 billion. That was based on a range of 1.2 trillion yen to 2.8 trillion yen, converted at 81.85 yen to the dollar.

The firm cautioned the estimate was preliminary, and it has said its models do not factor in the effects of the tsunami that followed the earthquake, or any potential losses from nuclear damage.

AIR cautioned that in some cases, buildings will have been damaged by the 8.9-magnitude earthquake and then swept away by the flooding thereafter, making precise counting difficult.

There are also lingering questions about the cost of the clean-up and long-term monitoring following explosions and radiation leaks at the Fukushima nuclear reactors. Such reactors generally have insurance that excludes earthquake damage, and many Japanese homeowners have nuclear exclusions in their own policies. (read more)

Modern civilization not as secure as we think: massive blackouts across Japan, even affecting areas far removed from earthqua

The Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) has warned of massive blackouts across Japan, even affecting areas far removed from the direct impact of the earthquake, given that its power facilities were damaged by the quake.

TEPCO has asked residents and businesses to conserve electricity usage, citing that between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday (Japan time) it will not be able to provide the 38-million kilowatts of power that will likely be demanded.

The electric company further warned that it may have to periodically suspend power and otherwise provide electricity on a rotating/regional basis by Monday.

Japan’s Industry Minister Banri Kaieda pleades for restricted electricity usage.

TEPCO has also asked for assistance from other electric utilities.

TEPCO operates the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, which released a small amount of radioactive material after official opened valves to release pressure inside the chamber which houses the reactors.

TEPCO has already shut down operations at its thermal and hydro power generation facilities.

Millions of Japanese households have also lost water and gas services, on top of missing electricity.

As of noon Saturday (Japan time), about 5.1-million households in the Tohoku and Kanto regions (the epicenter of the earthquake damage) were lacking electrical power. The Tohoku Electric Power Co. said it is trying to resume safe operations.

According to Tohoku Electric, electricity in Miyagi, Aomori, Iwate and Akita prefectures was cut off. (read more)

Japan: Monster aftershock could strike within days

NORTH-EASTERN Japan can expect another monster earthquake large enough to trigger a tsunami within days, the head of the Australian Seismological Centre says.

The director, Kevin McCue, said there had been more than 100 smaller quakes since Friday, but a larger aftershock was likely.

''Normally they happen within days,'' he said. ''The rule of thumb is that you would expect the main aftershock to be one magnitude smaller than the main shock, so you would be expecting a 7.9.

''That's a monster again in its own right that is capable of producing a tsunami and more damage.''

(The article continues on with this important statement:)

''There is more variation than you would expect from a random occurrence of earthquakes, and we really don't have a mechanism to describe why that is the case,'' Dr Gibson said. ''But there is no question that the last two years have been very active and well above average.''

(read more)

Pfft, like there's anything better to do: Just Warm Enough for Golf, Obama Back on the Course

President Obama just could not wait for spring weather to arrive.

For the second week in a row, the most powerful man in the world stepped away from the White House to hit the golf course.

Even as his administration and the U.S. military help Japan recover from a devastating earthquake, and as the world worries about Fukushima's nuclear reactor, the president could not resist taking advantage of the 48-degree weather in the Washington, D.C., area.

The president left the White House Saturday afternoon for a short trip to Joint Andrews Base in Camp Springs, Md.

With cloudy skies, it's not the best weather for golf, but Obama loves to spend his Saturdays on the greens. Last fall, Obama went golfing darn near every weekend.

These are never quick "work on your swing" trips; usually the president plays 18 holes, as he did last week. (read more)

BREAKING NEWS: Japan -- Fears now over THREE nuclear plants

There are fears over three nuclear power plants in Japan after the country's biggest-ever earthquake and the devastating tsunami which followed it.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) declared a state of emergency at the Onagawa site after excessive radiation levels were recorded there.

Also, the cooling system pump has failed at the Tokai facility but the back-up is working, according to an official.

And there are warnings of another hydrogen explosion at the Daiichi plant in Fukushima, following a blast at the same site on Saturday.

The nuclear crisis was triggered by twin disasters on Friday, when the 8.9 magnitude earthquake was followed by a tsunami that savaged Japan's north-eastern coast.

More than 1,400 people were killed, but a police chief said the death toll may be over 10,000.

John F. Kennedy's "Secrecy is repugnant" speech -- Every human being should hear it

US experts fear 'Chernobyl-like' crisis for Japan

US nuclear experts warned Saturday that pumping sea water to cool a quake-hit Japanese nuclear reactor was an "act of desperation" that may foreshadow a Chernobyl-like disaster.

Several experts, in a conference call with reporters, also predicted that regardless of the outcome at the Fukushima No. 1 atomic plant crisis, the accident will seriously damage the nuclear power renaissance.

"The situation has become desperate enough that they apparently don't have the capability to deliver fresh water or plain water to cool the reactor and stabilize it, and now, in an act of desperation, are having to resort to diverting and using sea water," said Robert Alvarez, who works on nuclear disarmament at the Institute for Policy Studies.

"I would describe this measure as a 'Hail Mary' pass," added Alvarez, using American football slang for a final effort to win the game as time expires.
(read more)

Japan races to avert multiple nuclear meltdowns -- is the Japanese government telling us everything?

Japan's nuclear crisis intensified Sunday as authorities raced to combat the threat of multiple reactor meltdowns and more than 170,000 people evacuated the quake- and tsunami-savaged northeastern coast where fears spread over possible radioactive contamination.

Nuclear plant operators were frantically trying to keep temperatures down in a series of nuclear reactors _ including one where officials feared a partial meltdown could be happening Sunday _ to prevent the disaster from growing worse.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano also said Sunday that a hydrogen explosion could occur at Unit 3 of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex, the latest reactor to face a possible meltdown. That follows a blast the day before in the power plant's Unit 1, and operators attempted to prevent a meltdown there by injecting sea water into it.

"At the risk of raising further public concern, we cannot rule out the possibility of an explosion," Edano said. "If there is an explosion, however, there would be no significant impact on human health."

More than 170,000 people had been evacuated as a precaution, though Edano said the radioactivity released into the environment so far was so small it didn't pose any health threats.

"First I was worried about the quake," Kenji Koshiba, a construction worker who lives near the plant. "Now I'm worried about radiation." He spoke at an emergency center in Koriyama town near the power plant in Fukushima. (read more)

Japan quake: Death Toll may cross 10,000 in Miyagi alone

The toll from a magnitude-8.9 earthquake in Japan could exceed 10,000 in the hardest-hit prefecture of Miyagi alone, police said on Sunday, as other officials tried to reassure the public that reactors at two damaged nuclear power plants posed no immediate danger.

"I have no doubt" that the death toll would rise above 10,000 in the prefecture, public broadcaster NHK quoted police chief Takeuchi Naoto as saying.

About 800 deaths had been confirmed so far in Miyagi and other areas in northeastern Japan, which were hit Friday by the quake and a tsunami. No contact could be established with about 10,000 residents of the town of Minamisanriku.

Police said earlier that more than 2,000 people had been killed or were unaccounted for in the affected regions, the Kyodo News agency reported.

A municipal official in Futaba town in Fukushima prefecture told Kyodo that about 90 percent of the houses in three coastal communities had been washed away by the tsunami.

About 390,000 people have fled their homes, many of them finding a place to stay at the more than 1,400 emergency shelters set up in schools and community centres, NHK said. (read more)

Shocking: Previously unseen footage of Japan's tsunami destruction

Japan: Fukushima nuclear plant has lost containment integrity and is leaking radiation -- radiactive cloud heading out to sea?

The Fukushima nuclear power plant accident in Japan is a terrible tragedy for the people in Japan, and for the people in the path of the moving radioactive cloud.

The Fukushima nuclear power plant was gravely impacted by the earthquake, tsunami, and additional earthquakes and aftershocks. It has been unable to cool the reactor core, and has had an explosion that severely damaged the containment. At the very beginning and half-way through this video you will see an explosive wave that shows that the top of the containment has blown off. A second reactor is also having great difficulty cooling its reactor core. (read more)

Expert: Libya Could Become the Next Somalia

Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi is likely to defeat rebel troops pushing for his ouster, United States Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the Senate on Thursday. Qaddafi's superior military technology will ultimately bring him victory, he said.

If Qaddafi does not win, Libya is likely to split into two or three parts, he said, creating “a Somalia-like situation.” Senators were concerned by the possibility, which they said would be a disaster for America.

Somalia has had little central government control for two decades, and is one of the poorest countries on earth. The region remains torn by violence. (read more)

North Korea preparing up for infiltration drill: Seoul

South Korea's defence chief called Friday for tight vigilance against North Korea, saying Pyongyang was preparing for a new infiltration exercise near the disputed Yellow Sea border.

"As the ice melts, North Korea is preparing to resume a seaborne infiltration drill," Defence Minister Kim Kwan-Jin told a parliamentary session.

He did not elaborate on the drill but said "surprise provocations using new means and methods are always possible".

The South's military is deploying light attack helicopters on five border islands to counter any hovercraft infiltration by special forces, the ministry said in a report to parliament.

Media reports last month said the North was building a new hovercraft base that would allow it to launch a quick invasion of the islands.

Kim said US and South Korean troops would maintain close watch on the North's military activities even after they complete their current major joint exercise. (read more)

Libya No-fly zone plan will be presented March 15: Clinton

A plan aimed at establishing a no-fly zone over Libya will be presented March 15 to NATO, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday.

"We are continuing to plan for the full range of possible options including a no-fly zone," Clinton told a press conference, declining however to indicate who would present the plan on Tuesday.

US civilian and military officials have been debating with their allied counterparts the idea of a creating zone in which NATO warplanes would ground Colonel Moamer Kadhafi's air power to prevent him from attacking his own people.

"I know how concerned people are, I share that concern," Clinton said. (read more)

Video of Japanese PM: 'Toughest' crisis since World War II - 13th Mar 2011

Sendai, Japan (CNN) -- Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan called on his country Sunday to join together and be prepared to make some sacrifices in the hard road to recovery following Friday's historic earthquake.

"In the 65 years after the end of World War II, this is the toughest and the most difficult crisis for Japan," he said at a televised news conference, citing the earthquake and tsunami and the damage they have inflicted on nuclear power plants in the region.

"We Japanese had a lot of difficulties in the past, but we were able to overcome those difficulties to reach this peaceful and prosperous society we have been able to build," Kan said. "So with regard to the earthquake and tsunami, I am confident that the Japanese people can be united to work together." Read More

Shinmoedake Volcano - Video 13th Mar 2011

Seabass breeder finds 50,000 of his fish dead, Malaysia - 13th Mar 2011

KOTA TINGGI: A seabass breeder was shocked today to find more than 50,000 of the fish dead in the cages he kept at the mouth of Sungai Sedili Kecil, about 50km from here.

Fifty-seven-year-old Zakaria Jaafar estimated his loss at RM320,000. He made the discovery when he and three workers inspected his 114 cages at about 10am.

"I do not know why the fish died. I have never experienced anything like this since I started breeding seabass 12 years ago," Zakaria said. He said that most of the seabass weighed between 500 and 700 grammes and were about ready to be sold at the local and Singapore markets.

"The heaviest were 21 parent fish which I kept for breeding. They were three years old and weighed between five and ten kilogrammes," he said. Zakaria said the dead fish altogether weighed nearly 30 tonnes.

Kota Tinggi MP Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar, who called on Zakaria at the breeding site to express his sympathy, hoped that the Fisheries Department would investigate the cause of death. -- Bernama Source

Libyan rebels warns of 'half a million dead' as Gaddafi's men take Brega and advance on Benghazi - 13th Mar 2011

  • Rebels beg NATO for no-fly zone over Libya to stop deadly air attacks
  • Gaddafi's men now heading for rebel stronghold of Benghazi

Retreating Libyan rebels are bracing for a 'massacre' of 'half a million' as state television today reported that forces loyal to Moammar Gaddafi have retaken the oil town of Brega in the east of the country.

The poorly equipped and loosely organised rebels have been forced into retreat and have once again pleaded with NATO to enforce a no-fly zone as they prepare for a last stand in the rebel capital of Benghazi.

Gaddafi's forces pushed the front line miles deeper into rebel territory yesterday to just 25 miles outside Brega, the site of a major oil terminal. Read More

Japan getting pumelled: Shinmoedake volcano in the Kirishima range volcano erupts

A volcano in southwestern Japan erupted Sunday after nearly two weeks of relative silence, sending ash and rocks up to four kilometres (two and a half miles) into the air, a local official says.

It was not immediately clear if the eruption was a direct result of the massive 8.9-magnitude earthquake that rocked northern areas Friday, unleashing a fierce tsunami and sparking fears that more than 10,000 may have been killed.

The 1,421-metre (4,689-feet) Shinmoedake volcano in the Kirishima range saw its first major eruption for 52 years in January. There had not been any major activity at the site since March 1.

Authorities have maintained a volcano warning at a level of three out of five, restricting access to the entire mountain. (read more)

Japan: Fears grow of second explosion at earthquake-hit nuclear plant as exclusion zone around facility is widened to 13 miles

'At the risk of raising further public concern, we cannot rule out the possibility of an explosion,' Edano said. 'If there is an explosion, however, there would be no significant impact on human health.'

More than 170,000 people had been evacuated as a precaution, though Edano said the radioactivity released into the environment so far was so small it didn't pose any health threats.

A complete meltdown - the collapse of a power plant's systems and its ability to keep temperatures under control - could release uranium and dangerous contaminants into the environment and pose major, widespread health risks.

Up to 160 people, including 60 elderly patients and medical staff who had been waiting for evacuation in the nearby town of Futabe, and 100 others evacuating by bus, might have been exposed to radiation, said Ryo Miyake, a spokesman from Japan's nuclear agency. (read more)

Japan: Six nuclear reactors now experiencing cooling system failures

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Sunday another reactor of its quake-hit Fukushima nuclear power plants had lost its cooling functions, while at least 15 people at a nearby hospital were found to have been exposed to radioactivity.

The utility supplier notified the government early Sunday morning that the No. 3 reactor at the No. 1 Fukushima plant had lost the ability to cool the reactor core. The reactor is now in the process of releasing radioactive steam, according to top government spokesman Yukio Edano.

It was the sixth reactor overall at the Fukushima No. 1 and No. 2 plants to undergo cooling failure since the massive earthquake and ensuing tsunami struck Japan on Friday.

The disaster raised fears over radioactive leaks from the plants after cooling systems there were hampered, most seriously at the No. 1 reactor.

An explosion Saturday at the No. 1 plant blew away the roof and the walls of the building housing the No. 1 reactor's container. (read more)

Japanese PM: 'Toughest' crisis since World War II

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan called on his country Sunday to prepare for sacrifice and to work together in overcoming the effects of the devastating earthquake and tsunami.

"In the 65 years after the end of World War II, this is the toughest and the most difficult crisis for Japan," he said at a televised news conference, citing the natural disasters and the damaged nuclear plants in Fukushima.

"We Japanese had a lot of difficulties in the past, but we were able to overcome those difficulties to reach this peaceful and prosperous society we have been able to build. So with regard to the earthquake and tsunami, I am confident that the Japanese people can be united to work together. ... I ask each one of you, please have such determination, and deepen your bond with your family members, your neighbors, and the people in your community to overcome this crisis so that Japan can be a better place. We can do it together."

The cooperation Kan called for will include accepting rolling blackouts in some areas to preserve electricity as emergency workers try to repair power plants. (read more)

Japan's nuclear crisis continues: Workers scramble to cool reactors; official says 2nd blast possible

Workers continued efforts to cool down fuel rods inside two nuclear reactors Sunday as a Japanese government official warned that a second explosion could occur at the plant.

The aftermath of the devastating earthquake -- from the scores of casualties to the nuclear concerns at the plant in Fukushima prefecture -- marks the "toughest and most difficult crisis for Japan" since the end of World War II, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said Sunday.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said an explosion could take place in the building housing the No. 3 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in northeastern Japan.

"There is a possibility that the third reactor may have hydrogen gas that is accumulating in the reactor (that) may potentially cause an explosion," he said. (read more)

BREAKING NEWS: State of emergency declared at Japan's Ongawa nuclear plant; excessive radiation levels recorded, IAEA says -- CNN


Gaddafi forces push deeper into rebel-held territory - 13th Mar 2011

RAS LANUF, LIBYA - Moammar Gaddafi's forces pushed farther eastward Saturday toward a strategic port city, pounding terrain with airstrikes and rockets and delivering a setback for Libya's rebels.

By Saturday night, the front line had been pushed back to the city of Brega, 77 miles east of Ras Lanuf, which only seven days ago was seized by rebel forces, who vowed to march on to the capital, Tripoli. The swift gains by Gaddafi's forces underscored their superior military capabilities against the ragtag rebel force, which lacks firepower, organization and training.

Gaddafi's forces appear to be systematically targeting each rebel-controlled city along the Mediterranean coast, pushing closer to Benghazi, where a provisional leadership to replace Gaddafi's regime has been established.

In Ras Lanuf, which fell to government forces Friday night, there were signs everywhere of the rebels' hasty retreat, including burned-out pickup trucks mounted with antiaircraft guns and ammunition boxes scattered along the road leading into the city. Read More

Survivor, We need Food and Water - 13th Mar 2011

Source CNN

Meltdown may have occurred in two nuke reactors: Japanese Government - 13th Mar 2011

Tokyo, Mar.13 (ANI):Japanese Government officials have said meltdown may have occurred in two reactors at the Fukushima power station.

Japan's chief cabinet secretary Yukio Edano says it is possible that the radioactive cores of the two damaged Fukushima reactors have already started to melt. He said: "We believe that there is a possibility that meltdown has occurred but it is inside the reactor so we can't see.

"However, we are acting, assuming that a meltdown has occurred and with reactor number 3, we are also assuming the possibility of a meltdown as we carry out measures."

Officials from Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO), the plant's operator, say that pressure is rising inside reactor No. 3, after its emergency cooling system failed to operate. A similar problem had led to a blast at the plant's reactor No. 1 on Saturday.

The officials say that after the blast, the plant lost the emergency cooling system at a second reactor and it started releasing air from the reactor container vessel to lower pressure inside it and avoid any serious damage. TEPCO said that radiation levels around the nuclear plant have risen above the safety limit but it does not mean an "immediate threat" to human health.

About 170000 people have been evacuated from the area around the plant, to prevent exposure to harmful radiation. Read More

Sunday Japan Quake Recap -- Nuclear Meltdown Fears in Japan; 12,000 Dead or Missing, hundreds of thousands displaced

Workers at two nuclear plants in Japan are struggling to prevent a meltdown in the wake of a powerful earthquake, a tsunami, and an explosion. Crews flooded an overheated reactor core with sea water in hopes of heading off a disaster.

Earlier Saturday a failure in the pumping system at the Fukushima Daiichi plant caused an explosion that caused damage to the building housing the plant but did not reach the reactor itself.

Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes near that plant and near a second plant in the region, the Fukushima Daini plant, in which the cooling system has failed.

Three people selected at random from dozens of crew members have tested positive for exposure to radiation. A third plant in Onagawa was the site of a fire Friday but is not currently the subject of concern.

Meanwhile, 9,500 people remain unaccounted for in the city of Minamisanriku, a town on Japan's northeastern coast that was hit hard by Friday's tsunami. The total population of the town is under 20,000.

Rescue teams have been unable to reach some areas due to damage from the earthquake, which destroyed airports on the east coast.

The tsunami swept inland as far as six miles. Thousands of homes were destroyed by the rushing water, and four entire trains were swept off the tracks and remain missing.

Minor tsunamis hit Taiwan later in the day, and elevated waves were reported in Hawaii and the Philippines. Most people in those areas had been evacuated from the coastline following the massive tsunami in Japan, but one casualty has been reported. (read more)

How Fragile the Modern Food System Really Is: Japan's Convenience Stores Cleaned Out As Uncertain Residents Stock Up

Concerned that the shipping channels will be shut for days, many Japanese rushed the supermarkets.

Many shoppers were hampered by closed stores, and the ones that were open Saturday encountered masses of people. And as expected, the staples were the first to go. Shoppers quickly snagged bread, water, batteries and other essentials, anxious to ensure their survival.

From the hardest-hit areas near Sendai, and even hundreds of miles south in Tokyo, supermarkets could not keep up with the demand. Tokyo resident Nicky Washida told CNN she made it to the store just a little too late, and all she found on the shelves were alcohol-free beer and green tea candy. Her family will be hard-pressed to find much nutritional value in that purchase. "People in Tokyo seem to be panic-buying under the assumption that food will not be getting through to Tokyo for the next few days,” she said.

Long lines and lack of stock persisted at stores and gas pumps throughout the country. Some gas stations are even limiting the amount of gas available per person, in the interest of fairness. But peace of mind with food and fuel can be the best comfort in a time of uncertainty. (read more)

Print, Baby, Print: Global Money Supply Data

Your Purchasing Power in Major World Currencies (Shocking!)

Demonetized Currencies Since the 18th Century: Hyperinflation Abounds

Click here for a giant list of demonetized currencies throughout the world since the 18th century, when they were issued and the reasons why they collapsed. Note that "Hyperinflation" remains the dominant reason.

Dollar's Global Fall Will Be 'Disastrous’ for US Living Standard

Billionaire real-estate magnate Sam Zell warns that Americans should brace for a "disastrous" 25 percent decline in the standard of living if the U.S. dollar’s reign as the global reserve currency ever ends.

He says that there are signs in the market that it could eventually happen. As it is now, a Korean manufacturer who wants to sell to Brazil must first buy dollars to complete the deal. If countries decide to bypass the dollar, the effect would be a disaster, Zell says.

“Frankly, I think we’re at a tipping point. What’s my biggest single financial concern is the loss of the dollar as the reserve currency,” he told CNBC in an interview. “I can’t imagine anything being more disastrous to our country than if the dollar lost its reserve-currency status.”

Although he is “hoping against hope” the dollar remains the standard for international exchange, he warns that “you’re already seeing things in the markets that are suggesting that confidence in the dollar is waning.”

If that happens, the impact on the United States would be deep. “I think you could see a 25 percent reduction in the standard of living in this country if the U.S. dollar was no longer the world’s reserve currency,” Zell said “That’s how valuable it is.” (read more)

Bernanke’s Unstoppable, Self Reinforcing Feedback-Loop---Our economic death spiral into the Second Great Depression

Our economic death spiral into the Second Great Depression
Wracked up by both parties over many decades our debt has evolved into a yearly deficit that can no longer be serviced with tax revenue and borrowing.
To avoid default Ben Bernanke chose to monetize the un-payable portion of our deficit. Each month about 100 billion dollars are created out of thin air to cover our government’s bills.
This has set forth an unstoppable, self reinforcing, negative-feedback-loop whereby:
  1. Debt monetization (printing money out of thin air to cover the portion of governments spending not satisfied by tax revenue and borrowing) reduces the value of the dollar.
  2. The debt monetization triggers dollars to flow out of bonds and into commodities.
  3. This increases demand, commodity prices rise.
  4. As commodities make their way into the supply chains businesses and consumers realize higher prices.
  5. Since globalization has caused wages to stagnate at 1970 levels, and with 23% unemployment, businesses try to eat increases, this in turn reduces hiring, causes layoffs and kills expansion.
  6. Consumers reduce their purchases, case in point: Wal-Mart is losing market share to the Dollar Store - that right there spells retail health (read: it’s terminal).
  7. Nations whose citizens spend 32%-52% of their entire budget on food are especially affected.
  8. In those nations where citizens spend 32%-52% of total their income on food; food riots erupt, social unrest breaks out, governments topple. (read more - the list continues)

Tripura zoo on alert after death of birds, animals - 12th Mar 2011

Agartala, March 12 (IANS): Close on the heels of the detection of bird flu at two government-run farms in western Tripura, mysterious deaths of some animals and birds at the Sepahijala Zoo has put the authorities on alert.

"Since last week, three leopards, a wild cat and 13 birds, including some extremely endangered species, have been found dead at the zoo enclosures. We have sent samples to state and national level laboratories," Director of Sepahijala Zoo and head of the wildlife sanctuary Ajit Bhowmik told IANS on Saturday.

He said: "The samples have been tested by the Eastern Region Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (ERDDL) in Kolkata and the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL) in Bhopal. No indication of avian influenza or swine influenza has been found."

"According to the experts of the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) in Uttar Pradesh and the Central Zoo Authority (CZA), the disease might have been caused by some viral infection. We have taken preventive measures for the other animals and birds in the zoo," Bhowmik added. Read More