8.9 magnitude earthquake hits Japan, causes tsunami

A massive 8.9 magnitude earthquake occurred in northern Japan early on Friday. The earthquake’s epicenter is 130 km (81 miles) east of Sendai, in the Honshu island of Japan. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the epicenter was at a depth of 24.4 km (15.2 miles). 29 people are reported dead. (www.bbc.co.uk)

The earthquake triggered tsunamis in various parts of the country. Japan issued a tsunami warning immediately after the earthquake, followed by tsunami warnings for New Zealand, Australia, Russia, Guam, Philippines, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Nauru, Hawaii, Northern Marianas (USA) and Taiwan. It is confirmed for the Philippines that if the tsunami doesn’t hit the country for 2 hours (5:00 – 7:00) it will be slightly safer, it is currently alert number two for all regions.

Effect of 2011 Sendai earthquake in Tokyo

The tsunami attained a height of 10 meters, and swept houses, buildings and cars according to reports. Shinkansen stopped the bullet train service following the quake. According to reports, an oil refinery was set ablaze by the quake at Ichihara, Chiba prefecture to the east of Tokyo.

The National Weather Service said that earthquakes “of this size” often “generate tsunamis potentially dangerous to coasts outside the source region.” “Based on all available data a tsunami may have been generated by this earthquake that could be destructive on coastal areas even far from the epicenter,” it added.

Sendai earthquake - Refinery fire.

About 20 people were reportedly injured in Tokyo following the collapse of a roof of a hall. 4 million people are estimated to be without power in the capital. In Sendai, several people are feared to be buried under the remains of a collapsed hotel.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan said there had been no nuclear plant radiation leaks caused by the disaster. He expressed sympathy to all victims in his address, promising help, and stating that an emergency response headquarters had been set up. No death toll has been confirmed yet. The disaster is currently being broadcasted world wide in lots of local channels and international cable ones like CNN, History Channel, Discovery Channel, and a lot more. Japanese, and other eastern sian countries’ officials are devastated by this.


Leaked cables cause Australian concern

Leaked diplomatic cables between Australia and the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, have raised alert from the Australian Government after claims that they may affect relations with China. The documents were released by the whistle-blowing website, Wikileaks. The cables between the then prime minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd, and the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, revealed that China may be forced for integration into the international community. The secret documents also contained information of a conversation between Clinton and Rudd in Washington. In the interview, Rudd stated that China was “paranoid” about Taiwan and Tibet.

Kevin Michael Rudd, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Former Prime Minister of Australia.

The sensitive documents may place a strain on diplomatic relations between Australia and China. Despite this, Kevin Rudd reassured the public that the “robust” relationship between Australia and China wouldn’t sustain any substantial damage to the relations between the two countries.

At the heart of the leaks is Australian founder, Julian Assange. Wikileaks have now released 821 of their promised 251,287 US diplomatic cables. The cables are being released on a stage-by-stage basis. Earlier this week, Assange was arrested on suspicion of rape in London under a Swedish arrest warrant.

Nine dead after small plane crashes in New Zealand

Nine people died in New Zealand after a small tourist plane crashed on Saturday afternoon on the West Coast of the South Island, killing all on board. The aircraft, a Fletcher FU24 owned by a local sky diving company, crashed and caught fire at 13:15 local time soon after taking off from the Fox Glacier Airport to carry out tandem skydiving over the Fox Glacier. The cause of the accident is not yet known, but the plane banked, dipped, smashed nose-first into the ground, and burst into flames.

PAC Fletcher Aircraft

There were four overseas tourists on the plane, from Australia, England, Germany, and Ireland. The five New Zealanders were the pilot and four divemasters. Police spokeswoman Detective Sergeant Jackie Adams said that the victims were so badly burned that members of the police disaster team had to be called in to assist. She was trying to track a group of tourists who were to have gone on the flight, but wanted to go together as a group so let those who died go ahead of them.

Franz Josef glacier, as photographed from the valley floor.

The plane crash was the worst in New Zealand for nearly 17 years. The regional coroner Richard McElrea was travelling to the crash scene to begin inquiries, and the Transport Accident Investigation Commission has dispatched a team of six investigators. The probes may take a year to complete. There was a similar crash near Fox Glacier when a helicopter crashed killing seven people in October 1994, and a crash near the nearby Franz Josef Glacier in October 1993 which killed 9 people. Because of the earthquake in Christchurch the bodies had to be sent to the Auckland morgue rather than the nearer Christchurch morgue.

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