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.

 

Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim remains the world’s richest man

According to Forbes’ annual World’s Billionaire list released yesterday, Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim is the world’s richest person for the second year in a row, with a net worth of US$74 billion. American Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft Corp is again listed in second place with US$56 billion while investor Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway is third.

Carlos Slim, the world's richest man

China added the most new billionaires to the list with 54 while Russia added 31. The US came in third, with 23 new billionaires; American Mark Zuckerberg, chairman of Facebook, more than tripled his net worth to US$13.5 billion, placing him in Forbes’ 52nd spot.

Although the US is home to 413 billionaires, more than any other country, the changing distribution of global finances is evident. Today, due to the increasing wealth of emerging nations, just one in every three billionaires is American, a decline from ten years ago when Americans numbered one in every two. Brazil, Russia, India and China together accounted for more than 108 new billionaires. Last year, New York was home to more billionaires than any other city in the world, while this year Moscow is home to 79, which beats New York’s current number of 58.

Forbes lists a world total of 1,210 billionaires whose combined wealth is US$4.5 trillion, an increase from last year’s total of US$3.6 trillion.

Bill Clinton rides to President Barack Obama rescue

In a rare return to the White House, Bill Clinton urged unhappy Democrats to unite behind President Barack Obama’s embattled plan to avert a massive New Year’s tax hike.

Bill Clinton Talks to President Barack Obama.

“I personally believe this is a good deal, and the best he could have gotten under the circumstances,” the former president said as he and Obama paid a surprise visit to the White House briefing room after private talks.

Obama praised his guest – “he presided over as good an economy as we’ve seen in our lifetimes” – but quickly excused himself to go join his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama, at a holiday party.

Clinton, plainly relishing the spotlight, also pushed the US Senate to ratify a landmark nuclear arms control treaty with Russia and steeled Democrats routed in November elections for “a ferocious fight” with Republicans.

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