The Pacific Rim, the body of land surrounding the Pacific Ocean from the west coasts of North and South America to the east coasts of China and Japan, is one of the most volatile regions in the world for earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions. Since 1975, several stunning earthquakes around the Pacific Rim have resulted in tremendous devastation and loss of life – some smaller, but some much greater, than the unfolding crisis in Japan from the March 11 temblor. Source: US Geological Survey historical data
Japan has received offers of assistance from 14 international organizations and 102 countries (including a number of unexpected aid donors such as embattled Afghanistan and poverty-stricken Cambodia), according to the latest report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Japan has accepted help, mostly in the form of search and rescue teams, from 15 countries. Here is an overview of some of the help pouring into Japan as it struggles to dig out from Friday’s 9.0-magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami.
Each year when March 15 rolls around, many of us grope mentally backward to 9th-grade English class and do our best to remember who exactly who it was that warned Julius Caesar to "Beware the ides of March" and why. But in the years since Shakespeare first coined the phrase in 1599 the fatal date has become well ensconced in literature. To bring yourself up to speed on "ides" literature, here's a beginner's list.
Japan’s nuclear disaster is not as bad as Chernobyl, but it’s the worst since. The recent 8.9-magnitude earthquake and tsunami that followed have severely damaged the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. It has suffered two explosions, with warnings of a third possible, and fuel rods are exposed. Over 20,000 people have been evacuated from the area. This crisis raises important questions about the future of nuclear power and our failures not just to prepare for natural disasters but also possible failures in nuclear security. Harvard Kennedy School's Matthew Bunn gives us six key points to consider, originally published on the Power & Policy blog.
The mix of natural and man-made disasters unfolding in Japan is almost incomprehensible. But it’s just at such moments that we most want to understand what can happen in our world. This history is still in the making, but my regular reading list is taking a break while I search out material on disasters past and future. What are you reading in the wake of the tragic events of the past few days? Here are a few potential places to start:
The NFL isn't known for striking. In fact, it hasn’t had a major interruption in play since 1987, which may be the reason for its continued popularity, says New York University professor of sports management Robert Boland. As the NFL faces its first labor dispute in decades, here is a look back at the five worst shutdowns in US sports history.
Japan’s earthquake and tsunami has pushed 11 of its 52 nuclear reactors offline. If they don’t power up soon, Japan will be hard-pressed to provide power to its people, since the reactors provide 30 percent of its electricity. As dependent as Japan is on nuclear power, 12 nations are even more reliant it, according to the World Nuclear Association. Using 2007 data, here are the Top 10 most nuclear-dependent nations:
Carlos Slim retained the top spot on the Forbes rich list for the second year in a row. The Mexican telecoms tycoon represents a growing trend of billionaires bubbling up from emerging markets worldwide. Over the past year, China doubled its number of billionaires, according to Forbes, and Moscow now has more billionaires than any other city. Of the 11 richest men in the world, the following five come from emerging economies in Latin America and Asia:
Egypt's revolution put the issue of how to protect its beleaguered Coptic Christian population on the back burner. But a fatal clash Tuesday between Muslims and Copts in Cairo has turned attention once again to religious tensions, which gained the spotlight after the bombing of a Coptic church in Alexandria on New Year's Eve. In an overwhelmingly Muslim country, where does this religious minority fit in. And who are the Copts?
While Americans are paying an average of $3.51 per gallon to fill up their gas tanks, the average is far higher – $3.90 – in California due largely to laws requiring specific blends for emission standards. How do people cope with $4 gas prices? One is buying fewer lattes, another is following dubious web tips and filling up only in the morning. Here are five portraits of taken from two California gas stations where the prices were $4.01 and $4.11 for a gallon of regular Tuesday.
In a year of high drama over federal budgets, the nation’s so-called national debt ceiling is becoming a prominent part of the political debate. The Treasury is close to hitting this borrowing limit, yet many in Congress say the ceiling shouldn’t be raised without new commitments to put America on a path of fiscal prudence. Here’s a guide to how the ceiling works and what’s at stake for the economy.
Today is the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day. In 1911 – the year the holiday was first celebrated internationally – women could not yet vote in most countries. Now, a number of women serve as presidents and in other positions of power. But there’s still more to do if women are to enjoy the same access and rights as men, say International Women’s Day organizers and the UN. This year’s focus? "Equal access to education, training, and science and technology: Pathway to decent work for women.” Read on to find out more about International Women’s Day.
Partying has begun today in major cities to mark Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, a last gastronomical hurrah before the Christian fasts that start on Ash Wednesday and continue during the season of Lent. The festivities that precede Fat Tuesday are known as Carnival in Catholic European nations, Latin America, and Canada. They are known as Shrovetide in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and Mardi Gras in the US and Australia. The Mardi Gras season starts on twelfth night (January 5) and ends on Fat Tuesday, but the festivities and parade season usually last for only the few days nearest Fat Tuesday. Fat Tuesday 2011 falls on March 8, but the day falls on a different date every year depending on when Easter falls. This year Fat Tuesday is being celebrated later than any other Fat Tuesday in over 150 years. The festivities include rich, fatty foods, masks and elaborate costumes, balls, and large scale parades at which participants throw small gifts. In the early days of the Mardi Gras parades, participants would throw candy or nuts. The "throws" have since evolved to include whistles, trinkets, cups, fake money (called doubloons), beaded necklaces, oranges, and even coconuts.
The confusion surrounding the detention and then release of several British nationals – including members of the Special Air Service – in Libya has generated as much interest as the incident itself. However, little information is available on why a group of British men arrived unauthorized and unannounced in Libya. Below is an overview of what can be confirmed about the incident.
McLobster rumor: The sandwich, which appears seasonally at some New England and eastern Canadian McDonalds, was supposed to go nationwide. The chain has tweeted that the rumors are false. But that's all right, there are more McDelicacies to be made. Here are the Top 5 items that we'd like to see added to the McDonalds menu.
The International Criminal Court today announced it would investigate Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi and several members of his inner circle for crimes against humanity in Libya’s ongoing uprising. It is the second-ever ICC investigation into a sitting head of state, and one of only a handful of inquiries into crimes committed by world leaders. Below, a look at ICC cases:
Gas prices are approaching $4 a gallon and oil prices are above $100 a barrel, leading politicians in Washington and statehouses to propose a flurry of legislation. Some proposals strive to quell voter angst while others might balance budgets by raising gas prices. Meanwhile, wind, biofuel, nuclear, and oil industries are lobbying Congress to support more domestic energy production. Many of the proposals are longer-range and thus unlikely to affect short-term gas prices, energy economists say.