Friday, March 11, 2011

Morning Brief: 8.9 Earthquake, followed by tsunami hits Japan; online orders for the iPad 2 now on Apple website

A massive 8.9 earthquake, off Honshu, Japan's most populous island, Centered 230 miles northeast of Tokyo, the quake produced a devastating tsunami which was captured by citizens and quickly posted online.

NYT coverage can be found here. The quake occurred at 2:46 p.m, approximately seven hours ago (it is currently 10pm in Tokyo as this post goes live. At least 60 people are confirmed dead due to the tsunami at this time. The Guardian is reporting that "up to 300 bodies found in Sendai" -- obviously the death toll will climb through the night there.

A 6.5 foot tsunami was expected to reach Kauai at 3:07 this morning -- approximately 20 minutes ago. An 8.2 foot tsunami passed Midway Island according the to National Weather Service.

Two videos of the tsunami:

The US vetoed efforts to create a no-fly zone in Libya, defeating efforts by France and UK to end the use of air strikes by forces loyal to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi. Washington is increasingly seen as resigned to the fact that Qaddafi's regime may hang onto power, to the frustration of US European allies.

Bradley Manning, the US soldier accused to releasing diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks, has released an 11-page letter through his lawyer. In the letter, Manning describes his treatment at the hands of officials at the Quantico Marine base in which he is being held.

"I was stripped of all clothing with the exception of my underwear. My prescription eyeglasses were taken away from me and I was forced to sit in essential blindness," Manning is quoted in the letter, the contents of which were published last night by The Guardian.

Online orders are now being taken on Apple's website for the new iPad 2. In the US online store buyers can order both black and while models, Wi-Fi-only models or 3G models that work on either the network of Verizon or AT&T. The Apple online store quotes delivery times of 5 to 7 days.

Retail store sales begin at 5pm today as Apple appears to desire to create a PR coup with pictures of long lines and happy customers. Late Friday afternoon is usually a slow news time -- often used by the White House and other government agencies to dump bad news stories in hopes they will get ignored by the media.

The grand plan, however, appears to have been preempted by events such as the tsunami in Japan.

Reactions to Amazon's move to kill its associates program in Illinois have been mostly