WORKERS were evacuated today after smoke was seen billowing from the No. 3 reactor at the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant, its operator said.
No other information is yet available.
Earlier today, food contaminated with radiation was found for the first time outside Japan – where milk and spinach have already been tainted by a plume from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant – as Taiwan detected radioactivity in a batch of imported Japanese fava beans.
The discovery of traces of radioactive iodine in Tokyo tap water, well to the south-west of the crippled atomic power plant on the Pacific coast, compounded public anxiety, but authorities said there was no danger to health.
Cooling systems meant to protect the Fukushima plant’s six reactors from a potentially disastrous meltdown were knocked out by the massive tsunami, and engineers have since been battling to control rising temperatures.
Australia: N-plant fear on doorstep
Radiation-suited crews have been striving to restore electricity to the ageing facility 250km north-east of Tokyo, after extending a high-voltage cable into the site from the national grid.
“Our desperate efforts to prevent the situation worsening are making certain progress,” said chief government spokesman Yukio Edano.
“But we must not underestimate this situation, and we are not being optimistic that things will suddenly improve,” he said.
Defence Minister Toshimi Kitazawa said the temperature in all spent fuel-rod pools at the facility had dropped below 100 degrees Celsius – suggesting water-cooling operations were having some effect.
Authorities said reactors five and six at the Fukushima complex meanwhile were in “stable condition”, Kyodo News reported.
Six workers at the plant have been exposed to high levels of radiation but are continuing to work and have suffered no health problems, TEPCO said.
Prime Minister Naoto Kan was to visit a staging ground for the Fukushima relief efforts today, as well as the city of Ishinomaki, where the two survivors were found.
Two found alive
“An 80-year-old woman and a 16-year-old boy were found under debris,” said a police spokesman in the devastated city of Ishinomaki in Miyagi prefecture.
“Their temperatures were quite low but they were conscious. Details of their condition are not immediately known. They have been already rescued and sent to hospital.”
Sumi Abe and her grandson Jin Abe were in the kitchen when the quake struck on March 11, public broadcaster NHK reported. The house collapsed with them inside but the grandson was able to reach food from the refrigerator, helping them to survive.
There have been few such miracle rescues, with almost 21,000 people confirmed as dead or listed as missing following the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and giant tsunami which flattened Japan’s northeast coast on March 11.
Freezing temperatures and snow have hampered rescue operations.
With half a million tsunami survivors huddled in threadbare, chilly shelters and the threat of disaster at the Fukushima No.1 nuclear plant stretching frayed nerves, the mood in the world’s third-biggest economy remains grim.
Aftershocks fuel terror
According to the charity Save the Children, about 100,000 children were displaced by the quake and tsunami, and signs of trauma are evident among young survivors as the nuclear crisis and countless aftershocks fuel their terror.
“We found children in desperate conditions, huddling around kerosene lamps and wrapped in blankets,” Save the Children spokesman Ian Woolverton said after visiting a number of evacuation centres.
“They told me about their anxieties, especially their fears about radiation,” Mr Woolverton said, adding that several youngsters had mentioned the US atom bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which they know from school.
The government has insisted that there is no widespread threat of radiation. But the discovery of the tainted fava beans by Taiwanese customs officers will do nothing to calm public anxiety that has already spread far beyond Japan.
Several governments in Asia have begun systematic radiation checks on made-in-Japan goods, as well as of passengers arriving on flights from the country.
But Tsai Shu-chen of Taiwan’s Food and Drug Administration stressed the radioactive iodine and caesium-137 found on the fava beans were well below legal safety levels.
In the disaster epicentre, authorities have been battling to get more fuel and food to survivors enduring freezing temperatures.
At shelters, some grandparents are telling children stories of how they overcame hardships in their childhood during and after World War II, which left Japan in ruins.
“We have to live at whatever cost,” said Shigenori Kikuta, 72.
“We have to tell our young people to remember this and pass on our story to future generations, for when they become parents themselves.”
There was better news for residents in Rikuzentakata, where construction teams began erecting 36 prefabricated units, the first of many more temporary houses being built for the tsunami homeless.
“They won’t be very big, but whatever they are, it will be better than being in here,” said great-grandmother Tokiko Kanno, who has been sleeping on a school stage.
TIMES ARE IN AEST | CLICK HERE TO REFRESH THIS PAGE
Concerned for Australians missing in Japan? Call DFAT on +1300 555 135
* Report on the quake from the USGS
* Local coverage from Japan at NHK English
* Latest #japan updates on Twitter
* Google launches its person finder
1.43pm A strong 6.8-magnitude aftershock has struck off the east coast of Japan, US seismologists said, less than 24 hours after a massive earthquake created a powerful and destructive tsunami. AFP reports the aftershock, which the US Geological Survey said hit at a depth of just 24 kilometres, was centred 174km east-southeast of the city of Sendai, the scene of huge devastation when a 10-metre tsunami struck on Friday.
1.40pm As reports emerge of people calling for help, trapped under rubble, search-and-rescue expert Gillian Dacey assesses their chances of survivor. She tells the BBC: “In the right conditions they can survive at least four, and up to seven days. In some earthquakes, if the person who’s trapped has some water or food, they can maybe survive 10 days, and we have heard of some extreme cases of up to 14 days, but the conditions have to be right.
1.35pm Hundreds of Australians live in one of the areas potentially worst hit by the tsunami in Japan. Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd today said there were 54 Australians registered as living in the city of Sendai but that there were probably hundreds of Australians living in the area. “The reason being is that it is a place where Australian language teachers have gone to work,” he said.
1.32pm Australian search and rescue teams stand ready to travel to Japan, as early as Saturday night to help, Mr Rudd said.
Australia is ready to throw anything as is required (to help in this emergency) … We will throw everything at it.
Smoke billows from a residential area in Sendai, northern Japan, one of the hardest hit regions. Picture: AP
A tsunami-drifted ship sits on a pier in Sendai, northern Japan. Picture: AP
12.20pm Japan’s quake caused the day to become a bit shorter. NASA geophysicist Richard Gross calculated that Earth’s rotation sped up by 1.6 microseconds, according to an Al Jazeera report, which cited AP.
12.04pm The Japanese Government is currently holding an emergency meeting on the subject of the Fukushima nuclear plants, according to the Guardian.co.uk.
12.03pm AFP reports that Japanese naval and coastguard helicopters have found a ship that was swept out to sea by a massive tsunami and airlifted all 81 people aboard to safety.
Environmental group Greenpeace has told AFP:
Japan is in the middle of a nuclear crisis with potentially devastating consequences
11.44am Japan’s trade ministry has announced that Fukushima’s plant operator Tepco is “considering releasing pressure” at the Fukushima No 2 (Daini) nuclear plant, according to the Guardian.co.uk. The Government has also just ordered the evacuation of a three kilometre radius around the plant.
American Jesse Johnson, who lives in Chiba, north of Tokyo, told Sky News he was at a sushi restaurant with his wife when the quake hit.
I’ve lived in Japan for 10 years and I’ve never felt anything like this before,” he said. “It got to the point where I don’t know whether it’s me shaking or an earthquake.
11.22am According to Al Jazeera, there are now five reactors under a state of emergency – two at Fukushima No 1 (Daiichi) plant, and three at the nearby Fukushima No 2 (Daini) plant.
Residents look over destroyed buildings half submerged in water after a tsunami hit the city of Kesennuma, in northeast Japan, March 12, 2011. Picture: AP
11.05am The death toll from the catastrophic earthquake in Japan has reached 202 in nine prefectures, including Tokyo, with the toll likely to rise to well over 1000, Kyodo News is reporting, citing the country’s National Police Agency and the Defense Ministry.
10.54am Japan’s military has reportedly mobilised thousands of troops, hundreds of planes and dozens of ships, as the country kicks off a mammoth relief mission. According to the BBC, Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan also plans to hold an emergency cabinet meeting early on Saturday local time, before visiting the disaster zones by helicopter.
10.51am Japan’s nuclear safety agency is reportedly set to issue an unprecedented order for Tepco to open a valve at the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant to release pressure, according to the Guardian.co.uk.
10.40am Grim updates indicating appalling loss of life are emerging from along the hard-hit east coast of northern Honshu island, where the monster waves destroyed more than 3000 homes on Friday, AFP reports.
Sayaka Umezawa, a 22-year-old college student, was visiting the port town of Hakodate, in northeast Japan, when the 8.9-magnitude quake hit. She told AFP about her terrifying experience:
It was the biggest earthquake I have ever felt. I thought I would die.
10.15am DFAT has said it remains concerned for 54 Aussies in earthquake-hit areas, but added there were no reports of Australian casualties or injuries.
10.12am The death toll from the 8.9-magnitude earthquake in Japan has reached 185, according to Kyodo News agency.
10.09am Unconfirmed reports the Fukushima nuclear plant has recovered power.
10.05am Watch this Ustream for live images from Japan.
10am This New York Times report provides a good explanation of what’s going on at the Fukushima plant.
9.46am Japan’s nuclear safety agency has confirmed the damaged Fukushima No 1 has been leaking radiation outside the plant, the Guardian.co.uk reports. According to the Guardian, there are now also reports from nuclear plant operator Tepco that the Fukushima No 2 plant has lost cooling to three of its reactors.
9.44am Japan’s public broadcaster NHK, quoting nuclear safety officials, said there was “no immediate health hazard” to nearby residents from a possible minute leakage at the Fukushima No1 nuclear power plant.
Buildings burn in the town of Yamada, in northeast Japan, after the country’s biggest recorded earthquake hit, March 11, 2011. Picture: AP
9.27am Japan says radiation levels have surged outside nuclear plant, expands area subject to evacuation, The Guardian reports.
9.20am A tsunami has swept at least five people watching the waves out to sea and ripped docks out of harbours in California, spreading the destruction of a devastating Japanese earthquake to the shores of the United States.
9.08am The Kyodo news agency is now citing a safety panel as saying that the radiation level inside one of the reactors at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant is 1000 times higher than normal, according to BBC News.
9am A strong 6.7-magnitude earthquake which hit Japan’s mountainous Niigata prefecture, northwest of Tokyo, at 4am on Saturday (6am AEDT) caused landslides and avalanches and destroyed some wooden houses. Kyodo News said there were no immediate reports of casualties and no fresh tsunami alert was issued. It was followed by an almost equally strong quake in the same area half an hour later.
The earthquake-triggered tsunami washes away a warehouse and vehicles in Kesennuma, Japan. Picture: AP
8:48am Radiation levels at the damaged Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant are continuing to rise. The Jiji Press news agency says the levels are eight times above normal, BBC reports.
8:41am Final death toll in Japan likely to be in the thousands, according to numerous news agencies.
8:39am Around 11,000 Australians are believed to be in Japan, with 41 registered in affected areas, according to Sky News.
8:35am John Large, independent nuclear safety analyst, has told Al Jazeera that Japanese officials will have to manage a balancing act at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. He says there is a risk of exposing the public if they try to contain radioactive steam. Read more here.
8:26am Kyodo news agency is reporting that radiation may have already been released at a nuclear plant and that four commuter trains are still unaccounted for in the Miyagi and Iwate prefectures.
8:16am DFAT advisory – If you are in Japan and require assistance, you can contact the Australian Embassy in Tokyo on 03 5232 4111 and you will be transferred to the Crisis Centre.
If you are concerned about Australians in Japan you should in the first instance try to contact them directly. If this is unsuccessful, you can contact the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 (from overseas) or 1300 555 135 (within Australia).
8:10am If you’re trying to contact someone in Japan or have information that could help those looking for loved ones, Google’s People Finder may help.
8:05am A California man has been swept out to sea after travelling into dangerous waters to take photos of incoming tsunami waves.
7:58am The towering wall of water generated by Japan’s 8.9-magnitude earthquake – the seventh biggest in history – pulverised the country’s northeastern city of Sendai, where police reportedly said that 200-300 bodies had been found on the coast. Japan’s National Police Agency said 137 people had been confirmed dead and 531 missing, with 627 others injured in the tremor, not including the bodies reportedly found on the Sendai coast.
The damage is so enormous that it will take us much time to gather data – local official in Japan
7:43am An “energy map” created by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows the power of the tsunami that hit Japan following the 8.9 magnitude earthquake, Japan’s biggest on record.
7:36am The final death toll from the devastating earthquake and tsunami is likely to pass 1000, according to Japan’s news agency Kyodo News.
7:25am Fox News is reporting that tsunami waves have hit Hawaii beaches and the US western coast. No reports of major damage, but scientists have warned that the first tsunami waves are not always the strongest.
7:15am New Zealand has upgraded its tsunami warning, saying waves of more than one metre are now expected following the massive 8.9-magnitude earthquake in Japan.
Japan Nuclear Power Stations
6:50am The Japanese government has declared an atomic emergency and told thousands of residents living near a nuclear plant in Fukushima to evacuate, warning a small amount of radiation could be released, AFP reports.
6:29am Tsunami waves have hit Mexico, according to AFP. Initial waves were half-a-metre high but subsequent waves could be as high as two metres, the Scientific Research Centre in the town of Enseada said.
6:18am A magnitude 6.6 quake has now struck in central Japan, causing Tokyo buildings to sway, BBC reports. This new earthquake was reportedly on a different faultline from the first 8.9 magnitude earthquake. No reports of damage so far and no new tsunami alerts have been issued.
6.02am The situation at the nuclear power plant appears to be worsening, The Associated Press has quoted an anonymous official as saying if the outage in the cooling system persists, eventually radiation could leak out into the environment, and, in the worst case, could cause a reactor meltdown. However the Guardian mentions a nuclear expert speaking to CNN has said this was only a remote possibility.
Buildings are destroyed by a wall of water in Iwaki, Fukushima. Picture: AP
5.44am BBC quotes nuclear physicist Dr Walt Patterson as saying the situation at the Fukushima-Daiichi plant is “the sort of thing that nuclear engineers have nightmares about … if it is not resolved in the next few hours it will get serious”. Read their analysis of the nuclear emergency.
5.25am The tsunami has hit Santa Cruz on the US west coast, CBS5 is streaming live coverage of the effects. CBS2 reporter Joe Vazquez tweets:
Boats adrift in Santa Cruz; loose from damaged piers. Chopper 5 shows boats floating under overpasses, crashing into other boats on dock.
CBS5 reporting a dozen or so sunken boats. County spokesman says at least $2M damage.
5.23am The BBC have created this interactive map with video for selected regions showing the horrific impact of the quake and tsunami.
5.16am Despite earlier appearing to have been contained authorities are again concerned with the nuclear reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant. The Associated Press reports pressure inside the reactor has risen to 1.5 times the level considered normal.
5.14am Scientists said the earthquake was nearly 8,000 times stronger than one that devastated the city of Christchurch in New Zealand last month.
A tsunami tidal wave washes away houses in Kesennuma, Miyagi. Picture: AP
5.04am There are still fears for the occupants of two trains and a ship with over 100 passengers that were swept away by the tsunami.
4.47am There is amazing footage on Youtube of buildings swaying. View videos here and here.
4.30am US President Barack Obama has offered Japan his “deepest condolences, especially to the victims and their families. I offered our Japanese friends whatever help is needed”. He said that the US already had an aircraft carrier stationed in Japan and that another was on its way. “We also have a ship en route to the Marianas Islands to assist as needed. The defence department is working to account for all our military personnel in Japan. US embassy personnel in Japan have moved to an off-site location, and the state department is working to account for and assist any and all American citizens who are in the country.”
4.18am Kyodo news agency now puts the estimate of number killed at more than 1000.
4.03am The tsunami is expected to hit Ocean Beach in San Francisco shortly, resident Mathew Honan has set up a webcam you can access here.
The waves have started to hit the US West Coast now. Mike Murphy, emergencies chief in Port Orford, Oregon said:
The tsunami has arrived now and the ocean is surging as though it were between high tide and low tide every 30 minutes instead of the usual six hours.
4.02am Japanese defence ministry officials have said 1800 homes in Fukushima prefecture have been destroyed, the BBC reported.
3.59am The Herald Sun has this account from Australian Luke Norris who was in his high-rise apartment in central Tokyo when the quake hit.
I crouched next to the bed. All the lights went out. The whole building started swaying. I’m pretty high up. It was a very scary experience.
3.50am Governments around the world have pledged their support and offered aid to Japan in the wake of the largest quake to ever hit the country.
A house sinks into the ground at Sukagawa city, Fukushima. Picture: AFP
Pedestrians clamber over a piece of collapsed road in Urayasu city, Chiba. Picture: AFP
3.40am Reports indicate the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is “under control”. The World Nuclear Association has said it understands that water is now being pumped into its cooling system. Reuters has also reported the US has transported emergency coolant to the plant. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said:
We just had our Air Force assets in Japan transport some really important coolant to one of the nuclear plants. You know Japan is very reliant on nuclear power and they have very high engineering standards, but one of their plants came under a lot of stress with the earthquake and didn’t have enough coolant.
3.18am Hawaii appears to have dodged the worst of the tsunami with the wave passing seemingly without major impact. White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley said:
I think the enormous fears that that were there hours ago, for some of us hours ago, has diminished greatly, which is quite a relief for all of us.
Houses continue to burn into the night at Natori, Miyagi. Picture: AP
3.08am Five Australians MPs have arrived safely in Tokyo after spending hours trapped on a bullet train that ground to a halt following the 8.9 magnitude earthquake in Japan. Labor MPs Stephen Jones said the atmosphere on the crowded train was surprisingly calm.
You have got to hand it to the Japanese people. They are really taking this in their stride.
3.06am Embassy officials in Japan are trying to contact at least 45 Australians known to be in the region hardest hit by the 8.9 magnitude earthquake and tsunami.
2.58am The Courier-Mail has amazing eye-witness reports from Aussies in the heart of the quake.
I could’ve sworn I didn’t set my alarm to earthquake last night – Joel Porter, based in Sendai, about 130km west of a quake epicentre.
Things were falling off the shelves . . . the microwave was centimetres away from toppling off. The TV stand, holding a 32-inch TV, wheeled itself a couple of metres across the floor – Maki Miyaguchi, an Australian copy editor with Kyodo News, Tokyo
Waves wash away a warehouse and vehicles in Kesennuma, Miyagi. Picture: AP
2.47am A large section of Kesennuma, a town of 70,000 people in Miyagi, is burning furiously with no apparent hope of the flames being extinguished, public broadcaster NHK said. A witness told the broadcaster that the fire began after the tsunami knocked over several cars, causing them to leak oil and gas. The fire started hours later and rescuers have yet to arrive.
2.45am The death toll hasrisen to at least 310 people. The National Police Agency said 110 people had been confirmed dead and 350 missing, with 544 others injured in the tremor.
The death toll has yet to include the 200-300 dead bodies which were (reportedly) found on the beach of Sendai.
2.42am A Japanese news agency has reported a dam has burst in north-eastern Japan, washing away homes.
2.25am Residents in coastal parts of northern California have evacuated their homes in anticipation of an expected tsunami. Authorities warned waves could reach as high as two metres.
2.23am Queen Elizabeth II has sent a message to the Emperor of Japan.
I was saddened to hear of the tragic loss of life caused by the earthquake which has struck north east Japan today. Prince Philip joins me in extending our heartfelt sympathy to your majesty and the people of Japan. Our prayers and thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by the dreadful disaster.
2.02am The official Kyodo news agency is reporting that about 88,000 people are missing. The pictures below show the awful scale of the earthquake’s impact.
A man walks past burning rubble in Iwaki city, Fukushima. Picture: AP
A worker inspects a caved-in section of the Joban Motorway near Mito, Ibaraki. Picture: AP / Nexco East Japan
1.46am UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has expressed his condolences to the Japanese people. He said the UN will do “all it can to mobilise humanitarian assistance”.
The world is shocked and saddened by the images which we saw this morning. On behalf of the United Nations, I want to express my deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences to the Japanese people and government, and most especially to those who have lost family or friends in the earthquake or subsequent tsunami.
1.41am The first waves to hit Hawaii have been thankfully small. Waves were measured at 48cm at Nawiliwili on the island of Kauai, according to officials at an emergency centre in Honolulu. “It’s not going to be a major damaging event,” said Gerard Fryer with the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre as the surge began to hit, although he added there might be scattered damage.
1.17am Millions of people in greater Tokyo are stranded after the earthquake shut down the capital’s massive subway system. Countless workers have found themselves stuck far from their families, and unable to speak to them because the overloaded mobile phone system could not carry most calls.
1.00am Japanese police have found 200 to 300 bodies on a beach at Sendai. NHK television said the victims appeared to have drowned. Police are now putting the death toll at 88 with 349 missing, not including the bodies found at Sendai.
This dramatic picture shows the tsunami as it hits Natori, Miyagi. Picture: AP / Kyodo News
japan earthquake tsunami
12.53am The east coast of Japan continue to be rocked by aftershocks – The US Geological Survey reports seven more over the past half hour.
12.49am Prime Minister Julia Gillard has expressed her condolences to the people of Japan.
On behalf of the people of Australia I want to express our very sincere condolences to the people of Japan and the government of Japan on the death and devastation we are seeing following the earthquake and tsunami. Like people around the world I’ve been watching the images on our TV screens – they are truly shocking.
12.37am Japanese police have reported a major explosion at a petrochemical complex in Sendai.
12.36am The first tsunami waves have hit Hawaii. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre says Kauai was the first island hit. Officials predicted Hawaii would experience waves up to two metres.
12.31am Tokyo’s Narita airport has partially resumed flights. Officials from the airport said some departing flights were now taking off from the airport, but that it was not accepting arrivals. Around 10,000 people were stranded at Narita, and 1100 at Sendai airport, which saw its runways submerged by sweeping black floodwaters.
The picture below shows the tsumani sweeping its way into Sendai airport. Picture: AP / Kyodo News
japan earthquake tsunami
Vehicles are crushed by a collapsed road at a carpark in Yabuki. Picture: AFP
Vehicles ready for shipping being carried by a tsunami tidal wave at Hitachinaka city in Ibaraki. Picture: AFP
12.15am The whereabouts of a ship carrying 100 people which was swept away by the tsunami are still unknown, the Kyodo news agency has reported.
12.03am The northern coast of Indonesia has been struck by a small tsunami. There are no reports of how much damage has been caused and people are still on alert for future waves. Small tsunami waves have also hit the Philippines, but there were no reports of local damage or casualties. Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology director Renato Solidum told a news conference the waves ranged from 30cm to one metre.
The graphic below shows the quake as a star and the estimated time the tsunami will take to hit surrounding Pacific regions. Full image available from NOAA.
Parts of houses already swallowed by the tsunami burn in Sendai. Picture: AP
11.42pm Latin America’s Pacific coast is on tsunami alert. Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa has declared a state of emergency and ordered people on the Galapagos Islands and the coast of the mainland to seek higher ground. Meanwhile, the tsunami is expected to reach Mexico’s coastline within three to four hours.
11.31pm Some 2,000 residents living near Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant have been urged to evacuate.
11.25pm Japanese police have stated the death toll has reached 60 with 56 people still missing.
Japan Nuclear Power Stations
11.22pm More detail from The Associated Press on the state of emergency issued at a nuclear plant after its cooling system failed:
Chief cabinet secretary Yukio Edano says the nuclear power plant in Fukushima developed a mechanical failure in the system needed to cool the reactor after it was shut down in Friday’s earthquake.
He said the measure was a precaution and there was no radiation leak at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant. He said the facility was not in immediate danger.
11.15pm Tsunami sirens have sounded on coastal areas in Hawaii, where the first waves are expected to hit about 1.00am (AEDT). Waves about half a metre high hit Wake Island in the Northern Pacific, meaning the biggest waves to hit Hawaii could reach near 2 metres, said Gerard Fryer, a geophysicist for the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre. Residents in coastal areas across the Pacific from Hawaii to Guam were ordered to evacuate to shelters and higher ground. In Hawaii’s tourist district of Waikiki, visitors were being moved to higher floors of their hotels.
We’re preparing for the worst and we’re praying for the best.
The graphic below shows the earthquake to hit Japan was one of the biggest since 1900.
The image below is a monitor for activity in the Pacific region.
Houses are in flame while the Natori river is flooded over the surrounding area in Natori city. Picture: AP
This picture shows the refinery plant at Ichihara in Chiba engulfed by flames. Picture: AFP
10.56pm Reports indicate New Zealand has downgraded the tsunami threat to a marine threat only.
10.50pm Hawaii has ordered the evacuation of all coastal areas as the threat of a tsunami nears. Main airports have been shut down as a precaution and the US Navy has ordered warships in Pearl Harbor to remain in port to support rescue missions.
10.36pm New Zealand has now issued its own tsunami warning and warns people to stay clear of beaches.
10.30pm US President Barack Obama has offered his condolences to the people of Japan and said his country stood ready to help them after the massive earthquake and tsunami.
(First Lady) Michelle (Obama) and I send our deepest condolences to the people of Japan, particularly those who have lost loved ones in the earthquake and tsunamis. The United States stands ready to help the Japanese people in this time of great trial.
The friendship and alliance between our two nations is unshakeable, and only strengthens our resolve to stand with the people of Japan as they overcome this tragedy.
Cars and other Debris swept away by tsunami tidal waves are seen in Kesennuma in Miyagi. Picture: AP
10.23pm Japan has declared a state of emergency because of the failure of the cooling system at one nuclear plant, according to the Associated Press. Officials say there has been no leak of radiation.
10.03pm BBC online has an account of the quake from Shola Fawehimni, who was at Hokkaido’s airport in northern Japan when it hit:
It was a bit surreal. The chairs and the floor started moving and swaying. I wasn’t really sure what was going on. Then the building started swaying and I realised it was an earthquake. Some ceiling panels fell down.
10.01pm UK Prime Minister David Cameron has offered Britain’s condolences to Japan.
We send our sympathies and condolences to the Japanese people. We’ve had a terrible reminder of the destructive power of nature and everyone should be thinking of that country and its people and I’ve asked immediately that our government should look at what we can do to help.
9.50pm Authorities have said the death toll from the quake has risen to at least 32 people. The magnitude 8.9 offshore quake was followed by at least 19 aftershocks, most of them of more than magnitude 6.0.
A truck remains stranded on a road damaged by a powerful earthquake in Iwaki city. Picture: AP
9.48pm AAP is reporting thatfive Australian MPs are trapped on a bullet train that ground to a halt following the quake.
The federal Liberal member for Fadden, Stuart Robert said he and four other MPs were on the train when the earthquake hit. Mr Robert said he was with Labor MPs Stephen Jones and Amanda Rishworth, Liberal Senator Michaelia Cash and Victorian Labor MP Natalie Hutchins.
All five are reported to be unharmed.
Residents walk through the rubles of residents collapsed by a powerful earthquake in Iwaki. Picture: AP
9.22pm The Guardian website has the following live report from Tristan Mathers in Tokyo reporting life is going on as normal.
It’s kind of crazy because restaurants and convenience stores have remained open despite there being no power. In the background you can hear sirens. People are still going to restaurants and getting food at convenience stores…
The city seems to be in pretty good shape. There’s no damage, no buildings crumbling that I’ve seen. As I said some people are still eating in restaurants, even though it’s pitch black. There’s no power so I expect people are just trying to get back to normal.
The picture below shows flames rising from homes and debris half submerged in Sendai. Picture: AP
9.21pm The tsunami moving across the Pacific is currently so large it could pass right over whole islands in the region, experts are warning. From London’s Independent:
The tsunami set off by Japan’s major earthquake is currently higher than some Pacific islands which it could wash over, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said today.
“Our biggest concern is the Asia and Pacific region, where developing countries are far more vulnerable to this type of unfolding disaster. The tsunami is a major threat,” Paul Conneally, spokesman for the Federation, the world’s biggest disaster relief network, told Reuters in Geneva.
“At the moment, it is higher than some islands and could go right over them,” he said.
Also, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii widened its warning to include most of the Pacific Ocean region.
9.12pm The Bureau of Meteorology says there is no tsunami threat for Australia. The latest Bureau of Meteorology update says Australia’s mainland, islands and territories are safe.
Forecaster Chris Ryan from the National Meteorological and Oceanographic Centre said there was a chance that could change if the quake’s magnitude is found to be higher.
But we’re a fair while past the event now, it seems to have settled to that level. We’re relatively sheltered.
8.50pm The USGS has a summary of the key seismological facts about the quake. It also provides some of the tectonic background to the earthquakes that hit the area.
At the latitude of this earthquake, the Pacific plate moves approximately westwards with respect to the North America plate at a velocity of 83 mm/yr. The Pacific plate thrusts underneath Japan at the Japan Trench, and dips to the west beneath Eurasia. The location, depth, and focal mechanism of the March 11 earthquake are consistent with the event having occurred as thrust faulting associated with subduction along this plate boundary.
8.44pm Reuters explains why, even in earthquake-prone Japan, this event is of frightening proportions. Excerpt:
Roiling water swept away homes, highways and the cars driving on them as waves 10 metres high hit the country’s northeastern Pacific coast after the magnitude 8.9 quake, the biggest in nearly a century and a half.
The tsunami, black with soil and thick with debris, some of it ablaze, submerged farmland near the coastal city of Sendai, and television images showed upended cars bobbing up and down in the water. Boats were floating in an inland sea.
The quake rattled skyscrapers in Tokyo further south, where the streets around the main train station were packed with commuters stranded after buses and trains were halted.
8.43pm Acting Prime Minister Wayne Swan says Australia stands ready to assist Japan.
8.38pm The pictures below show the scale of the damage to stricken cities following the earthquake and tsunami.
A man shelters beneath a desk in Sendai, Miyagi Prefect. Picture: AFP
People amid quake in Japan
Black smoke emerged from a building in Tokyo’s Koto Ward. Picture: AP
Quake strikes Japan
Vehicles are crushed by a collapsed wall at a carpark in Mito city in Ibaraki prefecture. Picture: AP
8.35pm The US Geological Survey reports the monster 8.9-magnitude earthquake which hit Japan was the country’s biggest ever and the seventh largest on record.
Ships and boats are washed ashore in Hachinohe, Aomori Prefectur. Picture: AP
8.27pm National Police Agency said it would be quite some time until the actual toll from the disaster would be known.
“The damage is so enormous that it will take us much time to gather data.”
8.13pm Philippine officials are ordering an evacuation of coastal communities along the country’s eastern seaboard in expectation of a tsunami. The Philippine Volcanology and Seismology Institute director Renato Solidum says the first 1-metre high waves are expected to hit the northernmost Batanes islands by 5pm local time today.
The picture below shows Iwaki in Fukushima Prefecture as it is struck by the tsunami. Picture: AP
8.12pm Google launches its person finder application for the tradgedy.
7.46pm AFP are reporting at least eight people have been killed with three being crushed to death when their houses collapsed in Ibaraki prefecture northeast of Tokyo.
7.41pm The West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center said that any tsunami generated by the earthquake would hit Hawaii at around 2:45am (1245 GMT) and the West Coast at 7:45am (1545 GMT).
7.39pm Tsunami warnings have been issued for Russia, the Philippines and the Mariana Islands, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.
They have also been extended to Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Guam, the Philippines, the Marshall Islands, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Nauru and Micronesia.
The United States later placed the West Coast and Hawaii on tsunami “watch,” urging residents to stay tuned for more information, AFP reported.
The picture below shows a power plant on fire in Ishihara. Picture: AFP / HO / NHK
7.33pm Three people have now been confirmed dead included a 67-year-old man crushed by a wall and an elderly woman killed by a fallen roof, both in the wider Tokyo area.
6.45pm Agence France Presse reports that No radiation leaks have been detected from Japan’s nuclear power stations after the quake.
6.35pm First quake death reported
6.11pm See pictures of quake impact here.
6.07pm In this picture reporters at the Associated Press Tokyo Bureau in Tokyo take shelter under a table as the earthquake strikes. Picture: AP.
5.23pm US Geological survey updates magnitude to 8.8.
5:13pm Russia, Taiwan, Phillipines and Hawaii on tsunami watch after a reported 7.9-magnitude earthquake strikes off Japan’s northeastern coast.
Japan Nuclear Power Stations
KIM DUTHIE… QUEEN OF THE TROLLS! DICKI-LEAKS!!!
Posted: December 23, 2010 by leroydragon in In The News
Tags: 17 year old school girl, AFL, DICKILEAKS, football, KIM DUTHIE, nick dal santo, NICK DEL SANTO, NICK REIWOLDT, nudes, SMALL DICKS, ST KILDA
*Edit. 21/2 – Queen Duthie is at it again!!! Seriously – best TROLL EVER!!!!! We commend you Queen Duthie with your efforts against the St Kilda Football Club and staff! Not happy with the Epic Lulz from Del Santo and Nicky Pin Dick, she has now turned the rage on St Kilda Manager Ricky Nixon!!!!! Who is next??? I cannot wait to post the nude pics of Ricky, that perm or whatever the fuck he is sporting is too good, bring on the n0000dz.
Everyone loves a good troll. And everyone I know hates football. So when someone trolls an AFL club, or players, or the WHOLE FUCKEN TEAM well here @ http://www.theangryfijian.com we call that shit LEGENDARY.
So Kim Duthie ( pictured below ) has scored all these pictures of St Kilda players playing with their willies and being generally gay. Not that this is a surprise, given that Molly Meldrum is the number 1 ticket holder, but anyway, its fucking LULZ all round for people like me, who like to see football players squirming their sleazy little arises off on the front page of the paper.
Being the super snoop that I am.. I managed to track downs Kim twitter account, and Im going to be following the circus, and of course, posting the pictures that nobody will post. Here is a couple:
You would hate to be these too small dicked wonders right now wouldn’t you!! Im sure there misses are beating their balls blue, and Im pretty sure, next year the St Kilda’s opposition is going to have plenty of ammo to sledge these motherfuckers into morbid depression that (fingers crossed) leads to a drug addicted career suicide.
St Kilda AFL captain Nick Riewoldt, Zac Dawson and Nick Dal Santo.. suck fucken shit. Hope your little fuck ups get you one step closer to a real job.
Crank some fucking Double Dragon while you are here:
The drummer from Rose Funeral want’s in on these shenanigans too http://www.thegauntlet.com/article/3915/20739/Rose-Funeral-drummer-wants-you-to-see-his-penis-(NSFW).html
As does Mike Patton.
All this voyeuristic prurient interest in the girl’s looks detracts from the central issue of why the AFL tolerates the breach of it’s own Child Protection Policy 2009, which along with the AFL Code of Conduct, enshrined the AFL Membership Policy, tells us that the more things change under Demetrious’ watch, the more they stay the same.
the reason there was so much legal action is because one of the suppressed photos showed one of the players performing oral sex on another.supposedly one of those photos is the first of a series leading up to the climax.if you know anyone who works at a tv station or newspaper,ask them as they are being shared privately.the girl apparently sent all the photos to all the media outlets,thats why the original story of the miami hotel room quietly went away
fuck you says:
you people are fucked if you think this is right or ar suppporting her sure i hate afl and think its gay but this isnt right oh and as for the comments about them getting a job fuck you lets see you run around and do there job. also how how is rugby any different just seems to be more touching in it and less physical fittness seriously you people should be ashamed of yourselves
HAHA HAVE YOU SEEN THIS PICTURE? http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:xppPCk3icPi1iM:http://s3.amazonaws.com/twitpic/photos/full/215732297.jpg?AWSAccessKeyId=0ZRYP5X5F6FSMBCCSE82&Expires=1293596947&Signature=8smEdCHBymZJCH6%2BBt6mfqZbti4%3D&t=1
LOL, hadn’t but.. ew, haha
Eh, we’ll see what happens.
WINFIELD RED’S 25′s, was about a 35 a day… now maybe 15 a day.
haha. *rolls eyes*
you gave so many women hope, now you are just as bad as the players you wanted to expose. shame on you for pretending you would change things. now you’ve just proven exactly what you wanted to stop, the afl having complete power… so sad.
I just really needed a place to stay..
Do you know what it’s like to stay on the streets?
Do you know what it’s like to not be able to eat for a few days because you have no money?
if you like older men you should like me as am a bit more than twice your age…if you looking at spending time in adelaide let me know, at least still counts me as one of the 1 out of 10 people who like you and comment lol !!
why did you settle i feel like you let down a whole bunch of women who wanted you to carry the torch of train!
I’m Sorry.. I feel sort of the same way
Considering I’ve been to about 3 parties in my life?
I’ve been going out clubbing since I was about 14/15.. So tell me when – Inbetween running 7 days a week and clubbing I managed to fit a party in?
footballers are all cock heads that treat women like shit…more people like you should try to show the world what they are really like….you are very sexy
All the things I can’t explain…
I know you wanna be together, and I wanna spend the night with you.. yeah yeah… with you-oo yeah yeahh, so come with me tonight we can make the night last foreveeerrrr
oh, oh… Let’s pretend you’re mine… We could just pretend, we could just pretend.. yeah yeah… you got what I like, you got what I like, I got whatcha like.. oh cmon… just one taste and you’ll want more… SO TELL ME WHAT YOU’RE WAITING FOR!!!!
*Guitar Solo……* comeeee babyyy we aint gonna live foreveeerrrrr, let me show you all the things that we could dooooo.
yeah CBF writing anymore. ahah.
If you had sex with the footballers on march 27 that would mean the baby wouldn’t be due until about January 27 meaning they could not be the father of the child. correct
Um…. that was my duedate…
Kim Kim Kim……run away with me and we’ll leave Australia behind and we’ll travel the world and have a drink in every bar
that sounds amazing haha
im not going to answer that…
PBOC lifts interest rates
The People’s Bank of China has lifted
interest rates for the second time in just
over a month. The 1-year deposit rate will
be lifted 25 basis points to 3.00pct while
the 1-year lending rate is up 25bps to
US chain store sales rose by 2.7pct last
week compared with a year earlier according
to Redbook Research.
European shares were mixed on Tuesday in
response to China’s decision to lift
interest rates. The FTSEurofirst index fell
by 0.1pct, but the UK FTSE rose 0.7pct with
the German Dax up 0.5pct. In London trade,
mining shares were higher with Xstrata up by
1.7pct with Rio Tinto up 1.9pct and BHP
Billiton up 0.8pct.
US sharemarkets rose again on Tuesday with
investors shrugging off China’s decision to
lift interest rates. Shares in McDonalds
rose by 2.9pct after the fast-food giant
announced that January same store sales beat
market expectations. Of interest, a small
start up company, Gateway Industries, was up
20,000pct today. With an hour of trade to
go, the Dow Jones index was up 48pts or
0.4pct with the S&P 500 up 0.2pct and the
Nasdaq was higher by 6pts or 0.2pct.
US treasuries fell again on Tuesday (yields
higher). Investors fretted about global
inflationary pressures following China’s
decision to raise rates for the third time
since October. US 2yr yields rose by 8pts to
0.84pct and US 10yr yields lifted by 8pts to
Major currencies again largely tracked
sideways against the greenback during
European and US trade on Tuesday. The Euro
held between US$1.3590 and US$1.3690 and was
near US$1.3625 in late US trade. The Aussie
dollar traded between US101.10c and
US101.90c, and was near US$101.45c in late
US trade. And the Japanese yen traded from
81.80 yen per US dollar to around JPY82.30,
and was near JPY82.35 in late US trade.
US crude oil prices fell again on Tuesday.
While strike activity has occurred in the
Suez Canal region, a senior canal officer
told Reuters that they wouldn’t affect canal
operations. The Nymex crude oil contract
fell by US54c (0.6pct) to US$86.94 a barrel.
But London Brent crude rose by US78c to US
$100.03 a barrel.
Base metal prices were again little changed
on the London Metal Exchange on Monday. All
metals rose between 0.1-0.5pct except lead
which lost 1.1pct. And the gold price rose
to three-week highs on Tuesday on global
inflation concerns with the Comex gold
futures price up US$15.90 an ounce to US
Ahead: In Australia, consumer sentiment
data is released. Commonwealth Bank, Boral
and Stockland are amongst those releasing
half-year results. In the US, Federal
Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke delivers
n US non-farm payrolls
(employment) rose by just 36,000 in
January. While the report was well short
of expectations of job gains near
148,000, weakness was attributed to harsh
snow storms in the month. But the
jobless rate plunged from 9.4pct to
9.0pct – the lowest level since April
2009. Hourly earnings jumped by 0.4pct.
n European shares rose slightly on
Friday as investors debated a mixed US
payrolls report. Construction and
utility stocks were most in demand. The
FTSEurofirst index rose by 0.1pct, with
the UK FTSE up 0.2pct and German Dax
higher by 0.3pct.
n US sharemarkets rose on Friday
as investors shrugged off tepid jobs
growth, preferring to focus on positive
forward indicators released earlier in
the week. At the close of trade, the Dow
Jones index was up 29.9pts or 0.3pct with
the S&P 500 up 0.3pct and the Nasdaq was
higher by 15pts or 0.6pct. Over the week
the Dow Jones rose by 2.3pct with the S&P
up 2.7pct and Nasdaq lifted by 3.1pct.
n US treasuries fell on Friday
(yields higher) as investors fretted that
inflation could prove
stronger-than-expected over 2011. US 2yr
yields rose by 3pts to 0.75pct and US
10yr yields lifted by 9pts to 3.64pct.
Over the week US 2yr yields rose by 20pts
– the most since June 7 2009. And US 10yr
yields rose by 31pts.
n Major currencies eased against
the US dollar during US trade on Friday.
The Euro fell from highs near US$1.3645
to US$1.3545 before ending US trade near
US$1.3580. The Euro has softened to US
$1.3550 this morning. The Aussie dollar
fell from highs around US101.95c to
US101.10c, but lifted to near US101.40c
in late US trade. The Aussie has softened
to near US101.10c this morning. And the
Japanese yen fell from 81.50 yen per US
dollar to around JPY82.45, and closed US
trade near JPY82.20.
n US crude oil prices fell by
almost 2pct on Friday in response to
unfounded speculation that Egypt’s
President Mubarak could step down over
the week-end. Investors also chose to
take profits as the US dollar rose. The
Nymex crude oil contract fell by US$1.51
(1.7pct) to US$89.04 a barrel. And London
Brent crude fell by US$1.93 to US$99.83 a
barrel. Over the week Nymex crude fell by
US30c while Brent rose by US41c.
n Base metal prices rose on the
London Metal Exchange on Friday. Metals
rose 0.4-1.5pct with nickel doing best.
Over the week metals generally rose
between 5.3-6.7pct but aluminium lagged
with a 2.5pct gain. But the gold price
eased on Friday in line with oil in
response to a stronger greenback. The
Comex gold futures price fell by US$4.00
an ounce to US$1,349.00. Gold rose by US
$8.30 an ounce over the week.
n Ahead: In Australia, job
advertisements data is released together
with retail trade. In the US, consumer
credit data is released.
The Australian share market looks to open steady today, having received mixed overseas leads. Wall Street’s key indices closed with little changed as investors considered the political unrest in Egypt against generally encouraging earnings reports, ahead of Friday’s key US jobs data. At home Australians will be waking up to assess the damage caused by Cyclone Yasi, that tore through Queensland overnight.
On Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, closed 2 points up to 12,042, S&P500 eased 4 points to close 1,304 and the NASDAQ lost 1 point to close 2,750.
European stocks were mixed: London’s FTSE up 42 points, Paris down 6 and Frankfurt closed steady.
To Asian markets, stocks were higher: Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 426 points, Tokyo was up 183 points and China’s Shanghai Composite was closed.
The Australian share market finished higher on Wednesday. The S&P/ASX 200 Index lifted 44 points to close at 4,797 and on the futures market the SPI is up 2 points.
Turning to currencies and the Australian Dollar at 8:50AM was buying $US1.0092, 62.36 Pence Sterling, 82.31 Yen and 73.08 Euro cents.
Economic news: Due out today, the Australian Industry Group/Commonwealth Bank Australian Performance of Services Index for January. The Australian Bureau of Statistics building approvals and international trade in goods and services both for December. And also, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries monthly car sales for January 2011.
Company news: On Wednesday shares in Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX:TLS) rose 0.72 per cent to close at $2.79. Telstra’s turnaround plan looks set to cost over the projected $1 billion in the current financial year but is expected to result in more customer numbers, according to the Australian Financial Review. The AFR says Telstra’s mobile phone business has benefited from Vodafone Hutchison Australia’s network problems and that the telco plans to make further gains by injecting over $450 million that it had budgeted for promotions and larger handset subsidies. According to the report Telstra is also gearing up to spend $150 million on regaining fixed-line market share, $250 million on redundancies and $100 million on other expenses. In the 2010 financial year, Telstra booked a net profit of $3.9 billion.
Yesterday shares in News Corporation (ASX:NWS) closed 1.69 per cent up at $16.86. News Corporation has reported a 153 per cent jump in second quarter net profit to $637.6 million for the three months to 31 December 2010. In the same period the media company posted EBIT of $1.28 billion, up 81.2 per cent from the same quarter the year before. News Corp chairman and chief executive Rupert Murdoch says the growth reflects mounting vigour of the company’s global channels business. In the year ended 30 June 2010, News Corp generated a net profit of $3.1 billion.
To ex-dividends: No companies are going ex-dividend today, but coming up tomorrow is Australian Foundation Investment Company with an $0.08 cent fully franked dividend.
To commodities: Gold is down $8.20 to $US1,332 an ounce for the April contract on Comex, silver is down $0.23 to $28.29 for March and copper is steady at $4.54 a pound. Oil is up $0.09 at $90.86 a barrel for March light crude in New York.
The US ADP private sector employment report supported the view that the US economy was picking up|
|steam. The private sector added 187,000 jobs in January following on from the downwardly revised|
|247,000 jobs added in December. The January result was well ahead of expectations. The non-farm|
|payrolls report on Friday is expected to show a rise of 145,000 jobs for January. |
|European shares edged higher on Wednesday. Mining shares posted solid gains in response to |
|higher metal prices. The STOXX Europe 600 Resources index gained 2.1pct as copper prices |
|remained near record highs. In London, banks found good support on improved investor sentiment. |
|Standard Chartered rose 1.7pct. The FTSEurofirst index rose by 0.2pct with the UK FTSE up 1.6pct|
|and the German Dax was higher by 1.5pct. |
|US sharemarkets were mostly unchanged on Wednesday with stocks managing to hold on to the |
|previous sessions sharp gains. The strong employment data was tempered by the fresh clashes |
|between authorities and citizens in Egypt. With an hour of trade, the Dow Jones index was up by |
|14pts or 0.1pct with the S&P 500 down 0.1pct and the Nasdaq was higher by 4pts or 0.2pct. |
|US treasuries fell again on Wednesday (yields higher). Better-than-expected economic data |
|supported a switch away from safe-haven assets. The US treasury department said it will auction |
|$72 billion in notes next week – in line with expectations. US 2yr yields rose by 5pts to |
|0.66pct and US 10yr yields rose by 4pts to 3.49pct. |
|The US dollar strengthened against major currencies In European and US trade on Wednesday. The |
|Euro fell from highs near US$1.3855 to US$1.3775, and was near US$1.3795 in late US trade. The |
|Aussie dollar fell from highs around US101.25c to US100.55c, and was around US100.80c in late US |
|trade. And the Japanese yen eased from 81.40 yen per US dollar to around JPY81.80, and was near |
|JPY81.60 in late US trade. |
|US crude oil prices pared early gains following the rebound in the US dollar. The release of the|
|weekly inventory data also pressured oil prices. US crude stockpiles rose 2.6 million barrels |
|last week as refiners rebuilt stockpiles following the sharp drawdown late last year. The Nymex |
|crude oil contract rose by US9 cents (0.1pct) to US$90.86 a barrel. London Brent crude fell by |
|US21c to US$101.53 a barrel. |
|Base metal prices mostly held on to the previous session’s gains on the London Metal Exchange. |
|However the recovery in the US dollar did pressure commodities in late trade. Aluminium fell |
|1.2pct while Lead gained 0.5pct. And the gold price eased on Wednesday as the US dollar |
|strengthened. The Comex gold futures price lost US$8.20 an ounce to US$1,332.10. |
|Ahead: In Australia, data on building approvals and trade data is released. In the US, the ISM |
|non-manufacturing index and factory orders are released.
The data out of the US continues to impress. Personal income and spending
numbers out last night show the US consumer is back. Incomes rose 0.4% in
December, while spending rose 0.7% – the savings rate, meanwhile is at a
comparatively elevated 5.3%. In the manufacturing space, data is no less
promising, with manufacturing surveys for Chicago, Dallas and Milwaukie all
showing robust activity.
Now this is all great news and helped underpin a bid in the equity space.
Admittedly this bid is fading into the close, but at the high the S&P500
was up 0.8% (currently 0.4% at 1281). BY sector, energy stocks were the key
outperformers, boosted by another 3% gain on WTI ($92.17, Brent $100) and
strong earnings from ExxonMobil. Basic materials and industrials also
outperformed, with consumer goods, telecommunications and consumer services
weighing heavy. The Dow otherwise was up 31pts (11853), the Nasdaq rose
0.3% (2693) while the SPI was flat (4727).
In FX land, both EUR and Sterling got a decent boost from some higher
European inflation data, especially Sterling which was up 148pips to
1.6007. The market is increasingly taking the view that rates on hold, is
a luxury neither the ECB nor BoE can afford. EUR rose 85pips to 1.3680
after euro zone inflation rose to 2.4%y/y in January from 2.3% (remember
the ECB targets 2% or below). Otherwise AUD was up 40pips to 0.9961, while
JPY was unchanged at 82.05.
In contrast, there was little action in debt markets. US treasury yields
are currently up between 2-4bp with the 2,5 and 10yr trading within a
4-11bp range to be at 0.57%, 1.95% and 3.37% respectively. Aussie futures
are down 1-3 ticks on a 4 tick range with 3s at 94.93 and 10s at 94.47.
Bits and pieces otherwise. Canadian GDP rose by 0.4% in November to be 3%
higher annually. In Germany, retail sales fell by 0.3% in December after a
1.9% fall in November. Note that there are rumours flying around that
Greece and relevant parties are discussing some kind of ‘Brady Plan’ like
deal. Basic gist is that bond holders would take a haircut and the
maturity of Greek loans would extend to 30yrs. The Greek government
confirmed they are discussing plans to extend the maturity of loans, but
denied there would be a restructuring or any haircut applied to bond
holders. Note that over the last week, the ECB bought no bonds, the first
time since October, and a great sign that debt concerns are easing. Also of
interest, US corporate bond sales apparently are at a January record, not
surprising with such a low cost of funding.
So today we can look forward to the RBA’s rate announcement (1430) although
no one is expecting any changes from the Bank today. To be honest, I have
no sense of what the RBA Board will make of recent events, but I would be
genuinely stunned if they are as dovish as the market. I would hope that
they can see sense, see past all the PR rubbish and set policy with an eye
to the medium term national interest. As I highlighted in my piece
yesterday, global growth is accelerating we know this, look at the recent
data flow, especially out of the US.
We know that global inflation is rising, already in Europe and the UK it is
above the band – it is rising sharply in the emerging world. In the
domestic space growth is robust – ok credit growth is sluggish and there
are questions over retailing. But this is the whole point of the exercise
– credit growth should be subdued, likewise consumer spending. With
interest rates barely above average, barely even above neutral, I think it
is ridiculous to sincerely expect the RBA to just sit around and a wait for
a consumer spending rebound (not that I think there is a lot of reliable
evidence that it soft) or a pick up in credit growth – as if these were
somehow desirable outcomes. Similarly, we can’t just expect them to sit
around in fear that Europe will disintegrate or China implode, while global
growth, meanwhile, is so strong.
Whatever the case in the retail space it is clear that high interest rates
are not the problem. Ditto credit. Interest rates are not that high, a
fact plain to see. So with the fantasy of a global double dip over, we are
left with the reality of strong global growth, rising global inflation and
a commodity boom; all thrown in with the most stimulatory monetary policy
humanity has ever seen – which by the by doesn’t look like its going to
change any time soon. It’s a lay down misere, they should hike.
Just prior to that NAB release their business survey for December, the ABS
issue Q4 house prices and then tonight we get US construction activity and
the ISM index.
Have a great day..
limited. Stocks in Europe were mixed but not significantly different from
0. So for instance the FTSE was off 0.3%, the Dax rose 0.03% and the STXE
600 rose 0.1%. The SPI closed 0.01% higher (4748).There wasn’t much more
action in debt markets either. Bunds and gilts fell marginally (yields up)
Aussie 3s and 10s were unchanged at 94.87 and 94.45, while in the FX space,
we saw AUD up 67pips to 0.9944, EUR down 45pips to 1.3294, GBP up 27pips to
1.5881 and JPY down to 82.71 from 82.89.
That done, the main focus for the market was this debate over the Euro
zone’s bailout fund. The latest discussion is whether the EFSF should be
allowed to buy the debt of distressed economies and get a substantial boost
to its lending capacity. At the moment, the fund can raise €440bn, but only
lend out €250bn, which is obviously a problem if Spain should require help.
The ECB backs the plan, the French bank it, the European Commission backs
it as well. Only Germany is holding back, but recall here comments from the
German Finance Minister that a plan would be reached by March. This is from
a man not known to mince his words, so I think we can take that at face
value. A solution will be reached. By the by it actually concerns me when
people mistake robust debate and disagreement as political ineptitude.
Sign of the times I guess. The reality though, is that robust debate and
well managed conflict and disagreement, over time, yields superior results.
I think its wrong then to look at the goings on in Europe as a reason to
believe in its imminent demise. I think in contrast the political bonds
that bind will only strengthen. Anyways, while we are on Europe, an ECB
member, Orphanides, suggests that markets have overreacted to the ECB’s
recent policy statement suggesting that the ECB sees no need to change
policy and that they’re not hawkish.
Still in central bank land, one Fed member (Plosser, a voter this year),
one of the few who seems to know anything about economics, suggests that
monetary policy will be unable to speed up adjustments in the labour market
and that attempts to use monetary policy for this purpose may create
further instability. Here, here. He also argued that the Fed’s powers
should be curbed to prevent abuse (further abuse I would argue). Here,
here. On the outlook, he seemed to suggest that the Fed could end Qe2 early
and even hike rates this year if conditions warranted it, stating “I do
know that there is a danger that we wait to long, and the consequences of
that might be disruptive and dangerous”. I would suggest that it is 100%
guaranteed that the Fed will wait too long and that absolutely the
consequences will be disruptive and dangerous. This is from a central bank
that brought us GFC I and we expect them to steer a steady course through
the fall out? You’re kidding.
Other than that, China’s President suggested that the global monetary
system wasn’t functioning very well and that the US should keep USD
liquidity at a reasonable and stable level (here, here). In return a group
of US senators are calling for action against China for their FX policy.
So looking at the day ahead, there is little for Australia or NZ (REINZ
house prices at 0800). Japan releases their final estimates of November
industrial production and machine tool orders. The UK release December CPI
and remember this has been above target now for about a year, all the while
some members of the monetary committee are actually dim-witted enough to
argue for more QE. Elsewhere we see the German Zew survey, the US Empire
State manufacturing survey and the BoC meets on rates (no change expected).
Have a good one…