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JAPAN: Earthquake Aftermath, As Seen From Japanese Media

Friday's earthquake and the tsunami that followed is a massive disaster in Japan. Here's a quick look at how it's being covered by the Japanese media.

(Pinboke)

DEATH TOLL A precise count of victims in the immediate wake of a disaster of this scale and breadth is always hard to verify, especially in the early hours. While most news organizations have stuck to the figures of dead bodies recovered, and reports of "hundreds' missing, Japan's official Kyodo news agency released an early report of 88,000 people missing. That has since be revised downward. But by Sunday, the website of leading daily Asahi Shimbun was reporting that sources at the prefecture in Miyagi were calling it'inevitable" that the number killed by the tsunami would reach 10,000 in that northern province alone.

HELL ON EARTH Two Yomiuri reporters made it to the town of Kesennuma in the Miyagi province, which was described as a "hellish sight," with all but the platform of the local train station swept away. The destroyed houses, debris and rubble inevitably begged the question of how many human victims were buried out of sight.

ATOMIC FEARS Sankei covers the conflicting reports on the gravity of the situation at the troubled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, where overheating has apparently deformed the core of the No. 3 injecting water into them and reducing the pressure inside. Some 20 people have reportedly been treated for exposure to radiation. (Here's a picture of people waiting to be tested) Still, the government's top spokesman has cautioned that there are still no signs that the situation poses an immediate health crisis.

NATIONAL EMERGENCY Nikkei daily website ran the Kyodo report on Sunday's press conference of Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who called on his fellow Japanese to focus foremost on trying to save lives in rescue operations, and announced the country would begin rationing electricity. He called the disaster Japan's biggest challenge since World War II.

ETC.

*Live simultaneous translation into English of Japanese television reports of the quake aftermath....HERE

*Buildings sway...HERE

*Tsunami rolls....HERE

*GlobalVoices on social translation in a moment of crisis....HERE


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Geopolitics

Patronage Or Politics? What's Driving Qatar And Egypt Grand Rapprochement

For Cairo, Qatar had been part of an “axis of evil,” with anger directed at Al Jazeera, the main Qatari outlet, and others critical of Egypt after the Muslim Brotherhood ouster. But the vitriol is now gone, with the first ever visit by Egyptian President al-Sisi to Doha.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met with the Emir of Qatar in June 2022 in Cairo

Beesan Kassab, Daniel O'Connell, Ehsan Salah, Hazem Tharwat and Najih Dawoud

For the first time since coming to power in 2014, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi traveled to Doha last month on an official visit, a capstone in a steadily building rapprochement between the two countries in the last year.

Not long ago, however, the photo-op capturing the two heads of state smiling at one another in Doha would have seemed impossible. In the wake of the Armed Forces’ ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood government in 2013, Qatar and Egypt traded barbs.

In the lexicon of the intelligence-controlled Egyptian press landscape, Qatar had been part of an “axis of evil” working to undermine Egypt’s stability. Al Jazeera, the main Qatari outlet, was banned from Egypt, but, from its social media accounts and television broadcast, it regularly published salacious and insulting details about the Egyptian administration.

But all of that vitriol is now gone.

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