Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano gave assurances that the No. 3 reactor's containment vessel survived the explosion, just like the one at the No. 1 reactor, which blew up its housing on Saturday.
Tokyo Electric Power Co., struggling to cool down all three reactors, said the water level in the No. 2 reactor is still above the fuel rods, but officials are scrambling to prevent a meltdown.
The latest hydrogen explosion came as the government — confronted by the massive rescue and body retrieval operation all along the Tohoku region coast, and the threat of massive power outages in the Kanto region — scrambled to prevent a nuclear meltdown that could be triggered by overheating fuel rods.
NYT: "As the scale of Japan’s nuclear crisis begins to come to light, experts in Japan and the United States say the country is now facing a cascade of accumulating problems that suggest that radioactive releases of steam from the crippled plants could go on for weeks or even months."
While gay rights still have a very long way to go in Poland, things are starting to slowly change: "Socially, being openly anti-gay is becoming as unacceptable as being anti-Semitic: A decade ago it was possible to hear otherwise cultured and intelligent Poles declaiming on how Jews controlled both capitalism and communism, but outside of marginal groups like soccer hooligans, such views are now almost never publicly expressed."
Nashville clergy members in support of discrimination bill say that they have been "in prayer that a spirit of inclusion rather than exclusion would descend upon our city."
Seawalls in Japan provided very little protection during the quake and subsequent tsunami: "The tsunami that followed the quake washed over walls that were supposed to protect the plants, disabling the diesel generators crucial to maintaining power for the reactors’ cooling systems during shutdown."
Unseen photos of a pre-fame Madonna published in Out.
Capuchin monkeys have figured out a new way to "fish" for termites.
Department of State spokesman P.J. Crowley resigns after coming under fire for comments about Bradley manning: "The unauthorized disclosure of classified information is a serious crime under U.S. law. My recent comments regarding the conditions of the pre-trial detention of Private First Class Bradley Manning were intended to highlight the broader, even strategic impact of discreet actions undertaken by national security agencies every day and their impact on our global standing and leadership."
Australia's ABC News has published several dramatic before and after aerial shots of the massive destruction in Japan. The above pictures are of Sendai Airport in Northern Japan. See more remarkable interactive shots on the ABC News site.
Death toll from Japanese quake and tsunami now stands at 1,700 with about 10,000 missing from just one port town in the northern part of the country.
Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark cancels shows scheduled between April 19 and May 11, will officially open June 14.
University of Connecticut holds the largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth conference in the country where Governor Dannel P. Malloy speaks to the crows about his strong support for gay rights.
Ice caps are in bigger trouble than first thought: "Vast ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are melting much more rapidly than predicted by climate models, according to scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California."
A massive earthquake measuring 8.9 struck Japan earlier today. It's the largest quake to strike in Japan's recorded history and the fifth-largest recorded since 1900 in the world.
I'll keep updating this post as more information comes in...
Live video from Japan, above.
WATCH some unreal video footage of the quake and tsunami, AFTER THE JUMP...
Above, Reuters: "A massive tsunami sweeps in to engulf a residential area after a powerful earthquake in Natori, Miyagi Prefecture in northeastern Japan"
AP: "Authorities said at least 32 people were killed. The magnitude 8.9 offshore quake was followed by at least 19 aftershocks, most of them of more than magnitude 6.0. Dozens of cities and villages along a 1,300-mile (2,100-kilometer) stretch of coastline were shaken by violent tremors that reached as far away as Tokyo, hundreds of miles (kilometers) from the epicenter."
"Michelle 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. We will continue to closely monitor tsunamis around Japan and the Pacific going forward and we are asking all our citizens in the affected region to listen to their state and local officials as I have instructed FEMA to be ready to assist Hawaii and the rest of the US states and territories that could be affected."
"A 33ft tsunami has reportedly killed at least 32 people as it swept over Japan's northeastern coast after the country's biggest earthquake in recorded history...The 8.9 magnitude megaquake caused a huge wave that hit the port of Sendai city, sending ships crashing into the shore and carrying cars and buildings through streets. It also rocked the capital, Tokyo, which was among the cities shaken by at least 19 subsequent aftershocks."
"It breaks my heart to be so far away and not be able to help those who need it. So I am taking to what I know best. For a city already struggling, the latest ‘quake is a blow to the morale of a truly great city. The city came together after the September ‘quake, and the city picked itself up. This time around, the damage is not only superficial — lives have been lost, and the city is unrecognizable."