Current Events Cheat Sheet: The Plot Thickens for Japan

As if the devastation from the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunami weren’t enough, Japan continues to deal with threats from a damaged nuclear power plant. Ready for some numbers that will stop you in your tracks? The current death toll stands at 8,100, 12,000 people remain missing and 452,000 have been displaced. These figures, unfortunately, are on the rise. There are a few heart-warming reports coming out, such as the 80-year-old woman and her grandson found yesterday who survived for 9 DAYS (eek!) beneath the rubble of their house, but for the most part headlines remain focused on the nuclear catastrophe.  The Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant lost power following the earthquake, and since then has been releasing radiation into the surrounding area. The government has been working frantically to restore power, but traces of radiation have already been found in Tokyo’s tap water and produce at grocery stores.

The Libyan civil war intensified as pro-government forces clash against the now U.S. military-supported rebels attempting to oust the current leader, Muammar Gadhafi. The revolt started almost exactly a month ago when protesters, inspired by the successful pro-democracy rallies in Egypt, gathered to peacefully rally. In the past week, Gadhafi’s supporters seemed to be gaining strength. On Saturday, however, after what was talked about as a too-long deliberation, the U.S., other members of N.A.T.O and the Arab League took military action. This action came in the form of attacks against Libya’s air defense systems to help enforce a UN-mandated no-fly zone.
Cocaine’s been in the news this week, reportedly found in two places it definitely should not be- a fourth grade classroom and the Kennedy Space Center. On Thursday, a fourth-grade boy brought the illegal substance to school and shared it with four of his classmates. When the kids started to feel sick, their teacher realized what was up and alerted the main office (remember the “main office,” btw?) All the kids are OK and won’t be getting in trouble, but the boy’s parents? Ohhhhh yes. As for the Kennedy Space Center? NASA reports that 4.2 grams of the stuff was found earlier in the month. It’s not the first time either; the drug was also found in a restricted area in early 2010. Guess it’s tough being an astronaut.
A study released this week revealed that for the first time, more Americans get their news online than from newspapers. 46% of people reported sticking to online sources (like this column, maybe?) compared to 40% who still read the newspaper. This week, The New York Times website, which formerly provided its content for free, switched over to a pay model. What does this mean for journalism (and my future career)? Who knows, but it’s interesting, at least.
And in another notable study released this week, more than half of Americans reported supporting same-sex marriage. For the first time in years and years of polls, proponents of same-sex marriage surpassed the halfway mark and reached 53%.  In 2003, that number was all the way down at 36%. I wonder if Lady Gaga had anything to do with this.
Photo of the Week:


If you had sight of the sky Saturday night, you probably saw the HUMONGOUS looking moon. That was what’s called a “Supermoon,” which is when a full moon is super-close to the Earth. We haven’t had one come so near for 18 years.

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