The Note’s Must-Reads for Friday March 11th 2011

By Jayson

Mar 11, 2011 5:28am

Compiled by ABC News Digital News Associates and Desk Assistants JACQUELINE NG FERNANDEZ, CLAUDIA MORALES and JORDAN MANOR

Japan/ Earthquake:
Wall Street Journal’s Michael Arnold: “Strong Quake Shakes Japan” TOKYO—A devastating earthquake with a magnitude of 8.9 rocked Japan Friday afternoon, forcing tens of thousands of people to evacuate their homes, killing at least five and triggering a 10-meter tsunami that violently swept away cars and other objects in its path and shutting down phone lines and transportation in most parts of the country. LINK

Washington Post’s Chico Harlon: “Powerful earthquake, tsunami strike Japan” A massive 8.9-magnitude earthquake and several powerful aftershocks struck the eastern coast of Japan on Friday afternoon, triggering tsunamis that devastated the coastline north of Tokyo.  The government is anticipating substantial damage, with the first reports of casualties coming hours after the earthquake. Japanese broadcaster NHK so far has reported eight deaths, but officials fear that number will rise.  LINK 

Bloomberg’s Stuart Biggs and Aaron Sheldrick: “Earthquake strikes North Japan; Tsunami Destroys Buildings” Japan was struck by its strongest earthquake in at least a century, an 8.9-magnitude temblor that shook buildings across Tokyo and unleashed a tsunami as high as 10 meters, engulfing towns along the northern coast.  At least 18 people were killed by the 33-foot wave and many are missing, according to state broadcaster NHK Television, which showed footage of waves sweeping away buildings and vehicles as far as 1.5 kilometers inland. LINK

Bloomberg’s Lucy Meakin and Wes Goodman: “U.S. 10-Year Treasury Yield Reaches Month Low After Earthquake Hits Japan” Treasury 10-year yields declined to the lowest since January after an 8.9-magnitude earthquake and tsunami struck Japan, bolstering demand for the relative safety of U.S. government debt.  At least one person was killed and many people are missing or injured across northern Japan, national broadcaster NHK Television said. Asian stocks declined. A U.S. report is forecast to show retail sales rose in February by the most in four months. LINK

Economy:
Wall Street Journal’s Justin Lahart and Mark Whitehouse: “Families Slice Debt to Lowest in 6 years” U.S. families—by defaulting on their loans and scrimping on expenses—shouldered a smaller debt burden in 2010 than at any point in the previous six years, putting them in position to start spending more.  Total U.S. household debt, including mortgages and credit cards, fell for the second straight year in 2010 to $13.4 trillion, the Federal Reserve reported Thursday. LINK

Libya:
Washington Times’ Ashish Kumar Sen: “Clinton to meet with Libyan rebels” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday said she will meet next week with Libya’s rebel envoys, as France took the diplomatic lead among Western nations and recognized the provisional government seeking to overthrow Col. Moammar Gadhafi.  Mrs. Clinton said at a House budget hearing that she will hold talks with members of the National Transitional Council when she travels to Egypt and Tunisia. It will be the highest-level contact between the Obama administration and the rebels since the uprising against the Libyan dictator erupted three weeks ago. LINK

Washington Post’s Karen DeYoung and Edward Cody: “U.S. to send aid team to eastern Libya; Clinton to meet rebel representatives” The White House announced Thursday that it will send a government aid team into rebel-held parts of Libya and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said she will meet next week with representatives of the transition council, moves that edged the Obama administration closer to the formal Libyan opposition.  But the administration stopped far short of recognizing the council as Libya's legitimate government and continued to wrestle with how to achieve its goals of pushing Moammar Gaddafi from power while ensuring that something better far replaces him.  LINK

Wisconsin Protests:
Washington Times’ Valerie Richardson: “Wis. Governor’s bill to limit unions’ power” Against a backdrop of protesters and police, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was set to sign landmark legislation Thursday reining in the power of public-employee unions after a pitched battle over collective bargaining that shows no signs of abating.  The state Assembly approved the bill in a 53-42 vote Thursday, marking the end of a bitter three-week struggle at the Capitol in Madison that pitted the budget-cutting Republican governor and Legislature against Democratic lawmakers and union demonstrators who framed the debate as a battle for the survival of the labor movement.  LINK

GOP
Politico’s Jim Vandehei &Mike Allen: “GOP’s 2012 playbook: Budget cuts blaze trail” The Republican Party is undergoing a messy but unmistakable 20-month transformation from fanatically anti-Obama to fanatically anti-spending, providing top party officials a new and intriguing playbook for recapturing the White House in 2012. The new formula can be seen in the big policy fights gripping the nation – and in the political figures leading the charge.  LINK

The Boston Globe’s Matt Viser: “Romney’s plan for tax breaks stirs debate” Likely presidential candidate Mitt Romney wants to use the promise of huge tax breaks to entice large corporations to move their overseas profits back to the United States, in hopes they would create a wealth of new jobs for US workers. LINK

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