The Note’s Must-Reads for Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

By Jayson

Mar 16, 2011 3:20am

Compiled by ABC News Digital News Associates and Desk Assistants, CLAUDIA MORALES, JAYCE HENDERSON and JORDAN MANOR

The Note's Must-Reads are a round-up of today's political headlines and stories from ABC News and the top U.S. newspapers. Posted Monday through Friday right here at www.abcnews.com

JAPAN:
ABC News’ David Muir, Jessica Hopper, Dean Schabner, and Ben Forer: “Japan Earthquake: Radiation Lakes Halts Work at Damaged Reactors” Work to stabilize the damaged reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was halted early Wednesday because radiation leaking from the units made the situation unsafe, Japanese officials said.  Radiation levels started to rise sharply after steam was seen escaping from unit 3 at the plant, which was damaged first by the powerful earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan Friday, and then by an explosion in the reactor.  There have been explosions in two other reactors at the plant, and two fires at a fourth unit, which was being used as a storage facility for radioactive material.

A Japanese government official also indicated for the first time that the containment vessels of all three of the reactors at the plant that exploded may be leaking, raising worries of dangerous radiation leaks.  LINK 

 

ABC News’ Susan Donaldson James and Russell Goldman: “Japanese, Waiting in Line for Hours, follow Social Order After Quake” Overnight and into the grey, chilly morning, long lines formed outside small convenience stores and supermarkets throughout the tsunami-ravaged city of Sendai.  At one, Daiei, the orderly lines had begun 12 hours before the shop opened and stretched for blocks.  "I came to get baby food for my 2-week-old nephew," said Maki Habachi, 23, who had been patiently standing for four hours and still had an eight-hour wait to go. "My sister only has one day's food left."  Without fuel for her car, she had ridden for two days by bike just to find food. Even bottled drinks in the ubiquitous corner vending machines were sold out.  Despite the line's length everyone remained calm and polite.  LINK 

 ABC News’ Olivia Katrandjian, Clarissa Ward and Akkiko Fugita: “For some Japanese Nuclear crisis Scarier Than Quake or Tsunami” For some Japanese who have been battered by a monster earthquake and powerful tsunami, the prospect of a nuclear crisis is the scariest threat yet. "Nuclear power is the most frightening thing, even more than a tsunami," said Isao Araki, a 63-year-old from the coast village of Minami-soma, which was swept away from Friday's tsunami. "The government, the ruling party, the administrators… nobody tells us, the citizens, what is really happening."  While many who were in the path of the tsunami are still shellshocked, others are struggling to cope with a life that is completely altered and now has a looming nuclear threat as well. And the trouble is rippling out like a wave and reaching as far as Tokyo.  More than 70,000 people have been evacuated from a 12-mile area around the four nuclear plants that engineers are struggling to keep from failing and have begun to leak radiation. Another 140,000 who live within 19 miles of the plants have been told to stay indoors and make their homes airtight.  LINK 

LA Times’ Mark Magnier, Barbara Demick, and Laura King: “Fire reignites at Japan nuclear reactor” Reporting from Sendai and Tokyo, Japan fresh setbacks, including another blaze at a crippled reactor, bedeviled Japanese authorities Wednesday as they struggled to contain the world's worst nuclear crisis in a quarter of a century, and survivors of the devastating earthquake and tsunami suffered through shortages, bitter cold and overnight snowfall.  Troubling new estimates emerged of the extent of damage at the Fukushima No. 1 (Daiichi) nuclear plant about 150 miles north of Tokyo.  Elevated radiation levels detected a day earlier in the vicinity of the plant imposed a creeping sense of isolation, with greater numbers of foreigners leaving, rescue crews mindful of exit routes and international flights being diverted away from the capital.  LINK

LA Times’ Kenji Hall and Carol J. Williams: “Fire erupts again at Fukushima Daiichi's No. 4 reactor; nuclear fuel rods damaged at other reactors” Another fire at Japan's stricken Fukushima No. 1 (Daiichi) nuclear power complex broke out early Wednesday and authorities said about 70% of another reactor's fuel rods had been damaged by the spate of accidents and breakdowns since Friday's earthquake and tsunami.  The ominous disclosure, after authorities insisted throughout the previous day that damage to the overheating reactors was negligible, compounded a sense of escalating hazards and fear five days after the disasters expected to take historic peacetime tolls on Japan's people and economy.  LINK

GOP / DEMOCRATS:
The New York Times’ Jennifer Steinhauer and Raymond Hernandez: “Party Seeks One Voice. Schumer Steps Forward” The Sunday morning news conferences to denounce overpriced breakfast cereal are a thing of the past. So is edging colleagues out of jobs and camera shots with elbows as sharp as a sushi knife. LINK

The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza and Jon Cohen: “Sarah Palin losing more ground among Republicans, Post-ABC poll finds” Sarah Palin’s ratings within the Republican Party are slumping, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, a potentially troubling sign for the former Alaska governor as she weighs whether to enter the 2012 presidential race. LINK

BUDGET/ECONOMY:
Politico’s David Rogers: “No deal imminent as short-term spending bill passes” Tuesday’s breakdown in Republican discipline weakens Speaker John Boehner’s hand in White House budget talks and raises the chances of a government shutdown next month unless he and President Barack Obama greatly step up their game. LINK

The Washington Time’s Stephen Dinan: “GAO’s report on waste suddently a Hill must-readMove over, Tom Clancy — the newest thriller to go viral, at least by federal government report standards, is the Government Accountability Office’s just-published look at waste and duplication in federal agencies.LINK

The Hill’s Erik Wasson and Pete Kasperowicz: “House passes stopgap measure; 54 Republicans vote contrary to party” The House on Tuesday approved legislation to prevent a government shutdown for another three weeks, despite defections from 54 Republicans. The 271-158 vote gives President Obama and GOP leaders a small window of time to reach an agreement on a measure to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year. The short-term measure could be approved by the Senate as early as Wednesday. If the White House and GOP fail to reach a deal, the latest House vote suggests there is no guarantee GOP leaders will be able to push another short-term measure through the lower chamber. The GOP needed 29 Democratic votes to win on Tuesday. LINK

 

The Hill’s Alicia M. Cohn: “Veterans: Don’t cut military benefits” Nearly 20 groups that represent the 23 million veterans in the United States are scheduled to testify at joint hearings of the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs committees on March 16 and 30.Unlike many other groups fighting spending cuts, the veterans service organizations (VSOs) are expecting a warm reception from both sides of the aisle.“It’s pretty hard for the committees, when we have 50 or 60 guys sitting there in wheelchairs due to their military service, to be very critical of them,” said Doug Vollmer, associate executive director for government relations at Paralyzed Veterans of America.  Veterans Affairs is one of the few government departments not facing steep cuts. The president’s 2012 budget proposes $61.9 billion for the VA, an increase of $1.8 billion, and few Republicans have taken on veterans’ services in proposed cuts, despite claims that there are no sacred cows in the budget.  LINK

 

ENERGY:
The Wall Street Journal’s Jonathan Weisman and Stephen Power: “Obama’s Energy Policy Faces PressureJapan's nuclear disaster is putting new pressure on President Barack Obama's energy strategy, which has relied on calls to expand nuclear power to win support for a broader effort to promote alternatives to coal and oil. LINK

 

LA Times’ Kathleen Hennessey and Don Lee: “U.S. stands by nuclear power, Energy secretary says” Energy Secretary Steven Chu on Tuesday restated the Obama administration's commitment to keeping nuclear power in the mix of renewable sources under development in the U.S., but treaded carefully around questions of how the nuclear disaster in Japan might affect that effort.  "The administration believes we must rely on a diverse set of energy sources, including renewables like wind and solar, natural gas, clean coal and nuclear power," Chu said before a House subcommittee. "The administration is committed to learning from Japan's experience as we work to continue to strengthen America's nuclear industry."No new reactors have been fully developed in the U.S. since 1979, when the partial meltdown at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania made investors and the public skittish about the safety of nuclear power.  LINK

 

GOP:
ABC News’ John Berman: Sarah Palin Rips Obama on Drilling: '2012 Can't Come Soon Enough” Sarah Palin says 2012 “can’t come soon enough.” But for what?  A dramatic run or the White House?  Another reality show? No, according to her latest post on Facebook, 2012 is so essential because it will end what she calls the president’s “war on domestic oil and gas exploration and production.”  Labeling President Obama as the “$4-per-gallon president," she asserts, “The evidence of the president’s anti-drilling mentality and his culpability in the high gas prices hurting Americans is there for all to see.”  She criticizes the drilling moratorium following the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the proposed elimination of tax incentives for certain types of exploration, and what she calls his “anti-drilling regulatory policies.”  LINK

 

FOREIGN AFFAIRS:
ABC News’ Huma Khan and Luis Martinez: “Gen. Petraeus: Progress in Afghanistan ‘Fragile and Reversible’ The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan acknowledged today that security in the war-torn country is still fragile but warned that it would be unwise to abandon the mission, despite the U.S. public's record-high opposition to the war.  Speaking to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Gen. David Petraeus said "much difficult work lies ahead with our Afghan partners" to expand gains achieved in the past year.  "As a bottom line up front, it is ISAF's [International Security Assistance Force] assessment that the momentum achieved by the Taliban in Afghanistan since 2005 has been arrested in much of the country and reversed in a number of important areas," Petraeus said in his first congressional appearance since he took command last summer.  LINK


NY Daily News’ Lukas I. Alpert: “Efforts to create Libya no-fly zone fail; UN divided on how to halt Khadafy” Diplomatic efforts to create a no-fly zone over Libya failed Tuesday with G8 officials instead calling for additional UN measures against Moammar KhadafyFrench Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said the major powers could not agree on military intervention to stop Khadafy's murderous campaign against rebels trying to overthrow him.  Instead, they "agreed that the UN Security Council should increase the pressure, including through economic sanctions, for Moammar Khadafy to leave," he said following the meeting of diplomats in Paris. LINK

 ABC NEWS VIDEOS:
“Japanese Search for Loved ones” LINK

“Japan Earthquake: Video Diary” LINK

“Radiation Contamination: What To Do” LINK

“State of Emergency in Bahrain” LINK

 

 

JAPAN:

ABC News’ David Muir, Jessica Hopper, Dean Schabner, and Ben Forer: “Japan Earthquake: Radiation Lakes Halts Work at Damaged Reactors” Work to stabilize the damaged reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was halted early Wednesday because radiation leaking from the units made the situation unsafe, Japanese officials said.  Radiation levels started to rise sharply after steam was seen escaping from unit 3 at the plant, which was damaged first by the powerful earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan Friday, and then by an explosion in the reactor.  There have been explosions in two other reactors at the plant, and two fires at a fourth unit, which was being used as a storage facility for radioactive material.

A Japanese government official also indicated for the first time that the containment vessels of all three of the reactors at the plant that exploded may be leaking, raising worries of dangerous radiation leaks.  LINK

 

ABC News’ Susan Donaldson James and Russell Goldman: “Japanese, Waiting in Line for Hours, follow Social Order After Quake” Overnight and into the grey, chilly morning, long lines formed outside small convenience stores and supermarkets throughout the tsunami-ravaged city of Sendai.  At one, Daiei, the orderly lines had begun 12 hours before the shop opened and stretched for blocks.  "I came to get baby food for my 2-week-old nephew," said Maki Habachi, 23, who had been patiently standing for four hours and still had an eight-hour wait to go. "My sister only has one day's food left."  Without fuel for her car, she had ridden for two days by bike just to find food. Even bottled drinks in the ubiquitous corner vending machines were sold out.  Despite the line's length everyone remained calm and polite.  LINK

 

ABC News’ Olivia Katrandjian, Clarissa Ward and Akkiko Fugita: “For some Japanese Nuclear crisis Scarier Than Quake or Tsunami” For some Japanese who have been battered by a monster earthquake and powerful tsunami, the prospect of a nuclear crisis is the scariest threat yet. "Nuclear power is the most frightening thing, even more than a tsunami," said Isao Araki, a 63-year-old from the coast village of Minami-soma, which was swept away from Friday's tsunami. "The government, the ruling party, the administrators… nobody tells us, the citizens, what is really happening."  While many who were in the path of the tsunami are still shellshocked, others are struggling to cope with a life that is completely altered and now has a looming nuclear threat as well. And the trouble is rippling out like a wave and reaching as far as Tokyo.  More than 70,000 people have been evacuated from a 12-mile area around the four nuclear plants that engineers are struggling to keep from failing and have begun to leak radiation. Another 140,000 who live within 19 miles of the plants have been told to stay indoors and make their homes airtight.  LINK

 

LA Times’ Mark Magnier, Barbara Demick, and Laura King: “Fire reignites at Japan nuclear reactor” Reporting from Sendai and Tokyo, Japan fresh setbacks, including another blaze at a crippled reactor, bedeviled Japanese authorities Wednesday as they struggled to contain the world's worst nuclear crisis in a quarter of a century, and survivors of the devastating earthquake and tsunami suffered through shortages, bitter cold and overnight snowfall.  Troubling new estimates emerged of the extent of damage at the Fukushima No. 1 (Daiichi) nuclear plant about 150 miles north of Tokyo.  Elevated radiation levels detected a day earlier in the vicinity of the plant imposed a creeping sense of isolation, with greater numbers of foreigners leaving, rescue crews mindful of exit routes and international flights being diverted away from the capital.  LINK

 

 

LA Times’ Kenji Hall and Carol J. Williams: “Fire erupts again at Fukushima Daiichi's No. 4 reactor; nuclear fuel rods damaged at other reactors” Another fire at Japan's stricken Fukushima No. 1 (Daiichi) nuclear power complex broke out early Wednesday and authorities said about 70% of another reactor's fuel rods had been damaged by the spate of accidents and breakdowns since Friday's earthquake and tsunami.  The ominous disclosure, after authorities insisted throughout the previous day that damage to the overheating reactors was negligible, compounded a sense of escalating hazards and fear five days after the disasters expected to take historic peacetime tolls on Japan's people and economy.  LINK

 

GOP / DEMOCRATS:
The New York Times’ Jennifer Steinhauer and Raymond Hernandez: “Party Seeks One Voice. Schumer Steps Forward” The Sunday morning news conferences to denounce overpriced breakfast cereal are a thing of the past. So is edging colleagues out of jobs and camera shots with elbows as sharp as a sushi knife. LINK


The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza and Jon Cohen: “Sarah Palin losing more ground among Republicans, Post-ABC poll finds” Sarah Palin’s ratings within the Republican Party are slumping, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, a potentially troubling sign for the former Alaska governor as she weighs whether to enter the 2012 presidential race. LINK

BUDGET/ECONOMY:
Politico’s David Rogers: “No deal imminent as short-term spending bill passes” Tuesday’s breakdown in Republican discipline weakens Speaker John Boehner’s hand in White House budget talks and raises the chances of a government shutdown next month unless he and President Barack Obama greatly step up their game. LINK

The Washington Time’s Stephen Dinan: “GAO’s report on waste suddently a Hill must-readMove over, Tom Clancy — the newest thriller to go viral, at least by federal government report standards, is the Government Accountability Office’s just-published look at waste and duplication in federal agencies.LINK

The Hill’s Erik Wasson and Pete Kasperowicz: “House passes stopgap measure; 54 Republicans vote contrary to party” The House on Tuesday approved legislation to prevent a government shutdown for another three weeks, despite defections from 54 Republicans. The 271-158 vote gives President Obama and GOP leaders a small window of time to reach an agreement on a measure to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year. The short-term measure could be approved by the Senate as early as Wednesday. If the White House and GOP fail to reach a deal, the latest House vote suggests there is no guarantee GOP leaders will be able to push another short-term measure through the lower chamber. The GOP needed 29 Democratic votes to win on Tuesday. LINK

 

The Hill’s Alicia M. Cohn: “Veterans: Don’t cut military benefits” Nearly 20 groups that represent the 23 million veterans in the United States are scheduled to testify at joint hearings of the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs committees on March 16 and 30.Unlike many other groups fighting spending cuts, the veterans service organizations (VSOs) are expecting a warm reception from both sides of the aisle.“It’s pretty hard for the committees, when we have 50 or 60 guys sitting there in wheelchairs due to their military service, to be very critical of them,” said Doug Vollmer, associate executive director for government relations at Paralyzed Veterans of America.  Veterans Affairs is one of the few government departments not facing steep cuts. The president’s 2012 budget proposes $61.9 billion for the VA, an increase of $1.8 billion, and few Republicans have taken on veterans’ services in proposed cuts, despite claims that there are no sacred cows in the budget.  LINK

 

ENERGY:

The Wall Street Journal’s Jonathan Weisman and Stephen Power: “Obama’s Energy Policy Faces PressureJapan's nuclear disaster is putting new pressure on President Barack Obama's energy strategy, which has relied on calls to expand nuclear power to win support for a broader effort to promote alternatives to coal and oil. LINK

 

LA Times’ Kathleen Hennessey and Don Lee: “U.S. stands by nuclear power, Energy secretary says” Energy Secretary Steven Chu on Tuesday restated the Obama administration's commitment to keeping nuclear power in the mix of renewable sources under development in the U.S., but treaded carefully around questions of how the nuclear disaster in Japan might affect that effort.  "The administration believes we must rely on a diverse set of energy sources, including renewables like wind and solar, natural gas, clean coal and nuclear power," Chu said before a House subcommittee. "The administration is committed to learning from Japan's experience as we work to continue to strengthen America's nuclear industry."No new reactors have been fully developed in the U.S. since 1979, when the partial meltdown at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania made investors and the public skittish about the safety of nuclear power.  LINK

 

GOP:

ABC News’ John Berman: Sarah Palin Rips Obama on Drilling: '2012 Can't Come Soon Enough” Sarah Palin says 2012 “can’t come soon enough.” But for what?  A dramatic run or the White House?  Another reality show? No, according to her latest post on Facebook, 2012 is so essential because it will end what she calls the president’s “war on domestic oil and gas exploration and production.”  Labeling President Obama as the “$4-per-gallon president," she asserts, “The evidence of the president’s anti-drilling mentality and his culpability in the high gas prices hurting Americans is there for all to see.”  She criticizes the drilling moratorium following the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the proposed elimination of tax incentives for certain types of exploration, and what she calls his “anti-drilling regulatory policies.”  LINK

 

FOREIGN AFFAIRS:

ABC News’ Huma Khan and Luis Martinez: “Gen. Petraeus: Progress in Afghanistan ‘Fragile and Reversible’ The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan acknowledged today that security in the war-torn country is still fragile but warned that it would be unwise to abandon the mission, despite the U.S. public's record-high opposition to the war.  Speaking to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Gen. David Petraeus said "much difficult work lies ahead with our Afghan partners" to expand gains achieved in the past year.  "As a bottom line up front, it is ISAF's [International Security Assistance Force] assessment that the momentum achieved by the Taliban in Afghanistan since 2005 has been arrested in much of the country and reversed in a number of important areas," Petraeus said in his first congressional appearance since he took command last summer.  LINK

 

NY Daily News’ Lukas I. Alpert: “Efforts to create Libya no-fly zone fail; UN divided on how to halt Khadafy” Diplomatic efforts to create a no-fly zone over Libya failed Tuesday with G8 officials instead calling for additional UN measures against Moammar KhadafyFrench Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said the major powers could not agree on military intervention to stop Khadafy's murderous campaign against rebels trying to overthrow him.  Instead, they "agreed that the UN Security Council should increase the pressure, including through economic sanctions, for Moammar Khadafy to leave," he said following the meeting of diplomats in Paris. LINK

 

ABC NEWS VIDEOS:

“Japanese Search for Loved ones” LINK

“Japan Earthquake: Video Diary” LINK

“Radiation Contamination: What To Do” LINK

“State of Emergency in Bahrain” LINK

 

 

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