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EU Reaches Bailout Agreement

The EU, after 8 hours of debates, agreed to expand its bailout facility, allowing for $611 billion to be spent on buying bonds directly from member states.

A deal was not expected until March 24-25th, so this may be viewed favorably when markets open on Monday.

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Japanese Meteorological Agency Predicts 70% Chance of 7.0 After-Shock Within 3 Days

The quake that has left Japan devastated was upgraded to a 9.0, making it the 5th largest of all-time. Moreover, the Japanese Meteorological Agency is predicting a 7.0 magnitude after-shock within 3 days. It’s worth noting, a magnitude 7.0 quake is devastating onto itself. Having it follow what just happened could be catastrophic, especially for Japan’s nuclear power plants.

Here are the largest quakes known to date:

1. Chile earthquake, 1960, Magnitude 9.5
2. Sumatra earthquake, 2004, Magnitude 9.1~9.3
3. Alaska earthquake, 1964 , Magnitude M9.2
4. Alika earthquake, 1868, Magnitude M9.1
5. Kamuchakka earthquake, 1952, Magnitude 9
6. Japan Earthquake, March 11, 2011 Magnitude 9

Japanese police are now estimating the death toll could be as high as 10,000.

Related, the GE designed nuclear power plant Fukushima Daiichi No. 3 reactor is said to be at risk for explosion. At the present, over 5 million Japanese are without power and several million are deficient of adequate supplies of food and water. Temperatures should be mild in Tokyo tomorrow, hitting a high of 66. However, by Wednesday, it’s expected to be in the high 30’s to low 40’s.

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Radiation Leaks Recede, Cooling Resumes After Explosion of Nuclear Plant

It is amazing that the containment facility appears to have been effective at stopping the spread of radiation:

“We’ve confirmed that the reactor container was not damaged. The explosion didn’t occur inside the reactor container. As such there was no large amount of radiation leakage outside,” Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said in a news conference Saturday evening. “At this point, there has been no major change to the level of radiation leakage outside, so we’d like everyone to respond calmly.”

Plans to continue cooling the plant are underway, including pumping in sea water. Officials are also planning on using boric acid to slow down the reaction.

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