You can always count on the tumultuous forces of nature to come along and outdo human-made tumult.
And so it is that the strongest earthquake ever recorded in Japan, a magnitude 8.9, and the resultant giant tsunami has pushed aside for now headlines about the internecine fighting in Libya, partisan battles in Washington and Wisconsin, the travails of public broadcasting and a congressional hearing on the radicalization of certain young Muslims in the U.S.
From the images we can see and reports, there is massive devastation in northeastern Japan and NHK Worldwide is reporting that at least 95 deaths though other news outlets are now reporting hundreds. All people of goodwill obviously hope for the lowest casualty count possible and a speedy recovery in the affected areas.
A tsunami surge reached the Hawaiian islands but there are no reports of damage there.
President Obama has a previously scheduled news conference this morning. The earthquake in Japan and the U.S. government's response to it will likely feature prominently in the president;s opening remarks and at least some of the initial questions from reporters.
The Two Way NPR news blog is updating constantly news on the earthquake's aftermath and will also be live-blogging the presidential news conference.