Good morning! Here’s what you need to know right now:1. The NYT reports: “As the scale of Japan’s nuclear crisis begins to come to light, experts in Japan and the United States say the country is now facing a cascade of accumulating problems that suggest that radioactive releases of steam from the crippled plants could go on for weeks or even months.”
3. Radical clerics in Pakistan are once again driving the political agenda in Pakistan. Part of that agenda is murder.
4. A Pakistani court is expected to rule today that CIA operative Raymond Davis does not have “diplomatic immunity.”. US officials, from President Obama on down, insist that he does. If the court so rules, then the White House will be compelled to view Mr. Davis’s incarceration as a hostage-taking. Backgrounder here.
5. Elite US counterterrorist forces are facing budget cuts of up to 20 per cent. Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan are eating up resources, leaving less for operations in MENA and Africa generally.
6. European Union leaders agreed Saturday to a “muddle through” scheme to deal with its debt crisis. It won’t work and will lead, inevitably, to default. Wolfgang Munchau explains why.
7. President Obama’s re-election campaign is well underway. Its principal concern right now is the erosion of support for the president among Independent voters. President Obama addressed those voters directly in a news conference on Friday.
8. President Obama’s handlers are meeting with fund-raisers and bundlers around the nation. The handlers are saying that the president enters the 2012 election in somewhat weaker position than he entered the 2008 election, which is complete nonsense, of course, but there you go.
9. The continuing resolution to keep the government from shutting down on Friday will likely be passed by Congress this week. That would be an extension of the extension that prevented the government from shutting down 9 days ago. It’s not at all clear that a grand bargain will ever come together.
10. Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, who co-chaired the White House’s deficit-reduction commission last year, said Tuesday the U.S. could face a destabilizing fiscal crisis in two years or even sooner.
11. Google’s stock is falling fast on Capitol Hill and in Washington generally. The firm has alienated Democrats as well as Republicans.
Extra: Astonishing photo gallery from Japan.
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