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Economic hit from Japan quake seen up to $200 billion

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Economic hit from Japan quake seen up to $200 billion

TOKYO - Japan's devastating earthquake and deepening nuclear crisis could result in losses of up to $200 billion for the world's third largest economy. The disaster is expected to hit Japanese output sharply over the coming months, but economists warned it could result in a deeper slowdown if power shortages prove significant and prolonged, delaying or even scotching the "v-shaped" recovery that followed the 1995 Kobe earthquake. Most believe the direct economic hit will total between 10-16 trillion yen ($125-$200 billion), resulting in a contraction in second quarter gross domestic product (GDP) but a sharp rebound in the latter half of 2011 as reconstruction investment boosts growth.
We have now gotten to the point where if national defense, interstate highways, national parks, homeland security, and all other discretionary programs somehow became absolutely free, we’d still have a budget deficit. The White House Office of Management and Budget projects that in the current fiscal year (2011), mandatory spending alone will exceed all federal receipts. So even if we didn’t spend a single cent on discretionary programs, we still wouldn’t be able to balance our budget this year — let alone pay off any of the $14 trillion in debt that we have already accumulated.
LAS VEGAS — The promise of palm tree groves and low-priced real estate lured Alan and Katherine Ackerly across the Rocky Mountains from Denver to Nevada in 2004, where thousands of new houses beckoned brightly as any neon sign. They came to buy their retirement home. But the real estate bust took its toll, with a flood of short sales and foreclosures in the market, and last month the Ackerly's dream home was foreclosed on, too. "I pretty much gave it back to them," said Alan Ackerly, a 57-year-old electrician who stopped paying his mortgage because he owed more than the house was worth. The Ackerly's home is now among a swelling number of abandoned houses in Nevada. There were 167,564 empty houses in the state last year, according to newly released U.S. Census data, more than double the number in 2000. The number of vacant homes represents about one out of every seven houses across Nevada.
The rapid growth of smartphones and electronic tablets is making the Internet the destination of choice for consumers looking for news, a report released Monday said. Local, network and cable television news, newspapers, radio and magazines all lost audience last year, according to the Project for Excellence in Journalism, a research organization that evaluates and studies the performance of the press. News consumption online increased 17 percent last year from the year before, the project said in its eighth annual State of the News Media survey.




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