Weekend Wrap-Up: Cleanup Continues in Japan, Rebels Retreat in Libya

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Welcome back, NewsFeeders! Just another Monday to check off the list. Hunker down and we’ll catch you up on the news that everyone will be talking about around the water cooler.

We’re sure you couldn’t avoid chatter of the Japan earthquake and its aftermath. Though that news dominated the weekend, Middle Eastern nations did not rest from their unrest. NewsFeed was tuned in all weekend, and we’re glad to bring you up to speed as you shake off the lost hour of sleep thanks to Daylight Saving Time.

Japan Mourns, Prays, Begins Cleanup: Amid fears of a nuclear meltdown at the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant near the site of Friday’s 8.9-magnitude quake, many Japanese dug out and dried off after the one-two punch of the earthquake followed by a tsunami. Japanese Prime Minister Kan called the disaster the “worst since WWII” as more than 1,500 people have been confirmed dead and flattened towns search for huge numbers of missing people. Aftershocks continue to rattle residents – and their morale – as the clock ticks on finding survivors. And fears of explosions at the nuclear plant could spread radiation and cause yet more devastation for a population that has so much to piece back together. But help has flooded in from every corner of the Earth, proving that we’re all in solidarity with the Japanese people. (via TIME, CNN, BBC)

Libya Rebels Lose Key Town: Opposition forces have briskly swept from eastern Libya to the west over the past few weeks. But it appears their disorganization may be their downfall, as Colonel Gaddafi’s army troops get their troops in order and battle back. The rebel fighters were seen heading back east today after it was reported that Gaddafi loyalists reclaimed the key oil city of Brega. Can the rebel forces regroup and fight on, or will the regime suppress them? (via Al Jazeera English)

March Madness Tips Off: Sixty-eight lucky (and some just plain successful) teams are getting suited up for the Big Dance. Selection Sunday came and went, and the top seeds – Duke, Pitt, Ohio State and Kansas – were predictable, perennially solid teams that have played well throughout the season. But overall, it’s anyone’s game, as this season of college hoops has been plagued by mediocrity, many pundits complain. So it begins: March Madness. For millions of guys (and a select few awesome gals), the next few days will be filled with bracketology and number crunching in order to capitalize on the madness indeed. (via Sports Illustrated)

Monday Must-Read: Many world leaders accumulate massive fortunes while in a position of status. Plus, it helps safeguard against personal collapse, say, in the case of your people revolting against your autocratic authority (yes, we’re looking at you, Muammar). The power-hungry rulers of regimes past hoarded astonishing mountains of cash – Gaddafi reportedly controls tens of billions of dollars in U.S. dollars in his personal account – and have had to make massive withdrawals as their reigns waned. How did they manage that much cash? (via New York Times)

In Case You Missed It on NewsFeed: Anything to make a buck these days, am I right? A college student in New York stood outside the Apple Store for 41 hours awaiting the release of the iPad 2. But Amanda Foote had no intention of parting with any of her money at the store – instead, she left $900 richer after selling her front-of-the-line spot to a (presumably wealthy) businessman. She won’t be buying an iPad with that money, either – she’s buying Lady Gaga tickets! (via NewsFeed)

Viral Video: We’ve all seen those minute-long Hollywood “remakes,” you know, the ones with those cute bunnies. Why waste two hours with a movie you may not like when you can see it re-enacted in a fraction of the time by rabbits who’ve had way too much helium for breakfast? Well, here’s one of Inception. But you’ll notice a distinct lack of furry creatures. Instead, cue some sweet sepia-toned stop motion.

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