Global Briefing, Mar. 11. 2011: Earthquake, Rebellions and Extremists

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Killer Quake —  A massive 8.9-magnitude earthquake hit Japan Thursday. Lucy Birmingham reports from Tokyo, Eben Harrell explains why people are worried about Japan’s nuclear plants and Emily Rauhala details how Japan is a pioneer in disaster preparation.

The Gaddafis Strike Back: Saif al-Islam Gaddafi speaks exclusively with TIME’s Vivienne Walt in Tripoli. Tony Karon blogs on Global Spin on why the best option for the rebels may be negotiation with Gaddafi.

An Awkward Empire: Yale professor David Bromwich quotes Shakespeare in a meditation on what the Arab uprisings say about the U.S.

‘Schadenfreude and Sympathy’ — In a fascinating dispatch for Foreign Policy, Shanghai-based blogger Adam Minter explains how Japan’s tragedy is playing in China.

Speaking Out — Bradley Manning, the U.S. soldier held on suspicion of passing files to WikiLeaks, has written a letter describing his ordeal in prison, reports the Guardian.  “I was s tripped of all clothing with the exception of my underwear,” he writes in the 11-page letter. “My prescription eyeglasses were taken away from me and I was forced to sit in essential blindness.”

The Sartorialists: Apparently, Silvio Berlusconi spends more on ties than the RNC spends on Sarah Palin’s whole wardrobe.

Women on the Verge of Right-Wing Takeovers: On Global Spin, Bruce Crumley compares the politics of Marine Le Pen and Sarah Palin.

Storm in a Petri Dish: In a draft report, an independent panel harshly criticizes the World Health Organization’s handling of the 2009 swine flu pandemic. It does, however, acknowledge that much of the problems were beyond the health organization’s control and fails to find evidence of the accusation that the agency exaggerated the alarm to the financial benefit of vaccine companies.