January 15, Monday, 2014

1. Monday marks two weeks since a devastating earthquake and tsunami struck central Japan. The disaster has claimed at least 221 lives, with crews searching for 22 people still unaccounted for. As relief efforts continue, officials fear harsh conditions in evacuation centers are posing a major health risk. Officials in Ishikawa Prefecture say almost 500 people in over a dozen communities remain cut off due to blocked roads. As of Sunday, water and power were still unavailable at hundreds of evacuation sites hosting almost 20-thousand people. 13 evacuees are now believed to have died from sudden or chronic illness after staying at a temporary shelter.
2. Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hayashi Yoshimasa has reaffirmed the government’s consistent position regarding Taiwan, saying Japan will continue to deepen relations.
3. US Republican presidential candidates, including Donald Trump, rallied for support just ahead of Monday night’s Iowa caucus, the first of the primaries for the GOP race. Trump is leading the pack, which includes former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. They each held rallies on Sunday to appeal to voters as frigid cold gripped the Midwestern state.