A possible breach at Japan's troubled nuclear plant escalated the crisis anew Friday, two full weeks after an earthquake and tsunami first compromised the facility. The development suggested radioactive contamination may be worse than first thought, with tainted groundwater the most likely consequence. Japanese leaders defended their decision not to evacuate people from a wider area around the plant, insisting they are safe if they stay indoors. But officials also said residents may want to voluntarily move to areas with better facilities, since supplies in the tsunami-devastated region are running short.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Even as other nations begin taking a larger role in the international air assault mission in Libya, the Pentagon is considering adding Air Force gunships and other attack aircraft that are better suited for tangling with Libyan ground forces in contested urban areas like Misrata, a senior Pentagon official said Friday. Navy Vice Adm. William Gortney told a Pentagon news conference that for the second consecutive day, all air missions to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya were flown by non-U.S. aircraft, and U.S. planes conducted about half the missions attacking Libyan air defenses, missile sites and ground forces. Qatar became the first Arab nation to join the effort, flying F-16s in support of the no-fly zone.
DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Troops opened fire on protesters in cities across Syria and pro- and anti-government crowds clashed in the capital's historic old city as one of the Mideast's most repressive regimes sought to put down demonstrations that exploded nationwide Friday demanding reform. The upheaval sweeping the region definitively took root in Syria as an eight-day uprising centered on a rural southern town dramatically expanded into protests by tens of thousands in multiple cities. The once-unimaginable scenario posed the biggest challenge in decades to Syria's iron-fisted rule.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin law taking away collective bargaining rights that a court had ordered not to be published by the secretary of state has been published instead by the Legislative Reference Bureau. The action was noted on the Legislature's home page Friday. It's not immediately clear whether the publication has the force of law. But if legally published, the law takes effect Saturday.
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Empowered by last year's elections, Republican leaders in about half the states are pushing to require voters to show photo ID at the polls despite little evidence of fraud and already-substantial punishments for those who vote illegally. Democrats claim the moves will disenfranchise poor and minority voters — many of whom traditionally vote for their candidates. The measures will also increase spending and oversight in some states even as Republicans are focused on cutting budgets and decreasing regulations.
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada Republicans are gambling that they can turn this swing state best known for showgirls and cowboys into a major player in picking the party's presidential nominee. After Iowa and New Hampshire get their turns, Nevada hopes to draw all the GOP hopefuls to its caucuses — and do better than the flop of 2008 when party infighting and inexperience with the caucuses turned the contest into an afterthought.
TORONTO (AP) — Canadian opposition parties brought down the Conservative government in a no confidence vote Friday, triggering an election that polls show the Conservatives will win. The opposition parties held Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government in contempt of Parliament in a 156-145 vote for failing to disclose the full financial details of his tougher crime legislation, corporate tax cuts and plans to purchase stealth fighter jets.
SEATTLE (AP) — An order of priests has agreed to pay $166.1 million to hundreds of Native Americans and Alaska Natives who were abused as children at the order's schools around the Pacific Northwest. The settlement between more than 450 victims and the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus is one of the largest in the Catholic church's sweeping sex abuse scandal. It also calls for a written apology to the victims.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Attorneys for both sides are declaring victory after a judge issued a decision that gives a badly brain damaged mother temporary visitation rights with her 4-year-old triplets. Abbie Dorn's lawyer Lisa Helfland Meyer called the Friday ruling an "astounding" and "precedent-setting" victory for all disabled parents.
VERMILION, Ohio (AP) — A man trying to get into the Army lost 63 pounds in less than four months — an extreme diet that helped lead to his death — and the Army says it is now investigating his mother's allegation that military recruiters had coached him on how to shed weight. Glenni "Glenn" Wilsey V, of Vermilion, had started losing weight before he talked to recruiters in December and died earlier this month, 7 pounds short of his goal.