Ratcheting up the pressure, President Barack Obama on Saturday said Moammar Gadhafi has lost his legitimacy to rule and urged the Libyan leader to leave power immediately. It was the first time Obama has called for Gadhafi to step down, coming after days of bloodshed in Libya. Gadhafi has vowed to fight to the end to keep his four-decade grip on power in the North African country.
TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — The embattled Libyan regime passed out guns to civilian supporters, set up checkpoints Saturday and sent armed patrols roving the terrorized capital to try to maintain control of Moammar Gadhafi's stronghold and quash dissent as rebels consolidate control elsewhere in the North African nation. Residents of its eastern Tajoura district spread concrete blocks, large rocks and even chopped-down palm trees as makeshift barricades to prevent the SUVs filled with young men wielding automatic weapons from entering their neighborhood — a hotspot of previous protests.
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — In a major setback to Iran's nuclear program, technicians will have to unload fuel from the country's first atomic power plant because of an unspecified safety concern, a senior government official said. The vague explanation raised questions about whether the mysterious computer worm known as Stuxnet might have caused more damage at the Bushehr plant than previously acknowledged. Other explanations are possible for unloading the fuel rods from the reactor core of the newly completed plant, including routine technical difficulties.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Their states on the brink of financial catastrophe, governors pleaded Saturday for the divided federal government to avoid doing anything that would hamper the tenuous economic recovery back home. Their message to Washington: prevent a government shutdown, abstain from spending cuts that dramatically will affect states and end even preliminary discussions about allowing states to declare bankruptcy.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The facts have been overshadowed by rhetoric at the Wisconsin Capitol, where protesters and politicians have been engaged in a tense standoff over the governor's proposal to strip most public employees of their collective-bargaining rights. Gov. Scott Walker insists the state is broke and must make drastic spending cuts. Unions believe Republican leaders are trying to wipe them out. Two weeks into the debate, The Associated Press assessed the claims in an effort to shed light on what's at stake.
CAIRO (AP) — A constitutional reform panel on Saturday recommended opening Egypt's presidential elections to competition and imposing a two-term limit on future presidents — a dramatic shift from a system that allowed the ousted Hosni Mubarak to rule for three decades. The changes are among 10 proposed constitutional amendments that are to be put to a popular referendum later this year. The proposals appeared to address many of the demands of the reform movement that help lead the 18-day popular uprising that forced Mubarak to step down on Feb. 11.
CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand's premier said the Christchurch quake may be the country's worst disaster ever, as officials raised the toll to 146 dead and more than 200 missing while giving a grim prognosis for the city's downtown. Residents said prayers for the dead and missing at church services Sunday in Christchurch and across New Zealand. But church leaders canceled a planned multi-denominational service in a Christchurch park because of concerns it could block access roads for emergency services.
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon congressman facing calls for his resignation from some of the state's largest newspapers said the mental health condition from which he suffers doesn't prevent him from doing his job. U.S. Rep. David Wu told KGW-TV in an interview aired Saturday that he won't specify his mental health issue.
BREGA, Libya (AP) — The massive oil terminal at Brega feels strangely deserted for Libya's second-largest hydrocarbon complex. After more than a week of turmoil in the country, production has been scaled back by almost 90 percent with many employees fleeing and ships not coming to collect its products. The most activity on the site Saturday appeared to be a squad of boys from the nearby town finishing the job of tearing apart the local headquarters of Moammar Gadhafi's Revolutionary Committee.
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — Grammy Award-winning singer and philanthropist Shakira has been honored by Harvard University. The Harvard Foundation, the university's center for intercultural arts and science initiatives, gave Shakira its 2011 Artist of the Year award on Saturday. Foundation director S. Allen Counter says the Latin music artist, who has sold more than 50 million albums worldwide, was honored for her "distinguished history of creativity," as well as for her charitable contributions