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Japan Ground Self Defense Force refuel a helicopter at their base in Sendai, Japan, Thursday, March 17, 2011. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
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Japan Ground Self Defense Force refuel a helicopter at their base in Sendai, Japan, Thursday, March 17, 2011.

Emergency workers seemed to try everything they could think of Thursday to douse one of Japan's dangerously overheated nuclear reactors: helicopters, heavy-duty fire trucks, even water cannons normally used to quell rioters. But they couldn't be sure any of it was easing the peril at the tsunami-ravaged facility. Three reactors have had at least partial meltdowns, but an even greater danger has emerged. Japanese and U.S. concerns were increasingly focusing on the pools used to store spent nuclear fuel: Some of the pools are dry or nearly empty and the rods could heat up and spew radiation.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama, trying to reassure a worried nation, declared Thursday that "harmful levels" of radiation from the Japanese nuclear disaster are not expected to reach the U.S., even as other officials conceded it could take weeks to bring the crippled nuclear complex under control. The situation remains dangerous and complicated at the damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi reactors in northeastern Japan, U.S. officials said.

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council scheduled a vote Thursday on a resolution to impose a no-fly zone over Libya and authorize "all necessary measures" to protect civilians from attacks by Moammar Gadhafi's forces. France's U.N. Ambassador Gerard Araud said he expected more than one of the council's 15 members to abstain when the council meets at 6 p.m. EDT (2200 GMT) to vote, but council diplomats said they did not expect the resolution to be vetoed.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress approved an additional $6 billion in spending cuts Thursday, passing legislation to keep the government running through April 8 and allow time for talks on a larger package of reductions demanded by Republicans. "The president is optimistic that Congress can get this done," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a statement.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House on Thursday voted to end federal funding to National Public Radio. Republican supporters said it made good fiscal sense, and Democratic opponents called it an ideological attack that would deprive local stations of access to programs such as "Car Talk" and "All Things Considered." The bill, passed 228-192 along mainly partisan lines, would bar federal funding of NPR and prohibit local public stations from using federal money to pay NPR dues and buy its programs. The prospects of support in the Democratic-controlled Senate are slim. Seven Republicans broke ranks to vote against the bill.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — In the old translation of the world's most popular Bible, John the Evangelist declares: "If anyone says, 'I love God,' yet hates his brother, he is a liar." Make that "brother or sister" in a new translation that includes more gender-neutral language and is drawing criticism from some conservatives who argue the changes can alter the theological message. The 2011 translation of the New International Version Bible, or NIV, does not change pronouns referring to God, who remains "He" and "the Father." But it does aim to avoid using "he" or "him" as the default reference to an unspecified person.

No matter what, David Cicotello knew he had to survive. Cicotello, 57, was stranded on a ledge in No Man's Canyon, in the rugged wilderness some 180 miles southeast of Salt Lake City. His climbing partner — 70-year-old brother Louis — laid motionless on the ground 100 feet below, having fallen while rappelling. Cicotello made a "HELP" sign with some climbing equipment. And then he waited.

Coca-Cola is winning the fight for America's soda drinkers. Diet Coke bubbled up into the second spot in the U.S. soft drink market, ending Pepsi's decades-long run as the perennial runner-up to regular Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola sold nearly 927 million cases of its diet soda in 2010, to Pepsi's 892 million, a report by trade publication Beverage Digest released Thursday said. Diet Coke was nearing a virtual dead heat with Pepsi a year earlier.

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — A Texas beauty queen gained enough weight that airbrushing couldn't fix photos of her in a bikini, but that's not why the size-2 teen had her Miss San Antonio crown revoked, the pageant president told a jury Thursday. She said the girl was let go because she didn't follow pageant rules.

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Brandon Knight missed his first seven shots and even found himself on the bench in the final minute against Princeton. His confidence could have been shaken. His ego could have been bruised. His head could have been a mess.