AP Top News at 7:10 a.m. EST

February 28, 2011
A gunman flashes the victory sign to beckon foreign journalists to come closer past barricades to see the situation in the main square in Zawiya, 30 miles (50 kilometers) west of Tripoli, in Libya Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011. Hundreds of armed anti-government forces backed by military defectors in Zawiya, the city closest to the capital Tripoli, prepared Sunday to repel an expected offensive by forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi who are surrounding the city. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
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A gunman flashes the victory sign to beckon foreign journalists to come closer past barricades to see the situation in the main square in Zawiya, 30 miles (50 kilometers) west of Tripoli, in Libya Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011. Hundreds of armed anti-government forces backed by military defectors in Zawiya, the city closest to the capital Tripoli, prepared Sunday to repel an expected offensive by forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi who are surrounding the city.

The West moved to send its first concrete aid to Libya's rebellion in the east of the country, hoping to give it the momentum to oust Moammar Gadhafi. But the Libyan leader's regime clamped down in its stronghold in the capital, where residents said food prices have skyrocketed. The two sides in Libya's crisis appeared entrenched, and the direction it takes next could depend on which can hold out longest. Gadhafi's opponents, including mutinous army units, hold nearly the entire eastern half of the country, much of the oil infrastructure and some cities in the West. Gadhafi is dug in in Tripoli and nearby cities, backed by better armed security forces and militiamen.

GENEVA (AP) — The United States pressed its European allies on Monday to set tough sanctions on the Libyan government, while doubts emerged about the feasibility of a proposed no-fly zone to prevent Moammar Gadhafi's regime from launching aerial attacks against protesters. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was making the administration's case for stronger action to foreign ministers from Britain, France, Germany and Italy as part of a series of high-level talks in this Swiss city. But the European Union's top diplomat, Catherine Ashton, sidestepped the question of how quickly the EU would act, saying the goal now was for governments to work "in a coordinated way."

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama hopes to hear ideas from the states on how to best repair the United States' slowly recovering economy when he meets Monday with the nation's governors. "Our federal system is a laboratory for democracy. In each of your states, you guys are trying all kinds of things. Oftentimes, your best ideas end up percolating up and end up becoming models and templates for the country," Obama said Sunday night as he welcomed the governors and their spouses to the White House for a black-tie dinner.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Dozens of protesters camped overnight in the Wisconsin Capitol and vowed to be back in full force Monday after police backed away from threats to close the building, where demonstrators have held steady for two weeks to oppose Republican-backed legislation aimed at weakening unions. Police decided not to forcibly remove protesters after thousands ignored a 4 p.m. Sunday deadline to leave so the normally immaculate building could get a thorough cleaning. Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs said no demonstrators would be arrested as long as they continued to obey the law.

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AP) — The baby boy who is the youngest known victim of New Zealand's earthquake disaster was its first laid to rest, given a farewell Monday by grieving relatives who clutched stuffed toys and draped his tiny coffin in a comforter. Baxtor Gowland, 5 months old, was sleeping in his home in the southern city of Christchurch when he was killed by masonry shaken loose by the quake that hit with sudden and brutal force last Tuesday, the family told The Associated Press. He died in a hospital.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — These were supposed to be the younger, hipper Academy Awards, the ones that shook up the ceremony's conventions with popular, great-looking emcees in actors James Franco and Anne Hathaway, who were unlike the middle-aged comedians and TV talk-show hosts of years past. But the results couldn't have been more traditional, with "The King's Speech" — a prestigious, impeccably made historical film that cries out "Oscar" with every fiber in its being — winning best picture and three other prizes over more daring, contemporary contenders like "The Social Network" and "Black Swan."

AMARILLO, Texas (AP) — Wildfires sweeping across West Texas destroyed 58 homes, forced evacuations and closed an interstate after heavy smoke caused an accident that killed a 5-year-old girl Sunday. The fires blackened almost 88,000 acres and destroyed homes from the Texas Panhandle to the southern plains, Texas Forest Service spokesman Lewis Kearney said.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The patent system hasn't changed much since 1952 when Sony was coming out with its first pocket-size transistor radio, and bar codes and Mr. Potato Head were among the inventions patented. Now, after years of trying, Congress may be about to do something about that. The Senate is taking up the Patent Reform Act, which would significantly overhaul a 1952 law and, supporters say, bring the patent system in line with 21st century technology of biogenetics and artificial intelligence. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, hails it as "an important step toward maintaining our global competitive edge."

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The U.S. military will start carrying out more counterterrorism missions against insurgents in eastern Afghanistan and work more closely with Pakistani forces in operations against insurgents along the porous and rugged frontier, the U.S. general commanding the region said. Maj. Gen. John Campbell, commander of NATO coalition forces in eastern Afghanistan, said he has been repositioning some of his troops since last August to make them more effective in the region that borders Pakistan. The area has seen an upsurge in violence and is a main route for insurgents infiltrating into Afghanistan from safe havens in Pakistan's lawless tribal regions.

Duke Snider played center in Ebbets Field and stickball on the streets of Brooklyn. He was immortalized in a song recalling a golden era in baseball and was once part of one of the sport's great debates. Snider, the Hall of Famer for the charmed "Boys of Summer" who helped the Dodgers bring their elusive and only World Series crown to Brooklyn, died Sunday. He was 84.