NATO Keeps Pressure on Gadhafi After TV Appearance

MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP/Getty Images(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- Not long after Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi made his first public appearance on TV in two weeks Thursday, NATO launched a fierce rocket attack on his fortified compound in Tripoli.

NATO was said to be targeting a command-and-control center located in an underground bunker.

Other sites in Tripoli were struck as well as the alliance tries to cripple Gadhafi’s ability to communicate with troops engaged in a desperate fight against opposition forces that control the eastern half of the country

Meanwhile, allied warships were also active Thursday, stopping an attack by Libyan boats on the western city of Misrata that Gadhafi loyalists are trying to take back from rebels.  Earlier this week, the rebels said they had gained control of Misrata’s airport, further cementing their hold on the city.

Opposition forces are hoping Thursday’s successes will further convince Gadhafi that attempting to keep power after 40 years is futile.  His disappearing act since April 30, when a NATO strike killed his youngest son and three grandchildren, had some wondering if Gadhafi had been killed or incapacitated.

Even his appearance on TV to show Libyans in the west that he’s still in charge may not be enough to turn the tide in what now seems to be a losing battle against local and foreign enemies.

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Libyan Opposition Leader Says Rebels in Dire Need of Funds, Asks US for Help

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Libyan rebels will run out of funds in four to five weeks unless they are granted access to some of Gadhafi’s frozen funds, the leader of the opposition movement warned in a speech at Brookings Thursday.
Mahmoud Jibril, the interim Prime Minister of the Transitional National Council, said the Council is in an “acute financial crisis” and needs access to about $3 billion of the nearly $34 billion of Gadhafi’s money in the coming months. The administration, however, is looking to give them access to only $150-180 million.
Jibril also expressed some frustration that the Obama administration has yet to formally recognize the opposition, saying that has hurt their ability to seek access to frozen funds.
Jibril is making his first trip to Washington, during which he is meeting with senior administration officials and lawmakers, urging them to step up support for the opposition. He was originally slated to visit D.C. last month, but had to postpone after his commercial flight from Doha was canceled. He’s met with Secretary Clinton three times, most recently during international meetings on Libya in Rome.
Despite the skepticism within the administration, Jibril has found some support on Capitol Hill. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., told reporters after their meeting Wednesday that he would draft legislation to grant the opposition access to some of Gadhafi’s funds. Thursday morning, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said he was very impressed after his meeting with Jibril.

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German Court Convicts Man for Role at Nazi Death Camp

Johannes Simon/Getty Images(MUNICH) -- A German court on Thursday found John Demjanjuk, a 91-year-old former U.S. auto worker, guilty of being an accessory to murder at the Sobibor Nazi death camp in Poland.

In 1943, he was a Nazi guard at the camp where an estimated 250,000 Jews were killed in gas chambers. Demjanjuk, who claims he is innocent, will appeal the verdict and the court has ordered he be released until that case is decided.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center in the U.S. and Israel's Holocaust museum are calling the verdict a victory for justice.

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Parents of Missing British Girl Call for Independent Review of Case

Denis Doyle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The parents of Madeleine McCann, the British toddler missing since 2007, are celebrating her eighth birthday Thursday by releasing a book about their daughter, hoping it will reinvigorate the search and fund an independent review of the case.

"There will still be a little tea party at home, balloons and cake...I comfort myself by knowing that what we're doing today could be very positive in the search for our daughter," said Kate McCann on ABC’s Good Morning America.

Kate and Gerry McCann hope the book, Madeleine, will jump-start the search for their daughter. Maddie, as she was known, disappeared from the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz where the family was staying in 2007. The couple had left their three children and gone to dinner. When they returned, Maddie was missing.

During the international search for the girls, Kate and Gerry McCann were considered suspects by Portuguese authorities, but eventually cleared. The search for the girl ended officially in 2008.

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The Pakistani Military's ‘Cronkite Moment?’

Pete Souza/The White House via Getty Images(ABBOTTABAD, Pakistan) -- The raid by American Navy SEALs in Abbottabad, Pakistan that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden, has left an increasing number of Pakistanis angry with the country’s leadership. Now, one of the nation’s top broadcasters – a typically pro-military primetime news anchor – has denounced the army and declared his country the epicenter of terrorism.

Television news anchors in Pakistan are regarded as “secular mullahs,” as the UK’s Guardian put it, preachers who dominate primetime in a country where there are almost no options for entertainment. Though nearly all of them are on a similar political page – whether for ideological reasons or because they are pressured – few broadcasters have been as pro-military as Kamran Khan, who hosts a self-titled show on the country’s most popular channel. But Khan, a dependably pro-army broadcaster, decided recently that enough is simply enough.

“It’s important for this nation not to buy into the conspiracy theories about Americans, Israelis, and Indians,” Khan said. “The nation should know that 3,900 Pakistanis have been killed in 225 suicide attacks -- which have spared neither mosques nor schools -- and not a single suicide bomber was Indian, nor American, nor even Israeli. All of them were Pakistanis, and Muslims.

“We need to accept the bitter pill: in almost all the terrorist attacks across the world, either Pakistanis have been used or the planning was done on Pakistani soil. Pakistan is seen as a heaven for militants… If the world perceives our dear country as the largest sanctuary of terrorists, their reasons are solid... If we want to save our dear country, if we want to raise it even to the standard of Bangladesh -- never mind India -- and if you want to develop it like the Islamic countries of southeast Asia, all of this must change... It’s now or never.”

Khan has since backtracked a bit, but his diatribe is making the rounds on social websites like YouTube and Twitter. Some have gone as far as to suggest that the clip may be the Pakistani military’s “Walter Cronkite moment,” akin to when the United States’ most popular television anchor declared in 1968 that Vietnam was unwinnable -- after which Lyndon Johnson said, “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost middle America.”

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Hole in Japanese Reactor May Be Cause of Water Level Drop

DigitalGlobe via Getty Images(TOKYO) -- A hole in reactor one of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant may be behind a dramatic drop in water levels inside the pressure vessel, operator Tokyo Electric Power Company said Thursday.

TEPCO officials said the amount of water inside the vessel was much lower than previously thought, fully exposing the fuel rods and melting them.  The company added that the pressure and temperature inside held steady, indicating that the fuel rods were now being cooled in water at the bottom of the vessel.

The latest discovery comes after workers fixed a water gauge inside reactor one.

TEPCO has been pouring 150 tons of water a day into the reactor to cool it since a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami crippled it on March 11.  When water levels failed to rise, workers suspected a faulty water gauge.

On Thursday morning, they discovered that the water was more than three feet below the bottom of the fuel rods, leading them to conclude a possible leak existed.

"The important point is that this is news that TEPCO has found that a measurement they have been making for several weeks was incorrect," said Per Peterson, a professor of nuclear engineering at the University of California at Berkeley.  "It does not mean that anything new is happening in the unit one reactor now."

Peterson said that steady pressure and temperatures indicated the fuel was being adequately cooled in its current configuration.

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Air France 447: Flight Box Recorders Could Unlock Crash Mystery

HO/AFP/Getty Images(PARIS) -- Authorities may be a step closer to unlocking the cause of a 2009 Air France crash after two flight box recorders recovered from deep beneath the sea arrived in France Thursday morning.

Air France flight 447 was en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris on May 31, 2009 when the Airbus A330 jet when down in the Atlantic Ocean, killing all 228 people aboard.

Its last known communication was about four hours into the flight.

Officials are now investigating whether they can extract information from the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder.

Before the crash, the pilot had sent an electronic text message to the airline to say that the plane was heading to an area known for stormy weather, the Intertropical Convergence Zone.

About 24 automated messages during four minutes were sent from the plane before it disappeared from radar.  The messages recorded system failures and variable speed readings.

Last month, a team from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution discovered the plane's wreckage using remote underwater submarines some four kilometers deep.

Of those who died, 51 bodies were found following the crash but 177 bodies are still missing.

Two bodies were brought to the surface and the remains are in a lab to determine if officials can extract DNA from them, officials said at Thursday news conference.  If no DNA can be pulled, other bodies will remain at the bottom of the sea, officials said.

Authorities said recovering the bodies took three hours to go down and up from the ocean.

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US Drone Attack Kills Several Alleged Militants in Pakistan

USGS [dot] gov(WAZIRISTAN, Pakistan) -- A U.S. drone attack in western Pakistan Thursday killed at least seven alleged militants, the BBC reports, citing local officials.

The attack took place in the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan, which is a tribal region near the Afghan border.  Two missiles were reported to have been fired on a car.

The latest attack is the third such drone attack reported since Osama bin Laden was killed on May 1.

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Several Dead after Two Earthquakes Rock Spanish Town

Jorge Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images(LORCA, Spain) -- At least eight people are dead and several more injured after two earthquakes rocked southeastern Spain Thursday evening, according to local officials.

A 5.2 magnitude quake -- the worst tremor in the Spain in 50 years -- struck the town of Lorca, destroying several buildings in its path.  The earthquake was preceded by another one measuring 4.4 on the Richter scale, which struck the country about two hours before.

Officials originally put the death toll at 10 but later revised it to eight.

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As War in Libya Rages, Gadhafi Remains Out of Sight

Salah Malkawi/Getty Images(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- Reports of Col. Moammar Gadhafi's demise have been exaggerated.  Or have they?

Speculation is rife overseas that something might have happened to the Libyan leader, who made his last public appearance on April 30.  That was one day before NATO warplanes bombarded his compound in Tripoli, killing Gadhafi's youngest son as well as three of his grandchildren.

Most assume that Gadhafi is deliberately keeping a low profile to avoid being targeted again, although NATO claims he is not in their sights.  Still, Gadhafi's absence is unusual for him.  It's now been 13 days since anyone, other than presumably his closest associates, has seen him.

From February 17, when rebel forces began their revolt against Gadhafi's 40-year rule, until April 30, Gadhafi gave TV interviews or addressed crowds of supporters on at least 16 different occasions.

NATO says they have no information on his whereabouts, while European governments concede they also don't know where he could be.

Additionally, when a Libyan official was asked by The Daily Telegraph this week whether Gadhafi was killed or incapacitated, the official hesitated before saying Gadhafi was probably okay.

Meanwhile, another NATO rocket attack on Gadhafi's compound in Tripoli early Thursday is believed to have killed two people and sent 27 others to the hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation.

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