Saturday, March 26, 2011

Libya rebels recapture key town

Libyan rebels backed by extensive allied air raids have seized control of the frontline oil town of Ajdabiya from Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's forces.
Insurgents celebrated amid the ruins of tanks and artillery pieces and then moved west to the town of Brega.
Gaddafi loyalists seized Ajdabiya last week as they advanced east to quell an uprising which began in mid-February.
A Libyan minister said the army had left the town after the "heavy involvement" of Western forces.
The rebel breakthrough came after a seventh night of bombardment by allies enforcing a UN resolution against Col Gaddafi.
British RAF Tornado aircraft have been firing Brimstone guided missiles at his forces in recent days around Ajdabiya, a town of about 100,000 people.
Gaddafi 'promotes everyone' The BBC's Ben Brown in Ajdabiya says those strikes seemed to be even heavier overnight, leaving wrecked tanks, armoured vehicles and artillery pieces at both the eastern and western gates to the town.
Some of the celebrating rebels chanted "Thank you, Obama", "Thank you, Cameron" - references to the US president and British prime minister.
The rebels said they were going through the town street by street trying to make sure there were no government fighters or snipers left.
A Libyan government official admitted its forces had abandoned the town.
"They [Western forces] were heavily involved, so the Libyan armed forces decided to leave Ajdabiya this morning," Khaled Kaim, a deputy foreign minister, told reporters.
Rebel forces then moved westwards to the oil town of Brega, 70km (44 miles) from Ajdabiya.
Rebel spokesman Col Ahmed Bani said opposition troops were on the outskirts of Brega, but one journalist travelling with the rebels told Agence France-Presse news agency they were now in the centre of the town and that government forces had fully withdrawn.
Overnight strikes by international forces also reportedly hit an air base on the outskirts of Misrata, a rebel-held city further west which pro-Gaddafi forces have been shelling.
Rebel spokesmen in the city told Reuters on Saturday that the government assault had eased as a result.
However, the spokesmen said later that Gaddafi forces were attacking again from both east and west, with tank, mortar and artillery fire.
Destroyed tank near Ajdabiya, 26 March  
The area around Ajdabiya is littered with destroyed military hardware
Large explosions were also heard in the Libyan capital Tripoli on Saturday morning.
Witnesses said a military radar site was set on fire in that city's suburb of Tajura, a previous target of the air raids.

Anti-cuts march: Tens of thousands at London protest

More than 250,000 people have attended a march and rally in central London against public spending cuts.
Labour leader Ed Miliband addressed crowds in Hyde Park and the main march organised by the Trades Union Congress passed off peacefully.

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But splinter groups have attacked shops and banks, and a stand-off with police is taking place in Piccadilly. There have been 16 arrests.
Ministers say the cuts are necessary to get the public finances in order.
In the largest public protest since the Iraq war rally in 2003, marchers from across the UK set off from Victoria Embankment to Hyde Park, where TUC general secretary Brendan Barber was first in a line of speakers.
"We are here to send a message to the government that we are strong and united," he said.
"We will fight the savage cuts and we will not let them destroy peoples' services, jobs and lives."
Mr Barber was followed by Mr Miliband, who said: "The Tories said I should not come and speak today. But I am proud to stand with you. There is an alternative."
The march began at 1200 GMT and it took more than four hours for the protesters to file past the Houses of Parliament on their way to the park.
The TUC, which organised the event, said more than 250,000 people had taken part, and the Metropolitan Police confirmed the numbers.
BBC political reporter Brian Wheeler, in central London, said there were lots of families and older people, and the atmosphere was good-natured but the anger was real.
"The noise in Whitehall was deafening as thousands of protesters banged drums, blew whistles and shouted anti-cut slogans, slowly making their way towards Trafalgar Square.
"The crowds were booing as they went past Number 10, but the demonstration was good-natured and friendly.
"There are hundreds of trade union banners, but we have also spoken to public sector workers who have come to make their voices heard."
One of those protesting was Peter Keats, 54, from Lowestoft, Suffolk, who works for Jobcentre Plus.
Marchers in Whitehall  
Organisers estimated at least 250,000 people attended
He said: "Personally, I think it's wrong the way we are hitting the poor.
"I'm not so much worried about myself but the customers I deal with are vulnerable and I'm worried about them and I'm worried about the kids of this country."

Dame Elizabeth Taylor buried outside Los Angeles

Dame Elizabeth Taylor has been buried in a cemetery just outside Los Angeles, a day after her death.
Her private funeral was held at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale.
Pop icon Michael Jackson, a friend of Taylor's, is one of a number of stars also buried at the cemetery.
Taylor, one of the 20th Century's biggest movie stars, died in Los Angeles on Wednesday of congestive heart failure. She was 79.
Her funeral service started 15 minutes late, at the star's request.
"Miss Taylor had left instructions that it was to begin at least 15 minutes later than publicly scheduled, with the announcement: 'She even wanted to be late for her own funeral'," said a statement from her publicist.
'Soaring angel' The hour-long service included a recital of the Gerard Manley Hopkins' poem The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo and a trumpet solo of Amazing Grace, performed by Taylor's grandson Rhys.
Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in 1983  
Burton and Taylor appeared together in Private Lives in 1983
"The casket was closed and draped with a blanket of abundant, fragrant gardenias, violets and lily of the valley," it said.

Yemen's President Saleh 'negotiating' departure

Agreement is close on a transfer of power from Yemen's veteran President, Ali Abdullah Saleh, a government minister says. 
Anti-government demonstrators in Sanaa (25 Mar 2011)

After six weeks of protests, Mr Saleh has said he is willing to step down this year.
But the demonstrators want him to go immediately.
This is the first time the government has confirmed that President Saleh is negotiating the terms of his departure, observers say.

Why (or why not) nuclear energy?

The North Anna nuclear plant operates near Richmond, Virginia. Problems in Japan have raised nuclear concerns elsewhere.
Since Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant suffered damage from a massive earthquake and tsunami March 11, you might be a little more aware of the nuclear power plant nearest you. Does it really need to be there? Is it safe?
And on a global scale, several countries including Germany, Israel and Italy are also expressing worry about the safety of their existing or planned nuclear projects. The disaster at Fukushima Daiichi has prompted many governments to begin reassessing their own nuclear power plants in hopes of ensuring that a similar accident would not happen in their territories.

Rebels control key city in eastern Libya, fighting rages in west

Ajdabiya, Libya Aided by coalition airstrikes, Libyan opposition forces claimed victory Saturday over Moammar Gadhafi's forces in a strategically located eastern city but the battle in the west raged as loyalist tanks resumed the shelling of Misrata.

Radiation in seawater off nuclear plant spikes to 1,250 times normal


Tokyo  Levels of radioactive iodine in seawater just offshore of the embattled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant spiked to more than 1,250 times higher than normal, Japan's nuclear and industrial safety agency said Saturday.
Samples taken Friday morning from a monitoring station 330 meters off the coast were significantly higher than results from the previous morning, when the level was 104 times above normal.
The measurements also showed high levels of cesium and were taken outside the discharge canal for the plant's Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4 reactors.

Supermodel's photos deemed too sultry

Gisele Bündchen ( Fernanda Calfat/Getty Images) 

An ad campaign in Dubai finds a creative way to obscure Gisele Bündchen's famous figure. 

Gisele's H&M Ads Digitally Altered for Dubai

Ooh! Ooh! A new airbrushing scandal: Gisele's bare skin has been judged too scandalous for H&M's Dubai market of modest dressers. The retail giant digitally covered up the Brazilian-born, sun-kissed supermodel's shoulders and cleavage in order to reflect the Middle Eastern city's traditional dress code; touch-ups include a short-sleeved T-shirt photoshopped underneath a white halter (as shown in the photo to the left), and white tank tops added to de-sexify a low-cut dress and jumpsuit.

A rep for H&M did not immediately return our request for comment on the conservative alterations.
Tom and Gisele Party in Rio

Michaels sues Tony Awards for brain injury

Bret Michaels (Charley Gallay/Getty Images) 

The reality-TV rocker's lawsuit alleges the Tony Awards incident caused his near-fatal brain hemorrhage.

Bret Michaels Blames Tony Awards For His Brain Hemorrhage, Files Lawsuit

In 2009, reality-TV rocker Bret Michaels was nearly decapitated--or at least almost lost some of his trademark blonde locks--when a descending set piece toppled him over at the end of Poison's "Nothin' But A

Good Time" Tony Awards performance with the Rock Of Ages cast. At the time--once it was announced that Bret was SUPPOSEDLY okay--it seemed pretty funny, the most Spinal Tap-esque moment in Broadway history. But when Bret was hospitalized with a massive subarachnoid hemorrhage six months later, and nearly died, no one was laughing. Back then, I always wondered if Bret's brain condition was linked in any way to the nasty bump on the noggin that he received at the 2009 Tonys.
And now, Bret Michaels is claiming just that.
According to TMZ, The Hollywood Reporter, and Us Magazine, Bret's legal counsel has just filed a major lawsuit for unspecified damages against Tony Award Productions and CBS, with paperwork stating: "One of the most common causes of this type of hemorrhage is head trauma--exactly like the one Michaels suffered at the hands of the Tony Awards."
The suit, filed Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court, claims that Bret asked producers where he should stand onstage during Poison's performance, and he was merely instructed to exit from the stage rear at the end of the band's song.

10 extreme chocolate chip cookies

Bacon chocolate chip cookies (Photo: Courtesy of 

New twists on an old favorite include treats made with potatoes — and even bacon. 

  10 extreme chocolate chip cookies 

Chocolate chip crust ice cream sandwich cake

Chocolate chip crust ice cream sandwich cake

This week is officially Chocolate Chip Cookie Week. Don't ask why, it just is, okay? And we're celebrating

The shot that toppled nation's No. 1 team

Brandon Knight prepares to shoot against Ohio State (Y! Sports screengrab) 

 With just five seconds to go, Brandon Knight became a legend for the Kentucky Wildcats. 

Amazing Brandon Knight shot puts Kentucky back in Elite Eight

For the first 39 minutes, 55 seconds of Kentucky's biggest win of the season, it was the contributions of the Wildcats' oft-overlooked upperclassmen that kept them within striking distance of top-seeded Ohio State.
Then freshman point guard Brandon Knight made sure his teammates' hard work wouldn't go to waste.
Knight, so often compared to the likes of John Wall or Derrick Rose, hit a game-winning jump shot either of John Calipari's legendary former point guards would have been proud to have sunk. He shook off a top-of-the-key ball screen, dribbled right and sank a pull-up 16-footer over Ohio State's Aaron Craft with five seconds left, providing the final margin in the Wildcats' 62-60 victory.

Geraldine Ferraro, a political pioneer, dies

Geraldine Ferraro arrives at the Launch of WE Vote '08 at Tenjune on November 28, 2007 in New York City. (Jim Spellman/WireImage) 

The first woman to run for VP on a major party ticket succumbs to blood cancer at 75.

First female VP candidate Ferraro dies at 75

BOSTON – Geraldine Ferraro, who in 1984 became the first woman vice presidential candidate on a major party ticket, died Saturday in Boston, a family spokeswoman said.
Ferraro died at Massachusetts General Hospital, where she was being treated for blood cancer. She died just before 10 a.m., said Amanda Fuchs Miller, a family friend who worked for Ferraro in her 1998 Senate bid and was acting as a spokeswoman for the family.
A three-term congresswoman from the New York City borough of Queens, Ferraro catapulted to national prominence in 1984 when she was chosen by presidential nominee Walter Mondale to join his ticket against incumbents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush.