Obama Takes Firmer Stance on Libya; Radiation Found in Food Near Fukushima Nuclear Plant


  • Following a shift by Hillary Clinton, President Obama spoke from the White House yesterday to take somewhat of a harder line on U.S. intervention in Libya: “If Colonel Qaddafi does not comply with the resolution, the international community will impose consequences. The resolution will be enforced through military action.” Said resolution has been approved by the U.N. Security Council. In the event of military action, we’d be joining up with the U.K., France, and a group of Arab states. However, Obama also said that there wouldn’t be a deployment of ground troops. According to MSNBC, this means that the U.S. would provide the coalition intelligence and surveillance planes and aerial refueling, as well as naval power, including two nuclear submarines. [NYT, MSNBC]
  • Making the above even more of an immediate concern is that Qaddafi forces have stormed rebel-controlled Benghazi, rebels say. A rebel fighter jet was shot down, and Qaddafi’s tanks and artillery bombard the city. The Libyan government denies this and claims to be sticking to the ceasefire its foreign minister announced yesterday. World leaders will meet in Paris today to discuss whether Qaddafi’s latest actions justify military intervention. [Reuters]
  • Update: French military jets are flying over Libya and preventing Qaddafi forces from further attacks in Benghazi. This is the first intervention since Thursday’s U.N. resolution. [BBC]
  • Meanwhile in Japan, abnormally high levels of radiation have been found in food produced in farms near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The levels are not extremely high, although still over the legal limit. Emergency crews have made progress in cooling down the plant’s reactors, connecting electric cables to set up a cooling system. However, the crisis level at Fukushima has been raised from a 4 to a 5, putting it in the company of Three Mile Island. [CNN]
  • The death toll from last week’s earthquake and tsunami has exceeded 7,000. Japanese police say that 7,197 people are confirmed dead, 10,905 are missing, and 2,611 are injured. [CNN]
  • A wake was held yesterday in Chinatown for two victims of last weekend’s bus accident in the Bronx. Ock Thling Wong and his wife May Ling Wong had emigrated to the U.S. from China 50 years ago and are survived by numerous children and grandchildren. [NY1]
  • Warren Christopher, Secretary of State under Bill Clinton, has died at age 85 of complications from bladder and kidney cancer. [NYDN]
  • An irate vegetarian threw her airplane food at a flight attendant yesterday on a Newark-bound Continental flight. The Post diligently reports that “sources said” the meal was not vegetarian. [NYP]