Tonight in Tripoli, Libya families are once again hiding in their homes as gunmen rule the streets. And the dictator Moammar Gadhafi and his sons continue to oversee the killing of unarmed protesters, and continue to lie about what they are doing. We'll take you inside the uprising with new video and new insight from our panel of experts. You'll hear from Gadhafi's former translator. He fled Libya after taking part in a failed plot to overthrow the Libyan leader in the late 1970s.
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CNN Wire Staff
Washington (CNN) - The U.S. government announced Friday that it will impose sanctions against the regime of Col. Moammar Gadhafi - part of a series of measures designed to isolate the Libyan regime and loosen the dictator's grip on power.
The American embassy in Libya suspended operations for security reasons, though State Department officials stressed that diplomatic ties were not suspended and channels for discussion remained open.
"The flag is still flying. The embassy is not closed. Operations are suspended. Relations are not broken," Under Secretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy told reporters.
State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Janet Sanderson reiterated at the same briefing that Libya's Embassy in Washington is still "up and running," and the department has not been informed of any change in the status of Libya's ambassador to the United States.
"We still continue to reach out to the Libyans where appropriate, both directly and through third parties," Sanderson said.
Kennedy said all American official employees were withdrawn from the embassy Friday, and only Libyan employees are "still on the payroll' and still working there. These remaining employees are not authorized to conduct any U.S. government business, he said.
Local and national security guards remain at the embassy, Kennedy said, but he would not discuss what measures if any are being taken to secure documents and the like inside the embassy.
"But I can assure you that there is nothing left behind that could be compromised," he said.
American operations at the embassy will resume when the security situation permits it, Kennedy said.
In addition to pushing both unilateral and multilateral sanctions, Washington will use the "full extent" of its intelligence capabilities to monitor Gadhafi's regime and gather evidence of atrocities committed against the Libyan people, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.
Steps were also taken to ensure that top Gadhafi officials don't steal Libyan financial assets in what may be their final days in power. The Treasury Department advised banks to monitor accounts held by the regime's key political figures and to report financial transactions "that could potentially represent misappropriated or diverted state assets," according to a government statement.
Gadhafi's "legitimacy has been reduced to zero in the eyes" of the Libyan people, Carney told reporters. "The status quo is neither tenable nor acceptable."
The point of U.S. action - particularly the sanctions - is to "make it clear that the regime has to stop its abuses" and end the bloodshed, Carney said. Reports from Libya suggest that possibly hundreds of protesters have been killed.
CNN Wire Staff
Benghazi, Libya (CNN) - As clashes in the Libyan capital continued Friday between government security forces and anti-regime protesters, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters unequivocally: "The violence must stop."
His remarks came as state television was airing images of the embattled but defiant strongman urging viewers to defend the nation.
A man CNN will identify only as Reda to protect his identity said in a telephone interview that armed men dressed in plainclothes fatally shot his two brothers Friday as they were demonstrating against the government. Also killed were his two neighbors, he said.
"The bodies have been kidnapped from the street," Reda said. "My other neighbors told me they kidnapped the injured people in the hospital to somewhere, nobody knows (where). This is the perfect crime. He's hiding all evidence for every crime he has. This is the horrible situation that nobody knows."
More than 1,000 people have been killed, according to estimates cited Friday by Ban. He noted that the eastern part of the country "is reported to be under the control of opposition elements, who have taken over arms and ammunition from weapon depots."
At least three cities near Tripoli have been the site of daily clashes, and the streets of the capital are largely deserted because people are afraid of being shot by government forces or militias, he said.
Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's supporters "are reportedly conducting house-by-house searches and arrests. According to some reports, they have even gone into hospitals to kill wounded opponents," he said.
Accounts from the news media and human rights groups and witnesses "raise grave concerns about the nature and scale of the conflict," he said. He said they include reports of indiscriminate killings, shooting of peaceful demonstrators, torture of the opposition and use of foreign mercenaries.
The victims have included women and children and "indiscriminate attacks on foreigners believed to be mercenaries," he said, referring to reports.
Ban called on the international community "to do everything possible" to protect civilians at demonstrable risk.
Ban said there appeared to be a growing crisis of refugees, with some 22,000 people having fled to Tunisia and a reported 15,000 to Egypt in the past few days. For many, the trip has been a harrowing one.
"There are widespread reports of refugees being harassed and threatened with guns and knives," Ban said.
"The violence must stop," he said. "Those responsible for so brutally shedding the blood of innocents must be punished. Fundamental human rights must be respected."
He called for the Security Council "to consider concrete action."
Ban said he will travel Monday to Washington to speak with President Obama.
Ready for today's Beat 360°? Everyday we post a picture you provide the caption and our staff will join in too. Tune in tonight at 10pm to see if you are our favorite! Here is the 'Beat 360°' pic:
Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi and Jimmy Fallon tape a segment for "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" at Rockefeller Center on February 24, 2011 in New York City. (Photo credit: Theo Wargo/Getty Images)
Have fun with it. We're looking forward to your captions! Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.
Update: Beat 360° Winners:
“To Charlie Sheen!"
"Jimmy, Make sure you drink this BEFORE you read my book."
Tom Foreman | BIO
Reporter's Note: The White House, like much of the world, is watching Libya around the clock now, wondering what each hour will bring. For the president, thankfully, each day brings a new letter from me.
Dear Mr. President,
It seems as if the clock is ticking down. Libya appears poised on the brink of either an all out stand by Gadhafi or a rout by the protesters. (Btw, it seems like we need a somewhat weightier title for a group that actually topples a government. Rebels? Revolutionaries? Coupsters? Protesters is an inadequate nom de guerre.) Which means, of course, that we are probably poised to face the aftermath, no matter which way it tips.
In some ways this is easier with Libya than it is with Egypt, because our relations in Gadhafi-land have been so bad for so long, the tendency would be to think that they probably can’t get much worse. If Gadhafi stands firm, he’ll beat his sword and continue to accuse us of helping the revolution arise in the first place. No surprise there and nothing we can do except say it’s not true.
If the anti-government forces win, however, the situation will be… as plumbers say… highly fluid. We will have to figure out not only who the new major players are, but we’ll also have to recognize that they could change day by day. We will have to simultaneously respect their right to choose their own future, and yet try to tilt the scales in favor of a new nation committed to the general rules of fair play that we, and all of our allies, would like to see in the world.