February 28th, 2011
05:45 PM ET

World leaders step up pressure on Gadhafi

Alan Silverleib

Washington (CNN) - The United States has frozen at least $30 billion in Libyan government assets, a U.S. Treasury official announced Monday - one of a series of steps being taken by international leaders designed to break strongman Moammar Gadhafi's grip on power.

The $30 billion is the largest amount ever blocked under any sanctions program, according to David Cohen, the acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.

American officials slapped the sanctions on Libya last Friday.

President Barack Obama, meanwhile, met Monday afternoon with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to discuss a variety of measures under consideration.

All options are still on the table, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said at a meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.

"Gadhafi and those around him must be held accountable (for any actions) which violate international legal obligations and common decency," she said. "Through their actions, they have lost the legitimacy to govern."

Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, called Gadhafi "delusional, "unfit to lead," and "disconnected ... from reality" while speaking to reporters at the White House on Monday.

The imposition of a no-fly zone over certain portions of the increasingly chaotic country is among the courses of action being contemplated, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters.

Carney indicated that exile is "certainly one option" for the Libyan leader. He also said that American officials are "actively reaching out" to Libyan opponents of the ruling regime, Carney said.

But any speculation on U.S. assistance to the Libyan rebels is premature, Rice later added. "It's unclear at this point who will emerge as the critical opposition element," she said. "We await to see how the opposition will coalesce."

Pentagon spokesman Col. David Lapan said the U.S. military is moving Navy ships closer to Libya.

Two U.S. Navy warships - the carrier USS Enterprise and the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge - are currently in the Red Sea and available to assist, U.S. military officials told CNN.

Lapan refused to indicate whether any American ground forces have been put on a heightened state of alert.

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
February 28th, 2011
03:50 PM ET

Letters to the President: #770 'And the Oscar goes to …'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: President Obama and I have several things in common. We are about the same age. We both have two daughters. We both have to deal with these letters every day. And neither one of us has won an Academy Award.

Dear Mr. President,

The fact that I am writing to you today is evidence enough that once again I was passed over by Oscar. Trust me, if I ever score one of those shiny little gold guys for the mantle I won’t be showing up for work on Monday. Ha!

I watched a fair portion of the awards show. Some of it left me cold because I just don’t see as many films now as I once did. My wife and younger daughter were helpful, periodically telling me which nominees I should cheer on and which ones I should pan. Not that it mattered. I suppose if I were a voting member of the Academy…or a member at all…

Speaking of awards, I noticed that one of your potential Republican challengers bestowed one on you. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour called you one of the best politicians of all time.

February 28th, 2011
11:30 AM ET
February 27th, 2011
06:00 PM ET

Join our Academy Awards Live Blog with Jack Gray

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/05/t1.oscars.jpg width=300 height=169]

Jack Gray
AC360° Producer/Writer

Starting tonight at 8 p.m. ET join us here for the AC360° Academy Awards Live Blog. The winners, the losers, good swan, bad swan…we’ve got your running commentary on it all. And, sure, considering all that’s going on in the world, the Oscars aren’t hugely important. But if you’re looking for a few hours of fun, then this blog is the place for you.

We should also point out that we’re not encouraging you to change the channel from CNN, but if you’re going to watch the Oscars anyway, you might as well watch them with us.

If you would like to participate in our Live Blog (and we hope you do) please follow our rules.

Here are some of them:

1) Please keep your comments short
2) Don’t write in ALL CAPS (we don’t like screaming)
3) No links
4) Use your real name

Please note that due to volume we may not be able to post all comments.

Filed under: Academy Awards • Jack Gray
February 27th, 2011
09:00 AM ET

Letters to the President: #769 'Call me Ishmael'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: The president has written some books. I’ve read some. So I guess we’re even.

Dear Mr. President,

I’ve been meaning to tell you for some time that my mother has given up on Moby Dick.
“Oh, I’ve tried and tried to get through that stupid book,” she told me on the phone, “but I just can’t. So I’m not trying anymore.”

This letter, btw, has nothing to do with being president; it’s just one of those where I keep you apprised on some of the events in my life. Hey, your life is in the papers every day; how the heck else are you going to know about me if I don’t tell you here?

Anyway, she has been reading a tremendous amount in the past few years, especially since my dad passed away. Like a lot of older folks, she doesn’t always sleep well, so on any given day when I call to say hello she may have been up all night pushing through some novel or historic tale or whatever. Just not Moby Dick anymore.

I understand why she surrendered. Unlike Ahab, she is not obsessed with the white whale, and she is the first to say, “Hey, I’m getting older. I don’t have time to read every book, so why would I waste anymore time on one I don’t like?”

February 26th, 2011
09:00 AM ET

Letters to the President: #768 'Taking the ball and going home'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: Despite roaring world events, the tension continues in a variety of states where budget issues have pitted unions against elected officials in a not too friendly manner - unlike my letters to the White House, which are always friendly.

Dear Mr. President,

When I play tennis, I tend to push the pace. A lot. My serves come in rapid succession, and after each point I sprint to the line to serve again, especially if it is really hot out. See, I’m not that good at the game, but I have a lot of natural stamina; so even if I lose a lot of points early in the match, I can make them up later when my opponent grows tired from the relentless speed.

It is a legitimate and effective way to win, and many times I’ve sent a playing partner home shaking his head over how he lost a once massive lead. But in a classic, sportsmanlike sense, I can see how some might see this as, if not “dirty,” at least a “questionable” tactic.

And that’s pretty much how I think a lot of citizens see the antics of those lawmakers who have fled their own states and gone into hiding like rabbits rather than face a losing vote. They are breaking no rules. And yet, it brings a whole new intensity to that “Party of No” label you have so happily tagged onto the Republicans when they would not cooperate with your plans.

February 25th, 2011
11:59 PM ET
February 25th, 2011
11:47 PM ET
February 25th, 2011
11:45 PM ET
February 25th, 2011
11:42 PM ET
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