We have breaking news on two fronts. A U.N. vote clears the way for airstrikes and a no-fly zone in Libya. Plus, new efforts are underway to restore power to Japan's crippled nuclear power plant. We'll have the latest developments on both stories.
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[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/03/17/japan.nuclear.reactors/c1main.radiation.girl.afp.gi.jpg caption="A girl is checked for possible radiation exposure in Japan. " width=300 height=169]
Editor's note: Tune in to AC360° tonight beginning at 10pm ET to get the latest from Anderson Cooper and CNN's team of correspondents and producers on the ground in Japan. We'll also have the latest out of Libya.
Workers in Japan are scrambling to cool the damaged reactors at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. After deploying water cannons and helicopters to dump water on the facility, officials are now working to restore power at the site.
Engineers have an emergency diesel generator running at the No. 6 reactor, which is also supplying power to reactor No. 5. There's also been confusing reports on efforts to install a cable to restore power to reactor No. 2. Citing Japanese authorities, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said the power cord reached the unit and would be connected after the spraying of water on the No. 3 reactor was completed.
But a Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO)spokesman said the electrical line is not connected, though they hoped it would be by Friday night.
Meanwhile, we're getting new details on the health of those workers risking their lives at the plant. According to the IAEA, at least 20 people have fallen ill because of possible radiation contamination. The agency also reports 19 people were injured and two are missing at the plant.
There are also breaking developments on Libya. The U.N. Security Council voted tonight to impose "all necessary measures", including a no-fly zone, as forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi approach a key rebel stronghold.
"Today the security council has responded to the Libyan people's cry for help," U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice said.
The resolution was approved with 10 votes, including the U.S. There were no opposing votes of the 15-member council, but Russia, China, Germany, India and Brazil abstained.
It's unclear when the international community might take military action in Libya.
A defiant Gadhafi addressed his country on the radio earlier today.
"Let the whole world launch war against us. Bomb us even with atomic bombs. This is our country. We will never give up."
CNN Senior U.N. Correspondent
United Nations (CNN) - Told the time to act was diminishing by the hour, the U.N. Security Council voted Thursday evening to impose a no-fly zone and "all necessary measures" to protect civilians, as forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi closed in on the rebel stronghold.
Opposition leaders, who have suffered military setbacks this week, said such measures were necessary for them to have any chance of thwarting Gadhafi's imminent assault on Benghazi.
"We're hoping and praying that the United Nations will come up with a very firm and very fast resolution and they will enforce it immediately," said Ahmed El-Gallal, a senior opposition coordinator, before the vote.
"We should not arrive too late," French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said at the U.N.
The resolution was approved with 10 votes, including those of the United States and the United Kingdom.
There were no opposing votes on the 15-member council, but China, Russia, Germany, India and Brazil abstained. Germany said it was concerned about a protracted military conflict.
U.N. member states can "take all necessary measures ... to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force," according to the resolution.
It was not immediately clear just how the international military operation and bombing runs would unfold. The no-fly zone prohibits Libya's air forces from entering certain zones within the country.
"The United States stands with the Libyan people in support of their universal rights," said U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice.
Gadhafi's son, Saadi, told CNN Thursday evening that troops will change their tactics and take up positions around Benghazi Saturday or Sunday and assist people fleeing from the city.
The younger Gadhafi said there will be no large-scale assault. Instead police and anti-terrorism units will be sent into the rebel stronghold to disarm the opposition. Unspecified humanitarian groups can help with the exodus of civilians from Benghazi, Saadi Gadhafi said.
CNN Wire Staff
Tokyo (CNN) - Efforts to cool one of the reactors at a quake-damaged Japanese nuclear power plant have been "somewhat effective" since authorities turned helicopters, fire trucks and police water cannon on the facility, its owner said early Friday.
Japanese military helicopters dumped tons of water on the No. 3 reactor housing, including its spent fuel pool, at the Fukushima Daiichi plant until after midnight Thursday, the Tokyo Electric Power Company reported. Earlier, fire and police trucks turned their hoses on the No. 3 reactor housing for more than an hour, TEPCO reported, and the subsequent steam and lowered radioactivity levels indicated progress.
Experts believe that boiling steam rising from that pool, which contains at least partially exposed fuel rods, may be releasing radiation into the atmosphere.
In Vienna, Austria, a senior official of the International Atomic Energy Agency told reporters the situation remains serious, but there had been "no significant worsening" Thursday.
The damage to the nuclear reactors at Fukushima Daiichi has raised the specter of a multiple nuclear meltdown - the nightmare scenario more common in movies than in reality in which fuel rods cannot be cooled and the reactor's core melts. In the worst-case scenario, the fuel can spill out of the damaged containment unit and spread radioactivity and cancer-causing isotopes through the air and water.
Radiation levels at the plant dipped Thursday evening, but remained high after spiking Thursday morning to nearly 3.8 millisieverts per hour - more than a typical resident of a developed country receives in a year. But Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said 17 of 18 workers checked Thursday morning tested normal, and the one who received a higher dose of radiation required no medical treatment.
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:
Lucky Charms' Lucky The Leprechaun visits the New York Stock Exchange on March 17, 2011 in New York City. (Photo credit: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)
Update: Beat 360° Winners:
"From 'Two and a Half Men' to this???"
"So where's that double rainbow?"
Tom Foreman | BIO
Reporter's Note: Despite all the troubles facing the world, St. Patrick’s Day has once again rolled around. And with a name like Obama, you can just imagine the president must be as excited by that as he is by my daily letters.
Dear Mr. President,
On a flight back to DC once I was seated next to a born-in-Ireland-lived-there-all-his-life Irishman, and we had a lovely conversation. Of course I asked him how many leprechauns he had personally seen, and where he keeps his shillelagh, which oddly enough he seemed to take some offense at; but once we crossed those cultural gulfs, we had a good chat.
(This, I may note, will come as a surprise to anyone who has ever flown with me, because I rarely talk to anyone in transit. As I see it, the silent negotiations over a shared armrest are as deep as I want those relationships to go.)
Anyway, at one point he said to me, “I’m surprised by how many Americans like to claim Irish descent, even when it seems a bit of a stretch.” I’ve noticed that phenomenon, too. It’s especially prevalent on St. Patrick’s Day, but you can hear such salutes to lineage all year long.