March 29th, 2011
09:45 PM ET

Time to arm the Libyan opposition?: Join the Live Chat

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/02/liveblogfinal.copy.jpg]

Tonight on AC360°, as the Libyan opposition loses ground against pro-Gadhafi forces, we take a look at a vexing question for the Obama administration: Should it supply weapons to the Libyans trying to put an end to Gadhafi’s decades in power? Plus, an update on the troubled nuclear reactors in Japan.

Scroll down to join the live chat during the program. It's your chance to share your thoughts on tonight's headlines. Keep in mind, you have a better chance of having your comment get past our moderators if you follow our rules.

Here are some of them:

1) Keep it short (we don't have time to read a "book")
2) Don't write in ALL CAPS (there's no need to yell)
3) Use your real name (first name only is fine)
4) No links
5) Watch your language (keep it G-rated; PG at worst - and that includes $#&*)

Filed under: Live Blog
March 29th, 2011
08:26 PM ET

Workers scramble to contain radioactive water at nuclear plant

CNN Wire Staff

Tokyo (CNN) - Workers at Japan's crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant faced a difficult balancing act Tuesday as they struggled to keep reactors cool and prevent radioactive water from leaking into the ocean.

Water has been a key weapon in the battle to stave off a meltdown at the facility since a March 11 earthquake and tsunami knocked out cooling systems. But tons of water have been pumped and sprayed to keep the plant's radioactive fuel from overheating, and the plant is running out of room to store the now-contaminated liquid.

"Now the focus is how to ... remove the water and contain it safely," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano, the government's point man for the crisis, told reporters Tuesday.

The discovery of contaminated water in a maintenance tunnel that leads to the No. 2 reactor's turbine plant has sparked fresh concerns about the possibility of additional radiation leaking from the plant. Japan's nuclear safety agency said workers were using sandbags and concrete panels to keep the water inside the tunnel, which is located about 55 meters (180 feet) from the Pacific shore.

Workers are also trying to pump water out of the turbine houses of the No. 1 and No. 3 reactors, according to the Tokyo Electric Power Company, the plant's owner. Lights were restored in the main control room of the No. 4 reactor, the utility said.

The company also reported that freshwater was being injected into the No. 3 reactor. Seawater was previously used.

"TEPCO is in an awful dilemma right now," said Jim Walsh, an international security expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "One the one hand, they want to cool the reactor and keep the reactor cool, so they have to pour water in. If there is a leak in one of the containment vessels, that water keeps leaking out. So they have a problem where the more they try to cool it down, the greater the radiation hazard as that water leaks out from the plant."

Japanese officials and international experts have said they believe there's been a partial meltdown at three of the plant's six reactors, and Edano reported Monday that the No. 2 reactor's containment vessel may be leaking.

"The high radiation levels on site seem to support that idea. There is no visual proof yet, but it's increasingly likely there was partial fuel melting," said Gary Was, a nuclear engineering expert at the University of Michigan.

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
March 29th, 2011
08:09 PM ET

Rebels lose ground in Libya as Gadhafi forces go on the offensive

CNN Wire Staff

Tripoli, Libya (CNN) - Forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi went on the attack Tuesday, pushing opposition fighters back to the outskirts of a key oil town, rebels said, as world diplomats met in London to discuss the future of the North African nation.

Opposition fighters in Bin Jawad battled Gadhafi forces and came under a hail of artillery and rocket attacks, a rebel source said. CNN saw rebel fighters streaming back out of the city, beating what looked to be a hasty retreat. One said the barrage was too much for the opposition to withstand, and that Gadhafi loyalists had infiltrated Bin Jawad.

Rebel forces regrouped in the nearby city of Ras Lanuf, a key oil town that they said they seized on Sunday. They came under heavy fire on the western edge of the city, said the rebels, who responded in kind, firing back with whatever weapons were available.

Tuesday's fighting marked a reversal of the momentum of the opposition, which until recently had faced relatively little resistance in its westward march.

Elsewhere in Libya, three loud explosions were heard in Tripoli. The blasts came within about 20 minutes. It was the first time since the uprising began that such blasts were heard during daylight in the Libyan capitol.

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
March 29th, 2011
06:01 PM ET

Beat 360° 3/29/11

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:

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, gestures alongside Captain Proencamendes, on board the NRP Sagras, dockside on March 28, 2011 in Lisbon, Portugal. The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall are in Portugal for a 10-day tour, promoting UK trade. (Photo credit: Chris Radburn/WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Update: Beat 360° Winners:

Tom Foreman
“No, your majesty, it’s the other one. That’s Big Ben. You don’t get out of the palace much, do you?”


Bruce Button
"You're right, Captain, we can see Sarah Palin's house from here!"

___________________________________________________________________________Beat 360° Challenge

Filed under: Beat 360°
March 29th, 2011
05:20 PM ET

Workers endure austere conditions in averting nuclear disaster

Tokyo (CNN) - They sleep anywhere they can find open space - in conference rooms, corridors, even stairwells. They have one blanket, no pillows and a leaded mat intended to keep radiation at bay.

They eat only two meals each day - a carefully rationed breakfast of 30 crackers and vegetable juice and for dinner, a ready-to-eat meal or something out of a can.They clean themselves with wet wipes, since the supply of fresh water is short.

These are the grueling living conditions for the workers inside Japan's crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. They've been hailed as heroes risking their lives by braving high levels of radiation as they work to avert a nuclear meltdown.

But until now, the outside world has known little about the workers' routine.

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
March 29th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

'Flickers' of al Qaeda in Libyan opposition, U.S. NATO leader says

Jennifer Rizzo
CNN National Security Producer

Washington (CNN) - There is a good chance NATO pressure will encourage Libyan tyrant Moammar Gadhafi to leave power, the U.S. NATO commander told Congress Tuesday, but the opposition that could come in the Libyan leader's wake has "flickers" of al Qaeda.

While there is a wide range of possible outcomes in Libya, running from a static stalemate to Gadhafi cracking, there is a "more than reasonable" chance of Gadhafi leaving power, Adm. James Stavridis said before the Senate Armed Services Committee,

But potential "flickers" of al Qaeda and Hezbollah elements have been seen in intelligence regarding the Libyan opposition, which is poised to take power if Gadhafi leaves, Stavridis said. However, he added there is no evidence of a significant presence of al Qaeda or other terrorist groups. Stavridis is also the commander of U.S. European Command.

"The intelligence that I'm receiving at this point makes me feel that the leadership that I'm seeing are responsible men and women who are struggling against Col. Gadhafi," Stavridis added.

The comments come the same day as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with a leader of Libya's opposition in London. Clinton and the heads of 40 other countries met Tuesday to discuss Libya's future.

A senior counterterrorism official, unnamed because he is not authorized to speak on the record, backed up Stavridis' assessment, downplaying the concern about al Qaeda among the Libyan opposition.

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
March 29th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Alleged Libyan rape victim's mother would slap Gadhafi if she could

CNN Wire Staff

Tobruk, Libya (CNN) - Aysha Ahmed and Attique Saleh lived in silence for more than four decades under the ironfisted rule of Moammar Gadhafi. But not anymore. Not after they watched their daughter manhandled and dragged away from a Tripoli hotel.

Eman al-Obeidy's parents told CNN Tuesday they are no longer afraid to publicly condemn the Libyan strongman, an act that would have been unthinkable just weeks ago.

If Gadhafi were to face Ahmed now, she would slap him, she told CNN Tuesday.

Al-Obeidy burst into the hotel housing international journalists in Tripoli Saturday and told them she had been raped by 15 militia men. Cameras captured the drama as al-Obeidy, sobbing and screaming, wanted the world to know the brutality of Gadhafi's regime.

The Libyan government said al-Obeidy has been freed and that a criminal case is underway. The men accused of raping al-Obeidy have filed counter-charges for slander, Libyan government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said Tuesday.

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
March 29th, 2011
09:30 AM ET
March 29th, 2011
09:00 AM ET

Letters to the President #799: 'Selling the Libyan war'

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2011/images/03/28/t1larg.obama-libya-close-up.t1larg.jpg width=300 height=169]Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: President Obama has not explained to the public why we are fighting in Libya. We’ll see if they buy it.

Dear Mr. President,

A friend of mine was involved in a kind of political-debate-cum-sideshow years ago. He would take the liberal viewpoint, another man would take the conservative position, and they would slug it out to the endless amusement of cheering audiences. They performed at college campuses, in front of civic groups, and probably at cattle auctions for all I know.

One night, as they were leaving an event, for all the raucous hilarity they’d provoked, the other guy turned and said, "So do you think we changed anyone’s mind?" And as my friend later described it, he was struck by the realization that the answer was almost certainly "no."

I mention it, because as I watched you make the case for the war in Libya, I kept asking myself, "Is this enough to change anyone’s mind?" And I suspect that is really the question you need to ask yourself.

After all, I don’t suppose you would make such a speech unless you thought that the American people were feeling a little uncertain about what we are doing there and why. In addition, I would guess you wanted to encourage your friends and quiet your critics on Capitol Hill. And beyond that? Well, it’s not beyond the pale to think you’d want your foreign allies to see you bolstering political support at home for the rockets red glare in Libya.

So while everyone else slices and dices your words to decide whether you made your case, what you must ask yourself is that same question: Did I change anyone’s mind? Is anyone who was against this effort, now for it?

It is a tough, but simple test of whether your achieved your goal or just wasted the evening. And the answer, more than any comment by any pundit, will tell you whether your speech worked or not.

Give me a call if you want to do the pluses and minuses. I’m good at those.



Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

March 29th, 2011
12:30 AM ET
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