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March 25th, 2011
09:54 PM ET

Evening Buzz: New Battle Plan in Libya

Libyan rebels pray while preparing for battle against government forces near the city of Ajdabiya.

Libyan rebels pray while preparing for battle against government forces near the city of Ajdabiya.

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

NATO has agreed in principle to expand its role in Libya. Along with enforcing the no-fly zone over the country, it will also take the lead in protecting civilians, said the commander of U.S. Africa Command.

Gen. Carter Ham told CNN that coalition forces have achieved a "large degree of success."

"We do have an arms embargo. We do have a no-fly zone and we have halted a very serious assault by Libyan regime forces toward the city of Benghazi," Ham said.

But Ham admits complete success has not been achieved.

"We find these (Gadhafi) regime forces taking cover inside built-up areas where they know, because of our concern for civilian casualties, that - that we won't - we won't strike in there. So it's a tough, tough situation right now."

Tonight on 360° we'll talk with CNN's Nic Robertson in Tripoli and Arwa Damon in Benghazi. We'll also talk strategy with former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Wesley Clark.

There's also the deadly uprising in Syria. Dozens of people were killed in demonstrations today. We'll talk with an eyewitness to chaos in Daraa. We also have remarkable video of protests.

The demonstrators are fed up with the government of President Bashar al-Assad. They want reforms and the government has responded to some of their demands. Among them a raise in government workers' salaries by 1,500 Syrian pounds ($32.60 US) a month, more job opportunities and a crackdown on government corruption.

And in Japan, there's a potentially dangerous development. Officials fear a core reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant may be leaking high levels of radiation. We'll talk with nuclear power plant expert Michael Friedlander and MIT's Jim Walsh.

Join us for these stories and much more starting at 10 p.m. ET.


Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
March 23rd, 2011
08:55 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Gadhafi's Inner Circle Reaches Out to U.S.

Libyan rebels deploy near the city of Ajdabiya to try to attack government forces that have encircled the town.

Libyan rebels deploy near the city of Ajdabiya to try to attack government forces that have encircled the town.

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Members of Moammar Gadhafi's inner circle are reaching out to the U.S. and Arab States, senior U.S. officials said. This includes Gadhafi's close confident and brother-in-law, Adullah Sanussi, who they said has been calling the U.S. State Department almost daily.

But does this mean Gadhafi is considering leaving Libya? We'll have the latest on this development tonight on AC360°.

On day five of the airstrikes by coalition forces 175 sorties were flown in Libya, 113 by U.S. warplanes. Coalition forces are also putting more pressure on pro-Gadhafi forces on the ground, which are targeting rebel-held towns to the east of Tripoli.

"Our primary focus is to interdict those (pro-Gadhai) forces before they enter the city, and again I said they were targeting population centers in the city, interdict those forces before they enter the city, cut off their lines of communication and cut off their command and control," Rear Adm. Gerard Hueber, Chief of Staff of Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn told reporters today.

Tonight you'll hear from an eyewitness to the fighting in Misrata. We'll also talk with CNN's Arwa Damon in Benghazi and David Kirkpatrick in Tripoli.

Should the U.S. even be part of the coalition fighting in Libya? You'll hear two sides of that debate tonight. Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, says U.S. intervention is a bad idea. While Princeton University’s Anne-Marie Slaughter, former Director of Policy Planning at the State Department and others say it's the right move.

We'll also look at the growing uprisings across the Middle East. 15 people were killed in clashes with Syrian security forces today. While Yemen's embattled president has accepted opposition demands for constitutional reforms and elections by the end of the year. There's also been violence in Bahrain. What could all of this mean for the region and the U.S.?  We'll ask our panel of experts.

In Japan, there are new fears over one of life basic necessities - water. In Tokyo, 150 miles south of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, new testing shows radioactive material in tap water at levels two times higher than what the government says is safe for infants.

Plus, officials evacuated some workers from the plant today when black smoke rose from the No. 3 reactor. That reactor is a priority because its fuel rods have a mix of plutonium and uranium, which experts say could cause more harm in a meltdown.

The death toll from the earthquake and tsunami is now 9,487 and at least 15,617 people are missing. And, Japan's Kyodo News Agency reports that 387,000 survivors are staying at 2,200 shelters in northeast Japan.

Join us for these stories and much more starting at 10 p.m. ET.


Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
March 22nd, 2011
09:02 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Gadhafi Remains Defiant

The wreckage of a U.S. Air Force F-15 in Libya on Tuesday.

The wreckage of a U.S. Air Force F-15 in Libya on Tuesday.

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi remains defiant on day four of airstrikes against his country by coalition forces.

"We will be victorious in this fight. We will not give up," Gadhafi declared on Libyan state run TV tonight.

The U.S. military has flown 212 sorties over Libya, while an additional 124 were flown by coalition forces. The U.S. military has also carried out 108 strikes and 162 Tomahawk missiles have been fired.

But all isn't going smoothly in Libya for the U.S. military. A U.S. F-15E Strike Eagle fighter jet crashed in Libya Monday night "when the aircraft experienced equipment malfunction."

Both the pilot and weapons officer ejected safely and were rescued within hours.

The military dispatched two Marine Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft from the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge, which is about 100 miles off the coast of Libya, to pick up one of the aviators.

The other crew member was recovered by Libyan rebels who treated him with "respect and dignity" until coalition forces were able to get him out of Libya.

The airstrikes continue because Gadafi is ignoring the U.N. mandate, according to U.S. military leaders.

"Gadhafi and his forces are not yet in compliance of the United Nations Security Council resolution due to the continued aggressive actions his forces are taking against the civilian population of Libya," Adm. Samuel Locklear said.

One place where fighting still rages is in Misrata, east of Tripoli.

"There are more than 50 snipers over the rooftops of the city. They are attacking people and civilians," an eyewitness tells us. You'll hear more from him tonight on AC360.

We'll also look at the questions being raised about how the coalition campaign against Gadhafi will continue and who will take the lead in the days ahead. Will NATO take the command? We'll talk it over with Jill Doughery, David Gergen and Fouad Ajami.

We'll also give you the latest developments on Japan's nuclear crisis.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is blocking the shipment into the U.S. of any milk products, fresh fruits and vegetables from areas closest to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

All other food products will be tested for radiation exposure.

At the plant there was some progress today. Power is restored to the control room of the No. 3 reactor, but not yet the cooling system.

Tokyo Electric, which runs the plant, said the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors suffered more serious damage from seawater than originally suspected and it will take more time to make repairs.

The seawater was poured into the reactors in an attempt to cool them following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Join us for these stories and much more starting at 10 p.m. ET.


Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
March 21st, 2011
09:46 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Battle for Libya

A Libyan rebel ducks for cover behind a sand dune during a failed attempt to take the town of Ajdabiya from Gadhafi's forces Monday.

A Libyan rebel ducks for cover behind a sand dune during a failed attempt to take the town of Ajdabiya from Gadhafi's forces Monday.

Editor's note: Tune in to AC360° tonight beginning at 10pm ET to get the latest on the airstrikes in  Libya and Japan's nuclear crisis, following the deadly earthquake and tsunami on March 11.

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Coalition forces hit Libya with more air strikes tonight. CNN's Nic Robertson and his crew showed live tracer fire from pro-government forces in Tripoli, as they attempted to stop the assault.

"Our actions today are focused on extending the no-fly zone," said Gen. Carter Ham, commander of U.S. Africa Command this morning.

Approximately 80 sorties were flown on Monday, more than half by other countries than the United States, said Hamm.

That's also up from 60 on Sunday.

We'll get a live update from Nic Robertson in Libya's capital and Arwa Damon in Benghazi.

Here at home, President Obama is coming under fire from some members of Congress on both sides of the aisle who said the U.S. mission in Libya is unconstitutional. They claim U.S. military action against Gadhafi amounts to war, and the president should have requested congressional approval for the airstrikes.

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) is part of that chorus. Anderson will talk with him tonight and see what the White House has to say about the uproar.

We're also following developments in Japan, where smoke was seen rising today from reactors No. 2 and No. 3 at the Fukushim Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Crews are working to restore power to the facility. We'll update you on that effort and the radiation worries.

Join us for these stories and much more at 10 p.m. ET.


Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
March 18th, 2011
09:17 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Gadhafi On Notice

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is on notice. Stop attacking civilians or the international community will take military action.

But the fighting goes on, according to eyewitnesses in Libya. The fighting reportedly continues even after the Libyan government said it imposed a ceasefire today.

This morning when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton heard press reports of a ceasefire she had a tough message for the Libyan government.

"We are going to be not responsive or impressed by words. We would have to see actions on the ground and that is not yet at all clear," Clinton said.

This afternoon President Obama had his own stern message for the Libyan leader.

"Gadhafi must stop his troops from advancing on Benghazi, pull them back from Adebayo, Misrata and Zawiyah and establish water, electricity and gas supplies to all area," Obama said. "Humanitarian assistance must be allowed to reach the people of Libya."

"These terms are not negotiable," Obama declared. If Gadhafi doesn't comply, "the international community will impose consequences."

Tonight on AC360°, you'll hear from opposition fighters who say Gadhafi is not complying with those terms.

These developments come one day after the U.N. Security Council approved “all necessary measures”, including a no-fly zone, to protect the people of Libya.

We'll also have the latest on Japan's nuclear crisis.

The evacuation area around the plant remains at 12 miles (20-kilometer), despite an admission from Japanese officials that the crisis is now on par with 1979 Three Mile Island incident in Pennsylvania. Today Japan raised the level of seriousness to a five on a scale of zero to seven.

Tokyo Electric Power Company, which operates the damaged Fukushima Daiichi power plant, issued an apology today.

We'll have that and tell you how efforts are going to restore power to the plant.

And meteorologist Chad Myers is tracking the winds in Japan, with fears radiation could spread to other areas.

Here in the United States, there was a report today that a radiation monitor in Sacramento, California detected a trace of radioactive material from the stricken Japanese nuclear plant. But the Environmental Protection Agency says it "has not detected any radiation levels of concern."

Join us for these stories and much more at 10 p.m. ET.


Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
March 17th, 2011
08:58 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Working to Restore Power at Nuclear Plant

A girl is checked for possible radiation exposure in Japan.

A girl is checked for possible radiation exposure in Japan.

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.

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

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."


Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
March 16th, 2011
09:12 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Water Dumped on Nuclear Plant

A woman makes her way through earthquake and tsunami rubble Wednesday in Kamaishi, Japan.

A woman makes her way through earthquake and tsunami rubble Wednesday in Kamaishi, Japan.

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.

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

A dire warning on the Japanese nuclear crisis is not coming from Tokyo, instead from Washington. Spent fuel rods in the No. 4 reactor of Japan's Fukuskima Daiichi nuclear plant have been exposed, leading to "very high radiation levels" near the facility, the head of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said.

"What we believe at this time is that there has been a hydrogen explosion in this unit due to an uncovering of the fuel in the fuel pool," Gregory Jackzo told a House committee today.

But the Japanese government said radiation levels detected in the surrounding neighborhoods don't pose an immediate health risk. Only residents within 12 miles of the plant were evacuated as precaution. The U.S. is taking a more cautious approach, recommending Americans living within 50 miles to evacuate or stay indoors.

Just moments ago, a helicopter dumped water on one of the reactors, as crews try to lower the temperatures at the site. The rare tactic was aborted today when a chopper would have had to fly into steam rising from the plant.

Meanwhile, a freezing temperatures and snow are hampering search efforts in northeast Japan, where thousands remain missing.

For the survivors, in some areas, the food is running out. The U.S. military is helping the hungry by delivering more than 7,000 pounds of food and water in the disaster zone.

So far, $25 million has been donated to nonprofit organizations in Japan, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy. To see how you can help the Japan go to our Impact Your World web page.


Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
March 15th, 2011
09:21 PM ET

Evening Buzz: New Fire at Japanese Nuclear Plant

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

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.

There's new trouble at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan, increasing fears of more radiation contamination. A second fire has broken out at the plant's No. 4 reactor. It's the latest setback for Tokyo Electric Power Company as it tries to prevent a meltdown, following Friday's 9.0 magnitude earthquake off Japan's coast Friday.

Nuclear fears were first raised when the quake and tsunami knocked out regular and backup cooling systems to reactors No. 1 and No. 3. Workers have poured seawater and boric acid into the reactors to prevent a meltdown, but a hydrogen buildup caused an explosion Saturday. Four workers were hurt when the roof was blown off the No. 1 reactor building. Due to radiation fears, those who lived within a 12-mile radius of the plant were told to evacuate.

Monday morning, local time, a second explosion, this time in reactor No. 3, injured several additional workers. Later that night, the No. 2 reactor lost its cooling capability. Workers injected seawater and boric acid into that reactor.

Tuesday morning, local time, a third explosion rocked the site, involving reactor No. 2, and the first fire broke out in reactor No. 4. Officials reported a temporary spike in radiation levels and warned people who lived within 18.6 miles of the plant to stay inside. Japan's Prime Minister called on everyone to stay calm, but acknowledged there is still a "high risk" of further radioactive material of seeping out.

Tonight only about 50 workers remain at the facility.

"I think the workers at this site are involved in a heroic endeavor, because there is at least fragmentary evidence that in some places on this site there are life-threatening doses of radiation," Robert Alvarez, a former Department of Energy official said.

Alvarez also said normally one reactor would have 100 workers assigned to it, with a total of up to 700 people on site.

Another concern is that the seawater effort is not working.

"They are just pumping saltwater in and it's boiling off," nuclear safety advocate Arnie Gundersen said.

"Almost like a pot on the stove. It will keep boiling off. You have to make up for what's boiling off. If the water drops and fuel becomes exposed, it causes a very high gamma ray exposure on site."
Radiation levels in Tokyo, about 140 miles southwest of the plant, were twice the normal level Tuesday, but officials said they didn't pose a health threat.

The U.S. Navy said it is monitoring winds closely and "moving our ships and aircraft as necessary" from the Fukushima nuclear plant. The U.S. ships and helicopters are delivering food, water and blankets to the victims.

Meanwhile, the official death toll from the quake and tsunami has risen to 3,676. That number is expected to rise as search teams reach the hardest hit areas.


Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
March 14th, 2011
09:00 PM ET

Evening Buzz: New Nuclear Reactor Blast in Japan

Rescue teams work urgently in Japan.

Rescue teams work urgently in Japan.

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Anderson will report live from Japan tonight with the latest developments on the earthquake and tsunami damage.

One of the biggest concerns tonight is the fear of radiation exposure with new trouble at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The owner of the plant says there was an "explosive impact" at the No. 2 reactor in just the last few hours, and pressure readings indicate some damage to the containment structure.

Japan's chief Cabinet secretary says he can't rule out the possibility of a meltdown at all three of the plant's troubled reactors.

On Saturday, an explosion blew away the roof and walls of the building housing reactor No. 1, though the blast did not damage the reactor itself, officials said.

But then the cooling system for the No. 3 reactor malfunctioned, prompting workers to start pumping a mix of seawater and boron into the reactor in a last-ditch effort to cool down fuel rods. However, the No. 3 reactor was also rocked by an explosion, which injured 11 people, and damaged the cooling system at the No. 2 reactor.

Meanwhile, the confirmed death toll in Japan has topped 2,000, at least 3,000 others are missing, tthe National Police Agency said.

Anderson traveled to Shichigahama, about 12 miles northeast of Sendai, where the farmland is now soaked with sea water and debris.

The tsunami's wall of water washed away homes and cars. In the wreckage, Anderson found children's dolls, shoes and wedding photos covered in mud. Japanese soldiers began to search for bodies, going by the smell, with so much ground to cover.

Farther north, in the town Ishinomaki, stranded residents are being rescued by boat. That's where 360's Gary Tuchman went out with members of Japan's army. They came across a woman waving from her apartment, desperate for water. Surprisingly, she didn't want to evacuate her home. Others in the town were grateful to escape. We'll take you inside the rescue effort tonight on AC360. All along the coast of northeast Japan, at least 15,000 people have been rescued.

We'll also check with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who's at a hospital in Shiogama City, outside Sendai. He talked with a patient who is lucky to be alive after his car was tossed around when it was hit by the tsunami.

"Over and over I was hit," he told Dr. Gupta and then his car flooded. He was slowly drowning. Tonight hear how he escaped with his life.

Join us for these stories and much more starting at 10 p.m. ET. See you then.


Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
March 10th, 2011
09:29 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Libya's Military Retakes City

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

The Libyan military is gaining ground, retaking the city of Zawiya, 30 miles west of Tripoli.

Tonight on 360, you'll hear from ITV reporter Bill Neely, the first journalist to enter Zawiya after the fighting ended.

Neely said it's the worst devastation he's ever seen. He's covered plenty of conflicts, but again this is the worst he's ever seen.

He saw bombed-out tanks and bullet holes covering the opposition's other military vehicles. Neely also said he counted more than 20 fresh graves.

Neely watched as the pro-government forces cleaned up the streets of Zawiya. He said when the western media is bused into the city there will be no signs of what he saw.

To the east of Tripoli, the city of Ras Lanouf may fall next, if it hasn't already. CNN's Ben Wedeman was on the outskirts of the city when an intense artillery bombardment was under way. With the opposition seriously outgunned, many fighters fled out of town, including doctors from a hospital. Their hospital narrowly escaped being hit.

"If we must die, we will die here," a doctor told Wedeman, as the doctor sat in his car by the side of the road, hoping to return.

Saif Gadhafi, a son of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi says the regime "will never give up" and "never ever surrender."

He denounced any possible foreign intervention in Libya. "The Libyan people will never welcome NATO or Americans, Gadhafi said."Libya is not piece of cake. We are not Mickey Mouse.”

On Capitol Hill, James Clapper, America's top intelligence officer, warned the Senate Armed Services Committee that the elder Gadhafi is it for the long haul.

"I think, over the longer term, that the regime will prevail," Clapper said.

But would a no-fly zone stop the government's advance? We'll talk it over with Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander General Wesley Clark and Foud Adjami, a professor at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Plus, John King will lay out the possible scenarios under a no-fly zone mandate.

Tonight we'll also take you to Wisconsin where a Republican bill stripping state workers of most of their collective bargaining rights passed the state Assembly today. The governor is expected to sign it sometime tonight.

The legislation isn't sitting well with protesters, who forced police to drag them out of the state Capitol today. Many of them shouted "shame, shame, shame" during the tense escort.

Join us for these stories and much more starting at 10 p.m. ET. See you then.


Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
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