America

Libyan Military Officers Defect

Eastern Libya appears to be controlled by forces and protesters who oppose embattled Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. NPR's Lourdes Garcia Navarro entered the region and tells Morning Edition the Libyans she's spoken to fear that Gadhafi is 'unhinged', 'insane' and he'll continue his violent, unpredictable behavior.

Libyan Major Colonel Sulieman Mahmoud talked with Lourdes and other journalists yesterday and says he defected from Gadhafi's command when he learned troops were killing Libyan protesters. Lourdes says the country's justice minister has quit; the New York Times says the interior minister has resigned.

As Mark noted, Gadhafi spoke furiously for an hour yesterday blaming intoxicated youth and terrorists for the violence and warning he'll cleanse Libya himself if he has to.

NEW ZEALAND DEATH TOLL AT 75

The New Zealand Herald says 300 people are missing after Tuesday's 6.3 magnitude quake near Christchurch. Officials fear more than 100 people perished in the city's TV building, which is so damaged it's been deemed 'unsurvivable'. Officials say 80% of Christchurch lacks water.

The Australian Broadcasting Co. reports while Christchurch has some of the world's most stringent building regulations, many of the damaged buildings were erected before the codes took effect.

MAKE THAT 'MAYOR-ELECT EMANUEL'

The next Chicago mayor will be former chief of staff to President Obama, Rahm Emanuel. He avoided a runoff election Tuesday by claiming 55% of the vote: his closest challengers were former Chicago Public Schools chief Gery Chico and former senator Carol Moseley Braun. As Frank writes for NPR's It's All Politics blog, Braun, who's African American, was backed by several black Chicago leaders. Her third place finish in a city with a history of racial disputes suggests Emanuel can persuasively argue he's mayor of all Chicago.

A FIRESIDE WARNING

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker addressed fellow Wisconsinites in a 'fireside chat' last evening, and discussed the controversial financial bill he's trying to get passed, even though 14 state senate Democrats have vanished, preventing the bill from going forward. Walker's friendly chat included this:

The missing Senate Democrats must know that their failure to come to work will lead to dire consequences very soon. Failure to act on this budget repair bill means (at least) 15 hundred state employees will be laid off before the end of June. If there is no agreement by July 1, another 5 -6 thousand state workers, as well as 5-6 thousand local government employees would be also laid off.

The Democratic senators aren't back and in the Assembly, the AP reports Democratic lawmakers filibustered the legislation.

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