Fighting In Libya; Wisconsin Budget Cuts; Nobel Winner Loses Job

A Libyan rebel in Ajdabiya on Wednesday. i i

hide captionA Libyan rebel in Ajdabiya on Wednesday.

Marco Longari/AFP/Getty Images
A Libyan rebel in Ajdabiya on Wednesday.

A Libyan rebel in Ajdabiya on Wednesday.

Marco Longari/AFP/Getty Images

Good morning. The big news of the day continues to be the fight for control of Libya, and the international community's reaction to the struggle.

Gadhafi Forces Push Against Rebels In East

Forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi are pushing into the country's rebel-held east. NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro reports that they have taken the city of Brega from the rebels and that planes are bombing the city of Ajdabiya, the site of a large weapons depot. A rebel leader in Ajdabiya, however, says that his forces are "still holding the line."

The AP reports that Gadhafi vowed Wednesday to fight to the "last man and last woman" to defend his country.

While the fighting continues, two American warships are in transit to the waters off of Libya. Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the ships will provide humanitarian relief or evacuation assistance, if needed.

Meanwhile the United States and other international powers continue to debate direct military assistance for the rebels, including the idea of creating a no-fly zone over the country. While Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said such a move is under active consideration, Pentagon officials say it would be a difficult idea to implement.

Update: The AP now reports that loyalist forces have failed to hold their gains in Brega.

But the foray east against opposition-held Brega appeared to stumble. The pro-Gadhafi forces initially re-captured the oil facilities Wednesday morning. But then a wave of opposition citizen militias drove them out again, cornering them in a nearby university campus where they battled for several hours until the approximately 200 Gadhafi loyalists fled, according to an Associated Press reporter at the scene.

Governor Proposes Big Cuts In Wisconsin Budget

Republican Governor Scott Walker wants to slash $1.5 billion from funding for schools and local governments in Wisconsin, cuts outlined in his new budget proposal for the state. Walker, who is in a battle with state Democrats over the issue of collective bargaining rights for public-worker unions, can't get his budget through the state legislature unless Wisconsin Senate Democrats return to the state capital to vote on it, something they don't appear willing to do.

Nobel Winner Forced Out Of Pioneering Bank

The winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize is being forced out of his leadership role at the Grameen Bank, a pioneer in the world of microfinance loans for entrepreneurs in developing economies. The government of Bangladesh, which owns 25 percent of Grameen, says that Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus has violated the country's laws that mandate retirement at age 60. Yunus is 70. The government order comes at a time when both Yunus and the microfinance industry in South Asia have come under scrutiny for the possible misuse of funds and allegedly onerous terms for customers.

Update: The Grameen bank later said in a statement that Yunus would continue his work at the bank and that the organization would challenge the order through the legal system.

Apple Expected To Unveil Update iPad

After selling more than 15 million iPads, creating a new market for tablet computing, Apple is expected to unveil an updated version of the device at a media event in San Francisco at 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET. The big questions ahead of the event, however, are whether Steve Jobs will make an appearance and how long it will be before the next iteration of the iPad. Jobs is on medical leave from Apple but is rumored to be a possible participant in today's event. Also making lots of noise in the rumor mill is reporting from people such as Leander Kahney that an iPad 3 will be released later this year and that it will be a much bigger step forward than the iPad 2 that is expected at today's event.

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