Qaddafi makes public appearance as rebels advance and NATO bombs Tripoli (+ analysis); At least 10 killed in Yemen protests; US Attorney General says bin Laden "not assassinated"; EU pledges open borders despite Denmark and Italy actions; Japan says early warning system saved lives in quake; and more
Top of the Agenda: Libyan Rebels Advance in Misurata
Libyan rebels made significant advances against regime forces in the besieged city of Misurata (WashPost), including capturing the airport and large swaths of territory around the city. The battle of Misurata has been the bloodiest contest in the nearly three-month conflict, and the recent rebel success comes as NATO has stepped up its bombing campaign and improved coordination with rebel officials. Capture of the airport (NYT), one of the last pieces of ground in the city controlled by Qaddafi forces, represents a considerable victory and a public relations blow to the Libyan regime. Analysts stress the triumph is reversible, but suggest it carries the potential to cut off the logistical lines of government forces in the east from those in the west.
British Prime Minister David Cameron invited the leading rebel political group, the National Transitional Council (Bloomberg), to establish an office in London, claiming the group represents the future of Libya. In comments on Al Arabiya television, the Libyan consul in Cairo said he was leaving the Qaddafi government and joining the rebel movement.
Libyan dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi made his first public appearance (CNN) in nearly two weeks in a video broadcast showing him in meetings with tribal elders in a Tripoli hotel. Government officials claim that Qaddafi has been targeted three times by NATO airstrikes and said they are concerned about the colonel's safety. Seeking to take advantage of the temporary break in the Misurata stalemate, NATO warplanes (FT) continued to pound the capital of Tripoli for the second time this week.
The Obama administration's plan to seize frozen Libyan assets and use them for Libyan aid is a dramatic, and probably unilateral, exercise of US power that is likely to yield a relatively modest sum of money, writes CFR's Stuart Levey.
In Foreign Policy, CFR's Micah Zenko discusses the US handoff of military operations in the battle for Libya.
In this Foreign Affairs article, Dirk Vandewalle writes that if the hurried diplomatic negotiations leading up to Resolution 1973 seemed a Herculean task, they may pale in comparison to the challenge that comes next: keeping Libya intact and on the road to recovery.
PACIFIC RIM: Japan's Early Warning System Saved Lives
Japanese seismologists claim the country's early warning system (AP), which broadcast alerts ten seconds before the recent disaster struck, saved numerous lives. At a cost of $500 million, the network of sensors, unveiled as the world's first in 2007, monitors ocean movements and calculates the size of the impending quake.
China: The Chinese government raised the reserve requirements (Bloomberg) for its banks for the fifth time this year in an effort to hold down prices. Economists say the move adds to the potential that growth will slow in the world's second-largest economy.