Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Libya is the latest North African country to experience internet trouble as democratic protests continue to sweep the region.

The massive Saharan country, long controlled by the dictator Moammar Gadhafi, has suffered "rolling blackouts" of its internet connections during the regime's ongoing violent crackdown on protestors, according to the internet traffic monitor Renesys.

The cause of these internet service cuts, however, remains uncertain. Possibilities include a government crackdown, an internet traffic overload or simple power outages, said Jim Cowie, Renesys' co-founder.

"If this had happened in any other country I might have said, 'Oh, that's just a provider. Maybe they had a power outage in their data center and their servers wouldn't start up," he said.

CNN's Ben Wedeman, one of the few independent journalists on the ground in eastern Libya, wrote that "the electricity was working. The cell phone system is still functioning, though you can't call abroad. The internet, however, has been down for days."

Google's online "Transparency Report" shows internet searches from Libya, which is controlled by anti-government demonstrators, have been happening at below-average levels in recent days. And Arbor Networks, a network security company, issued similar findings.

International internet traffic to and from Libya was shut down on Saturday morning from about 1 to 8 a.m. and again on Sunday during the same timeframe, according to Renesys' analysis, which was posted on the company's blog and is based on traffic data the company collects from internet service providers around the world.

It's almost as if the country had instituted a "overnight internet curfew," Cowie said, adding it's possible that Gadhafi's government wanted to crack down on cyber dissidents who are known to organize online while other people sleep.

Reports of wider-spread internet outages could be an indication that Libya is using more sophisticated methods to control the internet, some of which wouldn't be visible to international traffic monitors like Renesys.

Cricket officials plan to commemorate the victims of the New Zealand earthquake when the country's national team plays neighboring Australia at the World Cup in India on Friday.

Emergency workers are searching for survivors after at least 65 people were killed in a 6.3-magnitude quake in the southern hemisphere nation's second-biggest city Christchurch on Tuesday.

"At times like this, sport can only offer its support and its deepest sympathy to those who have lost loved ones during such a tragedy," International Cricket Council chief executive Haroon Lorgat said in a statement.

"It's a helpless feeling but I will be discussing with the organizers of the Cricket World Cup how we can most appropriately remember those who lost their lives or have been injured and affected when the Black Caps play their next match against Australia in Nagpur on Friday."

New Zealand Cricket's headquarters is based in Christchurch, which is reeling from its second serious earthquake in six months. The first in September was stronger but caused no fatalities.

It is the South Island's third tragedy in that period, following the mine explosion that killed 29 people in November.

"The news we have is that the NZC offices have been severely damaged but thankfully everyone who works for NZC seems to have escaped without injury," Lorgat said.

The New Zealand players opened their World Cup campaign on Sunday with a comfortable win over Kenya, but are now preparing for a much more difficult task against four-time champions Australia.

Tracy McMillan has gotten under my single-status skin.

I'm not sure how it took nearly a week for her Huffington Post column, "Why You're Not Married," to land in front of me, but it finally did. And now I'm fired up -- not in an angry way but in the sort of way that made me skip to my desk, excited to type.

To hear it from the thrice-divorced McMillan, I'm 41 and not married because of one (or more?) of six reasons: I'm a bitch, a slut, a liar, shallow, selfish or not good enough.

Wow. Is that all? Maybe I smell, too.

I'll be the first to admit I've got issues (c'mon, who doesn't?), but I'm not owning these. Perhaps she was talking about why her own marriages failed or was simply setting out to get a rise, which she did brilliantly. And while I've been guilty of occasional transgressions that might fit in some of those unflattering boxes, McMillan doesn't touch why I'm not married.

Based on the buzz surrounding her conversation-starting piece, I'm laying down and lining up behind reason number seven: Life happens.

Before reading on, know that I am not and refuse to be woe-is-me. Like Jennifer Aniston, minus the killer body and bank account, I'm happy. Really, I am. I skipped to my desk, dammit.

Of course I'd love to meet and marry that one and only, but in the meantime I'm living my life, and I'm taking everything that's been given me on the journey.

Maybe, like me, that's where you are, too.

Maybe you spent your adolescence clashing with a stepfather who didn't get you emotionally. And maybe the father who did get you had been relegated by the courts, when you were 2 and your parents divorced, to every-other-weekend access. Maybe your first love cheated on you, just around the time a second divorce rolled through your family. So maybe your faith in men and marriage was a little shaken before you teased your hair for the prom.

But that's nothing some therapy and better hair sense can't fix, right?

Maybe you're a searcher with a healthy dose of wanderlust, someone who needed time to commit to furniture, let alone a man, because there was so much you needed to see, do and become.

Maybe you were and still are a hopeful (I refuse to say hopeless) romantic who for years held a candle for the one you thought was The One. He'd changed your life, after all, when he lured you to Israel (though it could have been Thailand, for all you cared) -- allowing you to claim that Jewish side of yourself you'd never embraced before.

And maybe he slipped and called you his soul mate at one point, a statement you caught and remembered. So even after you read the diary he'd left out, oops, learned about the Brazilian woman with amazing eyes, broke up and dated others, you still held out hope for him. You stupidly took the crumbs he tossed you from time to time and thought they had meaning. Finally, you got through your thick noggin that the guy just wasn't that into you. Hell, he wasn't even all that nice to you. You learned he wasn't the one who got away. He was the one who got in the way.

Dozens of Thomas Jefferson's books have been found in the rare books collection at Washington University in St. Louis.

Scholars are now poring through the 28 titles and 74 volumes, searching for the occasional handwritten note from the nation's third president. And librarians say it's possible more of Jefferson's books will be found in the school's collection.

The school announced the discovery Monday, on Presidents Day. Librarians say Jefferson's books were sold after his death to settle debts. His granddaughter, Ellen Wayles Randolph Coolidge, bid on many of the books.

When she and her husband died, their library was donated to Washington University, but there was no indication any of the books belonged to Jefferson.

The school discovered the connection after getting a tip from a Jefferson scholar.
Authorities in St. Petersburg, Florida, shut down roads and some schools Tuesday as investigators searched for the man who shot and killed a police officer late Monday night.

Officer David S. Crawford, 46, is the third St. Petersburg officer killed in shootings in the last 28 days, according to police.

"It hurts. It stings. This killer has taken somebody very precious to us, a member of our family," Chief Chuck Harmon told reporters.

Crawford, a 25-year police veteran assigned to the patrol division, was summoned along with another officer to the home of a caller who said a man was in his backyard holding a broken brick.

Crawford drove around until he spotted the man, parked his car and approached the suspect, Harmon said.

Moments later, the second officer reported gunfire and told dispatchers that Crawford had been shot. Harmon said Crawford was shot multiple times at close range.

Crawford returned fire, but police have found no evidence suggesting he was able to wound his attacker, according to a statement early Tuesday by St. Petersburg police spokesman Bill Proffitt.

The statement said that "many police units" were conducting a search of the area and that several streets would remain closed until further notice.

He also said three schools would remain closed Tuesday, with school officials asking students to attend classes in different locations for the day.

"We have a killer on the loose that we're going to use every resource that we have to try and locate and apprehend," Harmon said.

Crawford, who is married and has a 24-year-old daughter, according to police, is the sixth law enforcement officer in Florida to die after being shot this year, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, a website that tracks law enforcement deaths. Three of those deaths have happened in St. Petersburg.

A "fan cut" of the documentary "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never" will be released Friday.

Paramount announced Monday that director Jon M. Chu has re-edited the Bieber concert film based on fan suggestions. The studio says the new 115-minute cut includes 40 minutes of new footage.

Chu followed Bieber for 10 days on a recent concert tour. He said he had an "embarrassment of riches" in leftover footage and sought out suggestions from Bieber fans on Twitter and Facebook.

"Never Say Never" has earned $51.4 million at the domestic box office since being release Feb. 11. The new edit allows Paramount to further capitalize on the fanatical fan base of the 16-year-old pop star.

The revamped film will play in 3-D theaters for one week.
Four Americans taken hostage by Somali pirates off East Africa were shot and killed by their captors Tuesday, the U.S. military said, marking the first time U.S. citizens have been killed in a wave of pirate attacks plaguing the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean for years.

U.S. naval forces who were trailing the Americans' captured yacht with four warships quickly boarded the vessel after hearing the gunfire. They tried to provide lifesaving care to the Americans, but they died of their wounds, U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Florida said in a statement.

A member of a U.S. special operations force killed one of the pirates with a knife as he went inside of the yacht, said Vice Adm. Mark Fox, commander of U.S. naval forces for Central Command.

Fox said in a televised briefing that the violence on Tuesday started when a rocket-propelled grenade was fired from the yacht at the USS Sterett, a guided-missile destroyer 600 yards (meters) away. The RPG missed and almost immediately afterward small arms fire was heard coming from the yacht, Fox said.

President Barack Obama, who was notified about the deaths at 4:42 a.m. Washington time, had authorized the military on Saturday to use force in case of an imminent threat to the hostages, said White House spokesman Jay Carney.

A total of two pirates, including the one who was knifed, died during the ensuing confrontation - which happened around 9 a.m. East Africa time - and 13 were captured and detained, the Central Command said. The remains of two other pirates who were already dead for some time were also found. The U.S. military didn't state how those two died. It was unclear if the pirates had fought among themselves.

Negotiations had been under way to try to win the release of the two couples on the pirated vessel Quest when the gunfire was heard, the U.S. military said. Fox, asked by reporters about the nature of the negotiations, said he had no details.

He identified the slain Americans as Jean and Scott Adam, of Marina del Rey near Los Angeles, and Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle, of Seattle, Washington.

The Quest was the home of the Adams who had been sailing around the world since December 2004 with a yacht full of Bibles.

Pirates hijacked the Quest on Friday several hundred miles south of Oman. Fox said mariners are warned about traveling through the area because of the dangers of pirate attacks.

Gen. James N. Mattis, commander of U.S. Central Command, said: "We express our deepest condolences for the innocent lives callously lost aboard the Quest."

The Obama administration on Tuesday condemned the "appalling" violence in Libya, where security forces are unleashing a bloody crackdown on protesters demanding the ouster of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. A top lawmaker said the U.S. should consider imposing new sanctions on the regime and called for foreign energy companies to immediately shut down operations in the oil-rich North African nation.

White House spokesman Jay Carney called on Gadhafi's regime to respect the universal rights of its citizens and allow peaceful protests to take place. Echoing earlier White House statements about anti-government protests in Egypt, he said the future of Libya needs to be decided by the Libyan people.

"We offer our condolences to families of the victims in Libya of this appalling violence," Carney told reporters traveling with President Barack Obama to Cleveland.

Meanwhile, Sen. John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement that the violent crackdown was "cowardly" and "beyond despicable." He urged U.S. and international oil companies to immediately suspend their Libyan operations until attacks on civilians stop.

He also called on the Obama administration to consider re-imposing sanctions against Libya that were lifted by President George W. Bush after Gadhafi renounced terrorism and abandoned development of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. He said Arab League and African Union should investigate reports of atrocities.

"These are concrete steps that must be taken now and in the days ahead to show that the world will respond with actions not just words when a regime wields reprehensible violence against its own people," said Kerry.

The White House has sometimes tapped Kerry to float possible foreign policy strategies Asked about Kerry's suggestions, Carney said, "We are looking at his proposal but right now we are focusing on ending the bloodshed."

Top 20 oil producers (in barrels per day)

1. Russia: 9.5 million

2. Saudi Arabia: 8.3 million

3. United States: 5.4 million

4. Iran: 4.0 million

5. China: 3.8 million

6. Mexico: 2.6 million

7. Canada: 2.6 million

8. United Arab Emirates: 2.4 million

9. Iraq: 2.4 million

10. Kuwait: 2.4 million

11. Venezuela: 2.3 million

12. Nigeria: 2.2 million

13. Norway: 2.1 million

NASA moved closer Tuesday to sending space shuttle Discovery on its final voyage after a nearly four-month delay.

Shuttle managers said the countdown is going well. What's more, there's an 80 percent chance of good flying weather Thursday. Launch time is 4:50 p.m.

This will be the 39th flight for NASA's oldest surviving shuttle. Discovery first rocketed into orbit in 1984. This time, Discovery is headed back to the International Space Station. It will drop off a humanoid robot as well as an oversize closet full of space station supplies.

A veteran crew of six will be on board. One of the two spacewalkers - Stephen Bowen - joined the team just last month. He's substituting for astronaut Timothy Kopra, who was injured in a bicycle crash.

All six are eager to get going.

"Just landed after some T38 (trainer jet) flying around the Cape. A little g (gravity) loading before launch. Beautiful!" astronaut Nicole Stott said in a Twitter update Tuesday morning.

Discovery should have been finished flying by now and undergoing the necessary preparations for eventual museum display. The delay was caused by cracks in a part of the fuel tank that holds instruments but no fuel. Discovery had to be moved off the launch pad and back into the Vehicle Assembly Building for the unprecedented repairs. A hydrogen gas leak also needed to be plugged.

The fuel tank is now "stronger than ever," NASA test director Steve Payne told reporters Tuesday.

It will be a historic moment when Discovery reaches the space station. For the first time ever, spacecraft from all of the major space station partners will be parked at the orbiting complex: two Russian capsules and cargo ships from Russia, Japan and Europe. Canada has the space station's robot arm.

A European cargo ship launched last week from French Guiana is scheduled to dock Thursday morning. Any problems with that hookup could end up delaying the shuttle launch.

A regional governor in Yemen says the army has arrested an al-Qaida leader following a shoot-out with security forces that killed three soldiers and two civilians.

Governor Naji bin Ali al-Zayedi of Marib province says troops stopped a car at a checkpoint. He says men fired from the car when soldiers asked for identification. A firefight ensued, killing three soldiers and two civilians. Nine others were injured.

Al-Zayedi said Tuesday that the army arrested Mohammed Abdallah Maouda, an al-Qaida leader wanted by Yemeni security for his suspected role in attacking army posts and bombing oil facilities.

The shoot-out took place Monday.

Yemen is the Arab world's most impoverished nation and has become a haven for al-Qaida militants.
Egypt's military rulers have sworn in a new Cabinet that replaces several ministers left over from ousted leader Hosni Mubarak's regime.

Tuesday's move comes as the military leadership that took over from Mubarak works to assure the opposition movement that led mass protests it is committed to democratic reforms.

The Cabinet includes members of opposition parties for the first time in decades.
People who subscribe to Amazon.com's premium membership will now be able to watch movies over the Internet, just as they can through Netflix.

The Prime membership, which costs $79 per year, entitles people to free two-day shipping and low-cost next-day shipping. Now, subscribers can also watch roughly 5,000 movies and television shows through Amazon.com Inc.'s on-demand video service.

People can watch these movies on PCs and Macs, or with the help of about 200 Internet-connected TVs, set-top boxes and Blu-ray players.

The move could undercut Netflix Inc., which offers a streaming-only service for $7.99 per month, or about $96 per year. Netflix says its library includes "thousands" of titles.

Netflix shares fell $11.77, or 5 percent, to $223.74 in midday trading Tuesday. Amazon lost $3.38, or 1.8 percent, to $183.12.
Stocks fell sharply and oil prices spiked as investors became worried about increasingly violent unrest in Libya.

Oil prices rose 6 percent to $95 a barrel Tuesday. The fight between protesters and forces loyal to the Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi threatens the country's oil production. Libya is the world's 18th largest oil producer.

Oil producers rose. Chevron Corp. gained 2.5 percent. Airline stocks fell on the prospect of higher fuel costs. Delta Air Lines Inc., American Airlines parent AMR Corp., United Continental Holdings Inc. and US Airways Group Inc. all dropped by 5 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 95 points, or 0.8 percent, to 12,296 in midday trading.

The S&P 500 index fell 16, or 1.22 percent, to 1,326. The Nasdaq fell 48, or 1.7 percent, to 2,785.
A group calling itself the "Iran cyber army" claimed responsibility Tuesday for hacking into a number of Voice of America internet pages, according to reports from both Voice of America and Iran's semi-official Fars News Agency.

The group displayed a message on Voice of America's Farsi page, calling for an end to U.S. "interference" in the Muslim world.

"Ms. Clinton, do you want to hear the oppressed voices of nations from the heart of America?" the group asked. "The Muslim world does not believe in U.S. deceit. We tell you, stop intervening in Muslim countries."

The action was taken "in response to the propagation of lies and plots of anti-revolutionary sites," Fars reported, claiming that a total of 95 sites affiliated with Voice of America were hacked.

Fars said that Voice of America acts as "part of the United States' spying organizations."

Voice of America indicated that the cyber attack may have been launched in response to a recent ABC interview with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. During the interview, Clinton referenced the State Department's opening of Twitter accounts in Arabic and Farsi, stating, "We want to be joining young people who, like young Americans, seek their right to express their views."

Voice of America noted that websites in other languages -- including Azeri, Dari, Pashtun, and Urdu -- were also targeted by the hackers.

Luxury home magazines that provide readers a peek inside some of the swankiest, most interesting abodes around the world are getting a freshening up - from new editors and publishers to new approaches to technology.

The venerable Architectural Digest, which slipped from its position as ad-page leader in recent years, has a new editor and a March cover that proclaims in pink: "The Age of Elegance."

Elle Decor, defending its position at the top of the heap, has witty new columns and vibrant features.

Traditional Home has a new publisher and launched a digital version called "TradHome." Veranda has a new editor and a new app. The list goes on.

Part of this is coincidence, part of it necessity; Architectural Digest stole editor Margaret Russell from Elle Decor, so former Executive Editor Michael Boodro got the job leading that magazine.

But the economy had a role in all of it. The magazines - like the rest of the publishing world and the country in general, really - took a big hit when the economy tanked a few years ago. Advertising plunged, designers lost work and no one was buying anything, let alone a $6 magazine advertising a $2,200 pair of sheets.

A federal judge ruled Tuesday that the perjury trial of an elderly ex-CIA agent can continue although defense claims that prosecutors let a covert Cuban counter-intelligence agent testify while delaying divulging his true identity were valid.

The case against Luis Posada Carriles, 83, has been suspended since Feb. 10, when the defense moved for a mistrial - its fifth such request in five weeks. U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone delayed the proceedings for 11 days, saying she needed time to weigh her options.

The Cuba-born Posada spent decades crisscrossing Latin America as a Washington-backed Cold Warrior and is considered the nemesis of former Cuban President Fidel Castro. Posada faces charges of perjury, obstruction of justice in a terrorism investigation, and immigration fraud.

Prosecutors claim Posada lied while seeking American citizenship during immigration hearings in El Paso, making false statements about how he sneaked into the U.S. in March 2005 and about having a Guatemalan passport under a false name. They also allege he failed to acknowledge planning a series of 1997 hotel bombings in Cuba that killed an Italian tourist.

Posada has been living in Miami since being released from an immigration lockup in 2007.

The defense took issue with the testimony of Cuban Interior Ministry official Roberto Hernandez Caballero, claiming prosecutors knew Hernandez Caballero was an undercover agent prepared to lie for the Castro government but delayed providing documents showing that so he could take the stand without objection. The judge ruled the defense was correct but it wasn't enough to declare a mistrial.

But Cardone warned prosecutors, "No further violations will be tolerated."

Hernandez Caballero testified two weeks ago that he was merely a veteran criminal investigator assigned to the 1997 bombings of some of Cuba's most-luxurious hotels. However, Posada's attorneys contend Hernandez Caballero testified in a separate federal hijacking trial in Florida in 1997 that he worked for Cuban counter-intelligence. They said prosecutors were slow to provide a transcript of that earlier testimony.

They also say prosecutors delayed turning over two previously classified FBI documents that could help Posada's case.

The prosecution had claimed it only received the transcript of Hernandez Caballero's 1997 testimony two weeks ago and turned it over to the defense immediately and that the FBI reports aren't reliable.

Aside from seeking that the whole case be dismissed, the defense also asked Cardone to consider throwing out the first three indictments against Posada, which relate to his lying about planning the Cuban hotel bombings. Those three indictments allege obstruction of a U.S. counter-terrorism investigation, and without them Posada faced a much lighter sentence. Cardone refused.

Posada worked for the CIA in the 1960s and 70s. He later moved to Venezuela and became head of that country's intelligence service. He was acquitted by a Venezuelan military tribunal in the 1976 bombing of a Cuban passenger airliner, but escaped from prison before a civilian retrial was completed.

In the 1980s, he helped support U.S.-backed Contra rebels in Nicaragua. Posada also was arrested in Panama amid a plot to kill Castro during a visit there in 2000. He eventually received a presidential pardon.
A senior Israeli official says Tehran's decision to send two naval vessels through the Suez Canal is part of an Iranian campaign to gain "hegemony and control" over the Middle East.

The warships sailed through the canal en route to Syria earlier Tuesday in what Israeli officials say is a provocation by the Iranian regime. It's the first time Iranian military vessels have sailed into the Mediterranean since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Israel's vice prime minister, Silvan Shalom, told reporters the move is part of an Iranian struggle "against the West for hegemony and control in the Middle East."

He says Iran's goal is to show the Arab world "who the new leader is in the Middle East."

Israel considers Iran to be its greatest threat.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

CAIRO (AP) - Two Iranian naval vessels traveled through the Suez Canal on Tuesday en route to Syria, officials said, the first time in three decades that Tehran has sent military ships through the strategic waterway.

Canal officials said the ships - a frigate and a supply vessel - had reached the Mediterranean Sea by about 4 p.m. local time.

Israel saw the passage as a provocation. Israeli officials refused to comment Tuesday, though earlier this week Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he viewed the move "with gravity."

Britain's foreign secretary says that a U.K. warship is being redeployed off the coast of Libya for possible help in evacuating Britons from the country.

William Hague said that the frigate HMS Cumberland would be stationed in international waters off the Libyan coast in readiness for a possible sea-borne evacuation of British citizens stuck in the anarchic north African country.

Hague said Tuesday that his government was seeking to send a charter flight to Libya to help British citizens leave but that it had yet to receive the necessary permission to land from Libyan authorities.

Governments across the world are scrambling to pick up citizens stranded by Libya's bloody unrest.
Jordan's powerful Muslim Brotherhood vowed to resume protests, saying Tuesday that the government did not keep a promise of speedy reforms.

The announcement puts added pressure on Jordan's King Abdullah II to give up some of his sweeping powers, but is not seen as a threat to his rule. Opposition figures have called on the king to surrender the authority to appoint Cabinets and dissolve parliament.

Under pressure from street protests inspired by uprisings roiling the Arab world, Abdullah instructed his government earlier this month to enact "quick and real" political reforms, allowing greater public say in the decision-making.

However, protesters say little has been done so far to meet their demands, such as changing a controversial election law, which the Brotherhood says favors the king's loyalists. The Brotherhood is Jordan's largest opposition group.

The Brotherhood and its political wing, the Islamic Action Front, had refrained from participating in protests for the past two weeks, saying they wanted to give newly appointed Prime Minister Marouf al-Bakhit a chance to carry out reforms.

However, Brotherhood spokesman Jamil Abu-Bakr said Tuesday that the government installed on Feb. 9 has not carried out the promised reforms.

He condemned attacks on protesters last Friday in Amman, which saw eight wounded in the first violence in weeks of demonstrations.

Abu-Bakr claimed that "thugs" were used or hired to carry out "aggression by groups that do not want reforms."

He urged the government to take action against those behind the attack and move quickly toward reform.

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi vows to fight on and die a "martyr," calling on his supporters to take back the streets from protesters demanding his ouster, shouting and pounding his fist in a furious speech Tuesday on state TV.

Gadhafi, swathed in brown robes and turban, spoke from a podium set up in the entrance of a bombed out building that appeared to be his Tripoli residence hit by U.S. airstrikes in the 1980s and left unrepaired as a monument of defiance. The speech, which appeared to have been taped earlier, was aired on a screen to hundreds of supporters massed in Tripoli's central Green Square.

Shouting in the rambling speech, he declared himself "a warrior" and proclaimed, "Libya wants glory, Libya wants to be at the pinnacle, at the pinnacle of the world."

At times the camera panned out to show a towering gold-colored monument in front of the building, showing a fist crushing a fighter jet with an American flag on it - a view that also gave the strange image of Gadhafi speaking alone from behind a podium in the building's crumbling lobby, with no audience in front of him.

"I am a fighter, a revolutionary from tents ... I will die as a martyr at the end," he said. "I have not yet ordered the use of force, not yet ordered one bullet to be fired ... when I do, everything will burn."

Gadhafi depicted the protesters as misguided youths, who had been given drugs and money by a "small, sick group" to attack police and government buildings. He called on supporters to take to the streets immediately to reimpose control and to attack the protest leaders.

"You men and women who love Gadhafi ... get out of your homes and fill the streets," he said. "Leave your homes and attack them in their lairs. They are taking your children and getting them drunk and sending them to death. For what? To destroy Libya, burn Libya."

"The police cordons will be lifted, go out and fight them," he said, urging youth to form local committees across the country "for the defense of the revolution and the defense of Gadhafi," even asking them to wear green armbands.

"Let us show them what the popular revolution is like," he said. "Go out from your homes starting now."

Tripoli has been torn by two nights of bloodshed as pro-Gadhafi militiamen cracked down on protesters. Across the country, at least 250 people have been killed in a week of unrest.
The fallout from the fatal shooting of two Pakistanis by an American CIA employee could prove to be the gravest threat yet to the survival of the weak, U.S.-allied Pakistani government, which has struggled to balance pressure from Washington to free the man with domestic desires to punish him.

The dispute over what to do with Raymond Allen Davis could hardly have come at a worse time for the ruling Pakistan People's Party, whose victory in elections three years ago restored civilian democracy to the country after nearly a decade of military rule.

Even before the Jan. 27 shootings, the party's popularity had plunged amid a sinking economy, chronic power shortages and reports of rampant corruption. Now, opposition leaders, Islamists, and media hardliners are using Davis' case to further belittle the government in a population rife with anti-U.S. feeling.

The incident could help pave the way for early elections likely to empower parties less friendly to U.S. desires to fight al-Qaida and the Taliban, some analysts said. It also could further strengthen the already powerful military and spy establishment, which is reportedly deeply upset over the Davis affair.

"The government is seen as a weak, helpless creature," said Hasan Askari-Rizvi, a Pakistani political analyst. "It's in trouble from all directions."

The U.S. says Davis, 36, shot the Pakistanis in self-defense as they tried to rob him in the eastern city of Lahore. The Americans also maintain that he has diplomatic immunity from prosecution because he was a member of the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad's "administrative and technical staff."

Some U.S. lawmakers have even warned that Washington will cut off billions in humanitarian and military aid to Pakistan if Davis is not freed.

All British rock stars eventually make their version of "Led Zeppelin III" -- the album where they look to the history and mythology of England for inspiration.

Usually, this means pastoral celebrations and druids dancing around the maypole. (Hark, minstrel! Is that a bustle in the hedgerow?)

But Polly Jean Harvey, as always, does things her own way, so there's no celebration on "Let England Shake." Even as she sings, "Take me back to beautiful England," she focuses on war, imperialism and bad sanitation.

"Let England Shake" sounds a world apart from the introspective piano confessions of Harvey's last solo album, 2007's "White Chalk." For England, she holed up in a rural 19th-century church, accompanied by longtime collaborators like John Parish, Mick Harvey and producer Flood.

The sound is muted guitar/organ balladry, heavy on melody but never rocking out, channeling her voice through different electronic filters for that extra touch of spooky alienation. In "The Last Living Rose," she sings about Blighty's "gray, damp filthiness of ages."

Always an underrated guitarist, Harvey makes use of the jaunty rhythms of British folk music, but takes no comfort in the past. And you don't have to care about English history -- or England in general -- to fall under Harvey's spell.
A Spanish photo agency says coveted shots of Shakira holding hands with Barcelona football player Gerard Pique that are circulating on the Internet had been stolen by a computer hacker.

The agency Gtres-Online and other agencies had been planning to sell these photos to Spanish and other publications as exclusives.

Gtres-Online sales director Manuel Montero told the AP Tuesday the photos taken by paparazzi were stolen by a hacker, probably from a temporary Internet file that agencies like his use.

Montero said the shots of the couple outside a Barcelona restaurant were then downloaded onto a Shakira fan website called Shakira Gallery.

Rumors that the Colombian singer and the member of Spain's World Cup winning team were an item surfaced during last year's tournament in South Africa.
PBS opens the third season of "Live From the Artists Den" on April 1 with an Elvis Costello concert in a venue most associated with quiet.

Costello and his band, the Sugarcanes, perform at the New York Public Library in Manhattan.

The music series is known for hosting artists in shows at unusual, intimate settings.

Other artists lined up for the third season include Robert Plant, Ray LaMontagne, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Daniel Merriweather, A Fine Frenzy and Lisa Hannigan.

Plant plays at the War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn.

Says the former Led Zeppelin singer: "To work your craft, you've got to be close with your musicians. So I enjoy intimacy now. I can't say that I'd be in a hurry to go back to Madison Square Garden again."
The U.S. military says pirates killed four American hostages they were holding on a yacht off Somalia's coast.

The U.S. Central Command says negotiations had been under way to try to win release of the two couples on the pirated vessel Quest.

Gunshots were heard; and when U.S. forces reached the yacht, they found four all four hostages had been shot.
The trouble-plagued Broadway musical "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" has hired a veteran director to help with the show's sound and arrangements.

Show spokesman Rick Miramontez says Paul Bogaev (boh-GY'-ev) will be working with U2's Bono and The Edge on the music for the $65 million show.

Bogaev was musical director on Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Starlight Express" and "Sunset Boulevard."

"Spider-Man" is set to open March 15. It has been delayed several times, had a main actress quit and suffered numerous accidents that have left several actors hospitalized.

Bogaev won a Tony nomination in 2004 for his work on "Bombay Dreams." He has a history of working with rock musicians who are crafting musicals, including "Tarzan" with Phil Collins and "Aida" with Elton John.
Mounting concerns over Libya's violent crisis weighed on stocks Tuesday and sent oil prices surging, while the earthquake in the New Zealand city of Christchurch pushed the country's currency sharply lower.

With deep rifts opening up in Moammar Gadhafi's regime, air force pilots defecting and a bloody crackdown in the capital of Tripoli, investors are fretting over how the crisis will end and what the impact on the North African country's oil production will be.

Libya is the world's 18th largest oil producer, pumping out around 1.8 million barrels a day, or a little under 2 percent of global daily output. The OPEC country also sits atop the biggest oil reserves in the whole of Africa.

With so much uncertainty surrounding a large chunk of the world's daily oil production, oil prices surged. Benchmark crude for March delivery was up $6.27 a barrel, or 7.3 percent, at $92.47 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

"The Middle East will remain the market's focus today with moves in the oil price probably the best single indicator of the market's assessment of the wider implications of events there," said Adrian Foster, an analyst at Rabobank International.

With the oil price rising at such a rapid rate, stocks are inevitably under severe pressure.

Rising crude prices are a particular worry for investors as they reinforce fears of inflation and raw materials costs. They also stoke worries of a big drop in global demand levels, as experienced in previous oil price shocks in 1973-4, 1979 and 2008.

"For net oil importers like Japan, the U.S. and some eurozone economies that are suffering from a fiscal contraction, the rise in the oil price will in the first instance act as a tax on consumers, reducing trade surpluses or increasing deficits and threatening an upward creep in headline and possibly core rates of inflation," said Neil MacKinnon, global macro strategist at VTB Capital.

Those concerns clearly dominated sentiment in stock markets.

In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was down 0.7 percent at 5,974 while the CAC-40 in France dropped 1 percent to 4,055. Germany's DAX bucked the trend, rising by 0.2 percent to 7,332.

An Afghan official says a government delegation is talking with tribal elders from a remote district in northeastern Afghanistan to investigate their claims that NATO forces killed about 60 civilians during a four-day operation.

The coalition is contesting the charge, saying video showed troops targeting and killing dozens of insurgents.

Nawrdin Safi, a provincial council member from Kunar, said Tuesday the delegation was sent to the provincial capital by Afghan President Hamid Karzai. On Sunday, the elders claimed that NATO forces killed 64 civilians in air and ground strikes. He said that the delegation is considering a trip to Kunar's Ghazi Abad district to determine how many people were actually killed.
Bahrain's king ordered the release of some political prisoners Tuesday, conceding to another opposition demand as the embattled monarchy tries to engage protesters in talks aimed at ending an uprising that has entered its second week.

The king's decree - which covers several Shiite activists accused of plotting against the state - adds to the brinksmanship on both sides that has included a massive pro-government rally Monday, an opposition march in response and the planned return of a prominent opposition figure from exile.

It's unclear how many prisoners will be freed, said government spokeswoman Maysoon Sabkar.

But they include some of the 25 Shiite activists on trial for allegedly plotting against the Sunni rulers of the strategic island kingdom, a leading member of Bahrain's Shiite opposition, Abdul Jalili Khalil, told The Associated Press.

He called the prisoner release "a good step" and a "positive gesture."

Two of those in the case are being tried in absentia, including opposition leader Hassan Meshaima, who has been in self-exile in London since last year. He was expected to return to Bahrain later Tuesday.

Mesheima's presence could bolster opposition forces seeking a harder line against the monarchy, including some who have called for the complete ouster of the king and the royal dynasty that has ruled for more than 200 years.

Libya: Ready for civil war?

As protests spread across the country, Seif al-Islam Gaddafi vowed that the regime would "fight to the last bullet".

The uprising in Libya appears to be growing by the day, and represents the biggest challenge to leader Muammar Gaddafi since he took power in 1969.

The unrest has spread to the capital Tripoli for the first time since protests began and the second largest city of Benghazi is reportedly out of government control.

A major tribe in Libya was reported to have turned against Gaddafi, and a number of Libyan diplomats resigned their posts in protest for using force against demonstrators.

In the regime's first comment on the demonstrations, Seif al-Islam Gaddafi, Muammar Gaddafi's son, appeared on state television on Sunday night offering significant political reforms.

He says that his father will remain in power and is fully backed by the army. Seif al-Islam also vowed that the regime would "fight to the last bullet" against "seditious elements". He put only two choices in front of the people: Either to accept reforms or be ready for civil war.

As thousands of protesters call for Gaddafi to step down, what is behind these latest statements? Will the uprising turn into civil war?

Inside Story, with presenter Hazem Sika, discusses with guests Dana Moss, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy; Abubaker Deghayes, a Libyan human rights activist; and Hans Koechler, the official UN observer for the Lockerbie trial and the president of the International Progress Organisation.
Two Iranian warships entered the Suez Canal on Tuesday on their way to the Mediterranean Sea, Iran's semi-official Fars News Agency reported, citing canal officials.

They are the first such ships to sail through the Suez since the Islamic republic's 1979 revolution.

The move, which comes four days after Egypt's post-Hosni Mubarak government gave the green light to the passage, puts Egypt's new military regime in a prickly position with its Israeli neighbor.

The canal is an internal body of water, and as such, Egypt has sovereignty over it. But Egypt also is bound by the 1978 Camp David Accords, which guarantee the right of free passage by ships belonging to Israel and all other nations on the basis of the Constantinople Convention of 1888. Before that, Egypt did not allow Israeli ships to sail through the canal.

Earlier this month, Egypt's newly empowered military government said it would honor all its international treaties, including Camp David.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Iran on Sunday of trying to expand its influence in the region by planning to send the warships.

Netanyahu said Israel views the crossing of the Iranian ships through the Suez Canal "gravely."

The vessels, a frigate and supply ship, are on a yearlong intelligence-gathering mission to prepare cadets to defend Iran's cargo ships and oil tankers from the threat of attack by Somali pirates, Iranian officials have said, according to Fars.

Blowing snow shuts schools

Schools in P.E.I. have been closed again by a winter storm.

While the early part of the winter brought no school cancellations, February has been a different story. Last week a storm closed most schools in the province for two days.

The concern Tuesday is blowing snow. A few centimeters of dry snow fell on the province overnight. While the snow is expected to end in the morning, winds are expected to start blowing harder, becoming northwest at 40 km/h gusting to 70.

Environment Canada has issued a blowing snow warning for Queens County.
THOUSANDS of supporters of Bahrain's Shi'ite-led opposition today began an anti-regime demonstration organisers expect to be the largest since protests broke out last week.

"The march of loyalty to martyrs" read a large banner carried at the front of the demonstration, which was heading from Manama's Bahrain Mall to Pearl Square in the city centre, focal point of anti-government protests since February 14.

The banner carried photographs of seven "martyrs" killed by security forces, the last of whom succumbed to his wounds yesterday and was buried earlier today.

"The people want the fall of the regime," they chanted in unison, as they waved red-and-white Bahraini flags.

Women in black veils chanted slogans against Bahrain monarch Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa.

"May your hands be paralysed, Hamad," they shouted.

"Down down Khalifa," the crowds chanted, condemning Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman, the uncle of king Hamad who has been in office since 1971 and who is widely despised by the Shi'ites.

Ibrahim al-Sharif, a Sunni secularist leading opposition activist, has predicted today's rally would be "the largest for the opposition".
Apple and other digital music retailers are in discussions with record labels to improve the quality of the song files they sell, executives involved in the talks say.

As a result, online music stores could eventually offer songs that sound truer to their original recordings, perhaps at a premium price.

Professional music producers generally capture studio recordings in a 24-bit, high-fidelity audio format. Before the originals, or "masters" in industry parlance, are pressed onto CDs or distributed to digital sellers like Apple's iTunes, they're downgraded to 16-bit files.

From there, the audio can be compressed further in order to minimize the time the music will take to download or to allow it to be streamed on-the-fly over the internet.

Why don't record labels at least give retailers the option of working from higher-grade recordings?

"Why?" Jimmy Iovine, a longtime music executive, asked rhetorically. "I don't know. It's not because they're geniuses."

'Changing the pipes'

Iovine, in addition to being the chairman of Universal Music Group's Interscope-Geffen-A&M record label, has a venture with hip hop artist Dr. Dre called Beats Audio. The company designs high-end headphones and other audio equipment.