Saturday, March 19, 2011

Masked gunmen have opened fire in a bar in the Mexican resort city of Acapulco, killing 10 people.

The Public Safety Department of southern Guerrero state says the gunmen arrived in several vehicles at the strip bar in a rough Acapulco neighborhood far from the tourist strips.

The 10 men killed ranged in age from 25 to 45. Four other people were injured in the attack early Saturday.

Six men and a women were found dead in other parts of Acapulco on Friday night, one of them decapitated.

Authorities have blamed rising violence in Acapulco on fighting between remnants of the Beltran Leyva drug cartel, most of whose leaders have been captured or killed.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is warning Iran to stop meddling in Bahrain and other Arab states in the Persian Gulf, and she's calling on Bahraini authorities not to use force against anti-government protests.

Clinton says Iran is "undermining peace and stability" in the Gulf. But she also says Bahrain's attempt to quell demonstrations by force with the help of its Arab neighbors was not a solution.

The Sunni minority monarchy in the kingdom is facing growing opposition from the Shiite-majority population. Bahrain has accused Shiite-majority Iran of fomenting the protests that seek to end the monarchy.

Clinton spoke in Paris on Saturday after an international conference on the crisis in Libya.

Glory Johnson had 14 points and 10 rebounds as Tennessee cruised to a 99-34 win over Stetson on Saturday in the first round of the NCAA tournament's Dayton region.

The No. 1 seed Lady Volunteers (32-2) have their sights set on a return to the Final Four after two seasons of frustration in the tournament.

Sixteenth-seeded Stetson managed to hit a few early shots to keep up with Tennessee, which held a 10-9 lead with 15:13 left in the first half. The Lady Vols' size and shooting became too much for the Hatters, though, and a 23-0 run put the game away early.

Tennessee shot 57.9 percent and had a 34-13 rebounding margin in the first half, and coach Pat Summitt emptied her bench before halftime.

Tierra Brown, Victoria McGowan and Natasha Graboski each scored seven points for the Hatters (20-13), who shot just 21.2 percent in the first half.

The NFL's locked-out players wrote back to Commissioner Roger Goodell on Saturday, responding to his letter to them by saying: "Your statements are false."

In their four-page letter, the players told Goodell that during labor negotiations, the league's owners did not justify "their demands for a massive give-back which would have resulted in the worst economic deal for players in major pro sports."

Goodell wrote all active NFL players Thursday, outlining the league's description of its last proposal and cautioning that each day "puts our game and our shared economics further at risk."

The players' letter begins, "Dear Roger," and closes with "Sincerely," followed by the names of the 11 members of the NFL Players Association's executive committee: Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch, Saints quarterback Drew Brees, Broncos safety Brian Dawkins, Ravens cornerback Domonique Foxworth, Browns linebacker Scott Fujita, Jets fullback Tony Richardson, Colts center Jeff Saturday, Chiefs linebacker Mike Vrabel, Chiefs guard Brian Waters and former players Sean Morey and Kevin Mawae, the NFLPA president.

Each attended at least some of the 16 days of federal mediation in Washington that broke off March 11 without a new deal, so the collective bargaining agreement expired.

The noise at ground zero is a steady roar. Engines hum. Cement mixers churn. Air horns blast. Cranes, including one that looks like a giant crab leg, soar and crawl over every corner of the 16-acre site.

For years, the future has been slow to appear at the site of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. But with six months remaining until the national 9/11 memorial opens, the work to turn a mountain of rubble into some of the inspiring moments envisioned nearly a decade ago is thundering forward.

One World Trade Center, otherwise known as the Freedom Tower, has joined the Manhattan skyline. Its steel frame, already clad in glass on lower floors, now stands 58 stories tall and is starting to inch above many of the skyscrapers that ring the site. A new floor is being added every week.

The mammoth black-granite fountains and reflecting pools that mark the footprints of the fallen twin towers are largely finished, and they are a spectacle. Workers have already begun testing the waterfalls that will ultimately cascade into a void in the center of each square pit. The plaza that surrounds them has the potential to be one of the city's awesome public spaces once construction is complete. Some 150 trees have already been planted in the plaza deck, even as workers continue to build it.

The memorial plaza won't be complete when it opens on Sept. 11, 2011, and a tour of the site last week makes clear that work around it will continue for years. Mud is still plentiful at ground level, and for now the site is dominated by the same concrete-gray shades that blanketed lower Manhattan after the 9/11 attacks.

A crowd of angry men pelted Egyptian reform campaigner and Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradei with rocks and smashed his car windows outside a polling center.

He wasn't injured but was forced to flee in an SUV without casting his ballot in a referendum on whether to adopt a package of constitutional amendments that would allow new parliamentary and presidential elections to be held later this year or early in the next.

ElBaradei and other critics are opposed to the changes, saying it's too soon. Critics fear an early vote would give unfair advantage to established organizations, including the Islamic fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood.

ElBaradei and a group of his supporters were attacked as they headed to vote in Cairo's Mokkatam district.

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

CAIRO (AP) - Eager for their first taste of a free vote in decades, Egyptians lined up by the hundreds Saturday to vote on constitutional amendments sponsored by the ruling military that critics fear could propel the country's largest Islamist group to become Egypt's most dominant political force.

The nationwide referendum is the first major test of the country's transition to democracy after a popular uprising forced longtime leader Hosni Mubarak to step down five weeks ago, handing the reins of power to the military.

Early signs show an unusually big turnout, with lines forming in the hours before polls opened. They snaked along the streets in Cairo and other Egyptian cities, with men and women standing in separate lines as is customary in the conservative and mainly Muslim nation.

The vote promises to be the freest in Egypt since the 1952 ouster of the monarchy and the end of a multiparty democracy that functioned under British colonial rule. Egypt has since been ruled by men of military background, with fraud and extremely low turnout defining every nationwide vote.

"This is a historic day for Egypt," Deputy Prime Minister Yahya al-Gamal told reporters after casting his vote in Cairo. "I had never seen such large numbers of voters in Egypt. Finally, the people of Egypt have come to realize that their vote counts."

Authorities have released the name of the man who died in a chain-reaction crash involving about 40 vehicles on snowy Interstate 80 in the Sierra Nevada.

Placer County Sheriff's Sgt. Ed Clark identified the victim on Saturday as Douglas Swasey, an Auburn-area resident in his late 60s.

The California Highway Patrol tells KGO-TV that Swasey was killed in the Friday afternoon crash after stepping out of his truck to either put chains on or try to get it free. The crash occurred on the interstate's westbound lanes about 70 miles east of Sacramento.

More than a dozen other people were transported to hospitals with minor to moderate injuries.

Numerous spinouts also prompted authorities to close the eastbound lanes of I-80. The highway was reopened by Saturday morning.

Palestinian militants in Gaza fired more than 50 rockets into Israel on Saturday, the heaviest barrage in two years, Israeli officials said, while Hamas police beat up and confiscated equipment from reporters.

A Hamas official was killed and four civilians were wounded when Israel hit back with tank fire and air strikes, said Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Adham Abu Salmia.

The violence comes amid increasing calls for reconciliation between Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his bitter rivals, the Islamic militant group Hamas. Abbas is seeking U.N. recognition for a Palestinian state by the fall and is currently lobbying for votes worldwide. Hamas used force to disperse a reconciliation rally in Gaza. Some reporters were later beaten up, threatened and briefly detained.

Israeli police spokesman Tamir Avtabi said Gaza militants fired 54 mortar shells at Israeli border communities within 15 minutes. He said two Israeli civilians were lightly wounded by shrapnel and residents were advised to stay at home or in bomb shelters.

Hayim Yellin, head of the Eshkol region where the mortars exploded, said they were the same type as those intercepted on a cargo ship last week loaded with weapons Israel said were sent by Iran to Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said he will file a complaint at the U.N. after Saturday's unusually large barrage of rockets. In a statement, Lieberman said the Palestinians "primary goal is destroying Israel."

President Barack said he "enthusiastically" welcomed Brazil's rise as an economic power Saturday as he opened a three-country, five-day tour of Latin America aimed at strengthening U.S. economic ties with the region.

Shortly after arriving in the highland capital of Brasilia, Obama met with the country's newly elected President Dilma Rousseff at the presidential palace, the Palacio do Planalto. Obama lauded the U.S. trade relationship with Brazil, but said there was much more the two countries could do to boost their economic relationship, particularly in the clean energy sector.

Brazil stands out for its strategic and economic importance to the United States. As the world's seventh-largest economy, it is a member of an exclusive club of influential developing nations along with Russia, India and China, collectively known in economic circles as the BRIC nations. Obama is looking to reset the U.S. relationship with Brazil, an emerging economic power that even without being hostile has annoyed Washington with its independent ways.

Obama's trip threatens to be overshadowed by the ominous developments in earthquake-ravaged Japan, where officials struggle to prevent a meltdown at a damaged nuclear power plant, and in Libya, where a U.S. and European coalition launched a risky military operation to protect civilians from attacks by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's forces.

Berlin's beloved polar bear Knut, who rose to stardom when he was hand-raised by zoo keepers after being rejected by his mother rejected at birth, died on Saturday, a zoo official said.

The world-famous bear died alone in his compound, bear keeper Heiner Kloes told The Associated Press.

"He was by himself in his compound, he was in the water, and then he was dead," said Kloes. "He was not sick, we don't know why he died."

A post mortem will be conducted on Monday to try pinpoint his cause of death, he said.

Between 600 and 700 people were at Knut's compound and saw the four-year-old bear die, German news agency DAPD reported.

Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit called Knut's death "awful."

"We all held him so dearly," Wowereit told daily newspaper B.Z. "He was the star of the Berlin zoos."

The polar bear rose to global fame after he was rejected by his mother when he was born in captivity on December 5, 2006. The fluffy cub was shown to the public 15 weeks later, and attendance at the zoo has roughly doubled since, officials said.

The resulting "Knutmania" led to a 2007 Vanity Fair cover with actor Leonardo DiCaprio shot by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz, a film and plush likenesses. Though the zoo has never released exact numbers, Knut merchandise including postcards, key chains, candy and stuffed Knuts have brought in hundreds of thousands of euros.
With American military forces poised for action, President Barack Obama said Saturday that the U.S. and its allies are prepared to act with urgency to end violence against civilians in Libya.

The president spoke as French warplanes began the first sorties to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya, where Moammar Gadhafi's bloody attacks on rebels continued.

"Our consensus was strong, and our resolve is clear. The people of Libya must be protected, and in the absence of an immediate end to the violence against civilians our coalition is prepared to act, and to act with urgency," Obama said in Brazil, on the first day of a three-country Latin American tour.

Just before he spoke, top officials from the United States, Europe and the Arab world meeting in Paris announced immediate military action to protect civilians amid combat between Gadhafi's forces and rebel fighters. French warplanes were targeting Gadhafi's forces. American ships and aircraft were poised for action but weren't participating in the initial French air missions.
The son of Iranian opposition figure Mahdi Karroubi says he met his parents in their home, the clearest evidence yet that Karroubi has been under house arrest.

Mohammad Taqi Karroubi says he was allowed by security forces to meet his father in his house, according to opposition website

The children of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi also have said their parents are under house arrest.

Last month, the opposition reported that the two leaders were moved to a prison in Tehran. This month, it said they'd been taken back to their homes.

Iran authorities have confirmed that all outside contact with Mousavi and Karroubi have been cut as part of a campaign to silence dissent.

Two U.S. officials say American ships and aircraft are poised for military action against Libya, but they aren't participating in the initial French air missions over the North African nation.

One U.S. official says the Navy is planning a sea-launched missile attack from the Mediterranean against elements of Libya's coastal air defenses.

Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of military operations.

One official says the U.S. intends to limit its involvement - at least in the initial stages - to helping protect French and other air missions by taking out Libyan air defenses.

The official says that depending on how Libyan forces respond, the U.S. could launch additional attacks in support of allied forces.

The American Civil Liberties Union says a Louisiana school suspended a 13-year-old Native American boy because of his long hair, which the group says he grew out for cultural and religious reasons.

State ACLU executive director Marjorie Esman said Friday that the group had sent letters to the school and the school board asking for assurances that Seth Chaisson won't be suspended again. She says he grew out his hair because his religious beliefs have grown deeper.

Esman says the teen was repeatedly reprimanded because of his hair before being suspended Tuesday and Wednesday.

Ed Foster, supervisor of child welfare and attendance for the Livingston Parish School System, says he has scheduled a meeting with the boy's mother. He said he could not discuss the situation further, citing privacy concerns.

French fighter jets soared over a rebel-held city besieged by Moammar Gadhafi's troops on Saturday, the first mission for an international military force launched in support of the 5-week-old uprising against the Libyan leader's rule.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said after an emergency summit in Paris that French jets were already targeting Gadhafi's forces. The 22 participants in Saturday's summit "agreed to put in place all the means necessary, in particular military" to make Gadhafi respect a U.N. Security Council resolution Thursday demanding a cease-fire, Sarkozy said.

Gadhafi had tried to take advantage of the time lag betwen the U.N. resolution and the launch of the international operation, making a decisive strike on the Benghazi, Libya's second-largest city and the first major stronghold of the rebellion. Crashing shells shook buildings, and the sounds of battle drew closer to the city center as its residents despaired. A doctor said 27 bodies were brought to the hospital by midday. By late in the day, warplanes could be heard overhead.

"Our planes are blocking the air attacks on the city" of Benghazi, he said, without elaborating. French planes have been readying for an attack in recent days.

In an open letter, Gadafhi warned: "You will regret it if you dare to intervene in our country."

Libyan state TV said Libyans, including women and children, were having a sit-in at the Tripoli international airport, apparently to deter bombers. It showed footage of hundreds of mostly young men on the runway carrying green flags and signs in support of Gadhafi.

Earlier Saturday, a plane was shot down over the outskirts of Benghazi, sending up a massive black cloud of smoke. An Associated Press reporter saw the plane go down in flames and heard the sound of artillery and crackling gunfire.

Before the plane went down, journalists heard what appeared to be airstrikes from it. Rebels cheered and celebrated at the crash, though the government denied a plane had gone down - or that any towns were shelled on Saturday.

Japan's nuclear crisis has transported residents of central Pennsylvania back 32 years, when the partial meltdown of the Three Mile Island nuclear plant raised fears that a massive amount of radiation could be released into the atmosphere or the Susquehanna River.

But there are stark differences between the disasters.

"It's probably not politically correct to say it, but TMI was a piece of cake compared to what they're facing over there in Fukushima, in terms of the problem," said Harold Denton, the federal nuclear engineer who became a calming, knowledgeable voice during the height of the Three Mile Island crisis in March and April of 1979.

As it is with the Fukushima reactors, the central challenge at Three Mile Island was reversing the loss of cooling water in the reactor core that in both cases exposed the highly radioactive fuel rods, increasing the threat of a complete fuel meltdown and a catastrophic release of radiation.

But the Fukushima and Three Mile Island parallel has its limits, nuclear experts say. The Japanese engineers are facing a dramatically more complex crisis with multiple problems and challenges never faced in Pennsylvania three decades ago.

At TMI, efforts were concentrated on dealing with a single reactor. Its problems began at 4 a.m. on March 28 when a pressure relief valve failed and stayed open for two hours. Because operators thought it had closed, they shut off an emergency flow of water that had been triggered automatically, worsening the situation and exposing the fuel rods.

As Republican governors across the U.S. gain momentum with conservative agendas, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has stood out for signing a string of laws over the past three months achieving longstanding liberal goals: abolishing the death penalty, legalizing civil unions and raising income taxes.

It's an extraordinary start to Quinn's first full term in office and, if nothing else, guarantees the Chicago Democrat will be remembered as more than just the guy who replaced ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich after his arrest on federal corruption charges.

While Quinn deserves some of the credit, passage of the headline-grabbing laws had less to do with the governor and more with timing and the Democratic majorities in the legislature where powerful House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton run the show. The success of the liberal initiatives also does not ensure that Quinn will have an easy time pushing the rest of his political agenda at the state Capitol, where he's widely seen as indecisive and less than deft at negotiating with lawmakers.

"A significant portion of that is (Quinn) being at the right place at the right time," said state Sen. Kwame Raoul, a chief sponsor of the legislation to abolish Illinois' death penalty.

The law abolishing the death penalty passed without any help from Quinn, who signed it even though he said he supported capital punishment. He spoke out for civil unions during the fall campaign and helped round up votes, but that issue also was driven by its legislative sponsors.

And while Quinn called for higher income taxes for two years, lawmakers didn't take action until they were safely past the November election, when Madigan and Cullerton made clear they supported a tax increase twice the size of what Quinn proposed - and then delivered the necessary votes to get it passed.

A French official says Mirage and Rafale fighter jets are flying over the Libyan city of Benghazi and could strike Libyan tanks.

The official says the jets are flying over the opposition stronghold and its surroundings to ensure that Moammar Gadhafi's forces could not take any action there.

The official says the French operation could strike Libyan tanks later Saturday.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the operation.

He spoke right after top officials from the United States, Europe and the Arab world announced immediate military action to protect civilians as Gadhafi's forces attacked Benghazi.

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

PARIS (AP) - Top officials from the United States, Europe and the Arab world have launched immediate military action to protect civilians as Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's forces attacked the heart of the country's rebel uprising.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said after an emergency summit in Paris on Saturday that French warplanes are already targeting Gadhafi's forces.

The 22 participants in Saturday's summit "agreed to put in place all the means necessary, in particular military" to make Gadhafi respect a U.N. Security Council resolution Thursday demanding a cease-fire, Sarkozy said.

"Our planes are blocking the air attacks on the city" of Benghazi, he said, without elaborating. French planes have been readying for an attack in recent days.

A highway sign proclaims "Shafter Ghost Town," and on either side of the two-lane blacktop are ruins of stone and adobe structures amid a handful of houses.

About 70 years ago this patch of West Texas desert was home to a bustling community and one of the nation's most reliable sources of silver. That all began to wither in 1942 when a wartime work force shortage and plummeting silver prices forced the Presidio Mine to close and hastened Shafter's demise.

Today, a Canadian company is reviving the mine to take advantage of silver prices that have tripled since 2009, giving the few dozen residents still living in the area more action than they've seen in decades. The mine will return significant metals production to Texas for the first time in many years.

"No doubt the price of silver makes this a viable project," said Sandy McVey, the project manager for Vancouver-based mining firm Aurcana Corp., referring to prices that have spiked to more than $30 an ounce. "And we need to get this mine up and running fast before the window of opportunity closes."

The Rio Grande Mining Co., acquired by Vancouver-based Aurcana Corp. in 2008, is building roads and installing underground equipment. It expects to begin producing 800-pound silver bars by the middle of next year. Production is estimated at 3.8 million ounces of silver annually - about half the amount the nation's largest single silver operation, the Greens Creek mine in Alaska, produces now. Idaho and Nevada are also major silver mining states.

A groundbreaking last month at the site 190 miles southeast of El Paso may have been the biggest event locally in a couple generations. The last high point came in 1971, when film director Robert Wise, who directed "The Sound of Music," used the mountains and ghost town of Shafter for scenes in the science fiction thriller "The Andromeda Strain." Generally, humans are few and far between.

The original mine opened in 1880, and in 1943 Shafter was home to 1,500 people. It once had a post office, a school, two saloons and a dance hall but now only has about 60 residents.

When he took over as secretary of state in the Clinton administration at age 68, Warren M. Christopher said he didn't expect to travel much. He went on to set a four-year mark for miles traveled by America's top diplomat.

The attorney turned envoy tirelessly traveled to Bosnia and the Middle East on peace missions during his 1993-1996 tenure - including some two dozen to Syria alone in a futile effort to promote a settlement with Israel.

After his work finished carrying out the Clinton administration agenda abroad, the longtime Californian returned home for an active life in local and national affairs and with his law firm.

Late Friday, the 85-year-old statesman died at his home in Los Angeles of complications from bladder and kidney cancer, said Sonja Steptoe of the law firm O'Melveny & Myers, where Christopher was a senior partner.

President Barack Obama said Saturday that he mourned the passing of a man who proved to be a "resolute pursuer of peace" and dedicated public servant.

"Warren Christopher was a skillful diplomat, a steadfast public servant, and a faithful American," the president said in a statement.

As Christopher prepared to step down in 1996 as secretary "for someone else to pick up the baton," he said in an interview he was pleased to have played a role in making the United States safer.

Lindsey Vonn feels "devastated" after losing her World Cup overall title Saturday without being able to compete for it in the season finale.

Trailing by just three points, the three-time defending champion was denied to chance to overtake friend and rival Maria Riesch when the giant slalom was called off because of poor snow conditions.

"Win or lose, I just wanted the chance. I feel devastated," Vonn said in a statement released by the U.S. ski team.

Riesch clinched her first title after two straight seasons as runner-up.

Vonn said the sport also lost out because fans missed an epic showdown race.

"The cancellation of this race doesn't just hurt me, it hurts the fans and the sport of ski racing as a whole," she said.

Thick fog later descended on the Lenzerheide course, making it unlikely that the two-run race could have been completed. However, the men's slalom race was held Saturday in thick fog after a delayed start. The men took the 10 a.m. slot originally held by the women.

Vonn acknowledged some regrets about how the season ended after five months, 33 races and a concussion. Yet she won three discipline titles in three days this month, clinching the downhill, super-G and super-combined.

In the first sign that contamination from Japan's stricken nuclear complex had seeped into the food chain, officials said Saturday that radiation levels in spinach and milk from farms near the tsunami-crippled facility exceeded government safety limits.

Minuscule amounts of radioactive iodine also were found in tap water in Tokyo and elsewhere in Japan - although experts said none of the tests showed any health risks.

The discovery came as officials said the crisis at the nuclear plant appeared to be stabilizing, with near-constant dousing of dangerously overheated reactors and uranium fuel, but the situation was still far from resolved.

"We more or less do not expect to see anything worse than what we are seeing now," said Hidehiko Nishiyama of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.

Japan has been grappling with a cascade of disasters unleashed by the 9.0-magnitude earthquake on March 11. The quake spawned a tsunami that ravaged Japan's northeastern coast, killing more than 7,300 people and knocking out cooling systems at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, causing the complex to leak radiation.

Nearly 11,000 people are still missing, and more than 452,000 are living in shelters.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano, meanwhile, insisted the contaminated foods "pose no immediate health risk."

Moammar Gadhafi took advantage of international indecision to attack the heart of the 5-week-old uprising on Saturday, sending troops, tanks and warplanes to swarm the first city seized by the rebels. Crashing shells shook buildings, and the sounds of battle drew closer to Benghazi's center.

"Where is France, where is NATO?" cried a 50-year-old woman in Benghazi, where a doctor said 27 people were killed Saturday. "It's too late."

As leaders from the Arab world, the United States and other Western powers held a summit in Paris, a dozen jets from the U.S. and Denmark landed in Italy as part of the military buildup. France's ambassador to the United Nations, Gerard Araud, told BBC Newsnight that he expected action to begin within hours of the meeting. In an open letter, Gadafhi warned: "You will regret it if you dare to intervene in our country."

On Saturday, a warplane was shot down over the outskirts of Benghazi, sending up a massive black cloud of smoke. An Associated Press reporter saw the plane go down in flames and heard the sound of artillery and crackling gunfire.

Before the plane went down, journalists heard what appeared to be airstrikes from it. Rebels cheered and celebrated at the crash, though the government denied a plane had gone down - or that any towns were shelled on Saturday.

The fighting galvanized the people of Benghazi, with young men collecting bottles to make gasoline bombs. Some residents dragged bed frames and metal scraps into the streets to make roadblocks.

Abdel-Hafez, a 49-year-old Benghazi resident, said rebels and government soldiers were fighting on a university campus on the south side of the city, with government tanks moving in, followed by ground troops. In the city center, tank fire drew closer and rebel shouts rang out.

At a news conference in the capital, Tripoli, the government spokesman read letters from Gadhafi to President Barack Obama and others involved in the international effort.

"Libya is not yours. Libya is for the Libyans. The Security Council resolution is invalid," he said in the letter to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, British Prime Minister David Cameron, and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.