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March 17, 2011 – Helicopters dropped seawater on a quake-crippled Japanese nuclear facility Thursday, and crews worked furiously to restore power in the effort to avoid a catastrophic meltdown of the damaged reactors.
World leaders voiced mounting concern about radiation leakage at the plant. Rolling blackouts continue across Japan as survivors of the earthquake-tsunami disaster cope with freezing temperatures and shortages of food and water. Over 450,000 people remain at rescue centers, and some areas have begun rationing rice.
Forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi moved closer to the city of Benghazi Thursday launching airstrikes on the airport and outskirts of the rebel stronghold. Heavy fighting took place in Ajdabiya, and residents of Misrata braced for renewed attacks as part of the government’s counter-offensive. While efforts to enact a no-fly zone have stalled at the U.N., the United States has raised the possibly of conducting direct air strikes in support of the insurgents.
Yemen continued to be rocked by protests Thursday with government forces firing live rounds and tear gas at demonstrators in the cities of Sanaa and Taiz. Dozens of people have been killed in clashes ignited by the uprisings in North Africa.
A U.S. drone attack left at least 40 dead in Pakistan. The strike on a tribal meeting in North Waziristan comes as anti-U.S. protests take place in the wake of a CIA contractor’s acquittal on murder charges.