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Germany Calls for Travel Ban, Asset Freeze on Libya's Qaddafi

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle called for a travel ban on Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi's regime and an asset freeze targeting the ruling family, saying rising violence made sanctions "unavoidable."

Westerwelle said he'll call for another emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council to consider the measures. The minister also called the European Union's inability to agree on sanctions "too hesitant" and urged more action.

"Sanctions are unavoidable considering this extraordinary violation of human rights, the extraordinary use of violence," Westerwelle said in an interview today on Deutschlandfunk radio.

Heart - Black

Oklahoma: Three adopted children suffered horrific abuse

Three adopted children who allegedly suffered burns and were forced to eat pet food lived in "inhumane conditions" and might never fully recover, an Oklahoma sheriff said Thursday.


"They have been raised worse than dogs," Canadian County Sheriff Randall Edwards told CNN of the three malnourished juveniles, who are 9, 11 and 15.

John Kluth, 50, and Sonja Kluth, 57, of Yukon, Oklahoma, are accused by the district attorney's office of three counts of child abuse and three counts of child neglect, authorities said.

Stormtrooper

Gaddafi 'shot by soldier' rumour sweeps oil markets

gaddafi
© AFP/Getty

London - Oil prices dropped below 100 dollars on rumors that Muammar al-Gaddafi, who is desperately clinging to his role as leader of Libya, was shot by a soldier in Tripoli.

According to the Daily Mail, oil had hit a high of 120 dollars a barrel on Thursday afternoon, but settled at 97 dollars on the rumour and on Saudi Arabia's claim that it can counter any supply disruptions from Libya.

A senior U.S. official however said that the U.S. has no reason to believe that Gaddafi was dead or had been fired upon.

Che Guevara

Egyptians to march on Liberation Square again

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Egyptians protest outside the Egyptian state television in Cairo February 20, 2011.
Millions of Egyptians are planning to continue their protests by flooding Cairo's Liberation square for a demonstration dubbed as 'cleansing Friday.'

Protesters have planned the rally for this Friday, as they say their demands have not been met, The Associated Press reported.

They want the military council to hand over power to a civilian government, and Prime Minister Ahmad Shafiq's cabinet to resign.

"We will march in protest to demand the resignation of Shafiq's government and abolishing emergency law and the trial of Mubarak and his family," Mohamed Fahmy of the People's National Movement for Change said.

They are also calling for the immediate release of all political prisoners.

Footprints

Libyan ambassador to Jordan quits post

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A pro-democracy demonstrator shouts slogans during a rally in Benghazi on February 24, 2011.
Libyan ambassador to Jordan has given up his diplomatic career to protest crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in his North African country.

On Thursday, Mohammad Hassan Barghathi announced his resignation from his post because of the current developments in Libya, Petra news agency reported.

Barghathi said, "The bloody clashes in my country, where the Libyan people are being killed are unbelievable, unimaginable and unjustifiable."

Libyan security forces have reportedly killed some 1,000 people during recent pro-democracy demonstrations against the authoritarian reign of 68-year-old Gaddafi.

Gaddafi's regime is facing mounting international condemnations over its brutal crackdown on demonstrators as the death toll from Libya's revolution continues to climb.

People

Gaddafi blames uprising on hallucinogenic drugs and al Qaeda as Libyan military brass join protests

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A deserted army tank in the eastern city of al-Bayda.
High-ranking members of the Libyan army have resigned and joined the protesters following the fall of several cities in the east of the country.

Earlier in the day, several intelligence and military officials handed in their resignations in the city of al-Bayda. They denounced Muammar Gaddafi and said they were joining the protesters.

In the city of Benghazi, Security Chief Ali Huwaidi has also quit, issuing a video statement saying, "I am Brigadier Ali Huwaidi, the director of Benghazi's security popular committee. I tendered my resignation and I am ready to stand behind the youth," The Huffington Post reported.

Gaddafi has blamed the violence on young people, stating on national television that drugs and al-Qaeda are influencing them.

Reports say that Saif al-Arab, Gaddafi's youngest son, who was sent by his father to cooperate with Libyan security forces in the massive crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, joined forces with the demonstrators on Thursday.

Che Guevara

Libyans take over major oil terminals

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Pro-democracy demonstrators make victory signs as they stand on an army tank near a square where people are protesting in Benghazi city, Libya, February 23, 2011.
Libyan demonstrators have now taken control of key oil terminals in northern Libya as pro-democracy protests gain momentum across the North African country.

Oil terminals in the northern port cities of Ras Lanuf and Marsa El Brega are now controlled by pro-democracy protesters, Reuters reported on Thursday.

Earlier in the day, ten protesters were killed after government troops attacked the western city of Zuwarah, located 120 kilometers (74 miles) west of the capital Tripoli.

Several eastern cities have now fallen in the hands of demonstrators during 10 days of a revolution that has so far claimed the lives of 1,000 people.

Meanwhile, protesters have torn down Muammar Gaddafi's "Green Book" monument in the northwestern city of Misrata. The book contained the main tenets of political philosophy developed by the embattled 68-year-old Libyan ruler.

Arrow Down

57 Somalis drown in Gulf of Aden

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Nearly 57 Somali immigrants have drowned after their boat overturned during a wind storm off the coast of Bir Ali in southern Yemen.

Fifty-four of those who died were Somali refugees, while the remaining three were smugglers, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) confirmed on Thursday.

The only survivor of the Sunday incident swam for 23 hours before reaching Yemeni coast near the port town of Bir Ali, some 400 kilometers east of Aden.

As of late Wednesday, twenty-three bodies have been recovered. It is not clear yet how many of the migrants have survived.

It has been the largest loss of life in the seas between Somalia and Yemen in a single incident since January 2008.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of Africans flee to Yemen in search of a better life due to poverty and violence back home.

Light Saber

'Gaddafi's youngest son joins Libyan protesters'

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The youngest son of the embattled ruler Muammar Gaddafi has joined the pro-democracy protesters in Libya amid an unabated outpouring of rage against Gaddafi, reports say.

According to the reports, Saif al-Arab, Gaddafi's youngest son, who was sent by his father to cooperate with Libyan security forces in the massive crackdown on pro-democracy protesters joined forces with the demonstrators in the eastern city of Benghazi on Thursday.

Saif al-Arab, who is widely regarded as the most low-profile of Gaddafi's sons have also hinted that his father would commit suicide or flee to Latin America in the face of rising public outcry over his tyrannical rule.

Saif al-Arab is said to have had the backing of combat troops and had military equipment that was dispatched to the eastern parts of turmoil-hit Libya.

The move comes as several intelligence and military officials in the third largest city, al-Bayda have stepped down , while a major general in the eastern city of Tobruk has castigated Gaddafi's regime for its heavy-handed assault on protesters.

Major General Suleiman Mahmoud, the commander of the armed forces in Tobruk, has stated that he has resigned and now has sided with protesters, adding that soldiers and civilians are under fire from aircraft, and this was an important reason for him to join the people.

Handcuffs

US: Ex-Taylor Bean Treasurer Desiree Brown Pleads Guilty to Fraud Conspiracy

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© Marion County Sheriff's Office via Bloomberg
Under an agreement with prosecutors, Brown must, if asked, cooperate in the case against Lee Farkas, former chairman of Taylor Bean, seen here.
The former treasurer of Taylor, Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corp., once the 12th largest mortgage lender in the U.S., admitted helping run a $1.9 billion fraud scheme that targeted the government's Troubled Asset Relief Program and contributed to the failure of Colonial Bank.

Desiree Brown, 45, pleaded guilty in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, to conspiring to commit wire fraud, securities fraud and bank fraud, and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors bringing Lee Farkas, former chairman of Taylor, Bean, to trial on April 4. Brown also settled civil charges with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the SEC said.

Until today, Farkas, 58, was the only person charged in what the government said was a massive scheme to deceive financial firms and TARP by covering up shortfalls at Taylor, Bean, once the largest non-depository mortgage lender in the U.S., according to the SEC's statement on the case. Farkas was indicted on 16 counts in June and faces the possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison, according to a Justice Department statement.

"Were there other people besides Mr. Farkas who were involved in this scheme," U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema asked Brown at the plea hearing?

"Yes ma'am," Brown answered.

Brown, of Hernando, Florida, faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and an order to pay restitution to more than 250 victims. Brown, who is to be sentenced on June 10, was released on a $50,000 unsecured bond.