More than four decades of MoammarÂ Gadhafi's rule may be nearing an end as rebels appear to have his regime on the verge of collapse. The embattled Libyan leader's detractors have faced off against his regime since January, but Libya's tensions pre-date the Arab Spring uprisings. Today, Gotta Watch looksÂ at Libya's long-running, tense relations with the U.S.,Â Gadhafi's family and its link to some A-list pop stars.
Little League World Series: Watch out Major League Baseball, you've got a little competition. That's right. Thursday marks the official beginning of the Little League World Series, where the best of the best young players show off their skills in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
The 65th World Series will be played out on the diamond through August 28. It offers a chance to see some young talent who may end up playing on your favorite college or professional baseball team one day. And this year, for the first time, several new squads will be making their first start in Williamsport. Among them a team from Montana, a state that has never been represented in the series.
"Just to think, in 65 years," 12-year-old Andy Maehl told the Billings Gazette, "we're the only team from Montana to do that."
But perhaps most eyes may be trained on a team with a hometown advantage. For the first time in decades, a local team - one from Keystone, Pennsylvania - is competing in the World Series.
"Being 25 minutes away, the turnout should be amazing,â€ť Keystone manager Bill Garbrick told the Centre Daily Times. â€śIt will be exciting for us. These guys have been through some tough games, some real close ones, and they just showed the same kind of heart that they showed the last two days. And thatâ€™s what got us here.â€ť
A lot of people are ticked about the U.S. economy.
Thereâ€™s the torpid pace of job growth, the plummeting markets and the partisan gridlock that Standard and Poorâ€™s cited in downgrading the nationâ€™s debt last week.
But at whom do you lash out? Where do you vent? Is there a feasible way to convey your angst to the myriad players responsible for landing the U.S. in this financial morass?
Lucy Nobbe apparently thinks so.
The Kirkwood, Missouri, securities executive and single mother rented a plane to fly over Wall Street towing a banner that read, â€śThanks for the downgrade. You should all be fired.â€ť
Nobbe originally wanted to fly the sign over Washington, she told CNN affiliate KSDK-TV in St. Louis, but thereâ€™s a no-fly zone over the nationâ€™s capital.
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah condemned the crackdown on anti-government protesters in Syria on Sunday, saying there is "no justification for the bloodshed."
In an audio message that aired on Saudi state television Sunday night, Abdullah said the kingdom had recalled its ambassador from Damascus for consultations.
His statement puts the leader of one of the leading powers in the region behind calls for an end to the violence. In his remarks Sunday night, he said Syria's future "lies between two choices - either wisdom or chaos."FULL STORY
Countries in the Middle East and North Africa have been swept up in protests against longtime rulers since the January revolt that ousted Tunisian strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. In many cases, these demonstrations and movements have been met with brute force that has escalated into seemingly unending violence. Here are the latest developments and information about the roots of the unrest.
Several hundred protesters marching through Amman on Friday were attacked by riot police, CNN's Arwa Damon said. A Jordanian security official said riot police were called in only after a group of loyalists clashed with the pro-reform protesters.
The protesters departed Al Hussein mosque on their way to Palm Tree Square, when they were surrounded by police along the way, Damon reported. Upon reaching the square, riot police charged the protesters, beating them with batons and using shields to push them back, she said.
Moroccans began voting Friday in a referendum on constitutional reforms that would weaken King Mohammed VI's powers and boost those of the government.
The king announced the referendum in a rare address to the nation last month after unprecedented protests swept the North African country.
If the draft is ratified in the referendum, its most radical change would be empowering voters to select a prime minister, ending the longstanding practice in which the king has selected his own man for the job.
The prime minister has tended to take his lead from the sovereign on key matters of state.
About 40,000 polling places have opened across the country to allow 13 million-plus eligible voters to cast their ballots, the state news agency Maghreb Arabe Press said Friday.FULL STORY
Egypt's army came out of its barracks Wednesday to protect the Ministry of the Interior during anti-government demonstrations in Cairo, with hundreds of soldiers and armored vehicles on streets around Tahrir Square.
The confrontations began when a planned memorial for people killed in Egypt's revolution this year turned into an angry demonstration against the country's interim military government.
It's not clear that the demonstrators have specific demands, but many Egyptians are angry about the slow pace of change after President Hosni Mubarak resigned on February 11 after protests.FULL STORY
A controversial church inÂ Topeka, Kansas, plans to send parishioners to Pennsylvania to protest the funeral of â€śJackassâ€ť star Ryan Dunn, the congregation announced in a press release.
Westboro Baptist Church "will picket any public memorial/funeral held for Dunn, warning all not to make a mock of sin, & to fear and obey God!â€ť the release said.
Westboro was started by the Rev. Fred Phelps in 1955. The church's parishioners, made up mostly of Phelps relatives, stage protests with signs that say such things as "God Hates Fags" and "Thank God for dead soldiers."
The funeral director for DellaVecchia, Reilly, Smith & Boyd Funeral Home in West Chester said Wednesday afternoon that a family-only private memorial for Dunn was in progress - and there was no problem.
Because it was a private memorial, Joseph DellaVecchia said, he didn't expect any disturbances, although he'd heard of Westboro's plans.
[Update 8:45 a.m. Saturday] Canada's most famous lovebirds have come forward to explain the kiss photo that made them famous.
Australian Scott Jones and his girlfriend, Alexandra Thomas of Vancouver, British Columbia, told the Canadian network CBC that they were not making out in the street during the Vancouver hockey riot as it appeared in the widely circulated photo by Getty Images photographer Rich Lam.
The two were trying to find a way out of the turbulent downtown area when they were overrun by a phalanx of riot police, they said.
"They started charging at us, and we tried to run away, but Alex couldn't," Jones explained.
"I just tripped up," Thomas interjected. "I'm not sure, but I was starting to get really frightened because I'd never experienced anything like that before. And it's really scary, you know? ... I was upset, and he was there to make sure that I got out OK."
The mother of South Africaâ€™s anti-apartheid movement has died. â€śMa Sisulu,â€ť as she was known throughout the movement, was 92 years old. As the wife of Walter Sisulu, an anti-apartheid activist and mentor to Nelson Mandela, she supported him during 26 years of imprisonment on Robben Island, often being imprisoned and harassed herself, The New York Times reported. In 1956, she organized the historic protest by 20,000 women that is now marked each August 9 as a national holiday called Womenâ€™s Day, The Times said. In 1994, she was elected to South Africaâ€™s parliament, where her son, Max, is now speaker of the National Assembly. Daughter Lindiwe Sisulu serves as the nationâ€™s defense minister, and another daughter, Beryl, is the countryâ€™s ambassador to Norway. Walter Sisulu died in 2003.
Women and men - dressed however they want, thank you - came out in force Sunday in Toronto to protest what they perceive as a callous attitude by the Toronto police regarding Â sexual assault.
Tongue-in-cheek and defiant in name, Slutwalk attracted about 1,000 people in Queen's Park and went off without a hitch, police said.
â€śIt was very peaceful, and they got the message out that they wanted,â€ť constable spokeswoman Wendy Drummond told CNN on Monday morning.
Libya - Forces loyal to Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi blocked the westward advance of rebels, who have been aided by air power provided by the U.S., NATO and their allies. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet in London today with other world leaders to try to strengthen the coalition's efforts.
Syria - Thousands of demonstrators marched in Amman in support of President Bashar al-Assad, who has been the target of protests. Confrontations between anti-government protesters and police have been bloody at times; at least 37 people have been killed since last week, according to the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Security forces flooded the restive cities of Daraa and Latakia on Monday, patrolling the streets, protecting government buildings and in at least one case clashing with protesters, according to witnesses..
Japan - Engineers and workers are carrying out a dangerous balancing act as they try to cool the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor with water, but not so much water that it spills over, presenting an additional hazard. Radioactive isotopes from the damaged reactor are being detected in more places in the United States, though the Environmental Protection Agency says they pose no threat to human health. A Senate committee will hold a hearing today to gather information on the accident in Japan.
Wal-Mart - The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments today in a huge sex-discrimination lawsuit brought by female workers against Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the nation's largest retailer. The arguments will not be on the merits of the case, but on whether to allow as many as 1.6 million potential plaintiffs to join a single lawsuit. Billions of dollars and many thousands of career paths are at stake.
Immigration - Emily Ruiz, a 4-year-old U.S. citizen, was denied entry to the United States on March 11 when she returned with her grandfather to Dulles International Airport near Washington after an extended stay in Guatemala. The girl's parents are undocumented workers in New York; her grandfather had an old immigration violation, which prompted border agents to send him and the girl back to Guatemala. Emily will try to enter through New York today, a lawyer for the family says.
A day after violent protests erupted in the restive city of Daraa, security forces opened fire at protesters in the coastal city of Latakia, witnesses said.
Anti-government demonstrations in Latakia had started peacefully before several people were wounded in a hail of gunfire as security forces tightened their control on access to the city, witnesses said. However, presidential spokeswoman Bouthaina Shaaban told state media that an unidentified group of gunmen opened fire at citizens and security forces.
Although the group allegedly entered Latakia "breaking and burning shops," security forces did not return fire, Shaaban told SANA, the country's official news agency.FULL STORY
Libya violence - Coalition warplanes dropped bombs on the outskirts of Tripoli early Friday as Libyan forces retaliated with anti-aircraft fire. Hundreds of miles away in Ajdabiya, coalition airstrikes targeted armored vehicles that the British Defense Ministry said were threatening the civilian population there. The military action marked the sixth straight day of bombardments from coalition jets and came a day after NATO agreed to take over enforcement of the "no-fly" zone.
Rebels on the ground continue to fight leader Moammar Gadhafiâ€™s forces, and in MisrataÂ - where more than 100 people have died in the last week and hundreds more have been woundedÂ - reports have emerged that a hospital has been operating on generator power with no anesthesia or painkillers.
Who knew a child's peanut allergy would start a parental smackdown, or that a cell phone could deflect a bullet? In today's Gotta Watch videos, find out why a school's allergy guidelines have caused a parental uproar; how a cell phoneÂ can save a life and get a sneak peek at the next big thing in social networking.
Parental peanut controversy – A 6-year-old girlâ€™s peanut allergy has ignited a parental firestorm at one school. When a public school took steps to save a student from potentially fatal contact with peanuts, parents picketed to remove the rules. How far should a school go to protect a child from a deadly allergen?[cnn-videoÂ url="http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/bestoftv/2011/03/24/exp.am.intv.peanut.carroll.cnn"%5D
Syrian authorities arrested a prominent rights leader Tuesday as hundreds of anti-government demonstrators marched in southern parts of the country.
Loay Hussein - a political prisoner from 1984 to 1991 - was taken from his home in the Sehnaya district near the Syrian capital of Damascus, according to the country's Observatory for Human Rights.
Hussein had been supporting protesters who marched for a sixth straight day, chanting, "The people want to bring down the regime," a spokesman for the organizers told CNN from the southern city of Daraa.
The organizers are planning a day of mass protests across the southern province on Friday, he added.Â The United Nations Human Rights office has reported that six people have been killed by security forces in the southern city of Daraa - where protesters have marched - since Friday.FULL STORY
President Barack Obama said Friday that "left unchecked, we have every reason to believe Gadhafi (will) commit atrocities against his own people" and the surrounding region could be destabilized.
"The democratic values that we stand for would be overrun" and the "words of the international community would be rendered hollow," the president said.
The focus of the United Nations is on protecting innocent civilians and holding Moammar Gadhafi accountable, Obama said.
A cease-fire must be implemented immediately, and Gadhafi's troops must be pulled back from several cities, he said.Â Power and water must be restored to those cities, he declared.
"These terms are not negotiable," Obama said.
If Gadhafi doesn't comply, the U.N. resolution will be imposed through military action. The United States will work as part of an international coalition, Obama said, but American troops will not be deployed in Libya.
The five most popular stories on CNN.com in the past 24 hours, according to NewsPulse.
ď»żWisconsin Assembly passes labor bill: After weeks of demonstrations in the state capital, Wisconsin Republicans cleared a final hurdle to a controversial proposal on Thursday.
Charlie Sheen issues half-apology to Cryer: Charlie Sheen still continues to bash his former "Two and a Half Men" boss Chuck Lorre - but when it comes to costar Jon Cryer, Sheen is rethinking his negative comments.
How the human penis lost its spines: You've read the headline, and it probably made you giggle. Go ahead. Get it out of your system. Then take a deep breath and consider how evolution affected a few specific body parts.
Lohan gets 2 weeks to decide on plea deal: Lindsay Lohan must decide by March 23 if she will accept a plea deal that would send her to jail or move closer to a trial in the necklace theft case.
Controversy precedes radicalization hearings: A controversial congressional hearing Thursday on the radicalization of Muslim Americans touched on sensitive questions involving terrorism and tolerance.
If you've been following the reaction to the controversy over the Wisconsin bill to restrict collective bargaining rights, you're probably aware of the sentiments permeating comment boxes and social media. If not, let's bring you up to speed:
- Solidarity with union workers: "I stand with the SLOBS who teach my kids, empty my trash, protect my neighborhood, put out my fires, fix my roads." - linc0lnpark
- Support for the measure: "I live in Wisconsin, I voted for Governor Walker, and I support him and what the Senate did last night 100%. All of the Democrats that fled the state need to be recalled. All of the Union supporters that have infiltrated my state from other places, can pack their crap up and leave – NOW. Oh, and fire all the teachers that called in 'sick' too." - kat101160
- Comparisons to uprisings in the Middle East: "Thanks to Twitter, I can watch the beginning of democracy in the Middle East and the end of it in the Midwest." - achura
There's also a deeper, equally pervasive thread making the rounds accompanied by the hashtag #Koch. Such comments areÂ full of insinuation, speculation, rumor and innuendo over Gov. Scott Walker's connection to Koch Industries, a private, Kansas-based company with diverse holdings in nearly 60 countries, including a presence in Wisconsin.
The company also has a long history of supporting free-market principles through its political action committee, KOCHPAC, which contributed $43,000 to Walkerâ€™s 2010 gubernatorial campaign.
Tweets and comments such as, "Welcome to #FitzWalkerStan we used to be called Wisconsin. We are a division of Koch Industries," or "Walker is deaf to the voice of people. He is a puppet of Koch brothers" speak to speculation that Walker is in the pocket of Koch Industries.
Public unions –– Pro-union demonstrators plan to rally outside the Wisconsin capitol Thursday - the morning after the state's Republican-led Senate passed Gov. Scott Walker's proposed restrictions on collective bargaining for public employees. Senate Republicans got around a long-running Democratic walkout on Wednesday evening by stripping financial provisions from the bill.
Lohan plea - Actress Lindsay Lohan heads back to court Thursday to say if she will accept a plea deal on a felony charge of stealing a $2,500 necklace. At her last appearance in February, the judge warned Lohan that any plea deal would involve jail time.
NATO and Libya - NATO officials scheduled a meeting Thursday to discuss a response to Libya's civil war. Alliance defense ministers gathering in Brussels, Belgium, will discuss whether to implement a no-fly zone over Libya to minimize civilian casualties from the Libyan air force attacks.
Miami Heat - The NBA franchise that added league MVP LeBron James and Chris Bosh last summer finds itself in a five-game losing streak. Breaking that skid may be a tough task as Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers come to Miami for a 7 p.m. ET game. SI's Zach Lowe looks at what might be behind the Heat's problems.