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France Not Planning to Arm Libya Rebels

France is not planning to arm rebels fighting to oust Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi because such a move is not compatible with a U.N. resolution on the conflict, France's defense minister said Thursday.

"Such assistance is not on the agenda because it is not compatible with resolution 1973," the U.N. Security Council Resolution that authorized U.N. members to intervene to protect civilians, minister Gerard Longuet told reporters.

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Britain Says No Immunity Offered to Libyan Foreign Minister

Libya's foreign minister has not been offered immunity after his surprise arrival in Britain, London said Thursday, while urging other members of Moammar Gadhafi's "crumbling" regime to quit.

Moussa Koussa, a former head of Libyan intelligence and one-time ambassador to Britain, arrived "under his own free will" at Farnborough airport southwest of London on Wednesday, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said.

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NATO Chief Rules Out Arming Libyan Rebels

NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Thursday he opposed arming Libyan rebels, stressing NATO had intervened to protect and not to arm Libyans.

"We are there to protect the Libyan people, not to arm the Libyan people," Rasmussen told reporters.

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Obama Confident Gadhafi Will Step Down

U.S. President Barack Obama said he is confident that Moammar Gadhafi will "ultimately" step down, as a new poll Wednesday found nearly half of Americans were opposed to U.S. military involvement in Libya.

Obama warned Tuesday he had not ruled out supplying arms to rebels seeking to oust him, and said the "noose is tightening" around the Libyan strongman.

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Outgunned Libyan Rebels Scatter, World Mulls Sending Arms

Loyalist forces overran the Libyan oil town of Ras Lanuf on Wednesday, scattering outgunned rebels as world powers debated arming the rag-tag band of fighters seeking to oust Moammar Gadhafi.

Agence France Presse reporters quoting rebel fighters said Gadhafi's troops swept through Ras Lanuf, strategic for its oil refinery, blazing away with tanks and heavy artillery fire soon after dawn.

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NATO: ‘Flickers’ of Possible Qaida, Hizbullah Involvement with Libya Rebels

NATO's supreme allied commander in Europe, U.S. Navy Adm. James Stavridis, has said that officials had seen "flickers" of possible al-Qaida and Hizbullah involvement with the Libyan rebel forces fighting Moammar Gadhafi’s regime.

But in a Senate hearing Tuesday, Stavridis said that there was no evidence of significant numbers within the political opposition group's leadership.

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World Powers Keep Up Pressure as Gadhafi Beats Back Rebels

World powers vowed Tuesday to continue military action until Moammar Gadhafi stops his "murderous attacks" on Libyan civilians, as loud blasts rocked his stronghold in Tripoli.

At a meeting of more than 35 nations in London, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and British Prime Minister David Cameron said that allied air strikes would go on until the Libyan leader met U.N. demands for a ceasefire.

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Sarkozy, Cameron to Gadhafi Followers: Leave Him Before It's Too Late

Britain and France called Monday for Libya's rebel national council and civil society leaders to help a transition towards democracy, ahead of a London meeting on the country's future.

"In the words of the Arab League resolution, the current regime has completely lost its legitimacy," said a joint statement from French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron.

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Rebel Advance on Sirte Resumes as British Jets Hit S. Libya

A rebel advance westwards towards Tripoli, which was halted Monday by Moammer Gadhafi's troops about 140 kilometers east of the strongman's hometown Sirte, resumed later in the day, an Agence France Presse reporter said.

After their rapid progress on Sunday, helped by the overnight coalition air raids, Monday proved something of a sticking point and by mid-afternoon they had pushed forward just 40 kilometers from Bin Jawad to the small town of Ras Al Awaja, on the road to Sirte, the Libyan strongman's home town.

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Tweeting The Turmoil in The Middle East

For the nearly 40,000 followers of his Twitter feed, Andy Carvin is providing a unique window into the turmoil in the Middle East.

For a media industry facing its own ferment, Carvin, who works online for National Public Radio (NPR), is offering a glimpse into journalism's future, using the Web to report the historic events in a fresh and innovative way.

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