Libyan rebels finally enter Sirte with the help of air-strikes (+ analysis); Aid agencies warns of growing humanitarian crisis; Apple founder Steve Jobs dies – tributes flow; Merkel wants more capital to protect German banks; Former Japanese party leader on trial for false accounting; UNESCO clears way for Palestine to join; and more
Libya's NTC Troops Close to Taking Sirte
Troops fighting on behalf of Libya's ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) entered the city (al-Jazeera) of Sirte, the birthplace of ousted leader Muammar al-Qaddafi and one of his last remaining bastions of support.
NTC fighters have been held at bay on the outskirts of Sirte for weeks by heavy artillery and rocket fire launched by Qaddafi loyalists. But with the help of continued NATO airstrikes, NTC troops pushed into the city on Wednesday and captured the southern district of Bouhadi. Commanders have called for a "final push" (Reuters) to take the remainder of the city.
Many civilians have been caught in the middle of the fighting with inadequate food supplies and medical treatment. International aid agencies warn of a growing humanitarian crisis (IOL) in Sirte.
Meanwhile, some NTC fighters burned and looted (LAT) the homes of Qaddafi loyalists in the village of Abu Hadi, just outside of Sirte.
NATO commanders face a tough balancing act during the bloody battle for Qaddafi's last strongholds, Sirte and Bani Walid, writes Reuters' Justyna Pawlak.
Anti-Qaddafi militias, often operating independently of the NTC, carry out their own versions of justice, often placing suspected loyalists in prisons and secret detention centers without trial, and even torturing some of them, writes TIME's Abigail Hauslohner.
As Libya moves ahead with a leadership transition, it faces challenges, including restarting the economy, dealing with humanitarian abuses, and the rising influence of Islamists, explains this CFR Analysis Brief.
US Senate to Vote on China Currency Bill
The US Senate is set to vote today on legislation to sanction China for undervaluing its currency. The move would impose tariffs (NPR) on Chinese imports to the United States. China has warned that the move could ignite a trade war between the two countries.
Since the 1949 Communist victory in China, US-Sino relations have wavered between tense standoffs and attempts to bridge strategic and ideological differences. This CFR Timeline offers a visual account of US Relations with China.
JAPAN: The former leader of the Democratic Party of Japan, Ichiro Ozawa, went on trial for allegedly breaking political fundraising laws (BBC) by overseeing his staff's false accounting. The scandal has weakened Japan's ruling party.
Merkel pushes for more funding for German banks
UNESCO backs Palestine to join as state