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As the US declines its traditional leadership role, NATO members are squabbling among themselves and rebels in Libya may be fighting a losing battle. Does Moammar Gadhafi now have the upper hand--both militarily and diplomatically?  Will the US help arm the rebels on its own? Also, President Obama Calls House Speaker Boehner in the hopes of avoiding a shutdown. On Reporter's Notebook, what can Earthlings learn from closeup study of the planet nearest the Sun?  We hear about the mission to Mercury.

Banner image: Libyan rebels run for cover from artillery shells fired by forces loyal to leader Moammar Gadhafi outside the eastern oil town of Brega, on April 5, 2011. Photo: Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images

Making News Obama Calls House Speaker Boehner in Hopes of Avoiding Shutdown 7 MIN, 47 SEC

House Speaker John Boehner reportedly told militant Republican budget cutters yesterday that a government shutdown would be a victory for Democrats.  Today, President Obama called Boehner briefly before leaving Washington for speech-making.  Meantime, his administration is outlining what a shutdown would mean. Jonathan Allen is senior congressional reporter for Politico.

Jonathan Allen, Sidewire / Roll Call (@jonallendc)

Main Topic Libya, the UN and the Role of NATO 35 MIN, 9 SEC

NATO officials publicly claim a "clear mandate" to implement the UN Security Council Resolution 1973 to use "all necessary measures" to protect Libyan civilians. But within the alliance, that means different things to different countries. France and Italy want regime change, while Turkey and Germany never wanted to intervene, and the US has stepped back from leadership of the alliance. Rebel forces say they're not getting the help they need against Moammar Gadhafi's army, as new evidence emerges of government brutality. Can NATO get its act together before the rebels are wiped out? If Gadhafi holds out, can the West avoid another protracted struggle in a Muslim country? 

Note: While we were interviewing David Kirkpatrick, who's in Tripoli for the New York Times, he was interrupted. He came back on the phone to say he and some 25 other western journalists had received notes slipped under their doors, ordering them out of Libya by tomorrow morning.

Stephen Fidler, Wall Street Journal (@StephenFidler1)
David D. Kirkpatrick, New York Times (@ddknyt)
Charles Kupchan, Council on Foreign Relations / Georgetown University (@CFR_org)
Tom Donnelly, American Enterprise Institute (@AEI)

How Enemies Become Friends

Charles A. Kupchan

Reporter's Notebook Messenger Spacecraft Sends Back Pictures of Mercury 8 MIN, 4 SEC

For a week now, excited astronomers have been looking at close-up images of Mercury, where temperatures range from 800° to -300°. Is it possible that the planet closest to the Sun has deposits of frozen water? In 2004, we talked with Dr. Dean Soloman as the Mercury Messenger spacecraft took off for a long complex voyage to the planet nearest the Sun. He is the principle investigator for the Mercury Mission and Director of the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism at the Carnegie Institution for Science.

Sean Solomon, Carnegie Institution for Science

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