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Associated Press
Soldiers of Japan Self-Defense Force and firefighters search for the victims in the rubbles Monday, March 14, 2011 in Matsushima, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, three days after northeastern coastal towns were devastated by an earthquake and tsunami. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT, NO SALES IN CHINA, HONG KONG, JAPAN, SOUTH KOREA AND FRANCE
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Dangerous levels of radiation leaking from a crippled nuclear plant forced Japan to order 140,000 people to seal themselves indoors Tuesday after an explosion and a fire dramatically escalated the crisis spawned by a deadly tsunami. In a nationally televised statement, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said radiation had spread from the four stricken reactors of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant along Japan's northeastern coast. The region was shattered by Friday's 9.0-magnitude earthquake and the ensuing tsunami that is believed to have killed more than 10,000 people, plunged millions into misery and pummeled the world's third-largest economy.

WASHINGTON (AP) — More U.S. military crews were exposed to radiation Tuesday as the Pentagon ramped up relief flights over a Japan reeling from an earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis. The Defense Department said the Navy started giving anti-radiation pills to some of those exposed, and Americans on two military bases south of Tokyo were advised to stay indoors as much as possible. Meanwhile, U.S. aviation and energy officials also worked with Japanese counterparts on the nuclear developments.

TOBRUK, Libya (AP) — Moammar Gadhafi's forces overwhelmed rebels in a strategic eastern city, hammering them with airstrikes, missiles, tanks and artillery Tuesday in an assault that sent residents fleeing and threatened to open the way for an all-out government offensive on the opposition's main stronghold in the east, Benghazi. In desperation, rebels sent up two antiquated warplanes that struck a government ship bombarding Ajdabiya from the Mediterranean. But as tanks rolled into the city from two directions and rockets relentlessly pounded houses and shops, the ragtag opposition fighters' defenses appeared to break down. Some lashed out at the West for failing to come to their aid with a no-fly zone.

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks fell sharply Tuesday and bond prices rose as the nuclear crisis in Japan grew following last week's deadly earthquake and tsunami. The Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 130 points. The market dropped sharply at the start of trading on news that dangerous levels of radiation are leaking from a crippled nuclear plant. Investors are selling because of uncertainty about the impact the nuclear crisis might have not only on Japan, but also on companies in this country. Japan, the world's third-largest economy, accounts for 10 percent of U.S. exports.

CAIRO (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was pressing Egypt's transitional leaders Tuesday to follow through on pledges for democratic reform after the ouster of the country's longtime autocratic president in a popular revolt. Clinton is the first cabinet-level Obama administration official to visit Egypt since the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak. Her visit comes amid rising concerns in the U.S. that anti-government rebellions sweeping the Middle East may not usher in the kind of political changes and freedom that people are protesting for.

WASHINGTON (AP) — In his first formal assessment of the war in Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus said Tuesday that much of the Taliban's battlefield momentum has been halted, putting the U.S. on course to begin pulling out troops in July and shifting security responsibility to the Afghans. In testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Petraeus cautioned that security progress is still "fragile and reversible," with much difficult work ahead as the Taliban launch an expected spring offensive. It was the general's first testimony on the war since he took command in Kabul last summer.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Investigators looking into a weekend tour bus crash in New York City that killed 15 people are focusing on the driver, a man with a decades-old manslaughter conviction who was not supposed to be driving because he never resolved several traffic tickets. The bus driver, Ophadell Williams, was ticketed in 1995 for speeding and twice for driving without a license, giving police the alias Erik Williams, two state officials familiar with the accident probe told The Associated Press on Monday. Williams' driving privileges were suspended, meaning he couldn't legally drive in the state, after he failed to address the charges.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Here's a question the members of the duo The Civil Wars have been contemplating a lot lately: What's the value of a star's tweet? Or two? Or three? For Joy Williams and John Paul White, tweets by Taylor Swift, Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum and Sara Bareilles, among many others, helped drive first-week sales of their debut album, "Barton Hollow," to levels they didn't expect. They sold out one tour and now have a more ambitious schedule down the road, had their video added by CMT, and now have at their fingertips limitless possibilities that good old-fashioned word of mouth brings in the Internet age.

PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona man has been sentenced to three years of probation for stabbing a man who refused to let him suck his blood. Maricopa County Superior Court says 24-year-old Aaron Homer, of Chandler, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and was sentenced Monday.

Every year when the NCAA tournament bracket comes out, there's a team, maybe a couple that stand out as the ones to beat. Last year, to a certain extent, it was Duke. Kansas, with those five future pros, was the bracket behemoth in 2008 and Florida was the no-brainer the year before.

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