1. The West bombs Libya
A military alliance of Western powers spent days pummeling Libya with missiles, in an attempt to stamp out Moammar Gadhafi's bloody assault on his own people. After much squabbling, NATO agreed to take control of the no-fly zone in Libya, though the U.S. will still be very involved. Some, like Robert Shrum, believe America's mission shouldn't end until Gadhafi is deposed. But dissenters on both the Right and Left are criticizing Obama's use of force in Libya, and the president seems keen to make a quick exit. Stay up to date with our Libya coverage here.
2. Republicans inch closer to declaring their candidacies
Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-Minn.) announced that he's forming a presidential exploratory committee, a key fundraising tool that typically signals a White House bid. But Pawlenty's not the only Minnesota Republican with 2012 ambitions. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) also plans to form an exploratory committee. And as the long-stalled race heats up, even newly-elected Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is considering a run. For more on the 2012 presidential race, click here.
3. Japan tries to move on
As the country looks to rebuild after a trio of disasters, citizens grapple with new fears over whether water and food are safe to consume. Radiation levels are dropping at the Fukushima nuclear reactors, but for many Japanese, including the heroes still laboring to ward off further problems at Fukushima, plenty of risks remain. Here, more stories on the disaster in Japan.
4. The union fight spreads
The battle over union rights in Wisconsin may have returned to a simmer, but elsewhere in America, the labor fight is boiling. Maine's Republican governor has ordered the removal of a union-friendly mural at the state Department of Labor, saying the images are anti-business. And many on the Right were outraged over an audio tape purporting to show a former national labor official proposing drastic measures — such as toppling the stock market — to help middle-class workers. See more about union showdowns here.
5. Apple weathers multiple storms
The tech giant announced that one of its top software engineers is leaving, prompting questions about Apple's future. And after a massive petition drive and withering criticism, Apple yanked a "gay cure" iPhone app that it had initially approved. But Steve Jobs and Co. went on offense, too, suing Amazon over its use of the term "App Store." For more on Apple, click here.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why Pakistan won't hunt down the terrorists within its borders
- Sorry, GOP, tax cuts don't pay for themselves
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- Pope Francis' American problem
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Are there dogs in heaven? Let's hope not.
- 10 things you need to know today: December 19, 2014
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- Why torture doesn't work: A definitive guide
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