Spring seems far from Tokyo's Ueno Park on a chilly Sunday under steely gray skies. Signs put up by the municipal government are scattered around the park, advising visitors not to picnic under the cherry blossoms, as is the national custom at this time of year.
The idea is that people should be mourning the victims of the recent earthquake and tsunami, not celebrating the coming of spring.
The U.S. military was pulling its warplanes from front-line missions and shifting to a support role in the Libyan conflict, as rebels took back much of an oil town that has repeatedly changed hands in weeks of battles with Moammar Gadhafi's forces.
Britain, France and other NATO allies will provide the fighter jets for intercept and ground-attack missions that enforce a no-fly zone over this North African country. And U.S. Air Force and Marine attack planes struck targets near the cities of Sirte and Brega.
As China presses on with its harshest crackdown in years, one of its most famous artists has been blocked from leaving the country. Artist Ai Weiwei is best-known for helping design Beijing's Olympic stadium, known as the Birds Nest. He was taken into detention at Beijing airport yesterday morning, as he tried to travel to Hong Kong – and onto to Taipei - and has not been heard from since, the highest profile victim yet of Beijing's latest clampdown.