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Updated: 29 min 6 sec ago

Ukraine in 'pivotal period' as deal stalls, US warns Russia

1 hour 21 min ago

Armed pro-Russian activists guard a barricade outside the regional state building seized by the separatists, in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk, on April 18, 2014Donetsk (Ukraine) (AFP) - Russia was under intense US pressure Saturday to convince pro-Moscow rebels in Ukraine to give up eastern towns they are occupying, after Washington said the situation in the former Soviet republic was in a "pivotal period". But with the separatists' refusal to budge throwing a deal to defuse the crisis into doubt, and US sanctions looming large, Russia was biting back -- warning that its military is massed on Ukraine's border, ready to act. In the major eastern city of Donetsk, separatist gunmen remained barricaded inside the regional government building. The failure to implement the agreement hammered out in Geneva on Thursday by the US, Russia, Ukraine and the EU threatened to deepen the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War.


Was There Really An Empty Tomb?

Fri, 2014-04-18 20:22

Was There Really An Empty Tomb?What makes Jesus different from the prophets of the world’s other great religions? The claim that he rose from the dead and left behind an empty tomb. But how much do we know about it?


Powerful earthquake rattles Mexico, shakes buildings

Fri, 2014-04-18 16:51
By Dave Graham MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - A powerful earthquake shook Mexico on Friday, damaging more than 100 homes in the southwestern state of Guerrero and opening cracks in some buildings but there were no reports of deaths. Striking close to the popular beach resort of Acapulco, the 7.2 magnitude quake sent people scurrying out of homes and hotels, causing brief panic from the Pacific coast to states in central and eastern parts of Mexico. At least 127, mostly adobe homes were damaged in Guerrero. Some people in Mexico City fled homes in panic when the quake hit.

U.S. further delays final decision on Keystone XL pipeline

Fri, 2014-04-18 16:01

A TransCanada Keystone Pipeline pump station operates outside Steele City, NebraskaBy Patrick Rucker WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration further delayed its decision on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project on Friday, with no conclusion now likely until after the U.S. mid-term elections in November. President Barack Obama has said he will have the final say on whether to allow the pipeline connecting Canada's oil sands region to Texas refiners, and several government agencies had been given until May to weigh in. But the State Department said on Friday it was extending that agency comment period, citing a need to wait until the Nebraska Supreme Court settles a dispute over what path the $5.4 billion TransCanada Corp project should take. "That pipeline route is central to the environmental analysis for the project and if there are changes to the route it could have implications," a senior State Department official told reporters.


Kansas speech by Michelle Obama draws complaints

Fri, 2014-04-18 15:25

FILE - This April 11, 2104 file photo shows first lady Michelle Obama speaking in the East Room of the White House in Washington. When President Barack Obama travels abroad, getting just the leader of the free world doesn’t seem to be enough. Countries want the first lady, too. But Michelle Obama won’t join her husband when he heads to Asia next week and her absence is likely to sting, especially in Japan. It’s the first of four countries on Obama’s travel schedule and the only one welcoming him on an official state visit. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — If expanding the guest list to include Michelle Obama at graduation for high school students in the Kansas capital city means fewer seats for friends and family, some students and their parents would prefer the first lady not attend.


Kansas City Highway Shooting Suspect Charged With 18 Felonies

Fri, 2014-04-18 14:59

Kansas City Highway Shooting Suspect Charged With 18 FeloniesMan Charged in 9 Shooting Incidents on Kansas City Highways


East Ukraine separatists stay put despite diplomatic deal

Fri, 2014-04-18 13:35

Map of eastern UkraineBy Pavel Polityuk and Thomas Grove KIEV/SLAVIANSK, Ukraine (Reuters) - Armed pro-Russian separatists were still holding public buildings in eastern Ukraine on Friday, saying they needed more assurances about their security before they comply with an international deal ordering them to disarm. The agreement, brokered by the United States, Russia, Ukraine and the European Union in Geneva on Thursday offered the best hope to date of defusing a stand-off in Ukraine that has dragged East-West relations to their lowest level since the Cold War. Enacting the agreement on the ground though will be difficult, because of the deep mistrust between the pro-Russian groups and the Western-backed government in Kiev, which this week flared into violent clashes that killed several people.


Man who avoided prison is overwhelmed by support

Fri, 2014-04-18 13:28

In this photo provided by attorney Patrick Megaro is his client, Cornealious “Mike” Anderson, with a birthday cake. Anderson, who avoided prison because of a clerical error and led a law-abiding life for 13 years, said he is overwhelmed by the support he's received since the story of his incarceration became public. Meanwhile, the Missouri attorney general signaled that he would look for a way to take Anderson's many years of clean living into account in attempting to resolve the "difficult situation." (AP Photo/Courtesy Patrick Megaro)ST. LOUIS (AP) — A Missouri man who avoided prison because of a clerical error and led a law-abiding life for 13 years said he is overwhelmed by the support he's received since the story of his incarceration became public.


How a NYC taxi driver allegedly dodged $28,000 in tolls

Fri, 2014-04-18 12:06
If true, the taxi driver could face up to seven years in prison after skipping out on an estimated $28,000 in tolls.

Special Report: How the U.S. made its Putin problem worse

Fri, 2014-04-18 11:59

File photo of U.S. President Obama meeting with Russian President Putin during the G8 Summit at Lough Erne in EnniskillenBy David Rohde and Arshad Mohammed WASHINGTON AND NEW YORK (Reuters) - In September 2001, as the U.S. reeled from the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Vladimir Putin supported Washington's imminent invasion of Afghanistan in ways that would have been inconceivable during the Cold War. He agreed that U.S. planes carrying humanitarian aid could fly through Russian air space. He said the U.S. military could use airbases in former Soviet republics in Central Asia. And he ordered his generals to brief their U.S. counterparts on their own ill-fated 1980s occupation of Afghanistan.


Kroger manager fired after he slams a knife-wielding shoplifter to the ground

Fri, 2014-04-18 10:58
The incident was caught on cellphone video by a customer in the parking lot.

Captain not at helm of capsized S. Korean ferry

Fri, 2014-04-18 09:48

A graphic on the South Korean ferry accident, including details of the final course of the shipJindo (South Korea) (AFP) - The captain was not at the helm of the South Korean ferry that capsized two days ago, investigators said Friday, as anger spread over stalled rescue efforts for hundreds of missing passengers trapped by the submerged vessel. More than 48 hours after the 6,825-tonne Sewol suddenly listed and then sank, a small army of more than 500 exhausted divers -- battling powerful currents -- have yet to obtain any real access to the ferry's interior. As the dive teams worked on accessing the ferry, two divers bored holes in the hull and began injecting oxygen into the ship. Three giant, floating cranes reached the disaster site, but regional coastguard commander Kim Soo-Hyun stressed they would not begin lifting the multi-deck ferry until they were sure there were no survivors inside.


Caught in the Act: Workers Collect Thousands in False Injury Claims

Fri, 2014-04-18 09:28

 Workers Collect Thousands in False Injury ClaimsEx-Cop Vincent Lamantia allegedly lied about suffering from post-9/11 trauma.


State of Texas seizes ranch of imprisoned polygamist leader

Fri, 2014-04-18 08:45

Warren Jeffs prison mug shotBy Jim Forsyth SAN ANTONIO, Texas (Reuters) - The sprawling Yearning for Zion Ranch in west Texas, where polygamist leader Warren Jeffs sexually assaulted young girls and justified it by claiming he was the "prophet of God," is now the property of the State of Texas. The Texas Department of Public Safety, which raided the Eldorado, Texas, ranch in April of 2008, said in a statement released on Thursday that the walled compound has been entered by law enforcement officers and "the residents have agreed to vacate the property." Jeffs was convicted of sexual assault in 2011. The statement noted that the state on January 6 secured a forfeiture judgment from the 51st Judicial District Court. "Law enforcement personnel are working with the occupants of the ranch to take all reasonable actions to assist with their departure of the property, to preserve the property, and to successfully execute the court order," the DPS said.


Magnitude-7.5 earthquake shakes Mexican capital

Fri, 2014-04-18 08:09
ACAPULCO, Mexico (AP) — A powerful, magnitude-7.5 earthquake shook central and southern Mexico on Friday. The U.S. Geological Survey said it was centered northwest of the Pacific resort of Acapulco, where many Mexicans are vacationing for the Easter holiday.

Russia's new culture policy a weapon against West

Fri, 2014-04-18 07:56

Russian students sing and dance around a Soviet-era street decoration with a portrait of Lenin displayed in an open air museum in Moscow, on April 9, 2014The Kremlin is preparing a new culture policy for Russia focusing on its distinctive civilisation and traditional values, which observers say has political ends amid Moscow's standoff with the West. At the end of four hours of questions Thursday in his annual call-in, President Vladimir Putin waxed philosophical on what it means to be Russian. The authors preparing the document, who are kept secret, believe that such a policy must be based on the thesis that "Russia is not Europe" and generously quote from Putin's speeches. The policy states Russia is at a historical crossroads and must make a choice between cultural extinction or the preservation of its unique "moral and spiritual foundations," which can only be done with a "state culture policy."


Casual pot use causes brain abnormalities in the young: study

Fri, 2014-04-18 07:35

A volunteer holds a dried cannabis bud at the La Brea Collective medical marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles(This story from April 15 corrects name of researcher to Breiter, instead of Beiter, throughout story) By Alex Dobuzinskis (Reuters) - Young, casual marijuana smokers experience potentially harmful changes to their brains, with the drug altering regions of the mind related to motivation and emotion, researchers found. The study to be published on Wednesday in the Journal of Neuroscience differs from many other pot-related research projects that are focused on chronic, heavy users of cannabis. The collaborative effort between Northwestern University's medical school, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School showed a direct correlation between the number of times users smoked and abnormalities in the brain. "What we're seeing is changes in people who are 18 to 25 in core brain regions that you never, ever want to fool around with," said co-senior study author Dr. Hans Breiter, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University.


NASA's moon-orbiting robot crashes down

Fri, 2014-04-18 06:17

In this artist's concept provided by NASA the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft is seen orbiting the moon as it prepares to fire its maneuvering thrusters to maintain a safe orbital altitude. NASA's small moon-orbiting spacecraft LADEE (pronounced LAH'-dee) is no more. Flight controllers confirmed early Friday April 18, 2014 that LADEE crashed into the back side of the moon. (AP Photo/NASA, Dana Berry) Credit: NASA Ames / Dana Berry ----- What is LADEE? The Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) is designed to study the Moon's thin exosphere and the lunar dust environment. An "exosphere" is an atmosphere that is so thin and tenuous that molecules don't collide with each other. Studying the Moon's exosphere will help scientists understand other planetary bodies with exospheres too, like Mercury and some of Jupiter's bigger moons. The orbiter will determine the density, composition and temporal and spatial variability of the Moon's exosphere to help us understand where the species in the exosphere come from and the role of the solar wind, lunar surface and interior, and meteoric infall as sources. The mission will also examine the density and temporal and spatial variability of dust particles that may get lofted into the atmosphere. The mission also will test several new technologies, including a modular spacecraft bus that may reduce the cost of future deep space missions and demonstrate two-way high rate laser communication for the first time from the Moon. LADEE now is ready to launch when the window opens on Sept. 6, 2013. Read more: http://www.nasa.gov/ladee  enables NASA’s mission through four scientific endeavors: Earth Science, Heliophysics, Solar System Exploration, and Astrophysics. Goddard plays a leaCAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA's robotic moon explorer, LADEE, is no more.


Whoopi Goldberg debuts as marijuana columnist

Fri, 2014-04-18 05:41

Whoopi GoldbergOscar-winning actress, comedienne and talk-show host Whoopi Goldberg sang the praises of marijuana inhaled through a pocket vaporizer on Thursday as she made her debut as an online pot columnist. In fact, her name is Sippy." wrote Goldberg, 58, about her pocket vaporizer on "The Cannabist," a pot-friendly website run by the Denver Post newspaper in Colorado. The Rocky Mountain state was the second in the United States, after Washington in the Pacific Northwest, to legalize marijuana for recreational use. But in a country where, at the federal level, marijuana is classified as an illegal drug on a par with heroin, Goldberg said Sippy's compact proportions helps maintain discretion.


Pro-Russian separatist leader says not bound by Geneva deal

Fri, 2014-04-18 04:27
By Aleksandar Vasovic DONETSK, Ukraine (Reuters) - The self-declared leader of pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, Denis Pushilin, on Friday said he does not consider his men to be bound by an agreement between Russia and Ukraine requiring illegal groups to disarm and vacate buildings. The Geneva agreement, signed by the United States, Russia, Ukraine and the European Union on Thursday, requires all illegal armed groups to disarm and end the illegal occupation of public buildings, streets and squares. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov "did not sign anything for us, he signed on behalf of the Russian Federation," Pushilin, head of the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic, told journalists in Donetsk. Ukraine announced a military-backed operation last weekend to flush out pro-Russian rebels who have taken over state buildings including police stations in the Donbass region, though the operation faltered when pro-Russian forces seized several army troop carriers.
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