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Putin signs treaty to add Crimea to map of Russia
Written by VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV, Associated Press   
Tuesday, 18 March 2014 13:40

MOSCOW (AP) — With a sweep of his pen, President Vladimir Putin added Crimea to the map of Russia on Tuesday, describing the move as correcting past injustice and responding to what he called Western encroachment upon Russia's vital interests.

While his actions were met with cheers in Crimea and Russia, Ukraine's new government called Putin a threat to the whole world and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden warned that the U.S. and Europe will impose further sanctions against Moscow.

"The world has seen through Russia's actions and has rejected the flawed logic," Biden said as he met with anxious European leaders in Poland.

In an emotional 40-minute speech televised live from the Kremlin's white-and-gold St. George hall, the Russian leader said he was merely restoring order to history by incorporating Crimea.

"In people's hearts and minds, Crimea has always been an integral part of Russia," he declared.

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Big asteroid will eclipse bright star early Thursday
Written by MARCIA DUNN, AP Aerospace Writer   
Tuesday, 18 March 2014 13:15

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Skywatchers, get ready to see a rare vanishing act — and don't blink.

In the wee hours of Thursday, a 45-mile-wide asteroid will eclipse the brightest star in the Constellation Leo. The asteroid is 163 Erigone in the asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. The star briefly disappearing will be Regulus.

This so-called occultation will last no more than 14 seconds, around 2 a.m. EDT. It could be as short as a fraction of a second.

What makes this unusual is the brightness of Regulus and the potential viewing audience. Weather permitting, the eclipse should be visible with the naked eye from New York City and elsewhere along a populated swath in the U.S. Northeast and eastern Canada.

___

Online:

International Occultation Timing Association: http://occultations.org/regulus2014/


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 
A 'bad day' in rehab costs Chris Brown his freedom
Written by ANTHONY McCARTNEY, AP Entertainment Writer   
Tuesday, 18 March 2014 06:22

LOS ANGELES (AP) — With a roll of his eyes and a comment that he was good at using guns and knives, Chris Brown may have cost himself weeks of freedom and his chance to get back to making music anytime soon.

The reasons for Brown's dismissal from a Malibu rehab facility were detailed in court on Monday, with a judge ordering the Grammy winner to remain in jail until a formal probation violation hearing can be convened on April 23.

The jail stint will be Brown's longest and comes more than five years after he viciously attacked his then-girlfriend Rihanna in a rented sports car just hours before the Grammy Awards. Superior Court Judge James R. Brandlin said he was most troubled by a comment the singer made during a group therapy session last week.

"I am good at using guns and knives," the rehab reported Brown said in response to an exercise asking him to reflect on what he was good or excelled at.

Other transgressions cited by rehab workers included the singer ignoring a worker who was waiting to give him a drug test, rubbing elbows with a woman when he had signed an agreement to stay at least two feet away from all female clients and joking telling fellow patients, "I'm going to ask my higher power to take away my troubles." When asked whether he was serious, Brown said yes while shaking his head no, a report on Brown's conduct stated.

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(Updated) News helicopter crashes near Space Needle; two dead
Written by MANUEL VALDES, Associated Press PHUONG LE, Associated Press   
Tuesday, 18 March 2014 13:11

 

SEATTLE (AP) — A news helicopter crashed into the street and exploded into flames Tuesday near Seattle's Space Needle, killing two people on board, badly injuring a man in a car and sending plumes of black smoke over the city during the morning commute.

The chopper was taking off from the KOMO-TV station when it went down on Broad Street and hit three vehicles, starting them on fire and spewing burning fuel down the street.

Kristopher Reynolds, a contractor working nearby, saw the wreck. He said the helicopter lifted about 5 feet and was about to clear a building when it tilted. It looked like it was trying to correct itself when it took dive downward.

"Next thing I know, it went into a ball of flames," he said.

When firefighters arrived, they found the helicopter, two cars and a pickup truck on fire, along with a huge cloud smoke, fire department spokesman Kyle Moore said.

"Not only were the cars on fire, the fuel running down the street was on fire," he told reporters at the scene.

Firefighters stopped the burning fuel from entering the sewer.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 March 2014 13:37
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New York City night court becomes must-see tourist stop
Written by JENNIFER PELTZ, Associated Press   
Tuesday, 18 March 2014 06:13

NEW YORK (AP) — Jenny Baumann's itinerary for her first trip to New York City: Rockefeller Center. The Empire State Building. Central Park. Night court.

In a city synonymous with theaters and nightlife, the 26-year-old from Munich was perched on a scarred wooden bench in a utilitarian room in lower Manhattan on a recent evening, straining to decode — sometimes even to hear — the methodical hubbub of arraignments in one of the nation's busiest courts.

"It's very interesting to hear real cases," Baumann said as she and a friend watched a judge decide whether to set bail for people facing charges ranging from choking a girlfriend to stealing a six-pack of beer. Each case was handled in a matter of minutes amid a hive of clerks shuffling paperwork, police taking retinal scans, defendants and lawyers conferring in a confessional-sized glass booth and court officers occasionally bellowing, "Quiet, please!"

It's one of New York's more peculiar and paradoxical tourist traditions, a place visitors extol on travel websites while many residents hope never to wind up there. To travelers, it's gritty entertainment, hard-knocks education or at least a chance to experience real-life law and order on a New York scale.

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