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No pope meeting for Russell Crowe, 'Noah' makers
Written by Associated Press   
Wednesday, 19 March 2014 12:02

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Actor Russell Crowe and the makers of the big-budget film "Noah" have attended Pope Francis' general audience but didn't meet the pope.

Crowe had lobbied hard for an audience and papal thumbs up for his film and the ensuing publicity a Francis photo-op would bring. The film has been banned in much of the Muslim world because it depicts the prophet, while U.S. conservatives have complained it took liberties with the Biblical account of the flood.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said Noah's producers had requested a private audience and were turned down. In an email to The Associated Press, Lombardi said there was similarly no scheduled "meet and greet" after Wednesday's general audience, when VIPs can often get a quick word with the pope.


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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 
IBM's Watson to help sequence cancer DNA
Written by Associated Press   
Wednesday, 19 March 2014 11:50

NEW YORK (AP) — IBM and its Watson cloud computing system are partnering with the New York Genome Center to help it sequence DNA for the treatment of brain cancer.

New York Genome will use IBM's "Jeopardy!" champion system to sequence the DNA of cancer tumors at much faster rate than would be possible if done by a human being.

Dr. Robert Darnell, the Genome Center's president, CEO and scientific director, says that once doctors know a tumor's genetic makeup, they can determine the best course of treatment for a particular patient.

Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM Corp. already has a partnership with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where Watson is also used to help treat cancer.


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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 
What if the missing Malaysia plane is never found?
Written by KRISTEN GELINEAU, Associated Press NICK PERRY, Associated Press   
Tuesday, 18 March 2014 15:05

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — The plane must be somewhere. But the same can be said for Amelia Earhart's.

Ten days after Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared with 239 people aboard, an exhaustive international search has produced no sign of the Boeing 777, raising an unsettling question: What if the airplane is never found?

Such an outcome, while considered unlikely by many experts, would certainly torment the families of those missing. It would also flummox the airline industry, which will struggle to learn lessons from the incident if it doesn't know what happened.

While rare nowadays, history is not short of such mysteries — from the most famous of all, American aviator Earhart, to planes and ships disappearing in the so-called Bermuda Triangle.

"When something like this happens that confounds us, we're offended by it, and we're scared by it," said Ric Gillespie, a former U.S. aviation accident investigator who wrote a book about Earhart's still-unsolved 1937 disappearance over the Pacific Ocean. "We had the illusion of control and it's just been shown to us that oh, folks, you know what? A really big airliner can just vanish. And nobody wants to hear that."

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Ukraine's Crimea base taken, commander detained
Written by JOHN-THOR DAHLBURG, Associated Press   
Wednesday, 19 March 2014 11:45

SEVASTOPOL, Crimea (AP) — Masked Russian-speaking troops on Wednesday seized control of Ukrainian naval headquarters in Crimea after it was stormed by militiamen. Pro-Moscow Crimean authorities also detained the Ukrainian navy commander and reportedly blocked the defense minister and another government official from traveling to the peninsula in what they said was a bid to defuse tensions.

Ukraine's military, which is heavily outnumbered in Crimea, has come under increased pressure since the region was nominally incorporated into Russia on Tuesday.

The several hundred militiamen who captured the base in Sevastopol met no resistance. Sevastopol is also the home port of Russia's Black Sea Fleet, and tens of thousands of Russian-led troops are now patrolling Crimea.

It came a day after a confrontation between Ukrainian soldiers and pro-Russian militia left two dead.

The Russian-speaking troops, who arrived on the base after the storming, wore helmets, flak jackets and uniforms with no identifying insignia. By afternoon, they were in full control of the naval headquarters, a set of three-story boxy white concrete buildings with blue trim. It was not immediately clear how many, if any, Ukrainian servicemen remained on the base.

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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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