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13 were exposed to radiation at New Mexico plant
Written by JERI CLAUSING, Associated Press   
Thursday, 27 February 2014 07:09

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Employees who were working at the nation's underground nuclear waste dump when it started leaking didn't show signs of external contamination, but officials say biological samples show 13 workers suffered some exposure to radiation.

The U.S. Department of Energy and the contractor that runs the Waste Isolation Pilot Project declined to comment further on the preliminary test results announced Wednesday, saying they'll discuss the issue at a news conference Thursday afternoon.

"It is important to note that these are initial sample results," the DOE and Nuclear Waste Partnership, the plant operator, said in a joint statement. "These employees, both federal and contractor, will be asked to provide additional samples in order to fully determine the extent of any exposure."

All employees who were working at the southeastern New Mexico plant when the leak occurred late Feb. 14 were checked for contamination before being allowed to leave, the news release said. But biological samples were also taken to check for possible exposure from inhaling radioactive particles.

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Jim Lange, 'The Dating Game' host, dies
Written by CHANNING JOSEPH, Associated Press   
Thursday, 27 February 2014 07:05

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Jim Lange, the first host of the popular game show "The Dating Game," has died at his home in Mill Valley, Calif. He was 81.

He died Tuesday morning after suffering a heart attack, his wife Nancy told The Associated Press Wednesday.

Though Lange had a successful career in radio, he is best known for his television role on ABC's "The Dating Game," which debuted in 1965 and on which he appeared for more than a decade, charming audiences with his mellifluous voice and wide, easygoing grin.

He also played host to many celebrity guests. Michael Jackson, Steve Martin and Arnold Schwarzenegger, among others, appeared as contestants.

Even a pre-"Charlie's Angels" Farrah Fawcett appeared on the program, introduced as "an accomplished artist and sculptress" with a dream to open her own gallery.

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Ukraine: Pro-Russia gunmen seize offices in Crimea
Written by DALTON BENNETT, Associated Press   
Thursday, 27 February 2014 06:57

SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine (AP) — Dozens of heavily armed gunmen seized control of local government buildings in Ukraine's Crimea region early Thursday and raised the Russian flag, mirroring the three-month protest movement that drove Ukraine's pro-Russian president into hiding last week.

The moves escalated tensions in Ukraine, whose population is divided in loyalties between Russia and the West. Some 150,000 Russian soldiers carried out military exercises and fighter jets patrolled the border, as a respected Russian newspaper reported that Moscow is sheltering fugitive Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

In a statement published by three Russian news agencies, the fugitive president said he is asking Russia's protection from "extremists" and that he still considers himself to be Ukraine's legitimate leader. An unnamed Russian official said that his request was "satisfied in the territory of Russia," the Russian agencies said.

Oleksandr Turchynov, who stepped in as acting president after Yanukovych's flight, warned that any move by Russian troops off of their base in Crimea "will be considered a military aggression."

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Arizona governor's veto aimed at own party's right
Written by BOB CHRISTIE, Associated Press   
Thursday, 27 February 2014 06:59

PHOENIX (AP) — Republican Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer slapped down the right wing of her own party, vetoing a bill pushed by social conservatives that would have allowed people with sincerely held religious beliefs to refuse to serve gays.

The conservative governor said she could not sign a bill that was not only unneeded but would damage the state's improving business environment and divide its citizens.

Senate Bill 1062 had set off a national debate over gay rights, religion and discrimination and subjected Arizona to blistering criticism from major corporations and political leaders from both parties.

Loud cheers erupted outside the Capitol building immediately after Brewer made her announcement Wednesday night.

Brewer pushed back hard against the GOP conservatives who forced the bill forward by citing examples of religious rights infringements in other states.

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California storms bring rain, threat of floods
Written by Associated Press   
Wednesday, 26 February 2014 17:31

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Much-needed rain fell on downtown San Francisco and elsewhere in California on Wednesday at the outset of what the parched state hopes is the start to a one-two punch of stormy weather.

The storm was expected to move down the coast, dumping a half-inch to an inch of rain in southern areas late in the day, forecasters said.

A potentially stronger storm moving in late Thursday could bring thunder and dump up to 2 inches of rain in central and southern valleys, 2 to 4 inches in the foothills and up to 6 inches in some mountain spots.

State water officials plan Thursday to survey the anemic mountain snow pack, and will likely find that California's precipitation is badly lagging what's needed to quench the region's thirst.

After 2013 ended as the state's driest year on record, all that predicted rain and snow should be nothing but good news. But there also was a risky side of the downpours.

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