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Ukraine protesters seize Kiev central post office
Written by MARIA DANILOVA, Associated Press YURAS KARMANAU, Associated Press   
Wednesday, 19 February 2014 11:38

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Defiant Ukrainian protesters seized control of the capital's central post office Wednesday, hurling fire bombs and rocks and standing their ground against officers in riot gear who threw stun grenades and fired water cannon a day after clashes that left at least 25 people dead and raised fears of civil war.

The demonstrators forced their way into into the post office in Independences Square, also known as the Maidan, after a nearby building they had previously occupied was burned down in the previous day's clashes. Against the official onslaught, thousands of activists armed with fire bombs and rocks defended the square which has been a bastion and symbol for the demonstrators.

During the night, the square was encircled by a wall of fire from burning tires. Smoke was still rising from the rose above the center of the Ukrainian capital on Wednesday afternoon.

Ukraine's top security agency on Wednesday accused protesters of seizing hundreds of firearms from its offices and announced a nation-wide anti-terrorist operation after 25 people were killed and hundreds injured hundreds in street clashes in the most unrest in the country's modern history.

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Group puts Confederate flag on Georgia specialty tag
Written by Associated Press   
Wednesday, 19 February 2014 10:47

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia officials have once again approved a specialty license plate featuring the Confederate battle flag, infuriating civil rights advocates and renewing a debate among those who believe the symbol honors Confederate heritage and others who see it as racially charged.

The Georgia division of The Sons of Confederate Veterans requested the new plate. Its old one had a small Confederate battle flag. The new one features an additional, larger image in the background that covers the entire plate.

A group spokesman says it means no offense and people have a right to commemorate their heritage.

Southern Christian Leadership Conference spokesman Maynard Eaton tells The Atlanta Journal-Constitution the state shouldn't have sanctioned the move and calls displaying the emblem "reprehensible."

Gov. Nathan Deal says he was unaware of the plate.


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

 
Tough winter creates menace: Ice from high-rises
Written by VERENA DOBNIK, Associated Press   
Wednesday, 19 February 2014 07:01

NEW YORK (AP) — City dwellers battling one of the most brutal winters on record have been dealing with something far more dangerous than snow falling from the sky: ice tumbling from skyscrapers.

Streets around New York's new 1 World Trade Center, the nation's tallest building, were recently closed when sheets of ice were seen shearing from the face of the 1,776-foot structure — turning them into potentially deadly, 100-mph projectiles.

And sidewalks around high-rises in cities big and small have been cordoned off with yellow caution tape because of falling icicles and rock-hard chunks of frozen snow, a situation that experts warn could get worse over the next few days as a thaw sets in over much of the country.

"The snow starts to melt and the liquid drips off and makes bigger and bigger icicles, or chunks of ice that break off skyscrapers," said Joey Picca, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in New York, which has had 48.5 inches of snow this winter and several cycles of freeze and thaw.

"Be very, very aware of your surroundings," he said. "If you see ice hanging from a building, find another route. Don't walk under hanging ice."

Some architects say newer, energy-efficient high-rises may actually be making the problem worse.

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Minimum wage report puts Democrats on defensive
Written by ALAN FRAM, Associated Press   
Wednesday, 19 February 2014 07:08

WASHINGTON (AP) — A report by Congress' nonpartisan budget analysts seems to have thrown Democrats onto the defensive after it concluded that the party's drive to boost the federal minimum wage could cost a half-million jobs by 2016.

A Congressional Budget Office report released Tuesday concluded that a gradual increase to $10.10 hourly by that year — which is what President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats are seeking — would increase pay for more than 16.5 million people, mostly those earning low wages. It also would lift 900,000 people over the federal poverty threshold, the study said.

Democrats hailed those findings. But in a congressional election year in which the slow-recovering economy remains a paramount issue, Democrats from the White House to Capitol Hill contested another of the report's conclusions: that the increase would reduce jobs in 2016 by roughly 500,000, or 0.3 percent.

That figure was the midpoint of a range of job losses the budget office estimated at somewhere from negligible to 1 million eliminated positions. And it was an unpleasant number for Democrats, who plan to make their long-shot effort to raise the minimum wage this campaign year a centerpiece of their focus on correcting income inequity between haves and have-nots.

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Police can't verify Pennsylvania wife's killing claims
Written by PETER JACKSON, Associated Press   
Wednesday, 19 February 2014 07:00

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Police have yet to substantiate a 19-year-old woman's claim that she killed more than 20 people in four states before the Pennsylvania murder she is now charged with committing.

Northumberland County District Attorney Tony Rosini said in a prepared statement Tuesday "there has been no verification of any of the information that has been the subject of media coverage" in the case of Miranda Barbour, who with Elytte Barbour is awaiting trial in the death of a man they're accused of luring through a Craigslist ad for companionship.

Miranda Barbour, in a Friday prison interview with The Daily Item in Sunbury, claimed to have killed at least 22 people in Alaska, Texas, North Carolina and California in the past six years as part of her involvement in a satanic cult.

"I just want to get it out," Barbour told the newspaper.

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