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Ukraine issues arrest warrant for president
Written by MARIA DANILOVA, Associated Press YURAS KARMANAU, Associated Press   
Monday, 24 February 2014 07:10

SEVASTOPOL, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine's acting government issued a warrant Monday for the arrest of President Viktor Yanukovych, last reportedly seen in the pro-Russian Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, accusing him of mass crimes against protesters who stood up for months against his rule.

Calls are mounting in Ukraine to put Yanukovych on trial, after a tumultuous presidency in which he amassed powers, enriched his allies and cracked down on protesters. Anger boiled over last week after snipers attacked protesters in the bloodiest violence in Ukraine's post-Soviet history.

The turmoil has turned this strategically located country of 46 million inside out over the past few days, raising fears that it could split apart. The parliament speaker is suddenly nominally in charge of a country whose economy is on the brink of default and whose loyalties are torn between Europe and longtime ruler Russia.

"The state treasury has been torn apart, the country has been brought to bankruptcy," Arseniy Yatsenyuk, a leader of the protest movement and prominent lawmaker whose name is being floated as a possibility for prime minister, said in parliament Monday.

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Uganda's president signs anti-gay bill
Written by RODNEY MUHUMUZA, Associated Press   
Monday, 24 February 2014 07:09

ENTEBBE, Uganda (AP) — Uganda's president has signed a controversial anti-gay bill that has harsh penalties for homosexual sex.

President Yoweri Museveni signed the bill Monday at his official residence in an event witnessed by government officials and journalists.

Government officials clapped after he signed the bill.

The bill calls for first-time offenders to be sentenced to 14 years in jail. It also sets life imprisonment as the maximum penalty for a category of offenses called "aggravated homosexuality," defined as repeated gay sex between consenting adults as well as acts involving a minor, a disabled person or where one partner is infected with HIV.

The bill is popular in Uganda, but international rights groups have condemned it as draconian in a country where homosexuality is already criminalized.


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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 
Sochi cleans up as world leaves Olympics behind
Written by TED ANTHONY, AP National Writer   
Monday, 24 February 2014 06:49

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — By the busload, the world's athletes and visitors rolled toward Sochi's airport and took off for home Monday, fresh from a Winter Games experience that many Russians pronounced a smashing success and that the Olympic movement's chief enthusiastically labeled a victory for the region and the host nation. "Yes! We did it!" one Olympic volunteer exulted as she darted into the night.

After 17 days of global sport and spotlight, Sochi ended the spirited chants of "Ro-ssi-ya! Ro-ssi-ya!" and started cleaning up.

Travelers through the region's airport, rebuilt completely for the games, reported briskly moving security lines and check-in times of anywhere from 10 minutes to three hours, depending on destination. On what was predicted to be the heaviest Olympic-related travel day, the transit situation seemed to come down to this: It was like a busy morning at any normal big-city airport.

By the Black Sea coastline, Olympic Park, which will be hosting events at the upcoming Paralympic Games, had cleared out. Like the city of Sochi around it, the park felt deserted except for the legions of volunteers in multicolored patchwork jackets who still patrolled the area. Most security barriers remained in place in anticipation of the Paralympics, but security was noticeably more relaxed.

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Seafaring drug smugglers challenging Coast Guard
Written by ELLIOT SPAGAT, Associated Press JULIE WATSON, Associated Press   
Monday, 24 February 2014 06:52

SAN DIEGO (AP) — While security has tightened at the U.S. border, drug smugglers are increasingly turning to the high seas.

The area where boats were seized off California and the northwest coast of Mexico tripled to a size comparable to the state of Montana during the 2013 fiscal year, which ended in September. Off South America, traffickers over the years have been traversing territory so big the continental United States could be dropped inside of it.

Meanwhile, budget cuts have hit one of the lead U.S. law enforcement agencies on international waters — the Coast Guard, the only U.S. military service able to make drug arrests hundreds of miles offshore. To meet automatic federal budget cuts, it reduced its operating costs by 25 percent in 2013. It also lost help from U.S. Navy ships on drug missions off Latin America that were decommissioned and not replaced because of cutbacks, or sent elsewhere because of Washington's new military focus.

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Ukraine: Parliament chief takes presidential power
Written by JIM HEINTZ, Associated Press YURAS KARMANAU, Associated Press   
Sunday, 23 February 2014 07:07

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine's newly emboldened legislature has voted to hand the president's powers to the parliament speaker.

The legitimacy of Sunday's vote is unclear. President Viktor Yanukovych has said that a flurry of parliament decisions in recent days are illegal.

The Verhovna Rada voted overwhelmingly to temporarily hand the president's powers to speaker Turchinov.

Oleksandr Turchinov is a close ally of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, the president's main foe.


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

 
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