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Medic: At least 70 protesters killed in Kiev
Written by YURAS KARMANAU, Associated Press   
Thursday, 20 February 2014 12:16

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Fearing that a call for a truce was a ruse, protesters tossed firebombs and advanced upon police lines Thursday in Ukraine's embattled capital. Government snipers shot back and the almost-medieval melee that ensued left at least 70 people dead and hundreds injured.

Video footage on Ukrainian television showed shocking scenes Thursday of protesters being cut down by gunfire, lying on the pavement as comrades rushed to their aid. Trying to protect themselves with shields, teams of protesters carried bodies away on sheets of plastic or on planks of wood.

Protesters were also seen leading policemen with their hands held high around the sprawling protest camp in central Kiev. Ukraine's Interior ministry says 67 police were captured in all. It was not clear how they were taken. An opposition lawmaker said they were being held in Kiev's occupied city hall.

President Viktor Yanukovych and the opposition protesters who demand his resignation are locked in an epic battle over the identity of Ukraine, a nation of 46 million that has divided loyalties between Russia and the West. Parts of the country — mostly in its western cities — are in open revolt against Yanukovych's central government, while many in eastern Ukraine favor strong ties with Russia, their former Soviet ruler.

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 February 2014 12:30
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Sun, mild weather in Midwest offers new headache
Written by DON BABWIN, Associated Press   
Thursday, 20 February 2014 07:08

CHICAGO (AP) — Blue skies and temperatures above freezing had giddy Chicago residents basking in the rare sunshine after one of the cruelest winters in recent memory. But there were signs — melting snow, growing puddles — that Mother Nature was about to unleash a whole new miserable on the Midwest.

Flooding.

Weeks of subfreezing weather are giving way, at least briefly, to temperatures in the 40s and 50s, putting many Midwestern cities on guard for flooding, roof collapses and clogged storm drains. Some areas expected a double whammy: warm, spring-like air combined with heavy rains that could compound the problem and turn the big melt into a muddy, damaging mess.

A whole new layer of snow and sleet was forecast to accumulate early Thursday, particularly across Wisconsin, northern Illinois and parts of Indiana, before temperatures rise and change the precipitation to rain, according to the National Weather Service. The warmer temperatures may be accompanied by fog and strong winds that could reach 50 miles per hour.

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Floor collapse at Mississippi church center; at least 15 hurt
Written by Associated Press   
Thursday, 20 February 2014 07:02

LAUREL, Miss. (AP) — The second floor of an activity center at a rural church in southern Mississippi collapsed during an evening youth service, sending about 70 people tumbling and injuring at least 15 of them, authorities said.

None of the injuries appeared life-threatening though a 16-year-old girl was taken to a hospital in Hattiesburg with a possible head injury after the floor collapse Wednesday evening, authorities said. The hospital told The Associated Press it had no information to release on the girl's condition early Thursday.

Pastor Tommy Davis at Freedom Baptist Church in Myrick told The Chronicle in Laurel ( http://bit.ly/Nd2mcx ) that the floor at the activity center collapsed as dozens of youth were gathered for a Wednesday evening gathering of worship.

"In the middle of the student service, the floor — which is a second-story floor — gave way, causing about 70 students to fall," Davis said. "But it's got to be said that no one was seriously injured, no one was trapped. God's hand was certainly taking care of the kids who were in that building."

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Motorists criticize federal study of drunk driving
Written by MICHAEL RUBINKAM, Associated Press   
Thursday, 20 February 2014 07:07

READING, Pa. (AP) — Orange cones and flashing police lights confronted Ricardo Nieves as he rounded a bend on the way to his mother's house. Before he knew what was going on, Nieves said a man working for a government contractor stepped in front of his car and forced him to turn into a parking lot. There, a woman repeatedly tried to question him about his driving habits and asked for a mouth swab that would detect the presence of illegal or prescription drugs in his system.

Nieves refused. Then he sued, contending his rights were violated.

His Dec. 13 experience has been repeated thousands of times in cities around the country as the federal government tries to figure out how many of the nation's motorists are driving drunk or high.

U.S. transportation officials call the National Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drugged Driving, which has been conducted five times since 1973, a vital tool for monitoring the safety of America's roadways. But some motorists and civil liberties advocates contend the government's methods are intrusive and even unconstitutional. Some police departments have refused to partner on the survey or regretted their decision to do so in the wake of public outcry, while in Tennessee, legislation that would ban law enforcement from helping out on the survey unanimously cleared the state Senate last month.

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Ticket sold in California wins $425M Powerball jackpot
Written by Associated Press   
Thursday, 20 February 2014 07:01

MILPITAS, Calif. (AP) — The lone winning ticket for the $425 million Powerball jackpot was sold at a convenience store in central California, but there was no immediate word on who may have won one of the largest lottery jackpots in U.S. history.

The winning numbers drawn Wednesday night were: 1, 17, 35, 49, 54 and a Powerball of 34.

California lottery officials said the ticket was sold at Dixon Landing Chevron in Milpitas, a city about 10 miles north of San Jose. The business will receive $1 million for selling the winning ticket.

Rajwinder Singh, an employee at the Chevron store, said late Wednesday that he believed he was probably the person who sold the winning ticket.

"I've been here working from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.," he told The Associated Press. "I hope I'll find out soon."

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