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Canadian ship's guests got close-up of fire battle PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by OSKAR GARCIA, Associated Press   
Wednesday, 05 March 2014 07:16

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (AP) — Guests aboard a naval refueling ship thought they were going to see some drills and learn more about life as a Canadian sailor on the Pacific. Instead, they got a firsthand view of their loved ones in action as the sailors battled an engine fire.

"We didn't know if it was a drill or if it's for real. We realized quickly it's for real," said Wade Kehler, whose son Sam is a combat information officer aboard the HMCS Protecteur. "We stood there in amazement and watched the crew get organized and go."

A U.S. Navy ocean tug on Tuesday was towing the Canadian ship with nearly 300 crew members on board to Hawaii's Pearl Harbor after the fire left 20 sailors with minor injuries.

The Protecteur was in the Pacific Ocean north of Hawaii when the fire broke out last week, the Canadian navy said.

Its passengers included some of the crew's family who had been traveling with the Protecteur on its return leg to Esquimalt, British Columbia. It is common for family to join crew members returning from long missions.

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Paul Simon, Sting rock Madison Square Garden PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by JOHN CARUCCI, Associated Press   
Wednesday, 05 March 2014 07:14

NEW YORK (AP) — Five minutes before the show was supposed to start, throngs of people were still waiting to pass through intense security outside Madison Square Garden. So, when Sting and Paul Simon took the stage a few minutes later, they played to scattered empty seats. But by the end of the second song, the arena was filled to capacity as the two touring musical icons brought the Garden to life.

From the first notes, you could feel the mutual admiration they had for each other. They shared vocals on Sting's "Brand New Day," followed by Simon's "The Boy in the Bubble." After covering Sting's "Fields of Gold," the Queens-born Simon addressed the hometown crowd to loud applause. He even acknowledged driving over the "Ed Koch Bridge," an insider nod to Simon and Garfunkel's "The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)" and what the span is better known by in New York.

The pair rotated on and off stage for the next 2 1/2 hours. After the 72-year-old Simon left the stage for a little while, Sting dug into his solo and Police repertoire, covering songs like "Driven to Tears" and "Walking on the Moon." Before launching into "Englishman in New York," he told the crowd that there's nowhere in the world like the Garden, to thunderous cheers.

Simon then came on for his solo turn, playing hits like "Still Crazy After All These Years" and "Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard," which brought everyone to their feet. He was joined again by Sting on guitar, as Simon covered his touching ballad, "Fragile." At the end, Simon expressed his love for the song, and told Sting: "I wish I wrote it."

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Redwood park closes road to deter burl poachers PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by JEFF BARNARD, Associated Press   
Wednesday, 05 March 2014 07:10
RedwoodPoachers_rotator
This May 21, 2013 photo provided by the National Park Service shows wildlife biologist Terry Hines standing next to a massive scar on an old growth redwood tree in the Redwood National and State Parks near Klamath, Calif., where poachers have cut off a burl to sell for decorative wood. The park recently took the unusual step of closing at night a 10-mile road through a section of the park to deter thieves. (AP Photo/Redwood National and State Parks, Laura Denn)
Authorities say unemployment and drug addiction have spurred an increase in the destructive practice of cutting off the knobby growths at the base of ancient redwood trees to make decorative pieces like lacey-grained coffee tables and wall clocks.

The practice — known as burl poaching — has become so prevalent along the Northern California coast that Redwood National and State Parks on Saturday started closing the popular Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway at night in a desperate attempt to deter thieves.

Law enforcement Ranger Laura Denny said Tuesday that poachers have been stalking the remote reaches of the park with their chain saws and ATVs for decades, but lately the size and frequency of thefts have been on the rise.

"When I interview suspects, that is the (reason) they say: their addiction to drugs and they can't find jobs," she said.

Her husband, park district interpretation supervisor Jeff Denny, said it is comparable to poor people poaching rare rhinos in Africa to sell their horns. Jobs are hard to come by since the timber and commercial fishing industries went into decline.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 March 2014 11:59
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Diplomatic exit? Ukraine players converge on Paris PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by LORI HINNANT, Associated Press   
Wednesday, 05 March 2014 07:09

PARIS (AP) — Top diplomats from the West and Russia trying to find an end to the crisis in Ukraine are gathering in Paris on Wednesday as tensions simmered over the Russian military takeover of the strategic Crimean Peninsula.

A team of international observers headed to Crimea, Europe debated the size of its aid package to the nearly bankrupt Ukraine, and NATO prepared to take up the issue directly with Russia in an extraordinary meeting of the military alliance originally created as a counter to the Soviet Union.

The envoys from Russia, Ukraine, the U.S., Britain and France are not necessarily all at the same table, but French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said everyone has been working non-stop for a diplomatic solution.

"We have a principle of firmness but at the same time of searching for dialogue," Fabius said as he stood alongside his Ukrainian counterpart, making his first trip abroad in the new post.

Ukraine has accused Russia of military invasion after pro-Russian troops took over Crimea on Saturday, placing forces around its ferry, military bases and border posts. Moscow does not recognize the new Ukrainian leadership in Kiev that ousted the pro-Russian president.

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U.S. prepares $1 billion aid package for troubled Ukraine PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by LARA JAKES, AP National Security Writer   
Tuesday, 04 March 2014 15:17

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — In a somber show of U.S. support for Ukraine's new leadership, Secretary of State John Kerry walked the streets Tuesday where more than 80 anti-government protesters were killed last month, and promised beseeching crowds that American aid is on the way.

Kerry met in Ukraine with the new government's acting president, prime minister, foreign minister and top parliamentary officials. Speaking to reporters afterward, Kerry urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to stand down and said the U.S. is looking for ways to de-escalate the mounting tensions.

"It is clear that Russia has been working hard to create a pretext for being able to invade further," Kerry said. "It is not appropriate to invade a country, and at the end of a barrel of a gun dictate what you are trying to achieve. That is not 21st-century, G-8, major nation behavior."

Kerry made a pointed distinction between the Ukrainian government and Putin's.

"The contrast really could not be clearer: determined Ukranians demonstrating strength through unity, and the Russian government out of excuses, hiding its hand behind falsehoods, intimidation and provocations. In the hearts of Ukranians and the eyes of the world, there is nothing strong about what Russia is doing."

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