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Pro-Moscow protesters in eastern Ukraine seized arms in one city and declared a separatist republic in another, in moves Kiev described on Monday as part of a Russian-orchestrated plan to justify an invasion to dismember the country.
Kiev said the overnight seizure of public buildings in three cities in eastern Ukraine's mainly Russian-speaking industrial heartland were a replay of events in Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula Moscow seized and annexed last month.
"An anti-Ukrainian plan is being put into operation ... under which foreign troops will cross the border and seize the territory of the country," Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk said in public remarks to his cabinet. "We will not allow this."
Pro-Russian protesters seized official buildings in the eastern cities of Kharkiv, Luhansk and Donetsk on Sunday night, demanding that referendums be held on whether to join Russia like the one that preceded Moscow's takeover of Crimea.
MOSCOW — Under the watchful eye of Russian state television, several hundred pro-Russian demonstrators in the city of Donetsk, in eastern Ukraine, a region of millions, declared on Monday that they were forming an independent republic and urged President Vladimir V. Putin to send troops to the region as a peacekeeping force, even though there are no obvious threats to peace in the area.
The actions in Donetsk and three other cities in eastern Ukraine, which included a demand for a referendum on seceding from Ukraine and joining Russia, seemed an effort by the activists to mimic some of the events that preceded Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea. But there were no immediate indications that the Kremlin was receptive to the plea.
Pro-Russian activists in Ukraine's industrial centre of Donetsk have proclaimed their independence from Kiev and pledged to hold a referendum in the next month, provoking fears that Moscow could be orchestrating a second Crimea scenario in Ukraine's east.
"Seeking to create a popular, legitimate, sovereign state, I proclaim the creation of the sovereign state of the people's republic of Donetsk," said a man into a loudspeaker outside the seized regional administration building to a cheering crowd.
The protesters said they would hold a referendum no later than 11 May on the region's status, and also asked Russia to ready "peacekeeping troops", in a scenario reminiscent of the events that led to the annexation of Crimea last month.
In Kiev, the interim prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, said events in the east were being carried out according to a script written in Moscow.
"An anti-Ukrainian plan is being put into operation … under which foreign troops will cross the border and seize the territory of the country," Yatsenyuk told a cabinet meeting in Kiev. "We will not allow this."
Once the Cold War ended, Western militaries reduced their focus on military deterrence in Europe. As a consequence, the Ukraine crisis has caught NATO flat-footed as it rushes to find an adequate response to Russia. Germany has been reluctant to go along.
Frank-Walter Steinmeier wasted little time after returning to Berlin from the NATO foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels last week. He went straight to parliament to inform German lawmakers of the decisions reached. And he did so in the manner which he would like to be perceived as he negotiates the ongoing Crimea crisis: calm, reserved and to-the-point. Indeed, the only time he showed any emotion at all during last Wednesday's meeting of the Foreign Affairs Committee was when he spoke of NATO General Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
PHILADELPHIA — Just a few years ago, the region’s refineries were on life support, hurt by high prices of oil imported from foreign countries. Now, they’re humming again with the daily deliveries of domestic crude in mile-long trains.
As one of the country’s largest destinations for crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken region, Philadelphia illustrates both the benefits, and risks, of a massive volume of oil moving by rail.
“It’s a good marriage,” said Charles Drevna, president of the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, an industry group. “Ultimately, it will be good for the consumer.”
But even as the oil and the trains that bring it may have saved refineries and jobs, they’re testing the limits of the city’s infrastructure and emergency response capabilities.
WASHINGTON — Outside groups have poured millions of dollars into North Carolina’s Senate race, more money than in any other state, but who’s behind a lot of it remains secret.
And much more is expected.
Supporters of transparency in government say all this matters because the people watching political ads on TV often don’t know who’s paying for them and why.
Outside money in campaigns isn’t new, nor is the puzzle of who’s behind it. But in 2010, a Supreme Court ruling in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission overturned a ban on corporate and union involvement in federal elections and allowed special interest policy groups across the political spectrum to spend unlimited amounts on independent political ads _ often without having to disclose their donors.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is expected to get a rare tour on Monday of China's first aircraft carrier, becoming the first foreign visitor to go aboard the ship.
A senior defence official said Hagel requested the visit, which comes a day after he told reporters that China must better respect its neighbours – a pointed allusion to Beijing's ongoing territorial dispute with Japan and others over remote islands in the East China Sea. He has also continued to urge Beijing to be more transparent about its expanding military.
China spent a decade refurbishing the derelict Soviet-era carrier, which it bought from Ukraine before commissioning it as the Liaoning in 2012. The ship moved to Qingdao in February 2013 and is part of a major expansion of the Chinese navy that includes sophisticated new surface ships and submarines.
Early this year the Liaoning completed sea trials in the South China Sea. The official Xinhua News Agency said the carrier tested its combat system, conducted a formation practice and "attained the anticipated objectives".
The percentage of Americans without health insurance dipped to its lowest in nearly six years due in part to U.S. President Barack Obama's healthcare reform law, commonly known as Obamacare, according to a Gallup poll released on Monday.
Some 15.6 percent of Americans lacked health insurance in the first three months of 2014, down from a high of 18 percent in late 2013, according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey.
"'Obamacare' appears to be accomplishing its goal of increasing the percentage of Americans with health insurance coverage," the report said.
Black and low-income Americans saw some of the most pronounced drops in the uninsured rate, with declines of more than 3 percentage points.
Hispanics remained the group most likely not to be insured, with more than one in three individuals lacking coverage, though the level dropped nearly 2 points in the first quarter, according to the poll of 43,500 adult Americans between January and March. It has a margin of error of 1 percentage point.
An Occupy Wall Street activist charged with assaulting a police officer is a “promoter of non-violence” who wandered into a tussle with law enforcement while celebrating St Patrick’s Day, her lawyers plan to argue in court this week.
Jury selection began on Monday morning in the trial of Cecily McMillan, who denies assaulting Officer Grantley Bovell as he arrested protesters from the anti-capitalist movement in New York’s Zuccotti Park on 17 March 2012.
“An innocent woman is being accused of something that could send her to prison for seven years,” McMillan’s attorney, Martin Stolar, told reporters outside the state supreme courtroom in lower Manhattan. “She was leaving the park pursuant to the police department’s orders when she was brutally assaulted by a police officer and subsequently accused of assaulting that police officer.” McMillan told a small group of supporters: “Thank you for being here today.”
Prosecutors are expected to argue that McMillan, 25, intentionally elbowed Bovell in the face as he carried out his official duties. They are expected to cite testimony from police officers and a long-range video clip of the incident.
Election season is getting underway in states all over the country — and voting rights advocates worry some of those places may move to disenfranchise minorities by exploiting a Supreme Court ruling.
That ruling last June blew up a system that forced states with a history of discrimination to win federal approval before making election changes.
Now, legal groups are responding by training a new generation of activists to sue. Consider this recent gathering of a few dozen lawyers and community activists on the 28th floor of an Atlanta skyscraper.
A thick fog obscured the towers along Peachtree Street, but people like Robert Adams Jr. said their purpose was clear.
"I was invited by the president of the NAACP," Adams told NPR. "I'm one of the district coordinators for Georgia. We're always in the struggle and the fight, so I'm here to get some more training; training is always good."
Children in sepia-toned clothes with dirt-smeared faces. Weathered, sunken-eyed women on trailer steps chain-smoking Camels. Teenagers clad in Carhartt and Mossy Oak loitering outside of long-shuttered businesses.
When policymakers and news organizations need a snapshot of rural poverty in the United States, Appalachia—the area of land stretching from the mountains of Southern New York through Northern Alabama—is the default destination of choice. Poverty tours conducted by presidents from Lyndon Johnson to Richard Nixon, almost every member of the Kennedy clan, and religious leaders like Jesse Jackson have all painted the portrait of Appalachia the same way: poor, backwards, and white.
While the economic despair and major health epidemics are an unsettling reality for the region, a glaring omission has been made from the "poverty porn" images fed to national audiences for generations: Appalachia's people of color.
Mickey Rooney was a 5-foot-3 dynamo. Whether he was acting, singing or dancing, he poured an uncanny energy into his performances. It's an energy that sustained a lifelong career alongside some of the biggest names in show business, including Judy Garland and Elizabeth Taylor.
He died Sunday at his North Hollywood home, at age 93. He was still working — on a new film version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
From 1938 to 1941, he ranked as Hollywood's top-grossing star. His inimitable on-screen persona earned him major parts in a variety of films, from the lighthearted Babes in Arms to more dramatic fare like Boys Town.
Rooney's success ebbed and flowed over the course of his long life. His tenacity — at times propelled by financial need — helped him bounce back from lengthy career lulls.
Rooney got his start in showbiz earlier than most. Born in the proverbial trunk in 1920 to vaudevillians Joe and Nell Yule, Joe Jr., as he was christened, made his stage debut at 17 months and landed his first Hollywood role at the tender age of 6.
EVERETT, Wash. — The death toll from the landslide that hit Oso, Wash., rose to 33 on Monday, according to the Snohomish County medical examiner’s office, which said that all but three of the dead have been identified.
The latest name added to the list was Billy L. Spillers, 30, of Arlington. Like the others, he died of multiple blunt force injuries in the March 22 slide that crushed the residential area along the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River about 55 miles northeast of Seattle.
His name had been on the list of missing.
Kelly Stowe, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner’s office, said 10 people were still listed as missing, a number that did not necessarily correlate with the number of dead.
Mr. Spillers was a Navy chief petty officer who lived with his wife, Jonielle, and their four children. She was at work when the landslide hit their house. The couple’s 4-year-old son survived and was rescued by a helicopter. A daughter, Kaylee, 5, and a stepson, Jovon Mangual, 13, have been identified among the dead. Another daughter, Brooke, 2, is listed among the missing.
Al Jazeera America
Juan Carlos Romero seems like a typical New York City college student. He has a shy smile featuring wire braces, and he lives with his parents and sister in the melting pot neighborhood of Jackson Heights in the borough of Queens. But he shrinks from talking with friends at school about spring break plans or summer vacations.
“It’s disheartening, I don’t know too many undocumented people, so when they talk about traveling and doing all sorts of fun stuff, I just have to stay away and avoid those conversations," said Romero, 20.
He and his sister, Denise Romero, arrived in New York from Mexico with their parents when they were 8 and 10 years old, respectively. Like many of the other estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States, the Romeros knew life in New York could be tenuous. According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the Department of Homeland Security, more than 1.8 million people have been deported since President Barack Obama took office. That number is expected to reach 2 million this month.
Over the weekend, immigration reform advocates in more than 40 U.S. cities engaged in a national day of action and called upon Obama to suspend deportations. The protests represented a recent shift in tactics among advocates who have become frustrated with the prospects for immigration reform in Congress.
Now groups are increasingly calling on Obama to take direct action on the issue and use executive authority to halt deportations. It is a move winning some high-profile supporters, such as Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., who has demanded Obama halt deportations for relatives of U.S. citizens.
The first Indians cast their votes on Monday in the world's biggest election, with Hindu nationalist opposition candidate Narendra Modi holding a strong lead but likely to fall short of a majority.
Some 815 million people are registered to vote over the next five weeks as the election ripples out in stages from two small states near Myanmar to include northern Himalayan plateaus, western deserts and the tropical south, before ending in the densely-populated northern plains. Results are due on May 16.
Elderly women in saris and young men in jeans and polo shirts lined up outside a dilapidated sports center in Dibrugarh, a river town in the tea-growing state of Assam, one of two states to vote on Monday.
"We need a change, someone who will come and change the whole scenario," said handbag shop manager Ashim Sarkar, 35.
Rwanda's main sports stadium was the site of national mourning on Monday. Thousands of people flocked to the arena in Kigali to commemorate the loss of nearly 1,000,000 lives to a genocide that swept over the African country 20 years ago.
"Today Rwanda remembers those who lost their lives in the genocide and gives comfort to those who survived," Rwandan President Paul Kagame told the crowd.
"No country, in Africa or anywhere else, ever needs to become another Rwanda," Kagame added.
Ethnic violence between Rwanda's Hutu and Tutsi populations escalated in 1994 to mass killings, recognized too late by the international community as genocide. The roughly 100 days of ethnic cleansing began on April 7, 1994, the day following the assassination of President Jevenal Habyarimana, a Hutu. His death prompted the bloodshed that saw over 800,000 Tutsis perish at the hands of the country's Hutu population.
The United Nations was criticized for inaction at the time, a mistake which can only be amended by preventing future genocides from happening, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Monday.
Al Jazeera America
Signals picked up by an Australian ship searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 have been consistent with the aircraft’s flight recorders, Australian officials have said.
"Clearly, this is a most promising lead," Angus Houston, head of the Australian agency coordinating the search, told a news conference in Perth, the capital of Western Australia where search efforts have been organised.
Houston, a retired air chief marshal, said two signals had been detected by a black box detector attached to the ship off Australia's northwest coast, according to Reuters news agency.
The United States Navy "pinger locator" connected to the Australian ship Ocean Shield was trawling an area some 555 kilometres away from the site where the Chinese patrol ship Haixun 01 reported seperate signals with the same frequency.
The first detection held for 2.5 hours before the ship lost contact. After turning around, the ship picked up the signal for around 13 minutes, he said.
Al Jazeera America
An Egyptian court has endorsed a three-year prison sentence handed to three prominent activists, rejecting their appeal against charges of breaching a controversial anti-protests law.
The verdict targets Ahmed Maher, Mohamed Adel and Ahmed Douma, co-founders of the April 6 opposition movement which played a large role in the 2011 revolt against Hosni Mubarak.
Monday's ruling amplifies the spectre of deeper rifts between the young opposition and the army-backed government, with dozens of activists calling for an open sit-in(Arabic) outside the presidential palace in the Cairo suburb Heliopolis, until the law was retracted and the prisoners were released.
German photojournalist Anja Niedringhaus spent her life documenting wars, but she never allowed the difficult job to get the better of her. One of SPIEGEL's own war correspondents commemorates the work of a longtime colleague killed in Afghanistan on Friday.
Most often, we found ourselves waiting somewhere together -- between barbed wire and sandbags for a general or the next patrol. Once, after a bombing attack shortly before sunrise in Wazir Akbar Khan, Kabul's diplomatic quarter, she snapped a picture for the Associated Press showing smoke rising out of the rubble. Our own photographer offered to give her a ride back in a car, but she declined. "It's such a beautiful morning," she said. "I'm going to walk." The air was clear and the weather was perfect for taking pictures along the roadside.
The Palestinians are ready to sign up the "state of Palestine" for additional international agencies and treaties if US peace efforts collapse after an April 29 deadline for a deal, a senior official said.
The warning by Mohammed Ishtayeh, an aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, came on Monday as US mediators tried to defuse the worst crisis in the negotiations since Secretary of State John Kerry persuaded the two sides last summer to resume talks for nine months, the Associated Press news agency reported.
Under the terms of renewed talks, Israel promised to release 104 long-held Palestinian prisoners in four groups, while the Palestinians said they would suspend a campaign to sign up Palestine, recognised by the UN General Assembly as a non-member observer state in 2012, for as many as 63 UN agencies, treaties and conventions.
After Israel last week failed to release the fourth group of prisoners on time, Abbas signed letters of accession for 15 international conventions.
Israel then said the final prisoner release was off the table.
A robotic search vehicle is likely to be sent deep into the Indian Ocean on Tuesday to look for wreckage of a missing Malaysian jetliner on the sea floor, as officials say the chance of finding anything on the surface has dwindled.
Angus Houston, head of the Australian agency coordinating the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, said the month-long hunt was at a critical stage given the black box recorder batteries were dying - or had died.
An Australian ship that picked up signals consistent with the beacons from aircraft black box recorders over the weekend had not registered any further pulses, Houston said.
"The locator beacon has a shelf life of 30 days and we are now passed that time and as a consequence there is a chance that the locator beacon is about to cease transmission, or has ceased transmission," Houston told Australian Broadcasting Corp radio.
"It's all very finely balanced and I think it's absolutely imperative to find something else."
Cancer patients often lose their appetite because chemotherapy can cause nausea. But it does something else to make food unappetizing – it changes the way things taste.
Hollye Jacobs was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, at the age of 39. As a nurse she expected the extreme nausea that often accompanies powerful chemo therapy drugs. But as a patient, she wasn't expecting the taste changes.
"Nothing tasted good, nothing was appealing, I didn't have any desire whatsoever to eat," Jacobs, of Santa Barbara, Calif., says. Food tasted like cardboard, textures were mealy and there was a near chronic taste of metal. "The metal mouth was horrible, even just saying it again, I can taste it," she says.
This "metal mouth" is caused by the chemo. When medications are injected into the bloodstream, they also get into the saliva, and most medications have a very bitter taste, according to researcher Beverly Cowart, who studies taste and smell at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia.
For those who didn't already register for Apple's annual developers confab, you're now out of luck. Ticket selection this year will be determined by lottery, and the deadline to enter your name was 10 a.m. PT on Monday.
Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, which takes place in San Francisco's Moscone Center West from June 2 to 6, usually sells out within minutes. So this year, in an effort to open up the process, the company has opted for a lottery system. Chosen developers will be notified by 5 p.m. on Monday. Tickets cost $1,599.
Part of the allure of a gathering like this is exclusivity, but given the high demand of the conference, it's a wonder Apple hasn't moved it to another venue, like it has sometimes in the past when there have been scheduling conflicts at Moscone West. Apple didn't immediately respond to questions about venue considerations.
For over 15 years, the Lionel Pincus & Princess Firyal Map Division at the New York Public Library has been scanning maps from all over the world including those of the Mid-Atlantic United States from 16th to 19th centuries and even topographic maps of Austro-Hungarian empire ranging from 1877 and 1914.
Most notably, the NYPL has scanned more than 10,300 maps from property, zoning, and topographic atlases of New York City dating from 1852 to 1922.
There's also a "diverse collection of more than 1,000 maps of New York City, its boroughs and neighborhoods, dating from 1660 to 1922, which detail transportation, vice, real estate development, urban renewal, industrial development and pollution, political geography among many, many other things," NYPL posted in late March on its blog.
Qualcomm gave details on Monday about a future high-end smartphone chip, including faster download speeds as well as 64-bit technology, which is quickly becoming standard.
Due to appear in smartphones in 2015, the Snapdragon 810 is Qualcomm's latest bid to use its edge in wireless technology to maintain its marketshare lead in semiconductors for mobile devices.
The 810 chip includes new, faster WiFi features as well as a 4G modem that Qualcomm says downloads data at twice the speed of chips made with its previous technology.
The chip also allows for video recording and playback at "4K" ultra-high resolution.
Following Apple's launch last year of its first iPhone made with a 64-bit processor, Qualcomm and other chipmakers have been rushing to roll out their own 64-bit technology, which reduces the gap between low-power mobile processors and punchier chips used in laptops, desktop PCs and servers.
WASHINGTON — Since announcing plans to take over Time Warner Cable two months ago, Comcast has steadily beat the drum with one big message: The merger will not limit consumers’ choice in picking a cable television or high-speed Internet service provider.
Comcast is expected to repeat this message twice this week — on Wednesday during the first Senate hearings on the $45 billion deal, and again in legal filings it is expected to give to the two government agencies reviewing the merger.
But in highlighting how the two companies do not compete with each another in any metropolitan market, Comcast has exposed a potential weakness in its argument, legal experts say. The lack of overlap in cable TV is the legacy of government-granted local monopolies. But the government never granted monopolies in the unregulated, highly lucrative business of high-speed Internet service — an area where the two companies face little to no competition.
A couple of years ago, music psychologist Elizabeth Margulis decided to make some alterations to the music of Luciano Berio. Berio was one of the most famous classical composers of the 20th century, a man internationally recognized for the dramatic power of his compositions. But Margulis didn't worry much about disrupting Berio's finely crafted music. After loading his most famous piece into a computer editing program, she just randomly started cutting.
"I just went in and whenever there was a little pause on either side of something, I grabbed that out and then I'd stick it back in — truly without regard to aesthetic intent," she says. "I wasn't trying to craft anything compelling."
The idea behind this vandalism was simple: Margulis wanted to see if she could make people like Berio's music more by making it more repetitive.
Margulis knew that 90 percent of the music we listen to is music we've heard before. We return again and again to our favorite songs, listening over and over to the same musical riffs, which themselves repeat over and over inside the music, and she'd become obsessed with understanding why repetition is so compelling.
If you went to see the Kings of Leon concert on March 28 in Seattle, let's hope you came home with nothing but great memories.
A young woman at that concert in Seattle has come down with measles, which can be spread for days by a person who's infected but not yet sick. That's bad news for the thousands of people who shared the concert hall with her, or were at the many other places she went that week.
And that's why the Washington State Department of Health has published the unidentified woman's schedule online.
"The reason we're doing this is that it's so highly contagious," says Dr. Jeffrey Duchin, who is chief of communicable disease control for Seattle and King County Public Health, which investigated the measles case. "It can stay in the air for hours after the contagious person has left. If we don't treat these people, the chain of transmission can continue."