Ukraine’s security forces say they have secured airport in eastern Ukraine from attack

KRAMATORSK, Ukraine (AP) -- In the first Ukrainian military action against a pro-Russian uprising in the east, government forces said they repelled an attack Tuesday by about 30 gunmen at a small airport.

The clash came hours after Ukraine’s acting president, Oleksandr Turchynov, had announced an "anti-terrorist operation" against the armed, pro-Russian insurgents who had seized control of numerous buildings in at least nine cities in Ukraine’s restive east.

The central government has so far been unable to rein in the insurgents, who it says are being stirred up by paid operatives from Russia. The insurgents are demanding broader autonomy and closer ties with Russia, and, complicating the political landscape, many local security forces have switched to their side.

The clashes Tuesday came at Kramatorsk airport, just south of the city of Slovyansk, which is 160 kilometers (100 miles) from the Russian border. The city has come under the increasing control of the gunmen who seized it last weekend.

The precise sequence of events in Kramatorsk was mired in confusion amid contradictory official claims.

If triple killing had been solved, some say, Boston Marathon bombing could have been averted

BOSTON (AP) -- It was a shocking slaying in a Boston suburb that sometimes goes years without one homicide, let alone three at once.


Advertisement

The victims’ throats had been sliced in a home on a tree-lined street, marijuana and cash strewn over their bodies.

The investigation languished for more than 18 months until just a few days after the Boston Marathon explosions, when the FBI identified the suspected bombers as Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and his brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, ethnic Chechens who emigrated from Russia to the U.S. about a decade ago.

The 2011 homicide case in Waltham remains unsolved, though Tamerlan Tsarnaev was fingered in the killings after his death in a post-bombing shootout with police. Clues in the Waltham killing that might early on have led local investigators to Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was already on the FBI’s radar as a possible religious extremist, raise questions about whether the marathon bombings could have been averted.

"Let’s put it this way: If they had arrested Tamerlan as one of the killers in the triple killing before the marathon bombing, it certainly would have affected the outcome of the marathon bombing," said Waltham City Councilor Gary Marchese. "He would have been in jail and would have been tried for murder."

Tamerlan Tsarnaev and one of the slaying victims, Brendan Mess, were both boxers and sparred often at a local gym. Despite what friends described as a close friendship, Tamerlan did not attend Mess’ funeral. And the owner of a restaurant where Mess was a regular and brought Tamerlan and another victim along with him a few times says police never interviewed him.

Diplomats: UN report will show Iran cutting half of uranium stock closest to nuke-arms grade

VIENNA (AP) -- Diplomats say the U.N. will certify later this week that Iran’s ability to make a nuclear bomb has been reduced because it has neutralized half of its material that can be turned quickly into weapons-grade uranium.

The move is part of Iran’s commitments under a deal that mandates nuclear concessions by Tehran in exchange for a partial lifting of sanctions crippling its economy.

Iran says it does not want nuclear weapons. But by January, it had amassed nearly enough 20 percent enriched uranium to be able to quickly make a nuclear bomb with further enrichment.

Two diplomats told The Associated Press Wednesday that a U.N. nuclear agency report will say that Iran has diluted half of that 20 percent stockpile to less proliferation-sensitive material.

They demanded anonymity because their information is confidential.

Supremacist faces murder charges in Jewish site shootings, makes short court appearance

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) -- The white supremacist charged in shootings that left three people dead at two Jewish community sites in suburban Kansas City made his first court appearance Tuesday.

Wearing a dark, sleeveless anti-suicide smock, Frazier Glenn Cross sat in a wheelchair as he was escorted to a video room for the hearing. He stood under his own power to face the judge, crossing his arms and speaking only when answering routine questions from the judge. He requested a court-appointed lawyer.

Cross is being held on $10 million bond and his next court appearance is scheduled for April 24.

Physician William Lewis Corporon, 69, and his 14-year-old grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood, were shot and killed outside of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City. Both were Methodist. Moments later, Terri LaManno, a 53-year-old Catholic occupational therapist and mother of two, was gunned down outside Village Shalom, a Jewish retirement complex where she was visiting her mother.

In Kansas, one of the narrow circumstances in which capital murder cases are pursued includes the intentional killing of more than one person in "the same act or transaction or in two or more acts or transactions connected together or constituting parts of a common scheme or course of conduct."

Frustrated immigration activists urge Obama to curb deportations, warning of political peril

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Latinos and immigration activists are warning of political peril for President Barack Obama and Democrats in the fall election unless the president acts boldly and soon to curb deportations and allow more immigrants to remain legally in the U.S.

Many activists say Obama has been slow to grasp the emotions building within the Latino community as deportations near the 2 million mark for his administration and hopes for immigration legislation fade. With House Republicans unlikely to act on an overhaul, executive action by Obama is increasingly the activists’ only hope.

"There is tremendous anger among core constituencies of the president and the Latino and Asian communities in particular," said Deepak Bhargava, executive director of the Center for Community Change, which champions immigration change. "He has a momentous choice to make."

Activists credit their sit-ins and hunger strikes for Obama directing new Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to review the administration’s deportations policy and suggest ways to make it more humane. Now they’re focused on ensuring they get the outcome they want -- an expansion of Obama’s two-year-old policy allowing work permits for immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children who have been in school or the military.

The program has helped more than 600,000 people. Activists want it expanded to include more immigrants, such as those who have been in the U.S. for at least five years or who since their arrival have had children. Depending on how it’s defined, that could help many millions more.

Nigeria’s Islamic uprising spreads, raising doubts about military’s effort to contain violence

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) -- Suspected Muslim extremists kidnapped about 100 girls Tuesday from a school in northeastern Nigeria, less than a day after militants bombed a bus station and killed 75 people in the capital -- a surge of violence that raised new doubts about the military’s ability to contain an Islamic uprising.

With an 11-month-old state of emergency in three northeastern states failing to bring relief, the attacks are increasing calls for President Goodluck Jonathan to rethink his strategy in confronting the biggest threat to the security of Africa’s most populous nation.

The attacks by the Boko Haram terrorist network have killed more than 1,500 people in this year alone, compared with an estimated 3,600 dead between 2010 and 2014.

In the latest attack, gunmen killed a soldier and a police officer guarding a school in Chibok on the edge of the Sambisa Forest and abducted the teenage girls after midnight, according to authorities.

Some of the girls escaped by jumping off the open truck as it was moving slowly along a road, according to an official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters.

Robotic sub sent on 2nd mission after deep water thwarted its 1st attempt to hunt for lost jet

PERTH, Australia (AP) -- A robotic submarine looking for the lost Malaysian jet began its second mission Tuesday after cutting short its first because the ocean waters where it was sent were too deep, officials said.

Monday’s planned 16-hour search lasted just six and none of the data collected by the U.S. Navy’s Bluefin 21 submarine offered clues to the whereabouts of the plane.

The unmanned sub is programmed to hover 30 meters (100 feet) above the seabed, but it started searching atop a patch that was deeper than the sub’s maximum operating depth of 4,500 meters (15,000 feet), the search coordination center and the U.S. Navy said.

A built-in safety feature returned the Bluefin to the surface and it was not damaged, they said.

The data collected by the sub was later analyzed and no sign of the missing plane was found, the U.S. Navy said.

Full lunar eclipse delights Americas with clear skies, 1st of 4 in 2014-15 in rare lineup

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) -- Sky-gazers in North and South America were treated to a full lunar eclipse -- at least those fortunate enough to have clear skies.

The moon was eclipsed by the Earth’s shadow early Tuesday, beginning around 1 a.m. EDT for 5 1/2 hours. The total phase of the eclipse lasted just 78 minutes.

For some, the moon appeared red-orange because of all the sunsets and sunrises shimmering from Earth, thus the name "blood moon."

It’s the first of four eclipses this year and the first of four total lunar eclipses this year and next. The latter is a rare lineup; the next so-called tetrad of total lunar eclipses won’t occur until 2032-2033. In the meantime, get ready for a solar eclipse in two weeks.

NASA got good news Tuesday: Its moon-orbiting spacecraft, LADEE (LA’-dee) survived the eclipse. Scientists had feared LADEE might freeze up in the cold darkness.