Monday, April 14, 2014

Published:

Little sign of progress at Obama, Putin speak for first time in more than 2 weeks

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Speaking for the first time in more than two weeks, President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin showed little sign of agreement Monday, with the U.S. leader urging pro-Russian forces to de-escalate the situation in eastern Ukraine and Putin denying that Moscow was interfering in the region.

The White House said Russia initiated the phone call, which came as pro-Russian forces deepened their insurgency in Ukraine's east, seizing more than a dozen government buildings.

"The president expressed grave concern about Russian government support for the actions of armed, pro-Russian separatists who threaten to undermine and destabilize the government of Ukraine," the White House said in a description of Obama's call with Putin. "The president emphasized that all irregular forces in the country need to lay down their arms, and he urged President Putin to use his influence with these armed, pro-Russian groups to convince them to depart the buildings they have seized."

In its own description of the call, the Kremlin said Putin told Obama reports of Russian interference in the region were "based on unreliable information." The Russian leader also urged Obama to discourage the Ukrainian government from using force against those protesters.

Both sides did suggest that plans would go forward for talks Thursday in Geneva between the U.S., Russia, Ukraine and Europe. But the White House said Obama told Putin that while a diplomatic solution remained his preferred option, "it cannot succeed in an environment of Russian military intimidation on Ukraine's borders, armed provocation within Ukraine, and escalatory rhetoric by Kremlin officials."

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Malaysian jet Indian Ocean seabed search area proves too deep for submarine's first mission

PERTH, Australia (AP) -- The search area for the missing Malaysian jet has proved too deep for a robotic submarine which was hauled back to the surface of the Indian Ocean less than half way through its first seabed hunt for wreckage and the all-important black boxes, authorities said on Tuesday.

Search crews sent the Bluefin 21 deep into the Indian Ocean on Monday to begin scouring the seabed for the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 after failing for six days to detect any signals believed to be from its black boxes.

But after only six hours of its planned 16-hour mission on the sea bed, the autonomous underwater vehicle exceeded its maximum depth limit of 4,500 meters (15,000 feet) and its built-in safety feature returned it to the surface, the search coordination center said in a statement on Tuesday.

What if anything it might have discovered during the six-hour search was still being analyzed, it added.

The Bluefin 21 will resume the search Tuesday when weather conditions permit, it said.

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10 Things to Know for Tuesday

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Tuesday:

1. WHAT OBAMA TOLD PUTIN ABOUT UKRAINE

In a phone call, he advises his Russian counterpart that while a diplomatic solution to the crisis is still possible, Moscow's actions aren't helping.

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Blast at bus station in Nigeria capital kills 72 people; President blames Islamic extremists

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) -- Suspected Islamic militants struck in the heart of Nigeria on Monday with a massive rush-hour bomb blast at a bus station that killed at least 72 people and wounded 164 in the deadliest attack ever on the nation's capital.

Survivors screamed in anguish and the stench of burning fuel and flesh hung over the area, where billows of black smoke rose as firefighters worked to put out the fires. Rescue workers and police gathered body parts as ambulances rushed the wounded to hospitals.

Visiting the blast scene, President Goodluck Jonathan blamed Boko Haram, the homegrown terrorist network that has targeted schools, churches, mosques, villages and government facilities, killing thousands in its five-year campaign to make Nigeria an Islamic state.

Authorities said at least 72 people were killed and 164 wounded, though the death toll was sure to climb because it did not include victims whose bodies were dismembered, the health ministry said. It was the deadliest attack yet in Abuja, the centrally located capital that is hundreds of miles from Boko Haram's stronghold in Nigeria's northeast.

"I can't count the number of people that died. They took them in open vehicles. People were running and there was confusion," said civil servant Ben Nwachukwu.

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AP PHOTOS: 4 heroes of the Boston Marathon bombing: EMT, volunteer, spectator, survivor

An EMT. A volunteer. A spectator in a cowboy hat.

Moments after bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon, these three helped rescue a man whose legs were blown off, a scene captured in an Associated Press photo. That man, Jeff Bauman, was lauded as a hero himself when he gave authorities a description that helped them track down two suspects.

A year later, the AP revisited the lives of the four people in the image.

PAUL MITCHELL

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Suspect in Kansas shootings had long history of white-supremacist activity but no violence

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) -- Never one to keep his hatred to himself, Frazier Glenn Cross for decades sought out any soapbox to espouse his white-supremacist beliefs, twice running for federal office with campaigns steeped in anti-Semitism.

Yet there's scant evidence the Army veteran and retired trucker with Ku Klux Klan links ever resorted to violence before Sunday, when authorities say he opened fire with a shotgun and pistol outside a Jewish community center and retirement complex near Kansas City. None of the three people killed turned out to be Jewish.

The 73-year-old Cross, who shouted a Nazi slogan at television cameras when arrested minutes later, has been jailed awaiting charges that investigators said could come as early as Tuesday. At some point, a federal grand jury is expected to review the slayings, which authorities now deem a hate crime.

U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said the victims "happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time" and had "a firsthand encounter with evil."

The FBI and police have not offered any public explanation for what triggered Sunday's deadly outburst in Overland Park on the eve of the Jewish festival of Passover. While the FBI and other law-enforcement agencies were familiar with Cross, Sunday's gunfire was "very random," the FBI's Michael Kaste said.

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Authorities: Utah woman admitted strangling, suffocating her 6 newborn babies

PLEASANT GROVE, Utah (AP) -- Megan Huntsman was clear about what she did with six of her newborn babies.

Huntsman, 39, told police she either strangled or suffocated them immediately after they were born. She wrapped their bodies in a towel or a shirt, put them in plastic bags and then packed them inside boxes in the garage of her home south of Salt Lake City.

What's not clear is why. A day after her arrest on charges of killing her six babies, investigators and her neighbors puzzled over the grisly discovery, including how she could have concealed a half-dozen pregnancies over a 10-year period.

"How can you have a baby and not have evidence and other people know?" asked neighbor SanDee Wall. "You can't plan when a baby is going to come. Just the thought of somebody putting a baby into a box is a heartbreaker."

Huntsman, who was arrested Sunday on six counts of murder, was ordered held on $6 million bail -- $1 million for each baby. The remains of a seventh baby police found appears to have been stillborn, authorities said.

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April 15 not much of a deadline for most taxpayers; late penalties don't apply to refunds

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The calendar shows April 15, and you haven't even started on your federal tax return? Chances are, you don't need to fret.

If you're due a refund -- and about three-fourths of filers get refunds -- April 15 isn't much of a deadline at all.

The Internal Revenue Service doesn't like to talk about it, but penalties for filing late federal tax returns apply only to people who owe money. The penalty is a percentage of what you owe. If you owe nothing, 5 percent of nothing is ...nothing!

But it doesn't make much sense to file late. If you are owed a refund, why wouldn't you want it as soon as possible? And if you have unpaid taxes, the late fees add up quickly.

"Most people with refunds are filing early in January, February and March because they'd like the refund early," IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said. "So we don't see an incentive and we don't see much experience of people waiting later for us to keep the money longer."

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Post, Guardian win Pulitzers for NSA revelations; Boston Globe honored in breaking news

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Washington Post and The Guardian won the Pulitzer Prize in public service Monday for revealing the U.S. government's sweeping surveillance programs in a blockbuster series of stories based on secret documents supplied by NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

The Pulitzer for breaking news was awarded to The Boston Globe for its "exhaustive and empathetic" coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing and the manhunt that followed.

Two of the nation's biggest and most distinguished newspapers, The Post and The New York Times, won two Pulitzers each, while the other awards were scattered among a variety of publications large and small.

The stories about the National Security Agency's spy programs revealed that the government has systematically collected information about millions of Americans' phone calls and emails in its effort to head off terrorist attacks. The resulting furor led President Barack Obama to impose limits on the surveillance.

The reporting "helped stimulate the very important discussion about the balance between privacy and security, and that discussion is still going on," said Sig Gissler, administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes.

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Hungry spouse, angry spouse? Study with voodoo dolls ties marital discord to low blood sugar

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A quick candy bar may stave off more than hunger. It could prevent major fights between husbands and wives, at least if a new study that used voodoo dolls is right.

That's because low blood sugar can make spouses touchy, researchers propose.

In fact, it can make them "hangry," a combination of hungry and angry, said Ohio State University psychology researcher Brad Bushman.

"We need glucose for self-control," said Bushman, lead author of the study, which was released Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "Anger is the emotion that most people have difficulty controlling."

The researchers studied 107 married couples for three weeks. Each night, they measured their levels of the blood sugar glucose and asked each participant to stick pins in a voodoo doll representing his or her spouse. That indicated levels of aggressive feelings.