NATO ups military presence amid Russian threat BRUSSELS (AP) - NATO is strengthening its military footprint along its eastern border immediately in response to Russia's aggression in Ukraine, the alliance's chief said Wednesday. Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said NATO's air policing aircraft will fly more sorties over the Baltic region and allied warships will deploy to the Baltic Sea, the eastern Mediterranean and elsewhere if needed. NATO's supreme commander in Europe told reporters that ground forces could also be involved at some point, but gave no details.
283 missing, 4 dead in South Korea ferry disaster MOKPO, South Korea (AP) - A ferry carrying 462 people, mostly high school students on an overnight trip to a tourist island, sank off South Korea's southern coast on Wednesday, leaving more than 280 people missing despite a frantic, hours-long rescue by dozens of ships and helicopters. At least four people were confirmed dead and 55 injured. The high number of people unaccounted for - likely trapped in the ship or floating in the ocean - raised fears that the death toll could rise drastically, making it one of South Korea's biggest ferry disasters since 1993, when 292 people died.
Combat vehicles in east Ukraine fly Russian flag SLOVYANSK, Ukraine (AP) - A column of armored vehicles flying Russian flags drove into a Ukrainian city controlled by pro-Russian insurgents Wednesday, dampening the central government's hopes of re-establishing control over restive eastern Ukraine. Still, it was far from clear just who these mostly masked men were and what their presence meant for eastern Ukraine, which has seen a surge of support for closer ties with Russia and against the new government in Kiev, which wants closer links to Europe.
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Sub makes 2nd dive to search for Malaysian plane PERTH, Australia (AP) - As a robotic submarine dived into the ocean to look for lost Flight 370, angry Chinese relatives stormed out of a teleconference meeting Wednesday to protest the Malaysian government for not addressing them in person. The Bluefin 21 sub surfaced early for the second time in as many missions, this time after experiencing technical difficulties. It was sent back into the water after its data were downloaded but there's been no sign of the plane, according to the search coordinator.
Man charged with marathon hoax due in court BOSTON (AP) - A man arrested near the Boston Marathon finish line carrying a backpack containing a rice cooker on the anniversary of the bombings has a mental disorder, his mother told The Associated Press on Wednesday. Kevin "Kayvon" Edson, 25, has bipolar disorder, his mother, Joie Edson said.
Why high oil prices are actually good for airlines NEW YORK (AP) - Airline executives frequently complain about fuel costs. But the truth is higher prices actually have been good for business. In the past six years, airlines have overhauled the way they operate to adjust to this new reality. They've shown more discipline by offering fewer seats, which ensures airfares are high enough to cover costs. Unprofitable routes have been eliminated. And every expense has been scrutinized.
A year after background check defeat, modest goals WASHINGTON (AP) - Democratic worries about this November's elections, a lack of Senate votes and House opposition are forcing congressional gun-control supporters to significantly winnow their 2014 agenda, a year after lawmakers scuttled President Barack Obama's effort to pass new curbs on firearms. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., recently said he needs additional votes before revisiting a proposed expansion of gun sale background checks that the Senate derailed last April. That has left advocates of tighter gun curbs hoping Reid will allow votes on more modest proposals, such as one by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., to add convicted stalkers to the list of criminals barred from acquiring guns.
End of NYPD Muslim surveillance program applauded NEW YORK (AP) - Muslim groups and civil liberties advocates applauded the decision by New York Police Department officials to disband a controversial unit that tracked the daily lives of Muslims as part of efforts to detect terrorism threats, but they said there were concerns about whether other problematic practices remained in place. The Demographics Unit, conceived with the help of a CIA agent working with the NYPD, assembled databases on where Muslims lived, shopped, worked and prayed. Plainclothes officers infiltrated Muslim student groups, put informants in mosques, monitored sermons and catalogued Muslims in New York who adopted new, Americanized surnames. NYPD spokesman Stephen Davis confirmed Tuesday that detectives assigned to the unit had been transferred to other duties within the department's Intelligence Division.
Police say 5 dead in Calgary stabbings CALGARY, Alberta (AP) - The son of a Calgary police officer was charged in the fatal stabbing of five people at a house party that the law enforcement officials called the worst mass slaying in the western Canadian city's history. Matthew Douglas de Grood, a recent graduate of the University of Calgary, picked up a large knife shortly after arriving at the party and stabbed the victims one by one shortly after 1 a.m. Tuesday, said police Chief Rick Hanson.
NKorea complains over barber's Kim Jong Un poster LONDON (AP) - North Korean diplomats have asked the British government to take action against a London hair salon's poster poking fun at distinctively coiffured leader Kim Jong Un. The Foreign Office said Wednesday it had received a letter from the country's embassy objecting to the poster, and was considering its response.