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AP Top News at 12:38 p.m. EDT

Ukraine: Russian forces in major rebel cities
KIEV, Ukraine (AP) - Russian military forces have been spotted in both major rebel-held cities in eastern Ukraine, an official said Tuesday, prompting Ukraine to declare that it now has to fight the Russian army, not just the separatists. The statement on the Russians by Col. Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for Ukraine's National Security Council, came after the country's defense minister said Ukraine's armed forces are expanding their strategy from just fighting separatists to facing the Russian army in a war that could cost "tens of thousands" of lives.


AP Analysis: Putin digs in for long Ukraine fight
MOSCOW (AP) - Riding a wave of military gains by pro-Russia rebels, Russian President Vladimir Putin has made it exceedingly clear that he wants a peace deal for Ukraine on his terms and will not be stopped by economic costs. The four-month conflict has now reached a breaking point, where Russia and Ukraine could either negotiate a political settlement or plunge deeper into hostilities.


Russia's gains cloud Obama's assurances to Baltics
WASHINGTON (AP) - For the second time this year, President Barack Obama will travel to Russia's backyard to assure nervous nations of his ironclad commitment to their security. But his objectives will be clouded by the West's inability to halt the Russian aggression in Ukraine that has stoked fears in other former Soviet republics. Fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russia rebels continued in eastern Ukraine as Obama prepared to fly to Estonia for meetings with Baltic leaders and to Wales for a NATO summit. The Ukrainian government, NATO and Western nations say Russia has already sent troops, artillery and tanks across Ukraine's southeast border to reinforce the separatists, a claim Russia has denied.


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6 militants killed in US Somalia strike
MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) - Al-Shabab's top leader was in one of two vehicles hit Monday night by a U.S. military strike, a member of the Somali Islamic extremist group said Tuesday. The rebel commander would not say whether Ahmed Abdi Godane, the group's leader, was among the six militants killed.


Report accuses Islamic State group of war crimes
BAGHDAD (AP) - An international rights group accused the extremist Islamic State group on Tuesday of systematic "ethnic cleansing" in northern Iraq targeting indigenous religious minorities, as well as conducting mass killings of men and abducting women. In a new report, Amnesty International said militants abducted "hundreds, if not thousands" of women and girls of the Yazidi faith. The extremists also killed "hundreds" of Yazidi men and boys, Amnesty said. In at least one incident, the report said militants rounded up on trucks, took them to the edge of their village and shot them.


AP Interview: Iran says it disrupts nuclear plots
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iran has disrupted plots by foreign spies to recruit its nuclear experts and stopped sabotage attempts through faulty foreign equipment supplied for its facilities, the deputy head of the Islamic Republic's nuclear department told The Associated Press. The comments by Asghar Zarean, who is in charge of security for Iran's nuclear program, came during a visit by an AP team to Iran's Atomic Energy Organization in Tehran organized by state officials. It also comes as Iran continues negotiations with world powers over its contested nuclear program and after authorities said they shot down a purported Israeli drone near one of its atomic facilities.


32 teens escape from Nashville detention center
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Thirty-two teens escaped from a Nashville youth detention center by crawling under a weak spot in a fence late Monday, and nine of them were still on the run Tuesday, a spokesman said. The teens - ages 14 to 19 - left their rooms at Woodland Hills Youth Development Center and went into a common area, where they overwhelmed 16 to 18 staff members, Tennessee Department of Children's Services spokesman Rob Johnson said.


UK withdrawing warrant for ill boy's parents
LONDON (AP) - British prosecutors are dropping the case against a couple who ended up in a Spanish jail after they tried to get treatment abroad for the boy's severe brain tumor, authorities said Tuesday. Brett and Naghemeh King were pursued by police after they took 5-year-old Ashya out of a hospital in southern England against doctors' advice and traveled to Spain, where they planned to sell a property to pay for proton beam radiation therapy in the Czech Republic or the U.S. They were arrested on a British warrant on suspicion of cruelty to a person under 16 years of age, and are in custody in a jail near Madrid - while their son is in a hospital in Malaga.


Detroit's historic bankruptcy trial to begin
DETROIT (AP) - Starting Tuesday, lawyers for Detroit will attempt to convince a federal judge at the city's bankruptcy trial that its plans to wipe out the city's billions of dollars in debt should be approved. After some delays, the trial in U.S. District Court begins a little more than 13 months after Detroit became the largest U.S. city to file for bankruptcy.


Surrogate offers clues into man with 16 babies
BANGKOK (AP) - When the young Thai woman saw an online ad seeking surrogate mothers, it seemed like a life-altering deal: $10,000 to help a foreign couple that wanted a child but couldn't conceive. Wassana, a lifetime resident of the slums, viewed it as a nine-month solution to her family's debt. She didn't ask many questions.


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