Senate OKs bill to combat military sexual assault WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill late Monday making big changes in the military justice system to deal with sexual assault, including scrapping the nearly century-old practice of using a "good soldier defense" to raise doubts that a crime has been committed. On a vote of 97-0, the Senate rallied behind a bipartisan plan crafted by three female senators - Democrat Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Republicans Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Deb Fischer of Nebraska - that would impose a half-dozen changes to combat the pervasive problem of rape and sexual offenses that Pentagon leaders have likened to a cancer within the ranks.
General's court-martial is thrown into jeopardy FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) - The sexual assault case against an Army general was thrown into jeopardy Monday when the judge said the military may have improperly pressed ahead with a trial to send a message about its determination to curb rape and other widespread misconduct. Judge Col. James Pohl refused to dismiss the charges against Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair but offered the defense another chance to plea-bargain the case with a set of military officials not previously involved with the matter.
How can jet disappear? In the ocean, it's not hard KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - In an age when people assume that any bit of information is just a click away, the thought that a jetliner could simply disappear over the ocean for more than two days is staggering. But Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 is hardly the first reminder of how big the seas are, and of how agonizing it can be to try to find something lost in them. It took two years to find the main wreckage of an Air France jet that plunged into the Atlantic Ocean in 2009. Closer to the area between Malaysia and Vietnam where Saturday's flight vanished, it took a week for debris from an Indonesian jet to be spotted in 2007. Today, the mostly intact fuselage still sits on the bottom of the ocean.
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Russia preparing counterproposals over Ukraine KIEV, Ukraine (AP) - Russia said Monday it is drafting counterproposals to a U.S. plan for a negotiated solution to the Ukraine crisis, denouncing the new Western-backed government as an unacceptable "fait accompli" and claiming that Russian-leaning parts of the country have been plunged into lawlessness. The Kremlin moves came as Russian forces strengthened their control over Crimea, less than a week before the strategic region is to hold a contentious referendum on whether to split off and become part of Russia.
Crimean Tatars fear return of Russian rule SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine (AP) - The arrival of Russian troops in Crimea has opened old wounds among the Crimean Tatars, who were deported during World War II. Fearing that once again they will be unwelcome in their homeland, some are organizing community-watch patrols to protect their families and homes in a place they strongly feel should remain part of Ukraine. Tensions have grown with preparations to hold a referendum on Sunday on whether Crimea should stay in Ukraine or join Russia.
Colorado collects $2M in recreational pot taxes DENVER (AP) - Colorado made roughly $2 million in marijuana taxes in January, state revenue officials reported Monday in the world's first accounting of the recreational pot business. The tax total reported by the state Department of Revenue indicates $14.02 million worth of recreational pot was sold from 59 businesses. The state collected roughly $2.01 million in taxes.
More choices, more rides bring transit renaissance LOS ANGELES (AP) - With more trains and buses to take, and the appeal of using travel time for pursuits other than dodging traffic, Americans are taking greater advantage of a renaissance in public transit, according to a report released Monday. The number of rides taken on public buses, trains and subways has fully recovered from a dip during the Great Recession. And with services restored following economy-driven cutbacks, ridership appears set to resume what had been a steady increase.
Shoe-bomb witness testifies from UK at NY trial NEW YORK (AP) - Jurors at the terrorism trial of Osama bin Laden's son-in-law watched him threaten there would be no end to the "storm of airplanes" on videotapes made in the days after the Sept. 11 attacks Monday just before a British man testified by video from London that he trained to blow up a plane in late 2001 with a shoe bomb. Prosecutors showed the New York jury video clips of Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, threatening Americans in the weeks after the terror attacks to set the stage for testimony from Saajid Badat, a 34-year-old United Kingdom resident who refuses to testify in the United States because he faces terrorism charges in Boston that could send him to prison for life.
'Burger King baby' now seeks birth mom on Facebook In 1986, a newborn wrapped in a red sweater was found abandoned in the bathroom of a fast-food restaurant. Nearly three decades later, the baby is all grown up and looking for her biological mother, and tens of thousands of people are trying to help. Katheryn Deprill began her quest on March 2 by posting a photo on her Facebook page in which she held up a sign that said, "Looking for my birth mother. ... She abandoned me in the Burger King bathroom only hours old, Allentown PA. Please help me find her by sharing my post."
Elephants prove discerning listeners of us humans WASHINGTON (AP) - Dr. Seuss had it right: Horton really does hear a Who. Wild elephants can distinguish between human languages, and they can tell whether a voice comes from a man, woman or boy, a new study says. That's what researchers found when they played recordings of people for elephants in Kenya. Scientists say this is an advanced thinking skill that other animals haven't shown. It lets elephants figure out who is a threat and who isn't.