Syrian activists accuse Assad of new gas attacks BEIRUT (AP) - Syrian government forces have attacked rebel-held areas with poisonous chlorine gas in recent weeks and months, leaving men, women and children coughing, choking and gasping for breath, according to Associated Press interviews with more than a dozen activists, medics and residents on the opposition side. Syria flatly denied the allegations, and they have yet to be confirmed by any foreign country or international organization. But if true, they highlight the limitations of the global effort to rid President Bashar Assad's government of its chemical weapons.
Amid Russia warning, Ukraine is in a security bind DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) - Russia's foreign minister warned Wednesday that attacks on Russian citizens or interests in Ukraine would bring a firm response and drew a comparison to the circumstances that opened the war with Georgia in 2008. "Russian citizens being attacked is an attack against the Russian Federation," Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, a day after Ukraine announced it was re-launching a campaign against pro-Kremlin insurgents occupying government facilities in the mostly Russian-speaking east.
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FCC to propose pay-for-priority Internet standards LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Federal Communications Commission is set to propose new open Internet rules that would allow content companies to pay for faster delivery over the so-called "last mile" connection to people's homes, but enhance scrutiny of such deals so they don't harm competition or limit free speech. That's according to a senior FCC official familiar with the matter who wasn't authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is to present the proposed rules to the other commissioners on Thursday.
SKorea ferry toll hits 159 as relatives wait JINDO, South Korea (AP) - Divers made their way deeper Thursday into the submerged wreck of a ferry that sank more than a week ago as the death toll neared 160 and relatives of the more than 140 still missing pressed the government to finish the grim task of recovery soon. At a port on this island near the scene of divers' efforts, relatives lined up for a daily ritual, crowding around a large signboard to read updates about bodies found overnight and the search plan for the day. Volunteers posted messages of support: "Please come back home," one of the messages said. "We pray for you."
Obama offering Japan security, economic assurances TOKYO (AP) - President Barack Obama is seeking to reassure Japanese leaders Thursday that he can deliver on his security and economic pledges to Asia even as the crisis in Ukraine demands U.S. attention and resources elsewhere. The ominous standoff between Ukraine and Russia is threatening to overshadow Obama's four-country Asia swing that began Wednesday. He may decide during the trip whether to levy new economic sanctions on Moscow, a step that would signal the failure of an international agreement aimed at defusing the crisis.
Witness: Iraqi teens posed no threat before death JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. (AP) - Two unarmed Iraqi brothers posed no threat as they herded cattle in a palm grove where a U.S. Army reconnaissance team was hidden one day seven years ago, a former soldier said Wednesday at a preliminary hearing. But then-Staff Sgt. Michael Barbera took a knee, leveled his rifle and killed them - from nearly 200 yards away, former Spc. John Lotempio testified.
Gun carry rights expanded in Ga. under new law ELLIJAY, Ga. (AP) - Criticized by one group as the "guns everywhere" bill, Georgia took a big step Wednesday toward expanding where licensed carriers can take their weapons, with the governor signing a law that allows them in bars without restriction and in some churches, schools and government buildings under certain circumstances. Following mass shootings in recent years, some states have pursued stronger limits on guns while others like Georgia have taken the opposite path, with advocates arguing that people should be allowed to carry weapons as an issue of public safety. Republicans control large majorities in the Georgia General Assembly, and the bill passed overwhelming despite objections from some religious leaders and local government officials.
Gacy probe helps solve unrelated Chicago-area case MAYWOOD, Ill. (AP) - Ruth Rodriguez didn't want to believe her brother was one of more than 30 young men and boys John Wayne Gacy lured into his Chicago-area house and strangled, but she was willing to provide her DNA to find out. She and her father gave authorities samples as part of an effort to identify eight of Gacy's victims more than two years ago and learned none of the remains were those of her sibling, 22-year-old Edward Beaudion who went missing in 1978.
Pineda tossed for pine tar; Red Sox beat Yanks 5-1 BOSTON (AP) - Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda was ejected for using pine tar less than two weeks after appearing to get away with using a foreign substance in another game against Boston, and the Red Sox beat New York 5-1 on Wednesday night. The right-hander was thrown out in the second inning when plate umpire Gerry Davis found the substance on the right side of Pineda's neck after Red Sox manager John Farrell asked him to check. Pineda walked from the mound without protest.