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AP Top News at 2:57 p.m. EDT

Combat vehicles in east Ukraine seized by pro-Russian insurgents; Troops must hand over ammo
SLOVYANSK, Ukraine (AP) - Pro-Russian insurgents commandeered six Ukrainian armored vehicles along with their crews and hoisted Russian flags over them Wednesday, dampening the central government's hopes of re-establishing control over restive eastern Ukraine. The Ukrainian soldiers manning the vehicles offered no armed resistance, and masked pro-Russian militias in combat fatigues sat on top as they drove into the eastern city of Slovyansk, a hotbed of unrest against Ukraine's interim government.


Geneva talks on Ukraine pit polarized parties _ US, EU, Ukraine, Russia; Here's what they want
MOSCOW (AP) - Thursday's high-level talks in Geneva on Ukraine come as the country's eastern regions are awash in turmoil and pro-Russian insurgents have seized police stations and government buildings in at least nine cities. But for all the anxiety about Ukraine's future - bolstered by Vladimir Putin's contention the country is on the verge of civil war - the top diplomats of Ukraine, Russia, the United States and the European Union may find their positions so far apart that no one can find a compromise.


More than 280 missing after South Korean ferry sinks; 4 confirmed dead, dozens injured
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.


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Man charged with bringing backpack to Boston Marathon area to undergo mental health evaluation
BOSTON (AP) - The man arrested near the Boston Marathon finish line carrying a backpack containing a rice cooker on the anniversary of the bombings was sent to a state psychiatric facility for an evaluation Wednesday following his initial court appearance. Kevin "Kayvon" Edson, 25, was sent to Bridgewater State Hospital and ordered held on $100,000 bail at an appearance in Boston Municipal Court on charges of threatening battery, possession of a hoax explosive device, threats to commit a crime, disturbing the peace, disturbing a public assembly and disorderly conduct. His next court date was scheduled for May 7.


High jet fuel prices have protected existing airlines from startups, prevented fare wars
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.


Robot sub makes 2nd dive to search for plane; Chinese families walk out on Malaysian govt
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.


Year after Senate rejects tighter background checks, gun-control advocates' goals more modest
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.


Supreme Court to consider challenge to Ohio law that bars lying about political candidates
WASHINGTON (AP) - As political campaigns begin to heat up, the Supreme Court is deciding whether false accusations and mudslinging made during an election can be punished as a crime. Addressing an issue of negative campaigning that now may be a fact of life in American politics, justices will consider a challenge to an Ohio law that bars false statements about political candidates. The case being heard next week has attracted national attention, with least 15 other states having similar laws.


Under prosecutor's aggressive challenge, Pistorius defense tries to rebuild case
PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) - Oscar Pistorius' lawyers tried to roll back the prosecution's momentum at his murder trial Wednesday following the star athlete's shaky testimony, presenting a forensic expert who quickly found his own credentials and findings sharply questioned. With Pistorius now back watching the proceedings from a wooden bench, the double-amputee Olympian's defense team was attempting to bolster his account that he shot girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp by mistake through a toilet door in his home, thinking she was a dangerous intruder about to attack him in the night. Pistorius faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted of premeditated murder in Steenkamp's death in the early hours of Valentine's Day last year.


Buenos Aires zoo presents baby white Bengal tiger triplets
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) - The Buenos Aires Zoo is showing off its latest brood of white tigers - Bengal triplets with piercing blue eyes and a playful attitude. The two female cubs have prominent black stripes and tawny white coats, while the male is nearly pure white.

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