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Slavyansk (Ukraine) (AFP) - Pro-Kremlin rebels in Ukraine braced Wednesday for a renewed military offensive by Kiev as US troops headed to region in a show of force after Washington again warned Moscow over the escalating crisis. The United States said it plans to deploy 600 troops to Poland and the Baltic states to "reassure our allies and partners" after threatening Russia with more sanctions. Ukraine's acting president Oleksandr Turchynov late Tuesday ordered a new "anti-terrorist" operation against separatists holding a string of eastern towns after the discovery of two "brutally tortured" bodies.
US President Barack Obama's Asian tour starts in Japan on Wednesday, lifting the lid on a bubbling cauldron of regional animosities and exposing historical rifts. Obama touches down in Tokyo after nearly 150 lawmakers paid homage at a controversial war shrine seen by neighbouring nations as a symbol of Japan's brutal imperialist past, and shortly after the prime minister made a shrine offering. Days earlier, China seized a huge Japanese freighter over what a Shanghai court says are unpaid bills relating to Japan's 1930s occupation of vast swathes of the country.
VATICAN CITY (AP) — On the night of Oct. 11, 1962, Pope John XXIII did something so natural that it's astonishing it was so revolutionary at the time. He came to the window of the Vatican's Apostolic Palace and spoke to thousands of candle-bearing faithful below — not in the arcane, scripted words of pontiffs past but in those of a father and pastor looking out for his flock.
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia's prime minister said Wednesday that failure to find any clue in the most likely crash site of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet would not spell the end of the search, as officials planned to soon bring in more powerful sonar equipment that can delve deeper beneath the Indian Ocean.
New York police Tuesday were eating extra helpings of humble pie after asking people to post images of themselves and NYPD officers on Twitter -- only to face a deluge of pictures of alleged police brutality. "Do you have a photo w/ a member of the NYPD? It may be featured on our Facebook," the department posted on its NYPD News Twitter feed, hoping to fuel a feel-good, low-cost public relations campaign.
(Reuters) - JetBlue Airways Corp pilots voted by a wide margin on Tuesday to join the Air Line Pilots Association union, sending the budget carrier's stock price down on concerns the move would raise the airline's costs. About 71 percent of the pilots eligible to vote in the month-long election backed ALPA. JetBlue has about 2,600 pilots and 96 percent were eligible to vote. The vote marked the first successful union drive by a group of workers at JetBlue.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Supreme Court justices appeared unsure on Tuesday whether to rule against online TV startup Aereo Inc in a major copyright case, with several raising concerns about how a ruling in favor of broadcast networks could affect increasingly popular cloud computing services. Aereo, backed by media mogul Barry Diller, could be forced to shut down if the high court rules for the four major television broadcasters, who say the service violates copyright law. (Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)
South Africa's government corruption watchdog is looking into an allegation that the ruling ANC party handed out state-paid mattresses in election campaigns ahead of general polls on May 7, a spokesman said Tuesday. Public Protector Thuli Madonsela is planning a meeting with the country's social security agency after a complaint from new opposition party AgangSA. "AgangSA complained that mattresses were distributed in Valhalla in Cape Town allegedly as part of the ruling party's election campaign," her spokesman Oupa Segalwe told AFP.
(Reuters) - Ronnie Milsap, who scored a handful of crossover hits in the 1970s and 1980s, bluegrass singer Mac Wiseman and songwriter Hank Cochran are this year's inductees into the County Music Hall of Fame, the Country Music Association said on Tuesday. Milsap, the singer of hits such as 1977's "It Was Almost Like a Song," 1981's "(There's) No Gettin' Over Me" and 1982's "Any Day Now," broke ground as a blind country music star and helped the genre win over pop music fans. Milsap started his career as a rhythm and blues performer in the 1960s and served a session musician for Elvis Presley. In 1972, he was discovered by country star Charley Pride who convinced Milsap to move to Nashville and focus on country music.