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April 20, 2014

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AP Top News at 2:24 p.m. EST

Updated Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014 | 11:24 a.m.

Ukraine ex-aide shot; No new govt before Thursday

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine's new authorities navigated tricky political waters Tuesday, launching a new presidential campaign, working on a new government and trying to seek immediate financial help from the West. Yet protests in the country's pro-Russian region of Crimea and the shooting of a top aide to fugitive President Viktor Yanukovych — a man despised by protesters — have raised fears of divisions and retaliation.

Obama tells Pentagon to plan for Afghan pullout

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has ordered the Pentagon to plan for a full American withdrawal from Afghanistan by the end of this year should the Afghan government refuse to sign a security agreement with the U.S, the White House said Tuesday. However, in a call with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Obama also said the U.S. could still keep a limited troop presence in Afghanistan after 2014 if the agreement is ultimately signed. He acknowledged that Karzai was unlikely to sign the bilateral security agreement himself, leaving the fate of the continued U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan to the winner of the country's April elections.

AP Exclusive: Few Army women want combat jobs

FORT EUSTIS, Va. (AP) — Only a small fraction of Army women say they'd like to move into one of the newly opening combat jobs, but those few who do say they want a job that takes them right into the heart of battle, according to preliminary results from a survey of the service's nearly 170,000 women. That survey and others across the Army, publicly disclosed for the first time to The Associated Press, also revealed that soldiers of both genders are nervous about women entering combat jobs but say they are determined to do it fairly. Men are worried about losing their jobs to women; women are worried they will be seen as getting jobs because of their gender and not their qualifications. Both are emphatic that the Army must not lower standards to accommodate women.

Ugandan newspaper prints list of '200 top' gays

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — A Ugandan newspaper published a list Tuesday of what it called the country's "200 top" gays, outing some Ugandans and raising fears of violence against those named just a day after the president enacted a severe anti-gay law. Many on the list "are scared and they need help," said Pepe Julian Onziema, a prominent Ugandan gay activist who was named in in the Red Pepper tabloid. "Some want to leave the country and they are asking to be helped."

California 'lifers' leaving prison at record pace

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Nearly 1,400 lifers in California's prisons have been released over the past three years in a sharp turnaround in a state where murderers and others sentenced to life with the possibility of parole almost never got out. Gov. Jerry Brown has let a record number of inmates with life sentences out since he took office in January 2011, and he has gone along with the parole board about 82 percent of the time.

Major bitcoin exchange said to be insolvent

TOKYO (AP) — One of the world's largest bitcoin exchanges has seemingly disappeared, delivering a severe blow to the virtual currency as it struggles to gain legitimacy. A coalition of virtual currency companies said Tuesday that Tokyo-based Mt. Gox went under after secretly racking up catastrophic losses.

What's a bitcoin? A look at the digital currency

LONDON (AP) — Early Tuesday, the world's most established exchange for bitcoin disappeared from the Internet, sending the price of the virtual currency tumbling and prompting fears that the world's biggest experiment in electronic cash could soon be strangled by fraud or regulation. Here's an explanation of what bitcoins are, how exchanges work, and why the demise of the Mt. Gox exchange, means many people may have lost a lot of money.

Rules to limit marketing unhealthy food in schools

WASHINGTON (AP) — Even the scoreboards in high school gyms will have to advertise only healthy foods under new rules announced Tuesday by the Obama administration. Promotion of sugary drinks and junk foods around campuses during the school day will be phased out under the rules, intended to ensure that such marketing is brought in line with health standards that already apply to school foods.

C. African Republic orphans walk to safety alone

CARNOT, Central African Republic (AP) — Ibrahim Adamou's parents had just been killed in front of him. He wasn't sure whether any of his five siblings had survived the attack by Christian militiamen who opened fire on his family of herders as they journeyed on foot. The 7-year-old just knew he had to keep running.

Palestinian film spotlights Israeli Arab identity

JERUSALEM (AP) — In the Holy Land, the state of Palestine does not yet exist. But in Hollywood, it already has an Oscar finalist. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' announcement that "Omar," one of this year's candidates for best foreign language film, hailed from "Palestine" has raised eyebrows in these parts, where Israelis and the Palestinians are engaged in peace talks aimed at establishing just such a state.