Russia defends troop movements...Financial markets feel the impact...Automakers report declines

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GENEVA (AP) — Russia's foreign minister is looking to justify the use of Russian troops in Ukraine, saying they're necessary to protect Russian citizens who are living there. Sergey Lavrov spoke in Geneva at the opening of a month-long session of the U.N. Human Rights Council. Ukraine is accusing Russia of carrying out a military invasion, and it's calling on Moscow to withdraw the troops.

NEW YORK (AP) — Developments in Ukraine are having an impact on global financial markets, including the U.S. stock market. Stocks have fallen sharply around the world today because of the tensions over Russia's military move into Ukraine. Gold and bond prices are higher as investors put money into safer assets.

NEW YORK (AP) — Today's stock market declines come despite some positive news on the U.S. economy. Manufacturing expanded at a faster pace in February as new orders and stockpiling rose. The government says Americans spent more in January, but the increase came from a surge in spending on heating bills during the harsh winter. Spending in areas such as cars and clothing declined.

DETROIT (AP) — GM, Ford and Toyota are reporting sales declines in the United States last month, as frigid temperatures and snowstorms pounded much of the country. The companies say the month started slowly, but sales began to recover in the second half. There had been concerns about a possible auto sales slowdown.

NEW YORK (AP) — More than a week after he became the first openly gay player in the NBA -- or in any of the four major American sports leagues -- Jason Collins will get a chance to play a home game tonight when the Brooklyn Nets host the Chicago Bulls. Collins played hundreds of games in a Nets uniform when he was with the team from 2001 to 2008. Back then, the team was based in New Jersey.

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