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MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly has ordered troops participating in military exercises in western Russia near the Ukraine border to return to their permanent bases. That's what a Putin spokesman tells the Interfax news agency. The order comes almost a week after Russia began massive exercises involving most military units in western Russia, stoking fears that the Kremlin might use the troops to seize territory in pro-Russian areas of eastern Ukraine.
SEVASTOPOL, Ukraine (AP) — There's been no fighting in Crimea as a supposed Russian ultimatum for two Ukrainian warships to surrender has passed. The warships remain anchored in a Crimean port Tuesday, a day after Ukrainian authorities said Russian forces had issued an ultimatum for the ships to surrender or be seized. Russia's Defense Ministry says no ultimatum had been issued. Russian troops said to be 16,000 strong have tightened their grip on Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil a $4 trillion budget for 2015 that drops earlier proposals to cut future Social Security benefits and pushes for new money for infrastructure, education and job training. But Congress and the White House already have agreed to a two-year, bipartisan budget pact that sets parameters for this election year's budget work. And Democrats controlling the Senate have said they won't advance a budget this year.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration says last fall's government shutdown resulted in nearly 8 million fewer visitors to national parks. That cost the parks and surrounding communities an estimated $414 million in lost visitor spending. A report released Monday says California, Arizona and three other states lost more than $20 million during the 16-day shutdown. And the six states that received permission to reopen national parks using state money generated nearly $10 in visitor spending for every dollar spent.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A former Tennessee magistrate who changed a baby's first name from Messiah to Martin has been censured. At a child support hearing in August, Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew told the parents of the child that Messiah was a title held only by Jesus Christ, and her changing the boy's name to Martin would be acting in his best interests. Ballew already has lost her position as a magistrate.
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