Putin orders end to military exercise in Russia...Cold capital...Mardi Gras



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SEVASTOPOL, Ukraine (AP) — A massive military exercise in Western Russia near Ukraine is winding down as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visits the capital, Kiev to show Washington's support for the new government. Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered tens of thousands of Russian troops back to their bases but the exercise was supposed to wrap up anyway, so it's not clear if Putin's move was an attempt to de-escalate the crisis that has put Ukraine's future on the line.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The last time the nation's capital saw single digit temperatures in March was in 1873 and before that, in 1872. Forecasters predict it could happen tonight for just the third time ever as bitter cold moving in adds to the winter misery in parts of the South, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Today's weather forecast for New Orleans is rainy and cold but it's still expected to be hot. Thousands of people are expected to ignore Mother Nature to line the traditional parade routes to get a prime spot for Mardi Gras — New Orleans' biggest show. Fat Tuesday is the last pre-Lenten bash before Ash Wednesday. One parade marcher calls it the party that never ends.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration says the government shutdown last fall resulted in nearly 8 million fewer visitors to national parks, costing the parks and surrounding communities an estimated $414 million. But states that kept parks open on their own dime with federal permission generated nearly $10 in visitor spending for every dollar spent. Utah, Arizona, Colorado, New York, South Dakota and Tennessee all reopened parks. A bill is pending in Congress to reimburse those states.

KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Trekking Nepal is OK but trashing it -- not so much. As Nepal welcomes this year's trekking season on Mount Everest, it is introducing new rules and oversight this week in hopes of taking more control over the world's tallest mountain and the mountain of trash it generates. The government is setting up its first-ever Everest base camp tent for officials to check that each climber descends with approximately 18 pounds of trash, the estimated amount generated.

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