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PARIS (AP) — Simmering tensions in Ukraine and the Russian takeover of Crimea are on the minds of top diplomats gathering in Paris today. The envoys from Russia, Ukraine, the U.S., Britain and France had originally planned to discuss Syria's civil war, and they're not necessarily all at the same table. But French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius (loh-RAHN' FAH'-bee-yus) says everyone has been working non-stop.
BAGHDAD (AP) — At least 17 people have been killed in Iraq today by a series of car bombs that hit commercial areas and marketplaces in mainly Shiite areas of Baghdad. The bombings are the latest in a campaign by Sunni militants seeking to undermine the Shiite-led government's efforts to maintain security. Violence has surged in Iraq since last year.
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran says its powerful Revolutionary Guard has acquired missiles with multiple warheads, a step that it says is a major boost of its defense capabilities. Iran's defense minister says Western sanctions have not stopped Iran from augmenting its ability to deter its enemies, a reference to Israel and the U.S. His comments were posted on the Guard website.
VATICAN CITY (AP) — The leader of the Roman Catholic Church says he's normal -- not Superpope. Pope Francis says he finds the hype that is increasingly surrounding him "offensive." In an interview with an Italian daily, Francis says he doesn't appreciate the myth-making. He says "the pope is a man who laughs, cries, sleeps calmly and has friends like everyone else. A normal person."
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Mardi Gras is a memory. New Orleans police swept through Bourbon Street at midnight in the city's annual ritual of letting Carnival revelers know the party is over — until next year. New Orleans resident Jim Baker says he'll begin the Lenten season today by attending Mass and receiving ashes on Ash Wednesday.
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