Protesters storm government building...US to back defense of European allies...Iran urged to come clean

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KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Hundreds of demonstrators waving Russian flags have stormed a government building in eastern Ukraine. The region is the home area of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych (yah-noo-KOH'-vich), who fled the country after massive protests in Kiev. Several government buildings around Ukraine, particularly in the east, have been seized by pro-Russian demonstrators in recent days.

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine's new prime minister is leaving open the possibility of granting more autonomy to the embattled region of Crimea. Since last weekend, Russian troops have taken control of much of the peninsula, where Russian speakers are in the majority. Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk (ahr-SEHN'-ee yaht-sehn-YOOK') today said a special task force should be set up to determine if the area should be given additional local control. He also said he's afraid Russia might send troops to occupy other Russian-speaking areas of Ukraine.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is taking steps to support the defenses of U.S. allies in Europe in response to Russia's takeover of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says the U.S. will step up joint aviation training with Polish forces. The Pentagon also is increasing American participation in NATO's air policing mission in its Baltic countries. Hagel is telling the Senate Armed Services Committee the U.S. is reaffirming its commitment to allies in Central and Eastern Europe, some of whom suffered for a half-century under Soviet domination.

VIENNA (AP) — A U.S. envoy has told Iran today that it can expect substantial relief from sanctions choking its economy only if it clears up suspicions that it worked on nuclear arms. But Tehran said claims that it did so are "baseless." The exchange in Vienna reflected the obstacles still standing in the way of a full nuclear agreement with Iran that would put to rest concerns that Tehran may be interested in atomic arms.

EWING, N.J. (AP) — Investigators in New Jersey are trying to pinpoint the cause of a gas leak and explosion that devastated a suburban town house development yesterday, killing one woman and injuring seven workers. They're also working to identify the victim. Her body was found on a car near the site of the explosion. It's not clear if she was inside or outside a home when the explosion took place.

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