Crimean lawmakers set Ukraine secession referendum...Europe, Congress consider Russia sanctions

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SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine (AP) — A Crimean lawmaker says a referendum has been scheduled later this month to determine whether Crimea becomes part of Russia or remains part of Ukraine. Meanwhile, Crimea's new leader says pro-Russian forces have solidified their hold on the peninsula and have blockaded all Ukrainian military bases that have not yet surrendered. Those forces number about 11,000 troops.

BRUSSELS (AP) — Even as the U.S. Congress moves toward voting possible sanctions against Russia, European Union leaders are holding an emergency summit today to consider similar action over the incursion in Ukraine's Crimean peninsula. The first U.S. bill could be ready next week and British Prime Minister David Cameron says that Europe "needs to send a very clear message" to Russia.

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — His lawyer says a U.S. Army general accused of sexual assault and facing possible life in prison if convicted plans to plead guilty today to three lesser charges in an effort to strengthen his position going into trial. Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair still faces five charges in his trial before a jury of five two-star generals. Opening statements are scheduled today.

CONROE, Texas (AP) — A judge in Texas is expected to decide today whether a 28-year-old man will be tried as an adult for murder in a crime allegedly committed when he was 13. Don Willburn Collins is accused dousing an 8-year-old boy with gasoline and setting him on fire in 1998. The boy survived but died in 2011 from skin cancer linked to his injuries.

WASHINGTON (AP) — It's the Republican House vs. the Democratic president today over limiting carbon pollution from new power plants. A measure sponsored by Rep. Ed Whitfield of Kentucky, chairman of a House subcommittee on energy and power, would require the Environmental Protection Agency to set carbon emissions standards based on technology that has been in use for at least a year. Some say the EPA rule is based on carbon-capturing technology that does not currently exist.

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