Russia faces sanctions...Crimean lawmakers move toward Russia...More abortion clinics close

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SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine (AP) — Russia is now facing its first real sanctions from the West over its deployment of troops into Ukraine -- and there are warnings of additional action unless Russia makes an effort to resolve the crisis. The White House moved to impose financial sanctions and travel restrictions on opponents of Ukraine's new government. The steps taken by the European Union include the suspension of trade and visa talks with Russia.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Lawmakers in Ukraine's Crimea region have effectively declared independence from Ukraine today, and said they'd let voters decide whether they want the peninsula to be a part of Russia. That vote is scheduled for March 16th. But the move has been denounced in Ukraine's capital, where the country's new prime minister says the referendum is illegal. President Barack Obama agrees, saying it would "violate international law" and Ukraine's constitution.

WASHINGTON (AP) — An effort aimed at addressing sexual assault in the military has been blocked in the Senate. Supporters didn't get enough votes to move forward on a proposal to remove from senior military commanders the authority to either prosecute or prevent charges for alleged rapes and other serious offenses. They're expected to try again this spring, when senators begin work on a defenses policy bill for the next fiscal year.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The last abortion clinic in the vast and impoverished Rio Grande Valley of Texas has closed. Nineteen clinics have shut down since Texas lawmakers adopted tough new abortion standards last summer. Twenty-four clinics remain open to serve a population of 26 million women, but more closures could happen after additional restrictions take effect later this year.

NEW YORK (AP) — The S&P 500 has closed at another all-time high, after encouraging news about the U.S. job market. The index rose three points today to 1,877. The Dow gained 61 points, but the Nasdaq composite slipped five points. The number of people who filed for unemployment benefits last week fell more than economists were expecting. That's a sign fewer workers are being laid off. The February unemployment numbers come out tomorrow.

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