Obama, Putin talk...Military sexual assault debate...Safeway purchased

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says President Barack Obama has told Russian President Vladimir Putin that his country's actions are a violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. The White House says the president spoke for an hour with Putin this afternoon. It's their first known contact since Saturday, shortly after Russian troops took control of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula. Obama is said to have told Putin that the crisis in Ukraine can be resolved diplomatically, but that Russian forces need to go back to their base in Crimea.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Opponents of stripping military commanders of authority of over rape and sexual assault cases have scored a narrow procedural victory in the Senate. The measure fell five votes short of the 60 needed for a vote. The proposal, sponsored by New York Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand, would have given the decision to take serious crimes to courts-martial to seasoned military trial lawyers, independent of the chain of command.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican-controlled House has voted to block the Obama administration's plan to limit carbon pollution from new power plants. The bill targets the president's proposal for the Environmental Protection Agency to set the first national limits on heat-trapping carbon pollution from future power plants. The bill passed by a 229-183 vote. Ten Democrats, mostly from coal-producing states or the South, joined Republicans in support of it. Three Republicans opposed the bill.

OXON HILL, Md. (AP) — Some prominent Republicans speaking to a conference of conservatives in suburban Washington today have been urging them to offer a stark contrast to President Barack Obama's policies. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who's facing a tea party challenge in Kentucky, arrived on stage holding a rifle -- and then presented it to retiring Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, a favorite of conservatives.

PLEASANTON, Calif. (AP) — The same investment group that owns grocery chains including Albertson's has snapped up Safeway. The acquisition by Cerebus Capital Management is worth about $7.64 billion in cash, and pending other transactions could top more than $9 billion. The purchase comes during a consolidation trend in the supermarket industry, which is facing growing competition from big-box retailers, specialty chains, drug stores and even dollar stores

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