Ukraine official: Eastern Ukraine nearly lawless...Global warming talkathon...

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KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine's foreign minister says his country is practically in a state of war with Russia and that pro-Russian eastern regions have fallen into lawlessness. Russian forces now control the strategic Crimea peninsula. That region will hold a referendum on Sunday on whether to split off and become part of Russia. The West says it wouldn't recognize Crimea as a country.

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syrian militants have released a group of Greek Orthodox nuns in exchange for dozens of women held in government prisons. The exchange was a rare deal between Damascus and al-Qaida-linked rebels. It was mediated by officials in Qatar (GUH'-tur) and Lebanon. The nuns were freed from vehicles in the dead of night along the Lebanese-Syrian border. They were held for three months.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A bipartisan group of 105 lawmakers is calling on the Defense Department to make it easier for practicing Sikh (seek) Americans who wear beards and turbans to serve in the military. The House members wrote to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel calling for an end to a "presumptive ban" on Sikhs serving. Under a policy announced in January, troops can seek waivers on a case-by-case basis to wear religious clothing, seek prayer time or engage in religious practices.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats plan to keep the Senate in session all night to talk about global warming. At least 28 senators are expected to participate in the dusk-to-dawn talkathon, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada. But several Democrats who face tough re-election fights in the fall will not be there.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Eric Holder says the nation faces an "urgent and growing public health crisis" because of an increase in heroin-related deaths. According to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, the number of overdose deaths involving heroin increased by 45 percent between 2006 and 2010.

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