Isolating Russia...Questions about missing plane...Country star Mel Tillis recuperating



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UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Britain's U.N. Ambassador says Russia is facing growing isolation and increasing pressure to stop a Sunday referendum in Ukraine's strategic Crimea Peninsula. The majority-Russian region will vote Sunday on whether to remain a part of Ukraine or to join Russia. Its forces have taken control over Crimea.

PATTAYA, Thailand (AP) — Authorities in Thailand have questioned travel agents about two men who boarded the vanished Malaysia Airlines plane with stolen passports. Nearly three days after the Boeing 777 with 239 people on board disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, no debris has been seen in Southeast Asian waters.

WASHINGTON (AP) — West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin has asked the government's top health official to overturn the approval of a powerful painkiller. Manchin says the pill Zohydro could add to the national epidemic of prescription drug abuse. Other lawmakers, state prosecutors and medical groups also want the Food and Drug Administration's October approval of the drug reversed.

WASHINGTON (AP) — District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray says allegations that he knew of an off-the-books "shadow campaign" to support his 2010 bid and personally requested the funds are "absolute lies." The allegations against Gray are included in a document detailing crimes alleged against the former owner of a well-connected accounting firm who pleaded guilty today to two conspiracy charges.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Country Music Hall of Fame singer Mel Tillis is recovering in Nashville after heart surgery over the weekend. A statement from his daughter, Pam Tillis, says the 81-year-old singer required a "routine heart procedure" and is expected to make a full recovery. Tillis, despite dealing with a stutter, has recorded more than 60 albums, and written hits for others.

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