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US before rights panel...Assange loses court appeal...Texas town slammed by storm

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BERLIN (AP) — The United States is on the hot seat today as the United Nations Human Rights Council conducts its second review since 2010. The U.S. is defending its track record while acknowledging concerns over the excessive use of force by law-enforcement officials. The concerns have renewed a debate about even-handed justice in the U.S. Ambassador Keith Harper says the U.S. "never" claims perfection.

STOCKHOLM (AP) — WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange isn't getting off the hook in Sweden, which still wants to question him over allegations of rape, sexual molestation and illegal coercion made by two women nearly five years ago. Sweden's highest court has rejected Assange's appeal of a pre-trial detention order. Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London for nearly three years, fearing extradition.

VAN, Texas (AP) — An official says around 30 percent of the small, northeast Texas town of Van suffered some kind of damage and there were more than two dozen injuries from a severe storm. The national Weather Service says the storm last night likely produced a tornado. Chuck Allen, the Van Zandt County fire marshal and emergency management coordinator, says authorities are going door-to-door to check for possible victims.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — An annual review of early education programs finds big differences in what states are doing, or not doing. The National Institute for Early Education Research says enrollment in state pre-kindergarten programs inched up slightly last year, but there's little change in the overall percentage of participants. Ten states have no programs at all despite wide recognition of the value of early education.

TOKYO (AP) — A significant shift is about to take place in normally pacifist Japan. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (shin-zoh ah-bay) is moving ahead this week with legislation that would boost the military's international role. His ruling coalition is set to reach formal agreement today on bills that would loosen restrictions imposed by the U.S. after World War II. They would allow Japan to contribute more to the U.S.-Japan alliance and defend its allies.

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