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China makes an offer ... Democrats blast GOP health care plan ... Manuel Noriega in critical condition

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BEIJING (AP) — China is offering a diplomatic proposal it hopes will ease the looming crisis with North Korea, which test fired four ballistic missiles this week. The regime is expressing outrage at the annual joint U.S.-South Korea military exercises. A senior Chinese diplomat proposed that the North could suspend its nuclear and missile activities in exchange for a halt in drills. China also opposes the U.S. deployment of an advance missile defense system. A White House official says the proposal is not new.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is predicting final passage of the new Republican health care reform bill by April. GOP leaders hope to jam the proposal through Congress, but some of the strongest opposition is from congressional budget hawks and outside conservative groups. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says the measure is "a tax cut for the wealthy with some health insurance provisions tacked alongside of it."

BILOXI, Miss. (AP) — It's unclear what went wrong in Biloxi, Mississippi, on Tuesday when a charter bus filled with seniors on a casino trip crossed in front of a freight train. The impact killed four people and injured 40 more, seven of them critically. The group had traveled from central Texas. A woman who lives near the crossing said she heard a loud boom and knew immediately what happened.

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Three years after it vanished somewhere over the Indian Ocean, the Australian government minister in charge of the suspended seabed search for a Malaysia Airlines jet says he's hopeful it will be found. A ceremony was held in Brisbane, Australia, on Wednesday to mark the anniversary of the disappearance of Flight 370. The airliner carried 239 passengers and crew.

PANAMA CITY (AP) — Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega is in critical condition after undergoing two brain surgeries. His daughters and lawyer say Noriega, who is 83, underwent the first procedure Tuesday morning to remove a benign tumor from his brain. But after that surgery, doctors discovered a hemorrhage that forced them to go back in that afternoon. He's being treated at a public hospital in Panama City.

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