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Updated: Sun, 23 Mar 2014 02:15:41 EST


UPDATE: Search for survivors continues in Wash. mudslide

SEATTLE (AP) — Rescue crews continued searching for survivors late Saturday night after voices were heard in the debris field of a massive landslide that killed three in rural Washington state.

Snohomish County Fire District 21 Chief Travis Hots said at a news briefing late Saturday that people were "yelling for our help" and rescuers would work through the night.

Hots said it wasn't clear how many people might still be alive.

The massive landslide of mud, trees and rocks happened about 11 a.m. Saturday morning. Several people - including an infant - were also critically injured and at least six houses were destroyed.


Galveston Bay oil spill threatens bird migration

McALLEN, Texas (AP) — Crews were working through the night after a barge carrying nearly a million gallons of especially thick, sticky oil collided with a ship in Galveston Bay, leaking an unknown amount of the fuel into the popular bird habitat as the peak of the migratory shorebird season was approaching.

Booms were brought in to try to contain the spill, which the Coast Guard said was reported at around 12:30 p.m. Saturday by the captain of the 585-foot ship, Summer Wind. Coast Guard officials said the spill hadn't been contained as of 10 p.m., and the collision was still being investigated.

The Coast Guard says the ship collided with a barge carrying 924,000 gallons of marine fuel oil. It didn't give an estimate of how much fuel had spilled into the bay.


Gay marriages in Michigan halted by appeals court

MASON, Mich. (AP) — An appeals court has reinstituted Michigan's constitutional ban on gay marriage, but not before several hundred same-sex couples rushed to the state's county clerk's offices to get hitched.

The order on Saturday by a federal appeals court in Cincinnati to at least temporarily restore the ban that Michigan voters approved in 2004 came after Glenna DeJong, 53, and Marsha Caspar, 51, of Lansing, were the first on Saturday to arrive at the Ingham County Courthouse in Mason. DeJong and Caspar, who have been together for 27 years, received their license and were married by Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum.

Similar nuptials followed, at times en masse, in at least four of Michigan's 83 counties. Oakland, Muskegon, Ingham and Washtenaw counties issued more than 300 marriage licenses to same-sex couples Saturday.


VP Biden calls on Congress to pass gay rights bill

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Vice President Joe Biden is calling on Congress to pass a measure to outlaw workplace discrimination against gays, saying it's outrageous that the country is even debating the subject.

Speaking to supporters of the gay advocacy group Human Rights Campaign in Los Angeles Saturday, Biden said it's "close to barbaric" that in some states, employees can be fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

He said it was time for Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act — known as ENDA.

He also criticized Russia's ban on so-called gay "propaganda" and its actions in Ukrainian territory.

He paraphrased the quote "a country that does not respect the rights of its citizens will not respect the rights of its neighbor," and said "we're seeing that in Ukraine."


US first lady hosts education roundtable in China

BEIJING (AP) — U.S. first lady Michelle Obama has hosted a discussion about education with Chinese professors and students on the third day of her visit to China.

She spoke about the importance of education with a handful of Chinese professors, students and parents at an event at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing that was closed to media.

Mrs. Obama plans to visit the Great Wall later Sunday and have lunch with her mother and daughters at a restaurant in a former school near a section of the wall.

On Saturday, she gave a speech at China's prestigious Peking University in which she promoted the free flow of information and freedom of speech. Those remarks were absent from China's state media reports but are circulating in social media.


Pro-Russian forces storm Ukrainian base in Crimea

BELBEK AIR BASE, Crimea (AP) — Pro-Russian forces are now in control of a Ukrainian air force base in Crimea.

The pro-Russian forces fired shots and smashed through the front gate and concrete walls of the Belbek base near the port city of Sevastopol with armored personnel carriers on Saturday.

Ukraine's Defense Ministry says one reporter and a Ukrainian soldier were injured in the raid.

It's the last major Ukrainian military facility in Crimea to fall into the hands of pro-Russian forces.

After the takeover, the base commander called together his men, who sang the Ukrainian national anthem and then stood at ease. He then told his men to put their weapons in the base's armory.

Russian forces have been seizing Ukrainian military facilities for several days in the Black Sea peninsula, which voted a week ago to secede and join Russia.

Elsewhere, more than 5,000 pro-Russia residents of Donetsk in Ukraine's east have been demonstrating in favor of holding a referendum on whether to split off and join Russia.

Russia has moved large military contingents to areas near the Ukrainian border, though Moscow has said it has no intention of moving into eastern Ukraine.


Search for Flight 370 continues

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Search planes are again in the skies over the southern Indian Ocean trying to locate Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 that vanished with 239 people aboard more than two weeks ago.

On Saturday, China released a satellite image showing a large object floating in the search zone.

The object, which appeared to be 72 feet by 43 feet, was captured by satellite on Tuesday in a location that falls within the search zone that planes and ships from a number of nations have been crisscrossing since similar images from another satellite emerged earlier in the week. But officials have found no trace of it.

The desolate area has strong currents and rough seas, and the ocean depth varies between 3,770 feet and 23,000 feet.


Plane carrying marijuana crashes near San Diego

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Authorities say an ultralight aircraft carrying about 250 pounds of marijuana has crashed in the mountains east of San Diego, but there's no sign of the pilot.

The downed plane was discovered Friday morning by U.S. Customs and Border Protection during a routine air patrol.

A team of federal agents picking through the wreckage in the remote Laguna Mountains found a helmet, gloves and other gear. There was also a pair of footprints leading away from the crash site.

Because there was no sign of blood, authorities believe the pilot walked away unscathed.

The marijuana was removed from the craft.

Mike Carney of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says agents are pursuing all leads related to the drug-smuggling incident.


UPDATE: Clinton still considering future plans; wants 'mass movement' on climate change

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton says she is "very much concerned" about the direction of the country but says she is still considering her future plans.

During a Saturday evening session of the Clinton Global Initiative University, a young woman asked Clinton whether she would consider running for president in 2016.

The student said if Clinton wouldn't represent women in politics, "who will?"

That got a roar of approval from the 1,000-plus students attending the event at Arizona State University.

Clinton responded that "it's not just who runs for office" but what they do once they get there.

Clinton also says young people understand the significant threat of climate change and that she hopes there will be a mass movement that demands political change.

The former secretary of state cited climate change as a major issue that students could face in the future.


Clinton says nation needs gradual debt reduction

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Former President Bill Clinton says the nation needs to address the government's long-term debt gradually as the economy recovers. But he tells college students that making tough choices is hard in a money-fueled political system.

Speaking Saturday at Arizona State University, the former president told the Clinton Global Initiative University that political leaders who make tough decisions run the risk of a billionaire spending a fortune to run television ads against them.

Clinton notes that Republican congressman Dave Camp of Michigan has been criticized by fellow Republicans because his tax overhaul proposal includes new or higher taxes for investment managers and big banks.

Of Camp, Clinton says, quote, "Boy, did he get killed by his own crowd."

The former president says future debt reduction needs to maintain key budget priorities.


Washington opens annual Cherry Blossom Festival while buds remain closed

WASHINGTON (AP) — The buds still aren't open on the cherry trees in Washington, D.C., but the national festival to honor the annual springtime event is blossoming.Saturday night to enjoy multicultural performances featuring singers and dancers. The Japanese ambassador to the U.S. marveled at the beauty of the pink and white blossoms but joked about the traffic snarls that also ensue. Washington D.C.'s mayor noted that even though it's spring, the region is expecting a snowstorm on Tuesday.

This year marks the 102nd anniversary of the gift of thousands of cherry trees from Japan as a symbol of friendship with the United States. Peak bloom is expected between April 8th and April 12th.


Circus elephants escape, damage parking lot cars

ST. CHARLES, Mo. (AP) — Authorities say three elephants escaped from their handlers at a circus near St. Louis and damaged several vehicles in the parking lot before they were recaptured.

Television station KMOV reports that the female elephants escaped from the children's ride section of the Moolah Shrine Circus at the Family Arena in St. Charles.

TV station KSDK says the circus issued a statement saying the handlers were able to occupy the animals and that "they are now resting comfortably in their compound at this time."

Police say that the animals also damaged the venue's loading door.

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