AP Top News at 10:53 a.m. EDT
DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) ? Pro-Russian insurgents in Ukraine's Donetsk region are declaring it an independent state and asking to join Russia. The move follows a hastily organized referendum Sunday in which organizers say about 90 percent of those who cast ballots in Donetsk and the neighboring Luhansk region backed sovereignty for the sprawling areas that form Ukraine's industrial heartland.
DENVER (AP) ? A spring storm that has brought over a foot of snow to parts of Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska and thunderstorms and tornadoes to the Midwest was slowing down travelers and left some without power Monday morning. The weather shut down a 150-mile stretch of Interstate 80 in Wyoming as well as a portion in neighboring Nebraska.
LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) ? A new video from Nigeria's Boko Haram terrorist network purports to show dozens of abducted schoolgirls, covered in hijab and praying in Arabic. It is the first public sight of the girls since more than 300 were kidnapped from a northeastern school the night of April 14 ? exactly four weeks ago.
WASHINGTON (AP) ? Days after President Barack Obama touted executive actions aimed at increasing energy efficiency, a bill with similar goals is expected to fall victim to partisan gridlock in the Senate. A bipartisan bill to promote many of the same efficiency goals Obama touted Friday in California is expected to go down in defeat Monday amid a dispute over the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
ISTANBUL (AP) ? Europe's top human rights court in its largest ever judgment ordered Turkey on Monday to pay 90 million euros ($123 million) to Cyprus for its 1974 invasion and the island's subsequent division. The decision from the European Court of Human Rights said the passage of time did not erase Turkey's responsibility in the case, ruling that Turkey must pay 30 million euros in damages to relatives of those missing in the operations and 60 million euros for "the enclaved Greek-Cypriot residents of the Karpas peninsula."
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) ? The Taliban unleashed a wave of attacks Monday across Afghanistan to mark the start of their spring offensive, storming a government building in the east where attackers killed two police guards and five civilians, and striking a police checkpoint to the south and killing nine policemen. Also Monday, rockets hit inside the grounds of the Kabul international airport but caused no damage. Rockets also struck the NATO base at Bagram, just north of the Afghan capital, causing minor damage, the alliance said.
BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) ? The cost of building Brasilia's World Cup stadium has nearly tripled to $900 million in public funds, largely due to allegedly fraudulent billing, government auditors say. The spike in costs has made it the world's second-most expensive soccer arena, even though the city has no major professional team. Mane Garrincha stadium, which boasts 288 imposing concrete pillars holding aloft a high-tech self-cleaning roof, has become the costliest project related to Brazil's $11.5 billion World Cup. Critics call it the poster child for out-of-control spending and mismanagement, or worse.
LA PAMPA, Peru (AP) ? They sweat through 28-hour shifts in the malarial jungle of the Madre de Dios region of southeastern Peru, braving the perils of collapsing earth and limb-crushing machinery to come up with a few grams of gold. Most illegal miners hail from impoverished highlands communities and even here barely earn subsistence wages. They chew coca leaf, a mild stimulant, to ward off the fatigue that can lead to fatal accidents.
LOS ANGELES (AP) ? He spews radioactive fire, razes cities and pummels creatures from Earth and beyond, but even Godzilla needs a good lawyer sometimes. After all, you don't survive 60 years in the movie business without taking some fights to court. For decades, attorneys acting on behalf of Godzilla's owners, Tokyo-based Toho Co. Ltd., have amassed a string of victories, fighting counterfeiters and business titans such as Comcast and Honda along the way. The opponents have come from all corners of pop culture: TV commercials, video games, rap music and even the liquor industry.
NEW YORK (AP) ? The handsome football player gets drafted by an NFL team, plants an emotional kiss on his sweetheart and gives sportscasts a feel-good video clip. It's a scene that plays out for dozens of draft picks.