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In Asia, Obama reaffirms alliance with Japan

TOKYO — Declaring that “the United States is and always will be a Pacific nation,” President Barack Obama launched an Asia tour designed to assure leaders of ally nations that they have a strong U.S. backup at a time of rising regional tension.

Potential for heart attack, stroke risk seen with marijuana use

Over a five-year period, a government-mandated tracking system in France showed that physicians in that country treated 1,979 patients for serious health problems associated with the use of marijuana, and nearly 2 percent of those encounters were with patients suffering from cardiovascular problems, including heart attack, cardiac arrhythmia and stroke, and circulation problems in the arms and legs. In roughly a quarter of those cases, the study found, the patient died.

Material on Australian shore not from Malaysia jet

CANBERRA, Australia — Australian officials said Thursday that after examining detailed photographs of unidentified material that washed ashore in the southwestern part of the country they are satisfied it is not a clue in the search for the missing Malaysian plane.

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Biden arrives in Ukraine as militants seize more buildings

KIEV, Ukraine — Vice President Joe Biden on Monday embarked on a mission to show U.S. support for Ukraine’s embattled interim leaders as pro-Russia gunmen took over more government buildings in eastern Ukraine and the Kremlin’s top diplomat blamed Washington for the growing crisis.

In West Bank, teen offenders face different fates

BEIT UMAR, West Bank — The boys were both 15, with the crackly voices and awkward peach fuzz of adolescence. They lived just a few minutes away from one another in the West Bank. And both were accused of throwing stones at vehicles, one day after the other.