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Emergency crews searched the broken remnants of an Oklahoma City suburb Tuesday for survivors of a massive tornado that flattened homes and demolished an elementary school. At least 24 people were killed, including at least nine children, and those numbers were expected to climb. As the sun rose over the shattered community of Moore, the state medical examiner's office cut the estimated death toll by more than half but warned that the number was likely to climb again. Spokeswoman Amy Elliott said she believes some victims were counted twice in the early chaos of the storm that struck Monday afternoon. Downed communication lines and problems sharing information with officers exacerbated the problem, she said. A woman is pulled out from under the rubble in Moore, Oklahoma, Monday, May 20, 2013 after a tornado with an initial classification of EF-4 struck the town. Moore police dig through the rubble of the Plaza Towers Elementary School. Two men attempt to pry open a door on this car to check for victims in a business parking lot west of I-35 south of 4th Street in Moore.


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When Lindsay Carter heard on the radio that a violent storm was approaching her rural Oklahoma neighborhood, she gathered her belongings and fled. When she returned, there was little left. Sunday's tornado that tore part of the roof from Carter's frame house -- one of few such homes in the Steelman Estates Mobile Home Park near Shawnee -- laid waste to many of her neighbors' places, and killed two people and injured several others. "Trees were all gone. I walked further down and all those houses were gone," she said of her return home to the neighborhood. The tornado was one of several that touched down Sunday in the nation's midsection, concentrating damage in central Oklahoma and Wichita, Kan. Two people were killed in or near the mobile home park, which is outside of Shawnee, a community about 35 miles southeast of Oklahoma City. At least 39 people throughout Oklahoma were injured, according to the state's emergency management director, Albert Ashwood. The National Weather Service was forecasting more of the same for the region -- including Oklahoma City and Tulsa -- Monday afternoon and evening, warning of the possibility of tornadoes and baseball-sized hail. Residents of Arkansas, Kansas and Missouri were also warned to watch for bad weather Monday.


view Oklahoma, Other Tornado-hit States Brace For More as presented by: Sacramento Bee

The National Cherry Blossom Festival is a spring celebration in Washington, D.C., commemorating the March 27, 1912, gift of Japanese cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo City to the city of Washington. Mayor Ozaki donated the trees in an effort to enhance the growing friendship between the United States and Japan and also celebrate the continued close relationship between the two nations. The festival runs for March 20 to April 14 this year with peak bloom predicted for April 6 through 8. eak bloom is defined as the period when 70 percent of the blossoms on the Yoshino Cherry trees are open; however, the blooming period can last up to 14 days.


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Saturday's earthquake in China's Sichuan province, measured by China's earthquake administration at magnitude 7.0 and by the U.S. Geological Survey at 6.6, killed at least 192 people, injured more than 11,000 and left nearly two dozen missing, mostly in the rural communities around Ya'an city. The temblor struck along the same fault line where a devastating quake to the north killed more than 90,000 people in Sichuan and neighboring areas five years ago in one of China's worst natural disasters. Relief teams flew in helicopters and dynamited through landslides to reach some of the most isolated communities, where rescuers in orange overalls led sniffer dogs through piles of brick, concrete and wood debris to search for survivors. Residents line up for packets of instant noodles in the earthquake struck county of Lushan in southwestern China's Sichuan province, Monday, April 22, 2013. Saturday's earthquake in Sichuan province killed at least 186 people, injured more than 11,000 and left nearly two dozen missing, mostly in the rural communities around Ya'an city, along the same seismic fault where a devastating quake to the north killed more than 90,000 people in Sichuan and neighboring areas five years ago in one of China's worst natural disasters. An elderly woman sleeps behind plastic covers along a roadside in the quake ravage county of Lushan. medical workers take care of a newborn boy in a tent functioned as temporary hospital in quake-hit Taiping Township of Lushan, southwest China's Sichuan Province, Tuesday, April 23, 2013. The boy's mother Yang Yan, a 20-year-old woman, and father Chen Wei arrived at the hospital in early Tuesday, after making the long journey for over three hours from their home in Xingmin village of Taiping Township.


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As the world watches to see what North Korea's next move will be in a high-stakes game of brinksmanship with the United States, residents of its capital aren't hunkering down in bunkers and preparing for the worst. Instead, they are out on the streets en masse getting ready for the birthday of national founder Kim Il Sung -- the biggest holiday of the year. The festivities leading up to Kim's birthday come amid fears that North Korea may be planning to test launch a new missile in retaliation for what it claims are provocative war games by U.S. and South Korean troops just across the Korean border. Even at such a seemingly innocuous setting as a flower show in Kim's honor, North Korea's warning that it is prepared to strike back if pushed too far is on prominent display. This year's exhibition of "Kimilsungia" flowers - which North Koreans claim their scientists have bred into the most beautiful orchids in the world - is built around mockups of red-tipped missiles, slogans hailing the military and reminders of the threats that North Koreans feel are all around them.


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Greenland's Inuit people have countless terms to describe ice in all its varieties. This gallery of photographs by Brennan Linsley of The Associated Press is something of a visual vocabulary for the striking forms ice takes on the giant Arctic island. Greenland's ice sheet and glaciers are melting more and more as the world warms, sending gushing water and towering icebergs into the sea, threatening to raise ocean levels worldwide in the years and decades to come. Researchers are hard at work trying to gauge how much will melt and when. Some of the most spectacular icebergs are calved from the 6-kilometer-wide (4-mile-wide) Jakobshavn Glacier near the town of Ilulissat on Greenland's west central coast. These icebergs push out into the 50-kilometer-long (30-mile-long) Ilulissat Ice Fjord, and then into Disko Bay and eventually the North Atlantic ocean. The ice, much of it tens of thousands of years old, originates in the 1.7-million-square-kilometer (660,000-square-mile) ice sheet covering 80 percent of Greenland.


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The crew of the USS Underwood is waiting. Somewhere amid the endless expanse of water that surrounds the U.S. Navy frigate, drug traffickers are speeding millions of dollars of contraband from Latin American shores to the U.S. The ship's mission is to stop at least some of that traffic, which from day to day means spending long hours searching the Western Hemisphere's coasts while preparing for action. Endless duties and drills fill the day, as the crew trains for everything from a terrorist attack to a riot at port. At night, sailors sleep in tiny cubicles so cramped that many can't turn onto their sides. In October, the 30-year-old vessel was patrolling the Caribbean waters off Panama, as part of a multinational effort to hit illicit trafficking routes on both coasts of the Central American isthmus. Since it set sail with a crew of 260 in April 2012, it's visited ports in Panama, Peru, Chile, Colombia, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, the Netherland Antilles and Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. The Underwood is the oldest surface combatant ship in the U.S. Navy but no longer carries guided missiles. In fact, the recent deployment was the Underwood's last voyage, with 10 other U.S. Navy ships scheduled to be decommissioned early next year.


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Antiretroviral therapy, in the past considered a miracle only available to HIV patients in the West, is no longer scarce in many of the poorest parts of the world. Pills are cheaper and easier to access, and HIV is not the same killer that once left thousands of orphaned children in sub-Saharan Africa. But Myanmar, otherwise known as Burma, remains a special case. Kept in the dark for so many decades by its reclusive ruling junta, this country of 60 million did not reap the same international aid as other needy nations. Heavy economic sanctions levied by countries such as the United States, along with virtually nonexistent government health funding, left an empty hole for medicine and services. Today, Myanmar ranks among the world's hardest places to get HIV care, and health experts warn it will take years to prop up a broken health system hobbled by decades of neglect.


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