First US Navy Warship Heads to Black Sea as Potential Backup for Sochi

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2014-02_c1ac46aa7e.jpgSEIRON BAROIAN/AFP/Getty Images (WASHINGTON) -- The USS Mount Whitney left its homeport of Gaeta, Italy, Friday — the first of two U.S. Navy ships that will be operating in the Black Sea during the Sochi Olympics, Pentagon officials said. The other vessel, the frigate USS Taylor, is scheduled to depart an Italian port on Saturday, officials said. Both ships will likely enter the Black Sea sometime over the coming week.

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Sochi Emergency Simulation Found Flaws in Russian Plans

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2014-02_a7ad91d790.jpgKIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images (MOSCOW) -- In early December officials at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow huddled together to run a simulation in hopes of answering an important question: If there was a mass casualty incident at the Sochi Olympics, like a terrorist attack or earthquake, would Russia's emergency plans work? The results were sobering, according to several U.S. officials briefed on its findings. "Things got real ugly, real quick," one official told ABC News.

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Most Americans Say Wars' Goals Were Not Achieved

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2014-01_4030dde0f5.jpgMichael Watkins/Thinkstock (WASHINGTON) -- Were the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan worth fighting? Most respondents to a new USA TODAY/Pew Research Center don't believe so. Two years after the Obama administration withdrew all U.S. forces from Iraq, 52 percent of Americans believe the goals were not achieved, compared to 37 percent who felt otherwise. These numbers are essentially the opposite of what respondents said in November 2011.

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Syria Peace Talks Stop Briefly to Observe War Dead

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2014-01_8a7875df5b.jpgcreisinger/Thinkstock (GENEVA) -- In a rare display of common ground at their contentious peace talks in Geneva, the Syrian government and opposition forces observed a brief moment of silence Thursday for the victims of the three-year-long civil war. It was the delegation representing the foes of President Bashar al-Assad who made the suggestion while the team from Damascus went along with the request.

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Egyptian Government Targets Al-Jazeera Journalists

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2014-01_02444db073.jpgfotokon/Thinkstock (CAIRO) -- Showing little tolerance for public dissent, the interim Egyptian government is taking more steps to quash any potential criticism of the regime by putting 20 Al-Jazeera journalists on trial. The government has accused both Egyptian and foreign reporters of "belonging to terrorist organizations violating the law" along with "damaging national unity and social peace" among other charges.

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