TOP STORIES:

NSA-SURVEILLANCE

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's blueprint for overhauling the government's sweeping surveillance program is just the starting point. The reality is few changes could happen quickly without unlikely agreements from a divided Congress and federal judges. By Stephen Braun and Julie Pace.

NUCLEAR MISSTEPS

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a stunning setback for a nuclear missile force already beset by missteps and leadership lapses, the U.S. Air Force disclose that 34 officers entrusted with the world's deadliest weapons have been removed from launch duty for allegedly cheating — or tolerating cheating by others — on routine proficiency tests. By Robert Burns and Lolita C. Baldor. AP Photos.

BIN LADEN SPOKESMAN

NEW YORK (AP) — A man convicted in the United Kingdom in the 2001 shoe bomb plot can testify through a video link at the terrorism trial of Osama bin Laden's son-in-law and former spokesman, a judge rules. By Larry Neumeister.

MEXICO-VIGILANTES

APATZINGAN, Mexico — Vigilantes in violent Michoacan state insist they won't lay down their guns until top leaders of a powerful drug cartel are arrested, defying government orders as federal forces try to regain control in a lawless region plagued by armed groups. By Mark Stevenson. AP Photos.

BENGHAZI ATTACK

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Senate report declared Wednesday that the deadly assault on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya — the aftermath of which became the biggest partisan dispute in Washington — could have been prevented. By Kimberly Dozier. AP Photos.

VENEZUELA-DOGS OF CHAVEZ

MUCUCHIES, Venezuela — The Soviets made space dog Laika a national hero and Americans have fallen for presidential pets from Millie to Bo. In Venezuela, a breed of shaggy sheepdog called the mucuchie has come to embody the legacy of the late Hugo Chavez, who rescued the breed from near-extinction. By Joshua Goodman and Ricardo Nunes. AP Photos.

CUBA-BASEBALL DIPLOMACY

HAVANA — Balls and strikes, not politics, rule the day at a baseball diamond in Havana as a U.S. college championship team plays an exhibition game against a Cuban youth squad — an encounter between neighboring nations that disagree on just about everything except their shared love of the game. By Peter Orsi. AP Photos.

SAN FRANCISCO-AIRLINER CRASH-VIDEO

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Video from a firefighter's helmet camera following the crash landing of an Asiana Airlines flight in San Francisco shows rescuers were aware there was someone on the ground outside the plane, before she was fatally run over by a fire truck.

HAITI-DUVALIER CASE

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Two leading advocacy groups condemn the sluggish pace of a criminal case against former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier. By Trenton Daniel. AP Photo.

ARGENTINA-OBIT-GELMAN

MEXICO CITY — Juan Gelman, a renowned Argentine poet and left-wing activist who was awarded the prestigious Cervantes Prize, has died in Mexico, where he lived for more than 20 years. He was 83. By E. Eduardo Castillo and Almudena Calatrava. AP Photos.

CHURCH ABUSE-CHICAGO

CHICAGO (AP) — The Archdiocese of Chicago on Wednesday will hand over thousands of pages documenting clergy sex abuse allegations to victims' attorneys who have fought for years to hold the Catholic Church accountable for its handling of such claims. By Tammy Webber and Jason Keyser. AP Photos.

PUERTO RICO-FESTIVAL LAWSUIT

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The American Civil Liberties Union files a lawsuit seeking a court injunction to block new security measures at this week's popular street festival in Puerto Rico's capital that draws hundreds of thousands of locals and tourists. By Danica Coto.

ECUADOR-EMAIL HACKED

LIMA, Peru — An opposition politician says electronic documents stolen from her email are being used by government media in a smear campaign in what could be the first case of a public figure's digital privacy being violated for political ends in Ecuador. By Frank Bajak.

ALCOHOL-BRAIN

NEW YORK (AP) — Middle-aged men risk a faster mental decline as they age if they've been drinking heavily for years, new research suggests. By Malcom Ritter. AP Photos.

PUERTO RICO-TEACHERS' STRIKE

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Thousands of striking school teachers gather in Puerto Rico's capital and their leaders meet with government officials to talk about recent changes to the retirement system that sparked a two-day walkout. By Danica Coto.

BIRDS IN SYNC

NEW YORK (AP) — The next time you see birds flying in a V, consider this: A new study says they choreograph the flapping of their wings with exquisite precision to help them on their way. By Malcolm Ritter. AP Photos.

DEATH PENALTY-OHIO

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court rejects a condemned killer's last-minute appeal in which he claimed a jury never heard the full extent of his chaotic and abusive childhood. By Andrew Welsh-Huggins. AP Photos.

GERMAN SOCIALITE SLAIN

WASHINGTON (AP) — A jury in Washington has begun deliberating the fate of a German man charged with killing his 91-year-old socialite wife.

BOSTON MARATHON-SUSPECT'S FRIENDS

BOSTON (AP) — Three friends of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will go on trial in June on charges they hindered the investigation into the attack, a federal judge rules. By Denise Lavoie.

WRONG BODY IN CASKET

PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island (AP) — The daughter of a woman whose casket contained the wrong body said Wednesday that DNA tests will be performed to determine if her mother was accidentally cremated in Canada. By Erika Niedowski.

BUSINESS and FINANCE:

FTC-APPLE SETTLEMENT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Apple will refund at least $32.5 million to consumers to settle a federal case involving purchases that kids made without their parents' permission while playing on mobile apps, the government announced Wednesday. By Jennifer C. Kerr. AP Photos.

SOLAR CITY-INVESTING IN SOLAR

NEW YORK (AP) — Solar panel installer SolarCity is turning to retail investors for cash. The company said Wednesday that it plans to sell securities directly to individuals and others interested in investing in its rooftop solar systems. By Jonathan Fahey. AP Photos.

ENTERTAINMENT:

FILM-SUNDANCE

LOS ANGELES (AP) — As Kristen Stewart, Elisabeth Moss and Joseph Gordon-Levitt have learned, the Sundance Film Festival in the mountains of Utah is the ideal destination to get away from it all and work on that career shift. Robert Redford's two-week celebration of independent cinema kicks off its 30th year in Park City, Utah. By Jessica Herndon. AP Photos.

JACKSON-ESTATE

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A lawsuit over the payout of a $17.5 million policy related to Michael Jackson's planned comeback concerts has been settled, attorneys tell a judge. By Anthony McCartney. AP Photos.

MICHAEL JACKSON-DOCTOR

LOS ANGELES (AP) — An appellate court on Wednesday unanimously upheld the involuntary manslaughter conviction of Michael Jackson's doctor, determining there was substantial evidence of his guilt presented at trial. By Anthony McCartney. AP Photos.