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Back problems sideline Wood for Masters

Tiger Woods announced on Tuesday he would miss next week's Masters after undergoing back surgery for a pinched nerve that has troubled him for months. The world number one pulled out of his traditional Masters warm-up event in Florida last month and released a statement on his website on Tuesday saying he was withdrawing from the first major of 2014, starting at Augusta National on April 10. "After attempting to get ready for the Masters, and failing to make the necessary progress, I decided, in consultation with my doctors, to have this procedure done," said Woods. "I'd like to express my disappointment to the Augusta National membership, staff, volunteers and patrons that I will not be at the Masters.

Death toll climbs to 27 at Washington mudslide

ARLINGTON, Wash. (AP) — The official death toll from Washington state's mudslide has increased to 27, with the Snohomish County medical examiner's office saying 19 victims have been positively identified. That's up from 24 dead with 18 identified on Monday.

Official: Deal emerging on Mideast talks extension

JERUSALEM (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is closer to a deal that would rescue the faltering Mideast peace talks, pushing a formula that would include the release of convicted U.S. spy Jonathan Pollard and freedom for hundreds of Palestinians held by Israel, an official close to the negotiations said Tuesday.

France's Hollande seeks fresh start as new PM begins

Francois Hollande launched what he has billed as a fresh start to his unpopular 22-month-old presidency on Tuesday, as new prime minister Manuel Valls took up his post and set about forming a reshuffled government. The 51-year-old centrist, who as tough-talking interior minister has consistently been Hollande's most popular minister in surveys, replaced Jean-Marc Ayrault who quit following the ruling Socialist Party's rout in weekend local elections. While Valls is a public favorite, including with conservative voters, his centrist views make him more controversial with the left wing of the Socialist Party. Speculation has centered on whether Pierre Moscovici will remain in the powerful finance minister's job, while coalition sources have also talked about a possible return to government for Segolene Royal, Hollande's ex-partner and a former Socialist presidential candidate.

NATO meets on Ukraine; plans to reassure Baltics

BRUSSELS (AP) — Facing their biggest security challenge in years, NATO foreign ministers discussed how to react to Russia's annexation of Crimea and how to reassure the alliance's rattled eastern members in the face of a newly assertive Russia.

Will world court ruling end Japan's whaling?

TOKYO (AP) — Japan's whaling in the Antarctic is at a crossroads after the International Court of Justice ordered the program stopped. The court concluded the supposed scientific research program is actually a guise for commercial whaling. This week's ruling cannot be appealed, but Japan has other options to consider.

Malaysian credibility in jet hunt challenged again

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — It may mean little to investigators that the last words air traffic controllers heard from the lost jetliner were "Good night, Malaysian three-seven-zero," rather than "All right, good night." But to Malaysian officials whose credibility has been questioned almost from the beginning, it means a great deal.

Deadline brings high interest for health insurance

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A blizzard, jammed phone lines and unreliable websites failed to stop throngs of procrastinating Americans from trying to sign up for health coverage by the midnight Monday deadline for President Barack Obama's signature domestic policy initiative.