Top News: Vladimir Putin rebuffed calls from the international community to pullback troops from Crimea, saying Russia had to protect native Russian speakers in Ukraine. A Ukrainian official reported that there are now 30,000 Russian troops in the region, though Putin continues to deny that the unidentified soldiers are Russian forces.
Putin's latest moves come as the Ukrainian interim prime minster warned Crimean MPs against a secession vote. Arseniy has called the vote, which is scheduled for March 16, "illegitimate." The referendum has been supported by the Russian parliament.
Jordan: Secretary of State John Kerry met with Jordan's King Abdullah II to discuss the peace process. Kerry hopes to present a framework for an agreement between Israel and Palestine authorities by the end of April. Any proposal centers on a security plan in the Jordan Valley.
-By Jake Scobey-Thal