VIDEO: Today's Headline News from Associated Press
POPE PRESIDES OVER TRIMMED EASTER VIGIL SERVICE
VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Pope Francis is celebrating a trimmed back Easter Vigil service after having reached out to Muslims and women during a Holy Week in which he has begun to put his mark on the Catholic Church.
Francis processed into a darkened and silent St. Peter's Basilica at the start of the Saturday service, which recalls the period between Christ's crucifixion on Good Friday and resurrection on Easter Sunday. One of the most dramatic moments of the Easter Vigil service - when the pope would share the light of his candle with others until the entire basilica twinkled - was shortened this year as were some of the Old Testament readings.
The Vatican has said these provisions are in keeping with Francis' aim to not have his Masses go on too long
VETERANS FIGHT CHANGES TO DISABILITY PAYMENTS
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Veterans groups are rallying to fight any proposal to change disability payments as the federal government attempts to address its long-term debt problem. They say they've sacrificed already.
Government benefits are adjusted according to inflation, and President Barack Obama has endorsed using a slightly different measure of inflation to calculate Social Security benefits. Benefits would still grow but at a slower rate.
Advocates for the nation's 22 million veterans fear that the alternative inflation measure would also apply to disability payments to nearly 4 million veterans as well as pension payments for an additional 500,000 low-income veterans and surviving families.
"I think veterans have already paid their fair share to support this nation," said the American Legion's Louis Celli. "They've paid it in lower wages while serving, they've paid it through their wounds and sacrifices on the battlefield and they're paying it now as they try to recover from those wounds."
NEW REQUIREMENTS FOR BALLAST WATER DUMPED BY SHIPS
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) -- The Environmental Protection Agency has issued new requirements for cleansing ballast water dumped from ships, which scientists believe has provided a pathway to U.S. waters for invasive species that damage ecosystems and cost the economy billions of dollars.
Commercial vessels are equipped with tanks that can hold millions of gallons of water to provide stability in rough seas. But live creatures often lurk in the soupy brews of water, seaweed and sediment. If they survive transoceanic journeys and are released into U.S. waters, they can multiply rapidly, crowding out native species and spreading diseases.
Ships are currently required to dump ballast water 200 miles from a U.S. shoreline. But under the new general permit released Thursday by the EPA, vessels longer than 79 feet - which includes an estimated 60,000 vessels - must also treat ballast water with technology such as ultraviolet light or chemicals to kill at least some of the organisms.
The permit imposes international cleanliness standards that the Coast Guard also adopted in regulations it issued last year. The EPA said studies by its science advisory board and the National Research Council endorsed the standards, which limit the number of living organisms in particular volumes of water.
Environmental groups contend the limits should be 100 or even 1,000 times tougher, but industry groups say no existing technology can go that far.
COURT INSTALLED AT GEORGIA DOME FOR FINAL FOUR