AP Top News at 3:52 p.m. EDT

The Associated Press
FILE - In this April 8, 2011 photo, President Obama poses for photographers in the Blue Room at the White House in Washington after he spoke regarding the budget and averted government shutdown after a deal was made between Republican and Democrat lawmakers.   The Treasury Department reports on the federal budget deficit for March. In February, the government ran the largest-ever budget gap for a single month. The shortfall kept this year's annual deficit on pace to end as the biggest in U.S. history, $1.5 trillion. And that's not likely to change much, even after President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans struck a deal last week to cut $38.5 billion from this year's budget.  (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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FILE - In this April 8, 2011 photo, President Obama poses for photographers in the Blue Room at the White House in Washington after he spoke regarding the budget and averted government shutdown after a deal was made between Republican and Democrat lawmakers. The Treasury Department reports on the federal budget deficit for March. In February, the government ran the largest-ever budget gap for a single month. The shortfall kept this year's annual deficit on pace to end as the biggest in U.S. history, $1.5 trillion. And that's not likely to change much, even after President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans struck a deal last week to cut $38.5 billion from this year's budget.

The historic $38 billion in budget cuts resulting from at-times hostile bargaining between Congress and the Obama White House were accomplished in large part by pruning money left over from previous years, using accounting sleight of hand and going after programs President Barack Obama had targeted anyway. Such moves permitted Obama to save favorite programs — Pell grants for college students, health research and "Race to the Top" aid for public schools, among others — from Republican knives, according to new details of the legislation released Tuesday morning.

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) — Five generals pledged their loyalty to President Alassane Ouattara on Tuesday following the capture of the country's strongman leader after a four-month standoff, as French and Ivorian forces worked to eliminate the last pockets of resistance. Ouattara's spokesman Patrick Achi confirmed that the generals who had been fighting on Laurent Gbagbo's side right up until his capture swore allegiance before Ouattara one by one at the Golf Hotel, where he set up his presidency after Gbagbo refused to acknowledge losing the November presidential election.

TOKYO (AP) — Japan ranked its nuclear crisis at the highest possible severity on an international scale — the same level as the 1986 Chernobyl disaster — even as it insisted Tuesday that radiation leaks are declining at its tsunami-crippled nuclear plant. The higher rating is an open acknowledgement of what was widely understood already: The nuclear accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant is the second-worst in history. It does not signal a worsening of the plant's status in recent days or any new health dangers.

BRUSSELS (AP) — A NATO general sharply rejected French criticism Tuesday of the operation in Libya, saying the North Atlantic military alliance is performing well and protecting civilians effectively. French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe had said NATO should be doing more to take out strongman Moammar Gadhafi's heavy weaponry that is targeting civilians in Libya.

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican has sanctioned a Belgian bishop who resigned last year after admitting he had sexually abused his nephew, saying he can no longer act as a priest in public and may risk further church sanctions. The Vatican on Tuesday clarified the punishment against the former Bruges Bishop Roger Vangheluwe after Belgian bishops reported over the weekend that he had merely been sent outside Belgium for spiritual and psychological counseling, a seemingly cushy punishment given the seriousness of the crime.

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Booming cannons, plaintive period music and hushed crowds ushered in the 150th anniversary of America's bloodiest war on Tuesday, a commemoration that continues to underscore a racial divide that had plagued the nation since before the Civil War. The events marked the 150th anniversary of the Confederate bombardment of Union-held Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, an engagement that plunged the nation into four years of war at a cost of more than 600,000 lives.

WASHINGTON (AP) — China's first aircraft carrier could begin sea trials as early as this summer and its deployment would significantly change the perception of the balance of power in the region, the chief of U.S. forces in the Pacific said Tuesday. China bought the vessel from Ukraine more than a decade ago, and it is viewed as emblematic of the communist state's ambition to be a military power that can challenge America's decades-long supremacy in the west Pacific. China's state news agency this month carried photos of the carrier in what it said was the final stages of reconstruction.

BERLIN (AP) — An FBI report kept secret for 25 years said the Soviet Union "quite likely fabricated" evidence central to the prosecution of John Demjanjuk — a revelation that could help the defense as closing arguments resume Wednesday in the retired Ohio auto worker's Nazi war crimes trial in Germany. The newly declassified FBI field office report, obtained by The Associated Press, casts doubt on the authenticity of a Nazi ID card that is the key piece of evidence in allegations that Demjanjuk served as a guard at the Sobibor death camp in occupied Poland.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA's three remaining space shuttles will go to Cape Canaveral, Los Angeles and suburban Washington when the program ends this summer, the space agency said Tuesday. The announcement came on the 30th anniversary of the first space shuttle flight and the 50th anniversary of man's first journey into space.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Attorneys for the locked-out NFL players arrived at federal court on Tuesday to meet with the judge who will oversee court-ordered mediation with the league. The attorneys met with U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan, with Hall of Fame defensive end Carl Eller in attendance. All declined comment.