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Death toll in ferry disaster likely to rise

Nearly 300 people are unaccounted for after a ferry carrying more than 450 people, most of them high school students, sank in freezing waters off South Korea's southern coast. The ferry sent a distress call at about 9 a.m. local time Wednesday after it began leaning to one side. Dozens of boats, helicopters and divers are searching for survivors, though many passengers were feared trapped in the wreckage as the boat sank.

Boston bombing suspect wants some leniency

Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are headed to court Wednesday morning to ask a judge to dismiss some of the charges against him and to ease restrictions on him in prison. The court hearing comes hours after a man was arrested for possessing a hoax device at the Boston Marathon site.

Ex-NFL star Sharper to challenge his no-bail status in Ariz.

Lawyers for former NFL All-Pro safety Darren Sharper will appear in an Arizona court Wednesday to challenge the evidence used to keep him in jail without bail on charges that he drugged and sexually assaulted two women. Sharper, who faces similar charges in California, is under investigation for alleged date rapes of nine women across five states: two in California, two in Arizona, two in Louisiana, two in Nevada and one in Florida. He's suspected of offering the women drug-laced drinks and raping them while they were unconscious.

Beige Book is out

Several economic reports come out Wednesday, including a look at housing starts and the so-called Beige Book, which offers a region-by-region analysis of the economy across the USA. In addition, former Fed chairman Ben Bernanke gives a speech at noon ET.

Stanley Cup playoffs begin

The opening round of the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs kicks off Wednesday. The 12-member USA TODAY Sports NHL power rankings panel believes the Boston Bruins, who won the cup in 2011 and blew a late lead in Game 6 last spring to watch the Chicago Blackhawks skate around with the cup at TD Garden, can get over the hump this season, with six picking them as champions.

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