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AP Top News at 12:12 p.m. EST

Dems call GOP Homeland Security strategy a political blunder
WASHINGTON (AP) - Democrats are losing some skirmishes over the Department of Homeland Security, but many feel they are winning a political war that will haunt Republicans in 2016 and beyond. Democrats lacked the votes Friday to force Republicans to fund the department for a year with no strings. Still, even some Republicans say party leaders are on a perilous path with a very public ideological struggle only highlighting the GOP's inability to pass contested legislation and possibly worsening its weak relationship with Hispanic voters.


Obama, Netanyahu on collision course 6 years in the making
WASHINGTON (AP) - For six years, President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been on a collision course over how to halt Iran's nuclear ambitions, a high-stakes endeavor both men see as a centerpiece of their legacies. The coming weeks will put the relationship between their countries, which otherwise remain stalwart allies, to one of its toughest tests.


Russian investigators: Nemtsov killing may be provocation
MOSCOW (AP) - Russia's top investigative body said Saturday it is looking into several possible motives for the killing of prominent opposition figure Boris Nemtsov, including an attempt to destabilize the state, Islamic extremism, the Ukraine conflict and his personal life. A statement from the body, the Investigative Committee, didn't address the possibility seen as likely by many of Nemtsov's supporters - that he was killed for being one of President Vladimir Putin's most adamant and visible critics.


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Nemtsov killing follows slaying of other Kremlin critics
MOSCOW (AP) - Prominent Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov's killing follows the slaying over the past decade of several other high-profile critics of President Vladimir Putin and his policies. Here is a look at some of the best-known cases. ---


Upstate New York towns consider seceding to Pennsylvania
CONKLIN, N.Y. (AP) - Plenty of people leave New York state but in a job-hungry stretch of upstate, folks talk about staying put and seceding to Pennsylvania. Local officials stung by a recent decision to ban natural gas fracking have raised the idea of redrawing the Keystone State's border. Even though they don't expect it to happen, members of the Upstate New York Towns Association hope the specter of secession will result in something - anything - good for a struggling part of the state peering enviously over the state line.


Egyptian court declares Hamas a 'terrorist organization'
CAIRO (AP) - An Egyptian court declared Hamas a "terrorist organization" on Saturday, further isolating the rulers of the Gaza Strip who once found a warm welcome under the country's past Islamist government. The ruling by Judge Mohamed el-Sayed of the Court For Urgent Matters described Hamas as targeting both civilians and security forces inside Egypt's restive Sinai Peninsula and aiming to harm the country. The Sinai has been under increasing attack by Islamic extremists since the Egyptian military ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in 2013.


Added tax season hassle for some due to health form errors
WASHINGTON (AP) - It's not uncommon to feel some trepidation around tax-filing season. But there's an added hassle this year for nearly a million consumers who got financial help with health insurance premiums under President Barack Obama's law.


Wesleyan overdoses happened as school stepped up efforts
MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (AP) - As drug overdoses left two Wesleyan students fighting for their lives, witnesses helped investigators quickly identify the suspects: The drug-dealing was an open secret, according to court documents, even as the university has gotten tougher on drug violations. The club-drug overdoses, which sent a total of 12 people to hospitals, are likely to bring more scrutiny to drug policies on college campuses, including Wesleyan's, which have wrestled with how to approach enforcement and when to involve local police.


Knicks say former player Anthony Mason has died
NEW YORK (AP) - Anthony Mason, the rugged power forward who was a defensive force in the NBA from the 1990s into the early 21st century, has died. He was 48. The Knicks confirmed Mason's death, which was first reported Saturday by the New York Daily News. He had been battling heart problems.


AP PHOTOS: Antarctica's spectacular glaciers melting faster
CAPE LEGOUPIL, Antarctica (AP) - From the ground of this extreme northern part of Antarctica, a spectacular white and blinding ice seemingly extends forever. What can't be seen is the battle raging below to reshape Earth. Water is eating away at the Antarctic ice, melting it where it hits the oceans. As the ice sheets slowly thaw, water pours into the sea, 130 billion tons of ice (118 billion metric tons) per year for the past decade, according to NASA satellite calculations. That's enough ice melt to fill more than 1.3 million Olympic swimming pools. And the melting is accelerating.