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AP Top News at 12:53 p.m. EDT

Governor hopefuls distancing themselves from Clinton, Trump
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - In West Virginia, the Democrat running for governor has defended the coal industry while decrying his party's presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton. In Vermont, the Republican nominee for governor declared his support for transgender bathroom rights and denounced GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump. Those types of unconventional strategic calculations are helping to make for close races this year in several states. A dozen governor's offices will be up for grabs in the Nov. 8 elections, including at least seven that appear competitive. The national Republican and Democratic governors associations already have spent more than $25 million in those states, according to an Associated Press analysis of financial reports and interviews.


AP-GfK poll: Third party backers a wild card in 2016 race
WASHINGTON (AP) - Most people who are drawn to third party candidates in the presidential election aren't sold on their choice, making these voters wild cards in an already unpredictable contest. A shift in their support toward either of the major party nominees - away from Libertarian Gary Johnson, Jill Stein of the Green Party or another third party candidate - could drastically change the shape of the race. A recent Associated Press-GfK poll found that nearly 7 in 10 third-party supporters say they could still change their minds. They are about evenly split between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump if forced to choose between just those two.


Powerful Hurricane Matthew soaks Colombia, heads for Jamaica
KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) - One of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes in recent history weakened a little on Saturday as it drenched coastal Colombia and roared across the Caribbean on a course that still puts Jamaica, Haiti and Cuba in the path of potentially devastating winds and rain. Matthew briefly reached the top hurricane classification, Category 5, and was the strongest Atlantic hurricane since Felix in 2007. The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Matthew's winds had slipped from a peak of 160 mph (260 kph) to a still-devastating 145 mph (230 kph) and it was expected to reach the eastern part of Jamaica on Monday.


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Orthodox delegation stays away from pope's Mass
TBILISI, Georgia (AP) - Pope Francis' efforts to improve relations with the Georgian Orthodox Church suffered a public setback Saturday after the patriarchate decided not to send an official delegation to his Mass and repeated that Orthodox faithful cannot participate in Catholic services. Francis nevertheless pressed on with his agenda, insisting that Catholics must never try to convert Orthodox and bowing in prayer alongside the Orthodox patriarch after they both lit a candle in the Orthodox spiritual headquarters. He called for the historical divisions that have "lacerated" Christianity to be healed through patience, trust and dialogue. Saturday's developments on the second and final day of Francis' visit to Georgia reflected the "one step forward, two steps back" progress that often accompanies the Vatican's outreach to Orthodox and other Christian churches.


March planned in memory of man shot by police in California
EL CAJON, Calif. (AP) - Alfred Olango, the unarmed black man shot and killed by police in a suburb of San Diego, will be remembered in a demonstration Saturday organized by clergy members and supporters of Olango's family. The event comes a day after two videos of the shooting were released by authorities, something the family and community leaders in El Cajon had urged. The videos show the officer fired four times at close range almost immediately after Olango, 38, suddenly raised both hands to chest level and took what was described as a shooting stance. The shots came less than a minute after police arrived at the scene in response to Olango's sister calling 911 and reporting he was acting erratically.


Supreme Court in holding pattern, awaiting ninth justice
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court is set to begin its new term as it ended the last one, down one justice and ideologically deadlocked on a range of issues. The absence of a ninth justice since Antonin Scalia's death in February has hamstrung the court in several cases and forced the justices to look for less contentious issues on which they are less likely to divide by 4-4 votes. It could be several months, at least, before the nation's highest court is again operating at full strength. "It's a very interesting time at the court. That doesn't necessarily translate into interesting cases.


Missouri woman accuses fellow Legislature candidate of rape
ST. LOUIS (AP) - A woman running for a seat in the Missouri Legislature has accused a fellow Democratic candidate of raping her. Cora Faith Walker told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the attack happened the night of Aug. 26 or early the next morning when she went to meet Steven Roberts Jr. at a St. Louis apartment to discuss how they might work together in the upcoming legislative session. Both are running unopposed. Walker, a Ferguson lawyer, says she had two glasses of wine and remembers nothing after the second glass, and that she woke up in a bed there the next morning.


US mood hardens as leader of ally Philippines stokes outrage
WASHINGTON (AP) - As the body count mounts in the Philippines' deadly war on drugs, and its combative president's rhetoric plumbs new depths, the mood in Washington toward a key Asian ally is hardening. Influential U.S. lawmakers are warning that the extra-judicial killings in the drug war - President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday compared it to the Holocaust - could affect American aid. And while the Obama administration maintains that its 65-year-old alliance with the Philippines remains "ironclad," a senior U.S. diplomat is cautioning Duterte against more anti-U.S. posturing. "I think it would be a serious mistake in a democratic country like the Philippines to underestimate the power of the public's affinity for the U.S.


Effort to recognize World War II spies hung up in Congress
McLEAN, Va. (AP) - Spies don't work for fame or acclaim. But after 75 years, the men and women who served behind the enemy lines in Nazi Germany and the Pacific theater during World War II wouldn't mind some recognition. Legislation to award the spies the Congressional Gold Medal has passed the Senate and has more than 300 sponsors in the House, yet the bill is being held up by House Republicans, who recently enacted rules that require a special waiver to grant the medal to groups of people. "I would be extremely proud to get a gold medal for what we did for our country," said Frank Gleason, 96, one of the few remaining veterans of the Office of Strategic Services, the World War II-era forerunner to the CIA.


Jewish-American ex-sailor, 90, recalls Cyprus internment
NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) - Seventy years later, Murray Greenfield can still remember the anger he felt when he was locked up with hundreds of Jewish Holocaust survivors in a British detention camp on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. "Your first reaction is you're mad as hell," 90-year-old Greenfield told The Associated Press from his home in Israel, recalling the feelings of many stuck behind double rows of barbed wire fences and under armed guard. "Why should we, the survivors, be behind barbed wire?" Born and raised in New York City to Jewish immigrant parents, Greenfield reminisced about his time in Cyprus during a September visit to the island organized by his family for his 90th birthday.