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AP Top News at 11:59 a.m. EDT

IS captures Iraqi town, purges opponents in Syria's Palmyra
BAGHDAD (AP) - Islamic State group militants searched through the Syrian town of Palmyra for government troops and fighters, using lists of names and informers to track them down and shooting some in the head on the spot, activists said Friday, estimating at least 150 have been killed in the past two days. The purge was part of a clampdown by the extremist group to solidify its grip on the town since overrunning it late Wednesday. The militants have also imposed a curfew from 5 p.m. until sunrise and banned people from leaving town until Saturday morning to ensure none of the government figures they seek manage to escape, activists and officials said.


Ex-con who worked for rich family arrested in their deaths
WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. marshals and police tracked down and arrested a dangerous ex-convict and five others, bringing a sudden and safe ending to a multistate manhunt in the slayings of a wealthy Washington family and their housekeeper, authorities said Friday. The fugitive task force tracked Daron Dylon Wint to New York and back before they caught up with him late Thursday night in the parking lot of a Howard Johnson Express Inn in College Park, Maryland.


Archives show Hillary Clinton OK'd tax breaks for nonprofits
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - As first lady in the final year of the Clinton administration, Hillary Rodham Clinton endorsed a White House plan to give tax breaks to private foundations and wealthy charity donors at the same time the William J. Clinton Foundation was soliciting donations for her husband's presidential library, recently released Clinton-era documents show. The blurred lines between the tax reductions proposed by the Clinton administration in 2000 and the Clinton Library's fundraising were an early foreshadowing of the potential ethics concerns that have flared around the Clintons' courting of corporate and foreign donors for their family charity before she launched her campaign for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.


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Obama's Senate allies hope to endorse his trade bill Friday
WASHINGTON (AP) - Supporters of President Barack Obama's trade agenda hope to fend off hostile Senate amendments Friday and send a major trade bill to the House, where another fierce debate awaits. Senators also plan to address the government's soon-to-expire authority to collect bulk data on Americans' phone records.


US: Myanmar should share responsibility for Rohingya crisis
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) - Navy ships from two countries scoured Southeast Asian waters Friday for boats believed to be carrying thousands of migrants with little food or water, and a top U.S. diplomat said Myanmar needs to shoulder some responsibility for the crisis. That's something it has been reluctant to do. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Rohingya Muslims fleeing the predominantly Buddhist nation are risking perilous journeys and putting their lives in the hands of human traffickers because "they are in despair and don't see a future" at home.


Demilitarizing the cops: States retool police training
BURIEN, Wash. (AP) - When prosecutor Dan Satterberg used to visit Washington state's police academy, the seas would part before him. Recruits would snap to attention, backs to the walls, and allow him to pass. Now, they greet him and start a conversation.


Not even helmets help pro bull riders stave off concussions
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - Kasey Hayes hopped on the bovine beast trapped in the narrow holding pen like he'd done hundreds of times. He adjusted a tight rope on his left hand, found his balance and signaled he was ready to dominate the bull for the next eight seconds - or, at least, hoped to. The red metal gate swung open. The bull's spine rolled, the animal charged forward and stood on its rear legs. The crowd cheered as the first ride on this March evening appeared promising. After 3.72 seconds, Hayes lost control, hit the ground and got his head stomped on by the 1,600-pounder named Shaft. His hockey-like helmet split in two. The arena fell silent.


Finding cause of California oil spill could take months
GOLETA, Calif. (AP) - The operator of an oil pipeline that broke and spilled thousands of gallons of crude across a scenic California shoreline says it could take weeks or even months before investigators find what caused the disaster. Bad weather slowed cleanup efforts early Friday at the spill site in Santa Barbara County, where gusty winds whipped up waves as high as 4 feet, the National Weather Service said. Several days of calm seas had helped crews, but oil skimming vessels were brought in late Thursday, Santa Barbara news station KEYT-TV reported.


Surveillance debate produces unusual alliances in Capitol
WASHINGTON (AP) - Congress' debate over domestic surveillance is scrambling partisan divisions in the Senate as libertarian-minded Republicans defy their leaders to make common cause with liberal Democrats. Tea party conservative Sen. Mike Lee of Utah is pairing with liberal stalwart Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont to push for Senate passage of the USA Freedom Act, which would end the National Security Agency's collection and storage of domestic calling records after a six-month transition period. Already approved by the House on a large bipartisan vote, the bill could come to a vote in the Senate on Friday, but is opposed by GOP leaders who prefer to extend the existing call collection program unaltered.


South Korean court frees Korean Air 'nut rage' executive
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - A South Korean court on Friday suspended the prison term of a former Korean Air executive whose onboard "nut rage" tantrum delayed a flight last year, immediately ending her incarceration. The Seoul High Court said Cho Hyun-ah, who is the daughter of the airline's chairman, did not violate the aviation security law when she ordered the chief flight attendant off a Dec. 5 flight, forcing it to return to the gate at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York.