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AP Top News at 12:29 a.m. EST

Pope opens Mexico visit after historic stop with patriarch
MEXICO CITY (AP) - Pope Francis kicks off his first trip to Mexico on Saturday with speeches to the country's political and ecclesial elites, riding in on the success of his historic meeting in Cuba with the head of the Russian Orthodox Church. During a three-hour stop in Havana on Friday, Francis embraced Patriarch Kirill and with an exclamation of "finally" took a momentous step toward closing a nearly 1,000-year schism in split Christianity. The two religious leaders signed a 30-point joint declaration of religious unity that committed their churches to overcoming their differences. Francis tweeted that the meeting was a "gift from God." Francis and Kirill also called for political leaders to act on the single most important issue of shared concern between the Catholic and Orthodox churches today: the plight of Christians in Iraq and Syria who are being killed and driven from their homes by the Islamic State group.


The Latest: Pope briefly emerges to speak with well-wishers
Pope Francis has come out from the Vatican ambassador's residence to greet well-wishers less than an hour after arriving to the delighted screams of the faithful gathered in the street.Francis had not been scheduled to speak publicly.He approached the crowd and accepted two white roses before taking a microphone. He prayed with those gathered and said everyone needed to rest for what was to come Saturday and Sunday.But first, before they sleep, Francis said: "Look at the Virgin and remember these faces: the people who love us, those we love, those we don't love, those who don't love us and those who have done us harm."


The Latest: Cruz ad puts Clinton in 'Office Space'
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The Latest on the 2016 presidential campaign (all times local): 9:25 p.m. Republican candidate Ted Cruz is out with a new ad mocking Democrat Hillary Clinton for using a private email server when she was secretary of state. The spot spoofs a scene from the movie "Office Space" in which annoyed employees take a bat to a malfunctioning printer. In the Cruz version, a faux Clinton participates in the destruction of a server. The Cruz ad has yet to be broadcast on television, but it has been viewed more than 1 million times online since his campaign released it early Friday.


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Black Democrats question Sanders' commitment to Obama
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign enlisted the support of black Democrats on Friday to undermine Bernie Sanders' push to claim a piece of President Barack Obama's legacy, arguing she is the rightful heir to the nation's first black president. Clinton sought solidarity with Obama at every turn during Thursday's debate in Milwaukee, referring to herself as a ``staunch supporter'' of his health care law and praising him as a role model on race relations. Clinton ended the debate by criticizing Sanders for saying in an interview with MSNBC that Obama had failed the ``presidential leadership test.'' By Friday, as Clinton traveled between South Carolina and Minnesota, her African-American allies in Congress seized upon comments the Vermont senator made at the debate insinuating that race relations would ``absolutely'' be better under a future Sanders administration.


Diplomats aim for temporary Syria truce in a week
BEIRUT (AP) - A diplomatic push for a temporary pause in Syria's civil war and the delivery of humanitarian aid faced huge hurdles Friday, with Russia saying it would continue its airstrikes and government planes dropping leaflets urging rebels to surrender because "the belt is narrowing around you." A plan for the "cessation in violence" announced by the U.S. and Russia does not go into effect for a week, and while the Syrian opposition expressed "cautious optimism," it also said more innocent civilians would be killed in that span. Government forces, aided by a withering Russian bombing campaign, are trying to encircle rebels in Syria's largest city of Aleppo and cut off their supply route to Turkey.


Police: Shooting at Phoenix-area school was a murder-suicide
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) - A shooting at a suburban Phoenix high school that killed two 15-year-old girls and caused panic among parents was a murder-suicide, police said. Police announced that a suicide note was found at the scene of the shooting Friday morning near the cafeteria area of Independence High School in Glendale. They said the girls each were shot once, were declared dead at the scene and a weapon was found near the bodies. "Information gathered by detectives reveal the two girls were very close friends, appeared to also be in a relationship," Glendale police spokeswoman Tracey Breeden said in a statement Friday afternoon.


Columbine shooter's mother says she thinks of victims daily
DENVER (AP) - The mother of Columbine High School shooter Dylan Klebold says she didn't know anything was wrong with her son before the 1999 attack, and she prayed for his death when she heard he was involved and that the rampage might still be underway. In an interview that aired on "20/20" late Friday, Sue Klebold told ABC News' Diane Sawyer that before the attack she considered herself a parent who would have known something was wrong. "I think we like to believe that our love and our understanding is protective, and that 'If anything were wrong with my kids, I would know.' But I didn't know, and it's very hard to live with that," she said.


US deploys more Patriot missiles in South Korea
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - The United States temporarily deployed an additional Patriot missile battery in South Korea in response to North Korea's nuclear test and a long-range rocket launch, ahead of talks next week to set up an even more sophisticated U.S. missile defense in a move that has worried China and Russia. The new tough stance follows South Korea's decision to shut down an inter-Korean factory park that had been the rival Koreas' last major symbol of cooperation, but that Seoul said had been used by North Korea to fund its nuclear and missile programs. North Korea responded by deporting South Korean citizens, seizing South Korean assets and vowing to militarize the park.


Brazil minister says no doubt Zika connected to microcephaly
BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) - Brazil's health minister said Friday that authorities were "absolutely sure" that the Zika virus is connected to devastating birth defects and rejected criticism that the government was slow to investigate the surge of cases that set off international alarms. Marcelo Castro made the remarks during an interview with The Associated Press in Brazil's capital. He spoke a day before tens of thousands of soldiers and health inspectors were to take to the streets in an unprecedented drive to encourage residents to be vigilant for mosquito breeding sites. The goal: visit 3 million homes in more than 350 cities.


Rihanna hits the runway _ this time, as designer
NEW YORK (AP) - Rihanna is certainly used to stopping the show, whether as a performer or as a fashion figure whose daring choices can make headlines. But at New York Fashion Week on Friday, she let her models make the splashy entrances. After all, she was the designer this time. The singer presented her Fenty Puma by Rihanna collection, heavy on Japanese-inspired streetwear in almost exclusively black and white, with, she said, "a Gothic undertone." As befitting a collection for Puma, it of course featured sneakers, many with high stacked platforms. In an interview before the show, which was staged in a dark, mirrored, forest-like setting filled with stage smoke, Rihanna spoke about what motivates her to design.