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AP Top News at 3:24 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.


Rubio under pressure as Republicans debate in South Carolina
GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) - Marco Rubio enters Saturday night's Republican presidential debate facing immense pressure to right his campaign after faltering badly in the last contest and finishing a disappointing fifth in New Hampshire. Rubio's stumble re-energized some of his rivals as the race heads to the South and reignited questions about whether the 44-year-old first-term senator has the experience to be president. While he's sought to shed some of his reliance on well-rehearsed talking points in recent days, the debate will be a prime test of whether he can rebound. Just six contenders will face off Saturday in Greenville, South Carolina, far from the long line of candidates who took the stage in earlier GOP debates.


Viewers' Guide: GOP hopefuls spar in South Carolina
WASHINGTON (AP) - Serious issues face Saturday night's Republican presidential debaters in South Carolina, a state with deep-rooted military culture and home to a mass murder at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. But style is going to beg for attention alongside pressing matters of policy. Foremost, how will Marco Rubio do after his disastrous turn on the stage in New Hampshire? And will Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, after carping at each other bitterly from a distance, do it face to face? Can Ben Carson finally make a mark? You get the drift. The Greenville, South Carolina, debate is hosted by CBS News and takes place, perhaps paradoxically, in the Peace Center.


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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.


Israeli educators battle government over textbook content
JERUSALEM (AP) - Israel's main high school civics textbook has become a new battleground in a culture war embroiling the country - pitting politicians against educators in a debate over how much religion and Jewish history should be included in the country's national curriculum. Three of the book's authors have removed their names from chapters they wrote, claiming Education Ministry professionals altered their work beyond recognition to include a nationalist slant. The book's editor has submitted a six-page protest letter, and the sole Arab member of the committee overseeing civics education has quit in protest. The book is scheduled to be published in March.


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.


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.


AP PHOTOS: A selection of pictures from the past week
Highlights from the weekly AP photo report, a gallery featuring a mix of front-page photography, the odd image you might have missed and lasting moments our editors think you should see. This week's gallery features a wild elephant walking through the streets of Siliguri, India; the North Side Skull & Bone Gang parade during Mardi Gras in New Orleans; and a health worker fumigating the Martires 19 de Julio cemetery to stave off mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus in Lima, Peru. --- This gallery contains photos published Feb. 6-Feb. 12, 2016. See the latest AP photo galleries: http://apne.ws/TXeCBN The Archive: Top photo highlights from previous weeks: http://apne.ws/13QUFKJ --- Follow AP photographers on Twitter: http://twitter.com/AP/lists/ap-photographers Follow AP Images on Twitter: http://twitter.com/AP-Images Visit AP Images online: http://www.apimages.com http://www.apimages.com/ --- This gallery was produced by Patrick Sison in New York.


Seeking a Splash: Klay goes for All-Star 3s upset of Curry
TORONTO (AP) - Klay Thompson believes, even if he knows many don't. He knows how good Stephen Curry is, so he couldn't have been terribly surprised when he was told during NBA All-Star player interviews that "everyone" thinks his Golden State Warriors teammate is going to win the 3-point contest Saturday night. "Everybody thinks that? Oh, wow," Thompson said. "There's got to be a few who think Klay has a chance. I mean, I don't mean to refer to myself in the third person, but there's a few out there, I think. I'm one of them. Hopefully my brothers, and probably the rest of the world thinks Steph.

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