More from AP: Top stories | Florida | U.S. | Politics | World | Business | Technology | Sports | Entertainment | Offbeat


AP Top News at 1:29 a.m. EST

Hostage Mom's plea to Japan's leader: Please save Kenji
TOKYO (AP) - The mother of a Japanese hostage held by Islamic State extremists appealed publicly Wednesday to Japan's leader to save her son after his captors issued what they said was a final death threat. Junko Ishido, mother of journalist Kenji Goto, read to reporters her plea to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.


`Wicked storm': Blizzard drops 2 feet of snow on New England
BOSTON (AP) - Its winds howling at more than 70 mph, the Blizzard of 2015 slammed Boston and surrounding parts of New England on Tuesday with none of the mercy it unexpectedly showed New York City, piling up more than 2 feet of snow. The storm punched out a 40-to-50-foot section of a seawall in Marshfield, Massachusetts, badly damaging a vacant home. In Newport, Rhode Island, it toppled a 110-foot replica of a Revolutionary War sailing vessel in dry dock, breaking its mast and puncturing its hull.


AP PHOTOS: Snowstorm pounds Northeast _ most of it, anyway
Arriving with warnings of "potentially historic" snowfall, Tuesday's snowstorm managed to deliver on that promise in New England, but dealt only a glancing blow of less than 10 inches in New York City and a whimper of 1.2 inches in Philadelphia. Still, scenes of white-washed, deserted landscapes emerged throughout the Northeast after cautious officials preemptively ordered travel bans and states of emergency.


Watch Top News Video




Gunmen storm luxury Libyan hotel, killing American, 9 others
TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) - In the latest sign of Libya's descent into chaos, gunmen stormed a luxury hotel used by diplomats and businessmen in the capital Tuesday, killing 10 people, including an American, a French citizen and three people from Asia. Two attackers were killed following an hourslong standoff that included a car bomb that exploded in the parking lot of the seaside Corinthia Hotel. It was unclear if other gunmen were involved in the attack, which also killed five Libyan guards.


Mormon leaders call for measures protecting gay rights
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - The Mormon church announced a campaign Tuesday for new laws that protect gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people from discrimination while somehow also protecting people who assert their religious beliefs. "We must find ways to show respect for others whose beliefs, values and behaviors differ from ours while never being forced to deny or abandon our own beliefs, values and behaviors in the process," a church elder, Jeffrey R. Holland, said in announcing the church's position.


Obama pays respects to Saudis, defends ties to kingdom
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) - In a show of solidarity with Saudi Arabia, President Barack Obama led a parade of American dignitaries to the ultraconservative desert kingdom Tuesday to pay respects after King Abdullah's death and take measure of the new monarch. Obama's presence here underscored the key role Saudi Arabia plays in U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and highlighted Washington's willingness to put national security priorities ahead of concerns about human rights issues. Hours before arriving in Riyadh, Obama spoke at length about the importance of women's rights during an address in India, setting up a jarring contrast with his warm embrace of Saudi Arabia, a country where there are strict limits on women's freedom.


On Auschwitz anniversary, leader warns Jews again targets
BRZEZINKA, Poland (AP) - A Jewish leader stood before 300 survivors of the Nazis' most notorious death camp on Tuesday and asked world leaders to prevent another Auschwitz, warning of a rise of anti-Semitism that has made many Jews fearful of walking the streets, and is causing many to flee Europe. Ronald Lauder, the president of the World Jewish Congress, made his bleak assessment on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, speaking next to the gate and the railroad tracks that marked the last journey for more than a million people murdered at Auschwitz-Birkenau.


White House drops plan to scale back college savings plans
WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House said Tuesday it is dropping a proposal to scale back the tax benefits of college savings plans amid a backlash from both Republicans and Democrats. President Barack Obama made the proposal last week as part of his State of the Union address. It was part of Obama's plan to consolidate and simplify a sometimes confusing array of tax breaks for college students.


Yahoo CEO heeds shareholders' call to spin off Alibaba stake
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is spinning off the company's $39 billion stake in China's Alibaba Group Holding in a move that wards off a potential shareholder rebellion. The highly anticipated decision announced Tuesday will enable Yahoo to avoid paying billions of dollars in future taxes while intensifying the pressure on Mayer to prove she can rejuvenate one of the Internet's oldest and best-known companies.


Son of ex-slave who fought in Union army dies at age 97
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Luke Martin Jr., the son of an ex-slave and Civil War Union soldier, has died - 179 years after his father was born. Martin was 97 when he died Sunday at his home in New Bern, North Carolina, said his daughter, Fannie Martin-Williams. Her father, who suffered from congestive heart failure and other ailments, had been in declining health for several months, she said.