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AP Top News at 6:14 p.m. EST

Romney not running: Former GOP nominee out of 2016 race
WASHINGTON (AP) - Mitt Romney ended his rollercoaster return to presidential politics on Friday, declaring his party would be better served by the "next generation of Republican leaders" and concluding his unlikely comeback as suddenly as it began. Aides said it was a deeply personal and even painful decision for the 2012 Republican presidential nominee. He insisted he could win the next election if he ran, but his announcement followed a three-week fact-finding effort that revealed significant resistance to a third campaign.


Ex-rap mogul 'Suge' Knight arrested in deadly hit-and-run
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Marion "Suge" Knight, the former music mogul who created one of hip-hop's leading labels and became the impresario of gangster rap, was arrested Friday on suspicion of hitting and killing a man with his truck and fleeing the scene of the crash near Los Angeles. Knight's attorney said the founder of Death Row Records accidentally ran over and killed a friend and injured another man Thursday as he tried to escape attackers. Witnesses told police an argument between the men escalated into Knight ramming the pair, then changing direction and ramming them a second time.


Jordan awaits proof hostage is alive after swap deadline
TOKYO (AP) - The fates of a Japanese journalist and Jordanian military pilot were unknown Friday, a day after the latest purported deadline for a possible prisoner swap passed with no further word from the Islamic State group holding them captive. Jordan has said it will only release an al-Qaida prisoner, Sajida al-Rishawi, from death row if it gets proof the pilot, Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh, is alive and so far has received no such evidence from the hostage-takers.


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Kurd allies fighting IS in north Iraq hampered by rivalries
SINJAR, Iraq (AP) - Kurdish forces in recent weeks have retaken parts of the strategic Iraqi town of Sinjar, whose Yazidi population was driven out in a humanitarian disaster last year that triggered U.S. intervention. But sniping among Kurdish factions makes the hold on the town seem shaky and is threatening the wider fight against Islamic state militants. Overlooking the strategic northern Iraq town of Sinjar, peshmerga fighters representing the recognized authorities of Iraqi Kurdistan fume against what they see as the recklessness of their supposed allies in militias drawn from neighboring Syria and Turkey.


French fracture laid bare as 8-year-old praises terrorists
PARIS (AP) - It was bad enough when France learned that the minute of silence for victims of the nation's deadliest terror attacks in decades was not respected by all students. Some children contested it, others walked out. But when an 8-year old Muslim boy proclaimed, "I am with the terrorists," the alarm bells sounded at full strength. The chilling call from a child so young brought into stark relief the divide between mainstream France and a portion of the Muslim population, often from neglected neighborhoods. But the official reaction - hauling the boy into the police station for questioning - also triggered debate, with many seeing it as a sign of mounting hysteria.


Africans open new front in war on terror to fight Boko Haram
MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) - Schoolgirls torn from their families in a mass kidnapping and forced into sexual slavery. Bombs that ripped through bus stations. The slaughter of hundreds of villagers, many with their throats cut. Nigeria has suffered through years of violence from the Muslim extremist group known as Boko Haram, and now its neighbors are starting to take on the militants, too.


Consumers fuel steady US economy as rest of world struggles
WASHINGTON (AP) - There's a good reason the U.S. economy is impressing the world right now despite a slowdown in the final three months of 2014: In a word, steadiness. Companies have been hiring at healthy rates for the past year. Layoffs hover near historic lows. Auto sales are strong. Gas prices have sunk. Congressional budget fights have faded. Americans are increasingly confident.


US-backed Mexico dam project triggered protest, rare defeat
SANTA URSULA, Mexico (AP) - People in the hamlet of Santa Ursula began to worry when the logging started. In a few short weeks, more than a mile of densely forested riverbank was stripped from the Arroyo Sal to make way for heavy dredging equipment. Work was just beginning in late 2010 on an ambitious, three-year, $30 million project to build a 15-megawatt hydroelectric plant directly adjacent to the Cerro de Oro dam, with support from a U.S. government agency in Washington.


NFL's Goodell seeks to look past 'tough year,' to future
PHOENIX (AP) - As if wishing made it so, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell described his league - and himself - as having addressed missteps on difficult matters such as domestic violence and being ready to move on. "As an organization, and as an individual, it's been a tough year," Goodell said Friday during his pre-Super Bowl news conference, "but a year of great progress, and I'm excited about the future."


Obama calls on Congress to fund 'precision medicine' studies
WASHINGTON (AP) - Holding out the promise of major medical breakthroughs, President Barack Obama on Friday called on Congress to approve spending in medical research that tailors treatment to an individual's genes. Obama wants $215 million for what he's calling a precision medicine initiative that moves away from one-size-fits-all treatments. The ambitious goal: Scientists will assemble databases of about a million volunteers to study their genetics - and other factors such as their environments and the microbes that live in their bodies - to learn how to individualize care.

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