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AP Top News at 1:14 p.m. EDT

Hometown pastor says community stands by co-pilot, family
MONTABAUR, Germany (AP) - The pastor of the Lutheran church in Andreas Lubitz's hometown said Sunday that the community stands by him and his family, despite the fact that prosecutors blame the 27-year-old co-pilot for causing the plane crash that killed 150 people in southern France. The town of Montabaur has been rattled by the revelation that Lubitz, who first learned to fly at a nearby glider club, may have intentionally caused Tuesday's crash of Germanwings Flight 9525.


AP Exclusive: Before leak, NSA mulled ending phone program
WASHINGTON (AP) - The National Security Agency considered abandoning its secret program to collect and store American calling records in the months before leaker Edward Snowden revealed the practice, current and former intelligence officials say, because some officials believed the costs outweighed the meager counterterrorism benefits. After the leak and the collective surprise around the world, NSA leaders strongly defended the phone records program to Congress and the public, but without disclosing the internal debate.


Officials: Iran nuke talks solving some issues, not others
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) - Iran is considering demands for further cuts to its uranium enrichment program but is pushing back on how long it must limit technology it could use to make atomic arms, Western officials involved in the nuclear talks said Sunday. Iran's potential movement on enrichment reflected the intense pressure to close a deal. But substantial differences between the sides may prove too difficult to bridge before Tuesday's deadline for a preliminary agreement, which is meant to set the stage for a further round of negotiations toward a comprehensive deal in June.


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Indiana governor: New law 'not about discrimination'
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Indiana Gov. Mike Pence defended the new state law that's garnered widespread criticism over concerns it could foster discrimination and said Sunday it wasn't a mistake to have enacted it. Pence appeared on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" to discuss the measure he signed last week prohibiting state laws that "substantially burden" a person's ability to follow his or her religious beliefs. The definition of "person" includes religious institutions, businesses and associations.


Air Canada plane skids off Halifax runway after hard landing
HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (AP) - An Air Canada plane made a hard landing in bad weather and skidded off the runway at the airport in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and the airline said Sunday that 25 people were taken to hospitals for observation and treatment of minor injuries. The airline said Flight AC624, an Airbus 320 that left Toronto late Saturday, had 133 passengers and five crew members. Airport spokesman Peter Spurway said the aircraft touched down in stormy conditions at 12:35 a.m. Sunday.


Arab summit: Yemen airstrikes to go on until rebels withdraw
SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt (AP) - Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen will continue until Shiite rebels there "withdraw and surrender their weapons," a summit of Arab leaders decided Sunday, as they also agreed in principle to forming a joint military force. The decision by the Arab League puts it on a path to more aggressively challenge Shiite power Iran, which is backing the Yemeni rebels, known as Houthis.


Northeast, despite highest gas costs, resists more pipelines
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - There is near universal agreement that the Northeast has to expand its energy supply to rein in the nation's highest costs and that cheap, abundant, relatively clean natural gas could be at least a short-term answer. But heels dig deep when it comes to those thorniest of questions: how and where? Proposals to build or expand natural gas pipelines are met with an upswell of citizen discontent. At the end of last year, a Massachusetts route selected by Texas-based Kinder Morgan generated so much venom that the company nudged it north into New Hampshire - where the venom is also flowing freely. During this winter's town meetings, a centuries-old staple of local governance in New England, people in the nine towns touched by the route voted to oppose the project.


Drownings along Rio Grande spike after enforcement surge
MISSION, Texas (AP) - A U.S. surveillance helicopter hovering over the Rio Grande spots a body floating near a muddy bank on the Mexican side of the river. Soon another body turns up, then another. A Mexican investigator arrives and holds up his hand confirming the grim tally: four men and a woman.


Library of Congress acquires rare trove of Civil War images
WASHINGTON (AP) - A Houston housewife who has quietly collected rare Civil War images for 50 years has sold more than 500 early photographs to the Library of Congress. The library announced the acquisition Sunday and is placing the first 77 images online. On Friday, 87-year-old Robin Stanford delivered the historic stereograph images from her collection to the library.


Grandma is a centerfold: Rest home bares all for calendar
AKRON, Ohio (AP) - The stars of a charity calendar are in their 80s and 90s, but that didn't stop the women from an assisted living facility in Ohio from showing a little skin. Miss March, who's 88, wears a green top hat and not much else in the calendar from Pleasant Pointe Assisted Living, and the centerfolds are two women in their 90s who seem to be playing poker with strategically placed oversize cards.


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