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AP Top News at 12:15 a.m. EST

Prominent Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov shot dead
MOSCOW (AP) - Boris Nemtsov, a charismatic Russian opposition leader and sharp critic of President Vladimir Putin, was gunned down Saturday near the Kremlin, just a day before a planned protest against the government. The death of Nemtsov, a 55-year-old former deputy prime minister, ignited a fury among opposition figures who assailed the Kremlin for creating an atmosphere of intolerance of any dissent and called the killing an assassination. Putin quickly offered his condolences and called the murder a provocation.


Congress OKs 1-week bill to keep Homeland Security open
WASHINGTON (AP) - Bordering on dysfunction, Congress passed a one-week bill late Friday night to avert a partial shutdown of the Homeland Security Department, as leaders in both political parties quelled a revolt by House conservatives furious that the measure left President Barack Obama's immigration policy intact. The final vote of a long day and night was a bipartisan 357-60 in the House, a little more than an hour after the Senate cleared the measure without so much as a roll call.


Unmasking of 'Jihadi John' as a London lad shocks Britain
LONDON (AP) - The unmasking of Islamic State militant "Jihadi John" as a Londoner who had repeatedly been questioned by security services sent shock waves through Britain Friday, with Prime Minister David Cameron stepping in to defend British spy craft. Cameron tried to defuse criticism of Britain's intelligence community, which had "Jihadi John" on its list of potential terror suspects for years but was unable to prevent him from traveling to Syria, where he has played a prominent role in grisly beheading videos.


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Kurdish fighters rout IS militants from town near Iraq
BEIRUT (AP) - Backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes, Kurdish fighters fought their way Friday into a northeastern Syrian town that was a key stronghold of Islamic State militants, only days after the group abducted dozens of Christians in the volatile region, Syrian activists and Kurdish officials said. The victory marks a second blow to the extremist IS group in a month, highlighting the growing role of Syria's Kurds as the most effective fighting force against the Islamic State. In January, Kurdish forces drove IS militants from the town of Kobani near the Turkish border after a months-long fight, dealing a very public defeat to the extremists.


Gunman kills 7, commits suicide, in house-to-house rampage
TYRONE, Mo. (AP) - A man who authorities say may have been unhinged by the death of his ailing mother killed seven people and then took his own life in a house-to-house shooting rampage that wiped out a swath of this tiny town in the Missouri Ozarks. Joseph Jesse Aldridge, 36, carried out the killings with a .45-caliber handgun Thursday night or early Friday at four homes in Tyrone, the no-stoplight community of about 50 people where he lived with his mother, the Missouri State Highway Patrol said.


Why would GOP candidate for Missouri governor kill himself?
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri's auditor, who fatally shot himself in an apparent suicide, had vowed to take down the state's most powerful politicians and donors, including his fellow Republicans, when he launched an anti-corruption campaign for governor last month. But in his final days, Tom Schweich described having knots in his stomach over what he thought was an anti-Semitic whisper campaign by a GOP consultant who now runs the state party.


Leonard Nimoy leaves legacy beyond science-fiction
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Leonard Nimoy didn't just leave a lasting impression on the science-fiction world, he also left his mark on science itself. Seth Shostak, who researches the possibility of real-world extraterrestrial life as the senior astronomer at SETI Research, recalled that Nimoy was regularly willing to lend the organization a helping hand. When he was asked to narrate a planetarium introduction or appear as a guest at an event, Nimoy did so graciously and never charged.


Mexico drug lord captures change but don't lower trafficking
MEXICO CITY (AP) - It's another big score for the Mexican government, which has been tearing through its list of most-wanted drug lords in recent years. Still, no one expects drug trafficking or violence to decrease after the capture of Servando "La Tuta" Gomez, a former grade-school teacher whose Knights Templar cartel once terrorized the western state of Michoacan.


Detentions of major Mexico drug chiefs in recent years
Recent captures or killings of top Mexican drug cartel leaders: - Feb. 27, 2015: Federal police capture Servando "La Tuta" Gomez, one of world's most-wanted drug lords who once terrorized Michoacan state as leader of Knights Templar cartel.


Dress that 'greatly resembles' stolen Nyong'o gown recovered
LOS ANGELES (AP) - A white dress that strongly resembles the custom gown taken from Lupita Nyong'o's hotel room earlier this week turned up Friday under a bathroom sink in the same hotel, a Los Angeles County Sheriff's official said. The dress found at a West Hollywood hotel "greatly resembles" the pearl-adorned Calvin Klein Collection by Francisco Costa dress the actress wore to Sunday's Academy Awards, sheriff's spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said.


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