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Rubio under fire in GOP debate after rise in polls
MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) - Marco Rubio, a first-term senator on the rise in the presidential race, faced a barrage of attacks in Saturday night's Republican debate, with rivals vigorously challenging his readiness to be president and the depth of his expertise as they sought to salvage their own White House hopes. Sen. Ted Cruz, fresh off his victory in the Iowa caucuses, also came under withering criticism for controversial political tactics, with one candidate disparaging him for having "Washington ethics" and being willing to test the campaign's legal limits. The focus on the two senators allowed GOP front-runner Donald Trump to go largely untouched in his return to the debate stage.


AP FACT CHECK: Skewed GOP claims on taxes, health insurance
WASHINGTON (AP) - Viewers of the latest Republican presidential debate didn't get a straight story from the candidates on U.S. taxes vs. the world, the state of the health insurance marketplace under "Obamacare" or what might happen if that law is taken away. Among other fumbles: -Marco Rubio seemed unaware that Kurds are Sunnis. -In his zeal to condemn the Obama administration's immigration record, Ted Cruz once again vastly overstated deportations under the previous two presidents. And he continued, as in a previous debate, to struggle with the meaning of carpet-bombing. -Chris Christie misstated the U.S. policy on paying ransom to hostage-takers.


N. Korea praises rocket; others see covert missile test
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - For North Korea's propaganda machine, the long-range rocket launch Sunday carved a glorious trail of "fascinating vapor" through the clear blue sky. For South Korea's president, and other world leaders, it was a banned test of dangerous ballistic missile technology and yet another "intolerable provocation." The rocket launched from North Korea's west coast only two hours after an eight-day launch window opened Sunday morning, its path tracked separately by the United States, Japan and South Korea. No damage from debris was reported. North Korea, which calls its launches part of a peaceful space program, said it had successfully put a new Earth observation satellite, the Kwangmyongsong 4, or Shining Star 4, into orbit less than 10 minutes after liftoff.


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Storms may brew, but in N. Korea pride over new satellite
PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) - Hours after the rest of the world already knew, North Korea's state media triumphantly announced in a special news bulletin to the nation Sunday it had successfully launched a satellite into orbit, calling it a major milestone in the nation's history and the "greatest gift of loyalty" to the country's young leader, Kim Jong Un. In a possible hint of what might lie ahead, however, North Korea's state media implored the nation on the eve of the launch to be prepared for whatever "violent storm" may be coming. They may need to: the U.S., South Korea and Japan have strongly condemned the launch, and potential new sanctions over both the launch and the North's purported hydrogen bomb test just one month ago are now being discussed in the U.N.


What N. Korea rocket launch may mean for region and world
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - North Korea launched a long-range rocket Sunday, the first day of its announced eight-day launch window and about a month after the country's fourth nuclear test led to international condemnation. Already, world leaders are lining up to condemn the firing, which is being described as a potential threat to regional and world security. For help on what it all means, here are some things to consider about the North's latest move. --- SATELLITE LAUNCH OR MISSILE TEST? Washington, Seoul and others consider the launch a banned test of missile technology. That suspicion is based on the fact that Pyongyang has been openly pushing to manufacture nuclear-tipped missiles capable of striking the U.S.


Rescuers in Taiwan pull out survivors from quake rubble
TAINAN, Taiwan (AP) - With anxious families waiting nearby, rescuers painstakingly pulled more survivors from the remains of a collapsed high-rise apartment building Sunday, a day after a powerful earthquake shook southern Taiwan and killed at least 26 people. More than 100 people remained missing in the building's rubble. The government in Tainan, the worst-hit city, said that more than 170 people had been rescued from the 17-story building following the magnitude-6.4 quake that struck before dawn Saturday. Tainan Mayor Lai Ching-te said there were an estimated 124 people still trapped, many at the bottom of the wreckage. Lai said they were able to rescue many people by using information from residents who got out on the possible locations of those still inside.


Divisive Polish party leader Kaczynski pulls the strings
WARSAW, Poland (AP) - When Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban had a secret five-hour meeting in a secluded mountain resort with the most powerful person in Poland, he didn't convene with his counterpart or the Polish president. Instead he spoke with Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of Poland's ruling party, a man who has no official government position. The mysterious meeting recently in a guest house on Poland's southern border enhanced the perception that Kaczynski, rather than Prime Minister Beata Szydlo or President Andrzej Duda, is the main decision-maker in Poland today, and that, like Orban, he might steer his nation down an anti-democratic path.


Bosnian first-graders reach out to deaf schoolmate
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) - When Mirzana Coralic asked the primary school in her Sarajevo neighborhood whether they would enroll her deaf son, teacher Sanela Ljumanovic volunteered without thinking much about it. Then September came and six-year-old Zejd was there, silently sitting on one of the school's benches, his eyes wide open. At the time, no one at the school, not even Zejd, knew sign language. "We have to come up with something here," Ljumanovic remembers thinking. She tried to develop her own tricks and signs to communicate with Zejd but a parent had another idea, proposing at a meeting that the whole class learn sign language with him.


Inarritu wins top DGA prize, further obscuring awards season
LOS ANGELES (AP) - An unclear cinematic season got a little foggier on Saturday with Alejandro Inarritu's Directors Guild win for his harrowing frontier epic "The Revenant." With only weeks to go before the Academy Awards on Feb. 28, the race is still as wide open as ever. Even the guilds are divided in their top awards. "Spotlight," the drama detailing the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation into sex abuses in the Catholic Church, won the Screen Actors Guild award for best ensemble, while the financial crisis dramedy "The Big Short" picked up the Producers Guild Award. The DGA win for "The Revenant" is not insignificant.


Super Bowl's Broncos, Panthers excel at defense differently
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) - Sometime late last season or early this season - depends on whom you ask - Josh Norman and the Carolina Panthers' other defensive backs were heading toward a drill as part of their weekly "Turnover Circuit," when assistant coach Eric Washington yelled out a spur-of-the-moment greeting. "Hey, here come the thieves!" It was meant to be funny, using that word to refer to a group of guys whose job description includes trying to steal the ball. It stuck, and the members of the secondary now own gray T-shirts, courtesy of safety Roman Harper, that refer to "Thieves Avenue," the name they adopted for their section of the locker room.

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