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AP Top News at 7:01 p.m. EST

Prominent Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov shot dead
MOSCOW (AP) - Boris Nemtsov, a charismatic former deputy prime minister turned Russian opposition leader, was shot and killed in Moscow Saturday, officials said. Nemtsov's death comes just a day before a planned protest against President Vladimir Putin's rule. The Kremlin said that Putin will personally oversee the investigation.


Partial shutdown? House rejects Homeland Security funding
WASHINGTON (AP) - The rebellious Republican-controlled House unexpectedly voted down short-term funding for the Department of Homeland Security late Friday, increasing the prospect of a partial shutdown at midnight of an agency with major anti-terrorism responsibilities. The vote was 224-203 against the measure as 52 Republicans abandoned their leaders on the legislation.


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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Leonard Nimoy, famous as Mr. Spock on 'Star Trek,' dies
LOS ANGELES (AP) - In 1975, Leonard Nimoy published an autobiography with the defiant title, "I Am Not Spock." Two decades later, he bowed to fate with "I Am Spock," a revisionist sequel. But for Trekkies and even casual "Star Trek" viewers, Nimoy was always the coolly composed science officer with the pointed ears and an unwavering belief in logic.


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.


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.


Mexico official: Police capture top capo 'La Tuta' Gomez
MEXICO CITY (AP) - Servando "La Tuta" Gomez, a former school teacher who became one of Mexico's most-wanted drug lords as head of the Knights Templar cartel, was captured early Friday by federal police, according to Mexican officials. Gomez was arrested in a house in Morelia, the capital of the western state of Michoacan, without a shot fired, according to a Mexican official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the case. He said the operation was based on months of intelligence work.


Desperate Afghan avalanche survivors await rescue on roofs
PANJSHIR VALLEY, Afghanistan (AP) - In an endless sea of white, Afghan villagers waited on rooftops Friday, waving in desperation as helicopters swooped low over the avalanche-struck region. All around them, homes, people and livestock had vanished under the snow. The avalanche in this impoverished corner of Afghanistan killed at least 168 people this week, with dozens succumbing to plummeting temperatures elsewhere. The depth of despair was captured by an Associated Press team traveling on one of the first aid flights to the area.


The big melt: Antarctica's retreating ice may re-shape Earth
CAPE LEGOUPIL, Antarctica (AP) - From the ground in this extreme northern part of Antarctica, spectacularly white and blinding ice seems to extend forever. What can't be seen is the battle raging thousands of feet (hundreds of meters) below to re-shape Earth. Water is eating away at the Antarctic ice, melting it where it hits the oceans. As the ice sheets slowly thaw, water pours into the sea - 130 billion tons of ice (118 billion metric tons) per year for the past decade, according to NASA satellite calculations. That's the weight of more than 356,000 Empire State Buildings, enough ice melt to fill more than 1.3 million Olympic swimming pools. And the melting is accelerating.