AP Top News at 12:27 p.m. EDT

Ohio patrolman acquitted in 2 deaths amid 137-shot barrage
CLEVELAND (AP) - A Cleveland patrolman who fired down through the windshield of a suspect's car at the end of a 137-shot barrage that left the two unarmed black occupants dead was acquitted Saturday of criminal charges by a judge who said he could not determine the officer alone fired the fatal shots. Michael Brelo, 31, put his head in hands as the judge issued a verdict that prompted an angry protest outside the courthouse, including chants of "Hands up! Don't Shoot!"


Ireland has voted to legalize gay marriage, both sides say
DUBLIN (AP) - Irish voters have resoundingly backed amending the constitution to legalize gay marriage, leaders on both sides of the Irish referendum declared Saturday after the world's first national vote on the issue. As the official ballot counting continued, the only question appeared to be how large the "yes" margin of victory from Friday's vote would be. Analysts said the "yes" support was likely to exceed 60 percent nationally when official results are announced later Saturday.


Veterans frustrated by presidential debate on Iraq war
Veterans of the Iraq War have been watching in frustration as Republican presidential contenders distance themselves from the decision their party enthusiastically supported to invade that country. Some veterans say they long ago concluded their sacrifice was in vain, and are annoyed that a party that lobbied so hard for the war is now running from it. Others say they still believe their mission was vital, regardless of what the politicians say. And some find the gotcha question being posed to the politicians - Knowing what we know now, would you have invaded? - an insult in itself.


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Senate Republicans block changes to NSA surveillance
WASHINGTON (AP) - The National Security Agency has begun winding down its collection and storage of American phone records after the Senate failed to agree on a path forward to change or extend the once-secret program ahead of its expiration at the end of the month. Barring an 11th hour compromise when the Senate returns to session May 31, a much-debated provision of the Patriot Act - and some other lesser known surveillance tools - will sunset at midnight that day. The change also would have a major impact on the FBI, which uses the Patriot Act and the other provisions to gather records in investigations of suspected spies and terrorists.


Salvadorans rejoice as slain Archbishop Romero beatified
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) - Huge crowds of Salvadorans filled a square in the Salvadoran capital Saturday for a ceremony to beatify Roman Catholic Archbishop Oscar Romero, who was cut down by an assassin's bullet 35 years ago and declared a martyr for his faith this year by Pope Francis. It is the first step toward possible canonization, although many of the 260,000-plus faithful expected at the Savior of the World Plaza already credit him with miracles and refer to him as "Saint Romero of the Americas."


Democrats see skimpy insurance as the next health care issue
WASHINGTON (AP) - A different health care issue has emerged for Democrats, in sync with the party's pitch to workers and middle-class voters ahead of next year's elections. It's not the uninsured, but rather the problem of high out-of-pocket costs for people already covered.


Senate clears White House-backed trade bill
WASHINGTON (AP) - In a victory for President Barack Obama, the Senate passed bipartisan legislation Friday night to strengthen the administration's hand in global trade talks, clearing the way for a highly unpredictable summer showdown in the House. The vote was 62-37 to give Obama authority to complete trade deals that Congress could approve or reject, but not change. A total of 48 Republicans supported the measure, but only 14 of the Senate's 44 Democrats backed a president of their own party on legislation near the top of his second-term agenda.


Fierce gun battle kills 43 in west Mexico cartel territory
ECUANDUREO, Mexico (AP) - The latest in a series of clashes between Mexican authorities and a powerful, fast-growing drug cartel turned into the deadliest confrontation in recent memory, with 42 suspected gang gunmen and one Federal Police officer killed during a three-hour firefight at a remote western ranch. The battle on Friday followed two other recent unprecedented attacks by the cartel, one that killed 15 state police officers and another that shot down an army helicopter with a rocket launcher for the first time in Mexico's history. The death toll from all three is at least 76 people at a time when the Mexican government claims crime is falling dramatically and the interior minister recently insisted the country "is not in flames."


Syrians try to build case against Assad in chlorine attacks
BEIRUT (AP) - With only a cloth mask for protection, Firas Kayali rushed to try to rescue the residents of a house in a village in rebel-held northern Syria after a barrel bomb, suspected to be filled with chlorine gas, hit nearby. Once a house painter and now a member in a volunteer rescue team, Kayali tried once, twice, three times to break into the house, but he was overcome by the gas and passed out. Only 20 minutes later, after the gas dissipated, was the team able to get into the house.


DC authorities: Ex-con had help in wealthy family's slaying
WASHINGTON (AP) - An ex-convict likely had help from others holding a family captive inside their mansion for at least 18 hours, authorities said. During their ordeal, the business executive and his wife told others to stay away - even ordering a pizza deliverer to leave two pies at the door - as they frantically arranged for $40,000 in cash to be dropped off at the home.