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AP Top News at 8:15 p.m. EST

`It's a wicked storm': Blizzard shows no mercy on Boston area, dumping 2 feet of snow
BOSTON (AP) - Its winds howling at more than 70 mph, the Blizzard of 2015 slammed Boston and surrounding parts of New England on Tuesday with none of the mercy it unexpectedly showed New York City, piling up more than 2 feet of snow. The storm punched out a 40-to-50-foot section of a seawall in Marshfield, Massachusetts, badly damaging a vacant home. In Newport, Rhode Island, it toppled a 110-foot replica of a Revolutionary War sailing vessel in dry dock, breaking its mast and puncturing its hull.


AP PHOTOS: A blustery winter blast pounds Northeast _ or most of it, anyway
Arriving with warnings of "potentially historic" snowfall, Tuesday's snowstorm managed to deliver on that promise in New England, but dealt only a glancing blow of less than 10 inches in New York City and a whimper of 1.2 inches in Philadelphia. Still, scenes of white-washed, deserted landscapes emerged throughout the Northeast after cautious officials preemptively ordered travel bans and states of emergency.


Gunmen storm luxury hotel in Libyan capital, killing 10, including American, 4 Europeans
TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) - In the latest sign of Libya's descent into chaos, gunmen stormed a luxury hotel used by diplomats and businessmen in the capital on Tuesday, killing 10 people, including an American, a French citizen and three people from Asia. Two attackers were killed following an hourslong standoff that included a car bomb that exploded in the parking lot of the seaside Corinthia Hotel. It was unclear if other gunmen were involved in the attack, which also killed five Libyan guards.


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Obama pays respects to Saudis, defends close ties with kingdom despite human rights record
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) - In a show of solidarity with Saudi Arabia, President Barack Obama led a parade of American dignitaries to the ultraconservative desert kingdom Tuesday to pay respects after King Abdullah's death and take measure of the new monarch. Obama's presence here underscored the key role Saudi Arabia plays in U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and highlighted Washington's willingness to put national security priorities ahead of concerns about human rights issues. Hours before arriving in Riyadh, Obama spoke at length about the importance of women's rights during an address in India, setting up a jarring contrast with his warm embrace of Saudi Arabia, a country where there are strict limits on women's freedom.


On Auschwitz anniversary, Jewish leader warns that Jews are again being demonized
BRZEZINKA, Poland (AP) - A Jewish leader stood before 300 survivors of the Nazis' most notorious death camp on Tuesday and asked world leaders to prevent another Auschwitz, warning of a rise of anti-Semitism that has made many Jews fearful of walking the streets, and is causing many to flee Europe. Ronald Lauder, the president of the World Jewish Congress, made his bleak assessment on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, speaking next to the gate and the railroad tracks that marked the last journey for more than a million people murdered at Auschwitz-Birkenau.


Secret talks in Jordan try to win release of hostages after death threat from militants
BEIRUT (AP) - Japanese officials were tightlipped Wednesday as secret talks in Jordan sought to secure the freedom of a Japanese journalist and a Jordanian pilot captured by Islamic State extremists and purportedly threatened with death within 24 hours. The global efforts to free Japanese freelance journalist Kenji Goto and Jordanian Lt. Mu'ath al-Kaseasbeh gained greater urgency with the release of the apparent ultimatum from the Islamic State group.


Son of ex-slave who served in Union army during Civil War dies 179 years after father's birth
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Luke Martin Jr., the son of an ex-slave and Civil War Union soldier, has died - 179 years after his father was born. Martin was 97 when he died Sunday at his home in New Bern, North Carolina, said his daughter, Fannie Martin-Williams. Her father, who suffered from congestive heart failure and other ailments, had been in declining health for several months, she said.


Yahoo CEO spinning off 15 percent stake in Alibaba to avoid $16 billion in future taxes
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is spinning off the company's $39 billion stake in China's Alibaba Group Holding in a move that wards off a potential shareholder rebellion. The highly anticipated decision announced Tuesday will enable Yahoo to avoid paying billions of dollars in future taxes while intensifying the pressure on Mayer to prove she can rejuvenate one of the Internet's oldest and best-known companies.


Diversity of filmmakers, stories at Sundance Film Festival doesn't carry over to Hollywood
PARK CITY, Utah (AP) - One of the most buzzed-about movies at this year's Sundance Film Festival is "Dope," a coming-of-age story about three outcasts in the inner city. Written and directed by Rick Famuyiwa and featuring a diverse cast of actors, the film spawned a bidding war before domestic and international distributions rights were snapped up late Monday.


Apple sold 74.5 million iPhones in holiday quarter, revenue and profit soar
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Apple had another blowout quarter thanks to its new plus-sized iPhones, which helped the company smash sales records for the holiday season. Apple said Tuesday that it sold 74.5 million iPhones during the three months that ended Dec. 31, beating analysts' expectations for the latest models of Apple's most popular gadget, introduced in September.

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