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AP Top News at 3:47 p.m. EST

30,000 marchers in Moscow mourn slain Putin foe
MOSCOW (AP) - For the tens of thousands bearing flowers and tying black ribbons to railings in honor of slain Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, the solemn march through the Moscow drizzle on Sunday was a time for silence, not slogans. The marchers occasionally broke into chants of "Russia without Putin," or "Say no to war," but often the only sound was the steady thwack of police helicopters overhead or the hum of police boats patrolling the shores of the Moscow River.


Kerry asks for benefit of the doubt on Iran nuclear talks
WASHINGTON (AP) - Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday tried to calm tensions with Israel before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's congressional address, yet insisted the Obama administration's diplomatic record with Iran entitles the U.S. to "the benefit of the doubt" as negotiators work toward a long-term nuclear deal. Kerry said in an interview broadcast before he left for more talks in Switzerland with Iran's foreign minister that Netanyahu was welcome to speak in the U.S. and that the administration did not want the event "turned into some great political football."


Iraqi premier gives ultimatum ahead of hinted Tikrit attack
BAGHDAD (AP) - Iraq's prime minister called on Sunni tribal fighters to abandon the Islamic State group Sunday, ahead of a promised offensive to retake Saddam Hussein's hometown from the extremists. Haider al-Abadi offered no timeline for an attack on Tikrit, the hometown of the late Iraqi dictator some 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of Baghdad that fell into the hands of the Islamic State group last summer. However, Shiite militias and Iraqi security forces have stationed themselves around Tikrit as state-run media has warned that the city "will soon return to its people."


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New plane tracking to be tested after Malaysia jet mystery
SYDNEY (AP) - Australia, Indonesia and Malaysia will lead a trial of an enhanced method of tracking aircraft over remote oceans to allow planes to be more easily found should they vanish like Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, Australia's transport minister said Sunday. The announcement comes one week ahead of the anniversary of the disappearance of Flight 370, which vanished last year during a flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing with 239 people on board. No trace of the plane has been found.


AP Essay: 'Jihadi John' won't have the same impact unmasked
LONDON (AP) - As "Jihadi John," he was a terrifying figure, his identity concealed by a black mask, his threatening tone backed up by his oversize, serrated knife and his willingness to use it in the name of Islamic State and its self-declared caliphate. His professional-looking videos began with a political rant and ended with his victims lying dead at his feet, severed heads cupped in the sands of Syria. He seemed both judge and executioner, savoring each fresh kill.


Samsung ditches plastic design, adds mobile pay in new phone
NEW YORK (AP) - Samsung has unveiled a stylish new flagship phone that ditches its signature plastic design for more stylish metal and glass. The South Korean phone manufacturer also unveiled a premium model with a display that curves around the left and right edges so that information can be quickly glanced at on the side. The Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge will both include technology for mobile payments, though Samsung isn't unveiling a service to rival the iPhone's Apple Pay until this summer.


High court case threatens independent electoral map drawers
WASHINGTON (AP) - In a reversal of the usual worries about political influence on electoral map-making, the Supreme Court is being asked to let raw politics play an even bigger role in the drawing of congressional district boundaries. The court hears argument Monday in an appeal by Republican lawmakers in Arizona against the state's voter-approved independent redistricting commission for creating the districts of U.S. House members. A decision striking down the commission probably would doom a similar system in neighboring California, and could affect districting commissions in 11 other states.


Spacewalking astronauts finish extensive, tricky cable job
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - Spacewalking astronauts successfully completed a three-day cable job outside the International Space Station on Sunday, routing several-hundred feet of power and data lines for new crew capsules commissioned by NASA. It was the third spacewalk in just over a week for Americans Terry Virts and Butch Wilmore, and the quickest succession of spacewalks since NASA's former shuttle days.


Joint birthday party for NY couple married 82 years
SPRING VALLEY, N.Y. (AP) - A husband and wife thought to be one of the oldest married couples in New York have celebrated their birthdays - and their combined ages will be 212. The Journal News reports Duranord Veillard turned 108 on Saturday. His wife, Jeanne Veillard, won't turn 105 until May.


Will Smith's 'Focus' tops box office with $19.1 million
NEW YORK (AP) - Will Smith's con-man caper "Focus" disrobed "Fifty Shades of Grey" at the box office, but the film's modest $19.1 million opening still left questions about the drawing power of the once unstoppable star. According to studio estimates Sunday, Warner Bros.' "Focus" easily topped all competitors on a weekend with little competition at North American multiplexes. In second place was the Colin Firth spy thriller "Kingsman: The Secret Service," which made $11.8 million in its third week of release.

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