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April 19, 2014

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AP Top News at 1:14 p.m. EST

Updated Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014 | 10:15 a.m.

Future of C. African Republic Muslims imperiled

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — The violence wracking Central African Republic imperils the future of the country's Muslims, with thousands having been slaughtered and many more fleeing the country. Bangui, the capital, is engulfed in an orgy of bloodshed and looting.

No talk of gay rights, please, we're Olympians

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Olympic competition first, gay rights maybe later. Plenty of athletes made clear before traveling to Sochi how unhappy they were about gay rights being curtailed in Russia, particularly with its law banning gay "propaganda."

Cease-fire in Syrian city breaks down, halts aid

BEIRUT (AP) — Two trucks carrying food and medical supplies into rebel-held neighborhoods in the central Syrian city of Homs turned back under heavy fire Saturday, leaving four paramedics wounded as a cease-fire broke down, Syrian officials said. Opposition activists said the government broke the truce by launching a rocket attack on one of the neighborhoods they hold. Talal Barrazi, the governor of Homs province, told the Lebanon-based Al-Mayadeen TV that the attack occurred late in the afternoon and that the trucks were targeted by two roadside bombs and a mortar shell.

AP PHOTOS: Sochi kicks off with big wins

The first day of medal competition at the Sochi Winter Olympics kicked off with some record-breaking wins. Sven Kramer of the Netherlands led a clean sweep by the Dutch in the men's 5,000-meter speed skating. In slopestyle's Olympic debut, U.S. snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg won the first gold medal of the games. Here's a look at the first day of medal competition in Sochi.

UN: More children dying in Afghan violence

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The number of children killed and wounded in Afghanistan's war jumped by 34 percent last year as the Taliban stepped up attacks across the country and continued to lay thousands of roadside bombs, the United Nations said Saturday. Overall civilian casualties were up by 14 percent, reversing 2012's downward trend and making 2013 one of the deadliest years of the 12-year war for civilians, the U.N. Assistance Mission for Afghanistan said in a report.

The heroin mill next door: NYC dealers blend in

NEW YORK (AP) — In a major drug bust that drew little attention just a week before Philip Seymour Hoffman's death, authorities found a sophisticated heroin packaging and distribution operation in an apartment in the Bronx. There, workers with coffee grinders, scoops and scales toiled around the clock to break down bricks of the drug into thousands of tiny, hit-size baggies, bearing such stamped brands as "Government Shutdown" and, in a nod to the Super Bowl, "NFL."

Media sometimes try, fail to keep NSA's secrets

LONDON (AP) — News organizations publishing leaked National Security Agency documents have inadvertently disclosed the names of at least six intelligence workers and other government secrets they never intended to give away, an Associated Press review has found. The accidental disclosures illustrate the risks of even well-intentioned, public-interest reporting on highly secret U.S. programs.

Vulnerable Democrats try straddle on health law

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hit with a multimillion-dollar barrage of televised attacks, Democrats in tough re-election races want credit for trying to fix the problematic parts of the health care law at the same time they claim bragging rights for its popular provisions and allege Republicans will reverse the crackdown on insurance company abuses. It's a tricky, high-stakes political straddle by lawmakers who voted to create the law, which Republicans intend to place at the center of their campaign to win control of the Senate and hold their House majority.

Workers threaten strike at World Cup stadium

SAO PAULO (AP) — Workers at a World Cup stadium in the jungle city of Manaus are threatening to go on strike to demand better conditions following a third recent construction-related death at the venue. A walkout could further delay the completion of the Arena da Amazonia just months before the start of football's showcase tournament.

Egypt army kills 16 suspected militants in Sinai

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's military killed 16 suspected Islamic militants in a series of airstrikes on hideouts in the northern Sinai Peninsula, a spokesman said Saturday, alleging that the fighters had ties to the ousted president's Muslim Brotherhood group. The military has been waging a wide offensive against militant groups in Sinai, where they have solidified their position since the country's 2011 uprising.