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April 16, 2014

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AP Top News at 4:10 p.m. EST

Updated Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014 | 1:10 p.m.

UK police seek info about suicide bomber in Syria

LONDON (AP) — Could a British highway worker have blown himself up in a Syrian suicide bombing? The BBC and other British media said Thursday that police were trying to confirm whether 41-year-old Abdul Waheed Majid, who grew up in the London commuter town of Crawley, blew himself up during an attack on a prison in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo where hundreds of prisoners were freed last week.

French leader lands in California for tech talks

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — France's president arrived Wednesday in the heart of tech country for meetings with Silicon Valley and government leaders, just days after a French regulator hit Google with an embarrassing regulatory slap and after years of efforts to wrest more taxes from tech firms. President Francois Hollande was greeted at San Francisco City Hall by Mayor Ed Lee, California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz, as school children waved French and American flags on the stairway of the rotunda.

Israeli settlements also face pressure from within

PSAGOT, West Bank (AP) — These days, when Yaakov Berg tries to sell his award-winning line of Psagot boutique wines, he encounters obstacles from every direction. As a Jewish vintner in a West Bank settlement, his product is increasingly considered off-limits. "Not just overseas, also in Tel Aviv," says Berg, 37. "So we have big problems. Actually, it's almost impossible to sell in (Tel Aviv) restaurants."

Another ice storm causes havoc across the South

ATLANTA (AP) — The second wintry storm in two weeks to hit the Deep South encrusted highways, trees and power lines in ice Wednesday, knocking out electricity to more than 350,000 homes and businesses. But it didn't wreak the highway havoc in Atlanta that the previous bout of heavy weather did — largely because people learned their lesson the last time and stayed off the roads.

Winter takes toll on nation's pipes and pavement

CHICAGO (AP) — This merciless winter is taking a heavy toll on the nation's pipes and pavement, breaking hundreds of water mains that turn streets into frozen rivers and opening potholes so big they snap tire rims and wheel axles like Popsicle sticks. From Iowa to New York and Michigan to Georgia, the relentless cycle of snow and bitter cold is testing the strength of the steel-and-cement skeletons on which our communities are built, the patience of the people who live there and the stamina of crews whose job is to keep the roads safe and the taps running.

Ex-New Orleans mayor convicted of taking bribes

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was convicted Wednesday on charges that he accepted bribes, free trips and other gratuities from contractors in exchange for helping them secure millions of dollars in city work while he was in office, including right after Hurricane Katrina. The federal jury found Nagin guilty of 20 of 21 counts against him. He sat quietly at the defense table after the verdict was read and his wife, Seletha, was being consoled in the front row.

LA abuzz about push for urban beekeeping

LOS ANGELES (AP) — For the past three years, Rob McFarland has kept a beehive filled with 25,000 bees on the roof of his house smack in the middle of West Los Angeles. The bees occupy some prime real estate — they even have a view of the Hollywood sign — but for now, they are illegal squatters in the trendy neighborhood of bars and eateries near Santa Monica.

Senate clears debt limit measure for Obama

WASHINGTON (AP) — After a dramatic Senate tally in which top GOP leaders cast the crucial votes, must-pass legislation to allow the government to borrow money to pay its bills cleared Congress Wednesday for President Barack Obama's signature. The Senate approved the measure by a near party-line 55-43 vote. All of the "aye" votes came from Obama's Democratic allies.

Sid Caesar, comic genius of 1950s television, dies

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Sid Caesar, the prodigiously talented pioneer of TV comedy who paired with Imogene Coca in sketches that became classics and who inspired a generation of famous writers, died Wednesday. He was 91. Family spokesman Eddy Friedfeld said Caesar, who also played Coach Calhoun in the 1978 movie "Grease," died at his home in the Los Angeles area after a brief illness.

Volosozhar and Trankov of Russia win pairs gold

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Maxim Trankov hopes young figure skaters all over Russia will take inspiration from what he and Tatiana Volosozhar accomplished at the Olympics. The two restored the country to the pinnacle of pairs Wednesday, and their teammates made it almost total domination. Volosozhar and Trankov won gold, while Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov took silver.