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April 21, 2014

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AP Top News at 9:56 a.m. EST

Updated Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014 | 6:56 a.m.

No agreement on aid, prisoners in Syrians talks

GENEVA (AP) — Syrians on opposite sides of their country's civil war tried again Sunday to find common ground, but a morning session focusing on the release of prisoners and an aid convoy to a besieged central city failed to produce an agreement, delegates said. The delegation for President Bashar Assad complained that the talks are avoiding the main issues and questioned their usefulness, while the opposition said the government negotiating team wanted to "lecture" instead of make decisions.

Killed protester mourned in Kiev amid crisis

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Thousands of Ukrainians chanted "Hero!" and sang the national anthem, as a coffin carrying a protester who was killed in last week's clashes with police was carried through the streets of the capital, underscoring the rising tensions in the country's two-month political crisis. Mikhail Zhiznevsky, 25, was one of two protesters who died of gunshot wounds on Wednesday.

Leader: Egypt to have presidential elections first

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's interim president announced Sunday that the country will hold presidential elections before parliamentary polls, promising that a rise in "dark terrorism" won't derail a transition to democracy following a July 3 popularly backed military coup. The announcement, expected after weeks of speculation, comes as many think army chief Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi will run for president after leading the coup that toppled Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

Quebec fire bodies search temporarily suspended

L'ISLE-VERTE, Quebec (AP) — Snow squalls and frigid temperatures Sunday temporarily suspended the effort to recover another 22 people presumed killed a day after crews pulled just two more bodies from the ice-covered rubble of a Quebec seniors' home. Officials have confirmed 10 dead from the massive fire. The cause of Thursday's blaze in the small town of L'Isle-Verte remains under investigation. There were media reports that the fire began in the room of a resident who was smoking a cigarette, but police said Saturday that was just one possibility among many.

Birds attack peace doves freed from pope's window

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Two white doves that were released by children standing alongside Pope Francis as a peace gesture have been attacked by other birds. As tens of thousands of people watched in St. Peter's Square on Sunday, a seagull and a large black crow swept down on the doves right after they were set free from an open window of the Apostolic Palace.

India village councils under scrutiny after rape

NEW DELHI (AP) — In the hours after her 6-year-old daughter was kidnapped, screaming in terror as she was dragged away from home, Rimaila Awungshi appealed for help from the most powerful authority she knew — the council of elders in her rural Indian village. In her anguish, Awungshi told the village leaders what happened. She was a single mother to a beloved little girl named Yinring, whose name translates as "living in God's shelter." Her ex-boyfriend had refused to marry her or care for their child. But as the years passed and he never found a wife, his family demanded custody.

Police identify shooter in Maryland mall shooting

COLUMBIA, Md. (AP) — Police have identified the shooter in the Maryland mall shooting as a 19-year-old teenager from College Park. Howard County Police Chief Bill McMahon said Darion Marcus Aguilar arrived at the mall after 10 a.m. on Saturday and shot to death two people at a store on the upper level before killing himself.

Republicans struggle in Georgia's Senate primary

WATKINSVILLE, Ga. (AP) — Seeking promotion to the U.S. Senate, Republican Rep. Jack Kingston avoids an explicit yes-or-no answer when asked by a voter if he considers himself a tea party candidate. Instead, the 11-term congressman offers the lunch crowd at a northeast Georgia community center a careful plea for a unified party that can sell limited-government arguments to a wider audience. Kingston doesn't mention any of his seven primary opponents. But the subtext is obvious in a field that includes Kingston's House colleagues Paul Broun and Phil Gingrey.

Hospital: No decision on order to end life support

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Executives from a Texas hospital conferred with the county district attorney's office Saturday to determine their next step, after a judge ordered the hospital to remove a pregnant, brain-dead woman from life support. Officials from John Peter Smith Hospital and the Tarrant County district attorney's office, which is representing the county-owned hospital, met to discuss Judge R. H. Wallace Jr.'s order regarding Marlise Munoz, hospital spokeswoman J.R. Labbe said. She declined to say whether a possible appeal was being discussed, but said an announcement wouldn't come Saturday.

Arizona GOP censures McCain for 'liberal' record

PHOENIX (AP) — The Arizona Republican Party formally censured Sen. John McCain on Saturday, citing a voting record they say is insufficiently conservative. The resolution to censure McCain was approved by a voice-vote during a meeting of state committee members in Tempe, state party spokesman Tim Sifert said. It needed signatures from at least 20 percent of state committee members to reach the floor for debate.