BC-AP News Digest 2 pm

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Associated Press

Posted on March 3, 2013 at 4:00 PM

The world at 2 p.m. Times EST.

At the Nerve Center, news producers Coralie Carlson and Rob Jagodzinski can be reached at 800-845-8450 (ext. 1600). For photos, James Nieves (ext. 1900). For graphics and interactives, ext. 7636. Expanded AP Content can be obtained from http://www.apexchange.com . For access to AP Exchange and other technical issues, contact customersupport(at)ap.org or call 877-836-9477.

A selection of top photos can be found at http://bit.ly/APTopPhotos .

Editors: Resending 2 p.m. digest to clarify NFL QB-PAY line.

DEVELOPING

— NEW ORLEANS WATER LOSS — Officials say a boiler-room power failure at the plant supplying electricity to the city's treatment plant is to blame for a temporary loss of water pressure. The Sunday morning incident may have opened the way for water contamination. Will be updated from 2 p.m. news conference.

— RUSSIA-AVALANCHE — Russia: 6 teenagers trapped in avalanche in province bordering Mongolia.

— BRITAIN-CARDINAL — Accused Scottish cardinal admits sexual behavior fell 'below the standards' of church..

TOP STORIES

POPE FAITHFUL

SAO PAULO — Catholics worldwide attended Mass Sunday without a pope, and amid serious questions about the Roman Catholic Church's future. Africans say now is the moment to choose a pope who will energize the faithful. In South America, they pray for a pope from the developing world — someone who knows the future of the church lies outside Europe. In Asia, faithful say geography doesn't matter, only the mettle of the man who will be the next pope. By Bradley Brooks.

AP photos, video.

BRITAIN-CARDINAL

LONDON — The cardinal who until recently served as Britain's highest-ranking Catholic leader on Sunday acknowledged unspecified sexual misbehavior and promised to play "no further part" in the public life of the church, an admission which comes at an awkward time for the Vatican. Cardinal Keith O'Brien resigned Monday from his position as archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh after a newspaper published unnamed priests' accounts of unspecified inappropriate behavior. By Raphael Satter.

AP photos.

— POPE-CARDINALS-DOLAN — Challenging a White House mandate for birth control coverage in health insurance, New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan sounded like a general rallying the troops. EDITORS: Part of a series of AP profiles of key cardinals seen as "papabili" — contenders to the throne.

EXPECTANT PARENTS KILLED

NEW YORK — A young couple expecting their first child were on their way to a hospital when the car they were riding in was hit, killing them both, but their baby boy was born prematurely and survived, authorities said. Police sought the driver of the other car, and the victims, both 21, were to be mourned at a funeral hours after their death, part of custom in their Orthodox Jewish community. By Verena Dobnik.

AP photos.

BRITAIN-QUEEN

LONDON — Britain's Queen Elizabeth II is hospitalized over an apparent stomach infection that has ailed her for days, a rare instance of ill health sidelining the long-reigning monarch. Elizabeth will have to cancel a visit to Rome and other engagements as she recovers, and outside experts said she may have to be rehydrated intravenously. By Raphael Satter.

AP photos.

HIV BABY CURE?, HFR

WASHINGTON — A baby with the AIDS virus appears to have been cured, scientists announced Sunday, describing the case of a child from Mississippi who's now 2½ and has been off medication for about a year with no signs of trouble. If the child remains free of HIV, it would mark only the world's second known cure. Specialists say the finding offers exciting clues for how to eliminate HIV infection in children. By Medical Writer Lauran Neergaard. Eds: For release at 4:30 pm Sunday.

NIGERIA VIOLENCE

MAIGUGURI, Nigeria — Fighters linked to the radical Islamic terrorist network Boko Haram attack a military base in Nigeria's north in an assault that left at least 20 people dead, as the network's leader deny any peace talks with Nigeria's government. The attack in the village of Monguno, some 200 kilometers (125 miles) from the city of Maiduguri, punctuated the video statement by Abubakar Shekau that said Nigeria will remain under attack by the group until the multiethnic nation is ruled under Islamic law. Shekau also threatened the man who in recent months claimed to be a leader of Boko Haram and said that the group wanted to agree to a cease-fire with Nigeria's security forces. By Haruna Amar.

SYRIA

BEIRUT — Capitalizing on recent rebel gains in the country's contested north, Syria's main opposition leader makes his first visit to areas near the embattled northern city of Aleppo as fighters capture a police academy and a border crossing along the frontier with Iraq. In a rare interview, meanwhile, President Bashar Assad lashes out at the West for assisting those trying to oust him and sets harsh terms for talking to his opponents. By Barbara Surk. AP photos, video.

— PAKISTAN — Bomb kills 20, wounds dozens in Shiite Muslim area of Karachi in southern Pakistan.

— EGYPT — Egypt's former leader Mubarak faces new trial next month over deaths of protesters.

FBN--FEMALE KICKER

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Lauren Silberman is set to become the first woman to try out at an NFL regional combine. The 28-year former club soccer player at Wisconsin is competing with more than 30 male kickers at the New York Jets' facility, hoping to earn an invitation to a team's training camp. By Dennis Waszak Jr.

AP photos.

— NFL QB-PAY — Joe Flacco's impeccable timing earned him the richest contract for a quarterback in NFL history. That doesn't mean the Baltimore Raven is the game's best QB. By Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner.

MONDAY SPOTLIGHT

TAXING THE RICH

WASHINGTON — The poor rich. With Washington gridlocked again over whether to raise their taxes, it turns out wealthy families already are paying some of their biggest federal tax bills in decades, even as the rest of the population continues to pay at historically low rates. President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders in Congress say the wealthy must pay their fair share if the federal government is ever going to fix its finances and reduce the budget deficit to a manageable level. A new analysis, however, shows that average tax bills for high-income families have rarely been higher since the Congressional Budget Office began tracking the data in 1979. It's middle- and low-income families that aren't paying as much as they used to. By Stephen Ohlemacher.

—TAXES-WHO PAYS WHAT — Who will pay what in 2013 taxes?

—BUDGET BATTLE — Those spending cuts are here to stay if you believe the latest public posturing from members of Congress and White House advisers.

NATIONAL

SINKHOLE SWALLOWS MAN

SEFFNER, Fla. — Crews raze more than half of the Tampa-area home over a huge sinkhole that swallowed a man three days ago, managing to salvage some keepsakes for family members who lived there. Among what they managed to save: a Bible, a jewelry box and a pink teddy bear. By Tamara Lush.

AP photos.

NUCLEAR COSTS

ATLANTA — With the cost of nuclear plants rising, a handful of state officials are showing signs of buyer's regret. Two of the nation's three nuclear plants under construction are running over budget just as electricity generated by natural gas has gotten cheaper, dampening demand for nuclear energy. By Ray Henry.

AP photos.

VOTING RIGHTS MARCH

SELMA, Ala. — Black leaders commemorating a famous civil rights march say efforts to diminish the impact of African-Americans' votes haven't stopped in the years since the 1965 Voting Rights Act added millions to Southern voter rolls. Thousands were expected Sunday afternoon to march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma's annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee. By Phillip Rawls.

AP photos.

ARMY-VIRTUAL TRAINING

FORT BLISS, Texas — More than a dozen troops carefully maneuver through overgrown shrubs, firing laser-tag rifles at the enemy as they advance on a compound in the New Mexico desert. Fifty miles away in West Texas, other soldiers in helicopter and tank simulators provide air and ground support for the virtual training exercise. An Army supervisor watches it all unfold on a computer screen at a Fort Bliss command center. The real mission, however, comes next: a thorough, high-tech review of the soldiers' tactics. By Juan Carlos Llorca.

AP photos.

WASHINGTON

KERRY

CAIRO — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry rewards Egypt for President Mohammed Morsi's pledges of political and economic reforms by releasing $250 million in American aid to support the country's "future as a democracy." Yet Kerry also serves notice that the Obama administration will keep close watch on how Morsi, who came to power in June as Egypt's first freely elected president, honors his commitment. Kerry wraps up two days of meetings in a country deeply divided in the wake of the revolution that ousted Hosni Mubarak. By Matthew Lee.

AP photos.

— NKOREA-RODMAN — Call me? Maybe? North Korea's young leader has riled the U.S. with recent nuclear tests, but Kim Jong Un doesn't really want war with the superpower, just a call from Obama to chat about their shared love of basketball, according to erstwhile diplomat Dennis Rodman, the ex-NBA star just back from an improbable visit to the reclusive communist country.

MCCONELL-CAMPAIGN

FRANKFORT, Ky. — U.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell is gearing up for a tough re-election fight next year in Kentucky. He wants to prevent one, too. McConnell is trying to head off a GOP primary challenge by cozying up to the tea party. He's also trying to scare off potential Democratic contenders — actress Ashley Judd is one — by providing a glimpse of his no-holds-barred political tactics. The strategy seems to be working, so far. By Roger Alford.

AP photos.

—ROMNEY — Romney says his heart said he was going to win the presidency, but when early results came in on election night, he knew it was not to be. Romney says the loss hit hard and was emotional. His wife says she cried.

SCIENCE

SCI--PRIVATE SPACE

CAPE CANAVERAL — A private Earth-to-orbit delivery service made good on its latest shipment to the International Space Station, overcoming mechanical difficulty and delivering a ton of supplies with high-flying finesse. To NASA's relief, the SpaceX company's Dragon capsule pulled up to the orbiting lab with all of its systems in perfect order. By Marcia Dunn.

AP photos.

INTERNATIONAL

CHINA-GREAT EXPECTATIONS

BEIJING — In his first months in office as Communist Party leader, Xi Jinping has scored a series of public relations successes, styling himself as a pro-market reformer, ironfisted graft-buster, staunch nationalist and frugal man of the people. Now, as the political elite gather this month to appoint Xi to the largely ceremonial role of president, public expectations are growing to see whether he can add substance to style. By Gillian Wong.

AP photos, video.

SOMALIA-RAPE VICTIM

MOGADISHU, Somalia — A Somali appeals court drops charges against a woman who alleged she was raped by government security forces and had been convicted of defaming the government. Mogadishu appeals court Judge Mohamed Hassan Ali said there wasn't enough evidence to substantiate the prosecutor's charge. A court in February had sentenced the woman to one year in prison after medical evidence entered into the record showed that the woman was not raped. Some experts questioned whether Somalia has the medical expertise to make the kind of judgment. By Abdi Guled.

ALSO GETTING ATTENTION

— KENTUCKY CRASHES — Pair of crashes within minutes on Ky. interstate kills 6; Wis. family among victims.

— BOX OFFICE — 'Jack the Giant Slayer' scares up a fee-fi-ho-hum $28 million to top box office.

— CHINA EARTHQUAKE — Moderate earthquake in southwest China destroys 700 homes, injures 30 people.

— IDITAROD — Tense mushers and their leaping dogs begin the 1,000-mile trek through unpredictable wilderness to the old gold rush town of Nome on Alaska's western coast.

— IDITAROD -PHOTO GALLERY — AP PHOTOS: The Iditarod, past and present.

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