BC-AP News Digest 6:20 pm

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Associated Press

Posted on March 27, 2013 at 5:30 PM

The world at 6:20 p.m. Times EDT.

At the Nerve Center, news producers Suzanne Boyle McCrory, Richard Somma and Mike Stewart can be reached at 800-845-8450 (ext. 1600). For photos, Dan Goodman (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

DEVELOPING

— Adds US-CHINA HACKING, AMERICAN AIRLINES-BANKRUPTCY, COLORADO SHOOTING.

— IMMIGRATION REFORM BORDER — News conference at 3 p.m.

— BUDGET BATTLE-PENTAGON FURLOUGHS — APNewsBreak: Congress funding shift allows Pentagon to cut number of unpaid furlough days.

— EGYPT-INTERNET — Egypt says its naval forces captured 3 divers trying to cut undersea Internet cable.

— IMMIGRATION REFORM-BORDER — McCain, 3 other senators promise immigration overhaul by April after tour of US-Mexico border.

— MEXICO-VIGILANTES — Mexican vigilantes seize town on major highway, arrest police after vigilante leader is killed.

— TUCSON FREE SHOTGUNS — Ex-mayoral candidate in Tucson, Ariz., is launching program to give shotguns to residents of crime-prone areas.

— TV-NBC-LAUER — NBC executive says network isn't considering replacing Matt Lauer on 'Today.'

TOP STORIES

SUPREME COURT-GAY MARRIAGE

WASHINGTON — In a possible boost for same-sex marriage, the Supreme Court indicates it could strike down the federal law that denies legally married gay spouses a range of benefits offered to other couples. A majority of the justices indicate they will invalidate part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, if they can get past procedural problems similar to those that appear to plague Tuesday's case over same-sex marriage in California. By Mark Sherman.

AP photos, video, interactive.

— GAY MARRIAGE-VIRAL LOGO — A red box with pink equality lines in support of same-sex marriage goes viral on social media.

— SUPREME COURT-GAY MARRIAGE-EXCERPTS — Excerpts from day two oral arguments.

— SUPREME COURT-GAY MARRIAGE-WINDSOR — Woman at the center of Supreme Court gay marriage case says 'marriage' is a magic word.

CONGRESSWOMAN SHOT-RECORDS

PHOENIX — Newly released documents detailing the shooting of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords show how the gunman had grown increasingly erratic and delusional in the months leading up to the rampage as he alienated friends and family and became paranoid that police were out to get him. The roughly 2,700 pages also include witness and survivor accounts from people who helped save Giffords' life after she was shot in the head outside a Tucson supermarket in 2011 during a meet-and-greet with constituents. By Brian Skoloff and Jacques Billeaud.

AP photos.

SYRIA-ARMING REBELS

AMMAN, Jordan — Mideast powers dramatically stepped up weapons supplies to Syrian rebels in preparation for a push on the capital of Damascus, officials and Western military experts say, with one account saying that arms shipments via neighboring Jordan and Turkey have doubled in the past month. The U.S. and other Western governments are trying to channel the flow toward more secular fighters. By Dale Gavlak and Jamal Halaby.

AP photos.

— SYRIA — Assad appeals to five-nation summit in South Africa for help in ending civil war.

US-CHINA HACKING

WASHINGTON — The U.S. takes its first real swipe at China following accusations that the Beijing government is behind a widespread and systemic hacking campaign targeting U.S. businesses. Buried in a spending bill signed by President Obama is a provision that effectively bars much of the federal government from buying information technology made by companies linked to the Chinese government. By Anne Flaherty.

AMERICAN AIRLINES-BANKRUPTCY

NEW YORK — American Airlines wins bankruptcy court approval to combine with US Airways and form the world's biggest airline. The combined airline will have 6,700 daily flights and annual revenue of roughly $40 billion, and fly slightly more passengers than United, the current No. 1. By Airlines Writer Scott Mayerowitz.

AP photo.

VATICAN-RELUCTANT POPE?

VATICAN CITY — He still identifies himself as "Bergoglio" when speaking to friends, seems reluctant to call himself pope and has decided to live in the Vatican hotel rather than the papal apartment in the grand Apostolic Palace. It might seem as if Pope Francis is in a bit of denial over his new job. Another explanation is that he's simply changing the popular idea of what it means to be pope, keeping the no-frills style he cultivated as archbishop of Buenos Aires in ways that may have broad implications for the church. By Nicole Winfield.

AP photos.

— POPE-ARGENTINA'S SPIN — Argentina's populist president has pulled off a remarkable about-face since the cardinal she treated as a political arch-enemy became pope.

WASHINGTON

REPUBLICANS-2016

WASHINGTON — The Republican Party's search for a way back to presidential success in 2016 is drawing a striking array of personalities and positions. Rival factions are tugging the GOP left and right, toward pragmatism and defiance in a wide-open reassessment of itself. It's possible one candidate will pull away in the next two years, but the absence of an early frontrunner is unusual in a party used to having one. By Charles Babington.

AP photos.

— OBAMA-IMMIGRATION — After ceding the spotlight to Congress for weeks, Obama steps to the forefront of the immigration debate.

INTERNATIONAL

KOREAS-TENSION

SEOUL, South Korea — Raising tensions with South Korea yet again, North Korea cuts its last military telephone hotline with Seoul, a link that has been essential in operating the last major symbol of inter-Korean cooperation: an industrial complex in the North that employs hundreds of workers from the South. By Hyung-Jin Kim.

AP photos.

SPAMHAUS-CYBERATTACK

LONDON — Spam-fighting organization Spamhaus says it's being subjected to a massive cyberattack, apparently from groups angry at being blacklisted by the group. One expert warns that the electronic onslaught is affecting others across the Internet, slowing it down and generating unwanted email. By Raphael Satter.

AP photos.

PALESTINIANS-GOURMET GAZA

RAFAH, Gaza Strip — Spicy stuffed squid and roasted watermelon salad are among the unexpected culinary delights of Gaza, a densely populated seaside sliver of land that has been choked by Israeli blockades and battered by wars. The Palestinian territory's gourmet treasures are detailed in a new cookbook showcasing a unique, fiery variation of Mediterranean-style cooking kept alive despite food shortages and poverty. By Diaa Hadid.

AP photos.

INDIA-HOLI PHOTO GALLERY

A series of photos capturing the celebrations surrounding the Hindu festival of Holi, which begins each year with a bonfire and is followed the next day by paint throwing to celebrate the arrival of spring and the victory of good over evil.

NATIONAL

COLORADO SHOOTING

DENVER — Lawyers for Colorado theater shooting suspect James Holmes offer a guilty plea to avoid the death penalty. Prosecutors must now decide whether they want to take the plea and avoid a trial in the attack that killed 12 people and injured 70. By Dan Elliot and P. Solomon Banda.

AP photos.

IOWA GOVERNOR-EDUCATION

DES MOINES — As his Republican peers in other states search for ways to cut public school funding, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad is charting a different course. Branstad, who was elected in 2010 as part of a resurgent GOP, has made proposals many in the GOP would sneer at: raising minimum teacher salaries and offering incentive pay for teachers who take on more responsibilities — all by tapping $187 million in new school funding. It's an approach that reflects the lives of Iowa families, who send nearly all of their children to public schools and have felt deeply connected to local districts for generations. By Catherine Lucey.

AP photos.

BILLIONAIRE WINE SPAT

NEW YORK — Billionaire is squaring off against billionaire over a few bottles of wine. Florida energy magnate William Koch alleges in a federal lawsuit that California businessman Eric Greenberg sold him $300,000 in vintage wine — some of it supposedly dated to 1805 — that turned out to be phony. The trial threatens to pop the cork on the dirty secrets of the wine auction world, which like the art market has been stung in recent years by a proliferation of fakes. By Larry Neumeister.

AP photos.

HEALTH AND SCIENCE

CANCER GENES

A huge international effort involving more than 100 institutions and genetic tests on 200,000 people has uncovered dozens of signposts in DNA that can help reveal further a person's risk for breast, ovarian and prostate cancer, scientists report. While it sounds potentially significant, the most likely immediate payoff for ordinary people is the hope for better genetic tests to indicate who needs rigorous screening. By Science Writer Malcolm Ritter.

AP photos.

BUSINESS

CYPRUS-FINANCIAL CRISIS

NICOSIA, Cyprus — Cypriot authorities are preparing limits on how much money depositors can take out of their accounts a day before banks are set to reopen. A banking official says the measures include restrictions on large-scale money transfers from the country's two largest lenders to avoid a run. By Menelaos Hadjicostis.

AP photos.

ENTERTAINMENT

G.I. JOE'S 3-D DELAY

LOS ANGELES — G.I. Joe's second big-screen mission was just about to begin last year when Paramount suddenly called the troops back to base, delaying the release of "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" by an unprecedented nine months to convert it to 3-D. The move came just weeks after another movie based on a Hasbro toy, "Battleship," was torpedoed at the box office. Fans will soon find out if it was worth the wait: "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" opens Thursday. By Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen.

AP photos.

GETTING ATTENTION

— DEAD MOTHER-TODDLER — 4-year-old found with dead NJ mom weighed 26 pounds, was eating sugar; adoption offers pour in.

— PANERA-PAY WHAT YOU WANT — Panera Bread extends pay-what-you-want idea to one menu item — turkey chili in a bread bowl — at all St. Louis-area cafes. AP photos.

— COLD CASE-SEVERED HEAD — After identifying a severed head, police in New Jersey comb through files to see if any more of a New York serial killer's victims could have been dumped in the state.

— LULULEMON-YOGA PANTS — Lululemon says no demonstrations of yoga positions are needed to return the pricey black pants after a woman reported she was required to bend over and prove they were too shear.

— KENTUCKY SENATE-ASHLEY JUDD — Actress Ashley Judd says she won't run for the Senate.

— TV-FOX-CARLSON — Tucker Carlson named co-host of weekend morning show 'Fox & Friends,' replacing Dave Briggs.

— OBIT-JORDANAIRE SINGER — Son says Gordon Stoker, member of Nashville vocal group The Jordanaires, dies at age 88.

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