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AP Top News at 12:42 a.m. EST

Clinton, Sanders clash over minorities, money _ and Obama
MILWAUKEE (AP) - Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders battled for the crucial backing of black and Hispanic voters in Thursday night's Democratic debate and clashed heatedly over their support for Barack Obama as the presidential race shifted toward states with more minority voters. Clinton, who has cast herself as the rightful heir to Obama's legacy, accused Sanders of diminishing the president's record and short-changing his leadership. "The kind of criticism I hear from Senator Sanders, I expect from Republicans. I do not expect it from someone seeking the Democratic nomination," Clinton said in a sharp exchange at the close of the two-hour debate in Milwaukee.


AP FACT CHECK: Clinton, Sanders on health care, donors
WASHINGTON (AP) - In their latest debate, Hillary Clinton glossed over the big-money donors juicing her White House ambitions while Bernie Sanders offered disputed numbers behind his plan for a government-financed health system. A look at some of the claims in the Democratic presidential debate and how they compare with the facts: CLINTON: "I'm very proud of the fact that we have more than 750,000 donors, and the vast majority of them are giving small contributions. ... We both have a lot of small donors." THE FACTS: Her presidential run is being supported by wealthy donors in ways that Sanders' is not.


Debate Takeaways: Clinton, Sanders appeal to SC, Nevada
MILWAUKEE (AP) - In the first Democratic presidential debate since Bernie Sanders' sweeping victory in New Hampshire's primary, the Vermont senator sought to build upon success and introduce himself to voters who may be open to an alternative to Iowa caucuses winner Hillary Clinton. The former secretary of state, meanwhile, tried Thursday night to assure Democrats worried about her ability to help the party hold onto the White House that she is still the best choice to succeed President Barack Obama. Here are some takeaways from the debate in Milwaukee: --- NEVADA AND SOUTH CAROLINA The debate was held in Wisconsin, but messages from both candidates throughout the debate were clearly aimed at minority voters in Nevada and South Carolina - the next two states on the primary calendar.


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Diplomats aim for temporary Syria truce in a week
MUNICH (AP) - Diplomats trying to secure a ceasefire for the civil war in Syria fell short early Friday in organizing a truce but agreed to try to work out details and implement a temporary "cessation of hostilities" in a week's time. The deal appeared to be the result of a compromise between the United States, which had wanted an immediate ceasefire, and Russia, which had proposed one to start on March 1. Although foreign ministers from the International Syria Support Group managed to seal an agreement to "accelerate and expand" deliveries of humanitarian aid to besieged Syrian communities beginning this week, their failure to agree on a ceasefire leaves the most critical step to resuming peace talks unresolved. It was not clear from their comments afterward if deep differences regarding the truce and which groups would be eligible for it could be overcome.


Fear pervasive after Mexican prison riot that killed 49
MONTERREY, Mexico (AP) - A brawl between rival drug gangs at an overcrowded penitentiary in northern Mexico turned into a riot Thursday, leaving 49 inmates dead and 12 injured in the country's deadliest prison melee in years. No escapes were reported in the clash at the Topo Chico prison in Monterrey, said Nuevo Leon state Gov. Jaime Rodriguez. The riot took place on the eve of Pope Francis' arrival in Mexico, a visit that is scheduled to include a trip next week to another prison in the border city of Ciudad Juarez. Rodriguez said in the morning that 52 people had died, but he lowered that by three in the late afternoon.


Einstein's right again: Scientists detect ripples in gravity
WASHINGTON (AP) - It was just a tiny, almost imperceptible "chirp," but it simultaneously opened humanity's ears to the music of the cosmos and proved Einstein right again. In what is being hailed as one of the biggest eureka moments in the history of physics, scientists announced Thursday that they have finally detected gravitational waves, the ripples in the fabric of space and time that Einstein predicted a century ago. The news exhilarated astronomers and physicists. Because the evidence of gravitational waves is captured in audio form, the finding means astronomers will now be able to hear the soundtrack of the universe and listen as violent collisions reshape the cosmos.


With FBI ring tightening, last Oregon occupiers give up
BURNS, Ore. (AP) - With the FBI tightening its ring around them, the last four holdouts in the armed takeover of a national wildlife refuge in Oregon surrendered Thursday, ending a 41-day standoff that left one man dead and exposed simmering anger over the government's control of vast expanses of Western land. Federal authorities in six states also arrested seven other people accused of being involved in the occupation and brought charges against a leader of the movement who organized a 2014 standoff. Two more suspects remained at large. The last occupiers at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge gave up without incident a day after federal agents surrounded the site.


Japan stocks down 5.3 percent after Europe, US sell-off
TOKYO (AP) - Japan's main stock index dived more than 5 percent Friday, leading other Asian markets lower, after a sell-off in banking shares roiled investors in Europe and the U.S. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 lost 5.3 percent to 14,886.75 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.8 percent to 18,395.69. South Korea's Kospi gave up 1.1 percent to 1,841.07 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 1 percent to 4,772.20. Shares in New Zealand, Taiwan and Thailand fell while Singapore and Indonesia rose. Markets in China and Taiwan are closed until Monday for Lunar New Year holidays. Global stocks have been in a slump since the beginning of the year when China's market, which had been propped up by government buying, plunged dramatically.


Lamar Odom makes appearance at Kanye West fashion show
NEW YORK (AP) - Lamar Odom made his public return at brother-in-law Kanye West's New York Fashion Week show on Thursday. Odom's appearance marked the first time he'd attended a public event since he was hospitalized in critical condition in Las Vegas in October 2015 after he was found unconscious at a Nevada brothel with cocaine in his system. Odom, who is estranged from Khloe Kardashian, had been moved from a Los Angeles hospital to a private facility in January. As West walked Odom to his seat with the Kardashian and Jenner families, the crowd at Madison Square Garden for West's Yeezy runway show cheered and shouted Odom's name.


AP Interview: IOC medical chief seeks to allay Zika fears
LONDON (AP) - Seeking to allay fears over the Zika outbreak, the IOC medical director said "everything that can be done is being done" to combat the virus in Brazil and provide safe conditions for athletes at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. In an interview with The Associated Press, Dr. Richard Budgett said there are no health warnings against traveling to Brazil, except for pregnant women, and stressed that no consideration has been given to postponing or canceling the games. "Our priority is to protect the health of the athletes,' Budgett said on Thursday. "The IOC absolutely is not complacent.

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