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AP Top News at 12:44 a.m. EDT

Heartbroken by gun violence: Rallies across US demand change
WASHINGTON (AP) - They came from a place of heartbreak to claim their spot in history: Hundreds of thousands of teenagers and supporters, rallying across the United States for tougher laws to fight gun violence. The "March for Our Lives" events on Saturday drew massive crowds in cities across the country, marking the largest youth-led protests since the Vietnam War era. In Washington, D.C., New York City, Denver, Los Angeles and other cities, demonstrators heard from student survivors of last month's school shooting in Parkland, Florida. "If you listen real close, you can hear the people in power shaking," Parkland survivor David Hogg said to roars from protesters packing Pennsylvania Avenue from a stage near the Capitol to a spot many blocks away toward the White House.

NCAA Latest: Michigan, Loyola in Final Four; bluebloods next
The bluebloods will take center stage Sunday to determine the last two entrants in the Final Four. No. 1 seed Kansas and No. 2 seed Duke will face off in the Midwest Region final in the only region that got its top two seeds to the regional final. Duke has won five national titles and Kansas has won three NCAA Tournament titles. In the other Elite Eight game, No. 1 seed Villanova will face No. 3 seed Texas Tech in the East Region final. Villanova won national titles in 1985 and 2016. Texas Tech, the outlier in Sunday's action, is in the Elite Eight for the first time.

Survivor marks 6 minutes of strength and silence at rally
Chin high and tears streaming, Florida school shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez stood silent in front of thousands gathered for the "March for Our Lives" rally in Washington, D.C. She continued to stand silently as a few crowd members shouted out support. She remained silent as tentative chants broke out. Her silence continued as those attending also fell quiet, many weeping. The gripping moment stretched for 6 minutes and 20 seconds, the amount of time Gonzalez said it took a shooter to kill 17 people and wound 15 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, last month. "Everyone who has been touched by the cold grip of gun violence understands," Gonzalez told the hushed crowd, describing the long hours spent waiting for authorities to identify their slain classmates, the horror of discovering many of them had breathed their last breaths before many students even knew a "code red" alert - designed to warn staffers and students of a potential threat - had been called.

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Stars affected by violence join students' gun-reform rallies
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Paul McCartney, Common, Miley Cyrus, Amy Schumer and other stars played supporting roles at nationwide gun-reform rallies dominated by teenage survivors' emotional speeches. Still, the protests were deeply personal for some of the celebrities involved. Jennifer Hudson, who performed "The Times They Are A Changin'" to cap Saturday's March for Our Lives rally in Washington, D.C., alluded to the shooting deaths of her mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew in 2008. "We've all lost somebody. ... We've all got a purpose. And we want what? We want change," she said, encouraging the vast crowd to join her in song.

'He fell a hero:" French praise policeman in hostage swap
TREBES, France (AP) - The French police officer who swapped places with a female supermarket employee being held hostage had already received a lifetime of accolades by the time he walked unarmed into the store under attack by an extremist gunman. Known for his courage and sang-froid, Lt. Col. Arnaud Beltrame was acclaimed by neighbors, colleagues and French authorities as a hero Saturday after his death from wounds the day before. President Emmanuel Macron announced plans for a national ceremony to formally honor him. After agreeing to the hostage swap, Beltrame surrendered his weapon - but kept his cellphone on, allowing authorities outside the Super U market in the southern French town of Trebes to hear what was happening inside.

Final Four bound: No. 11 Loyola beats Kansas State 78-62
ATLANTA (AP) - Porter Moser stood in front of the scarf-clad Loyola cheering section, a bit dazed but beaming from ear to ear. "Are you kidding me! Are you kidding me," the Ramblers coach screamed over and over. No kidding. Loyola is headed to the Final Four . An improbable NCAA Tournament took its craziest turn yet Saturday night, when Ben Richardson scored a career-high 23 points and the 11th-seeded Ramblers romped to a 78-62 victory over Kansas State to cap off a stunning run through the bracket-busting South Regional. The Ramblers (32-5) matched the lowest-seeded team ever to reach the Final Four, joining LSU (1986), George Mason (2006) and VCU (2011).

Will GOP accomplishments in Congress be enough for voters?
WASHINGTON (AP) - With passage of an enormous budget bill, the GOP-controlled Congress all but wrapped up its legislating for the year. But will it be enough to convince voters to give Republicans another term at the helm? In two big ways, Republicans have done what they promised. They passed a long sought tax overhaul bill that slashed tax rates. They've rolled back regulations, in ways they claim are boosting the economy. In the Senate, they confirmed a justice to the Supreme Court. But there are signs Americans wanted more: immigration reforms, gun control legislation, even an infrastructure plan that President Donald Trump promised voters.

Why Trump's latest steps heighten risk of a global trade war
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Ronald Reagan once likened trade wars to the pie fights in old Hollywood comedies. One pie in the face leads to another. And then another. Pretty soon, Reagan said in a 1986 radio address, "everything and everybody just gets messier and messier. The difference here is that it's not funny. It's tragic. Protectionism becomes destructionism. It costs jobs." Suddenly, the world's financial markets are gripped by fear that an escalating trade rift between the United States and China - the two mightiest economies - could smear the world with a lot of splattered cream and broken crust.

AP Explains: Trump's policy on transgender troops
PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) - President Donald Trump has issued an order supporting his push to ban most transgender troops from serving in the U.S. military except under "limited circumstances." But the decision is expected to be the subject of an ongoing legal fight in the months ahead. The White House announced the decision late Friday, shortly after the president arrived at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, completing a process that followed Trump's surprise announcement on Twitter last year that he would reverse an Obama administration plan to allow transgender individuals to serve openly. In a memo to the president, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis pointed to "substantial risks" with allowing military personnel who seek to undertake a treatment to change their gender or who question their gender identity.

GOP's congressional stronghold is Democrats' source of hope
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A longtime congressional stronghold for Republicans, Pennsylvania is emerging in dramatic fashion as a source of hope for Democrats in their quest to take control of the U.S. House in November's mid-term elections. This week cemented Democratic victories in two key battles: Republicans dropped talk of legal challenges to Democrat Conor Lamb's improbable victory in a special election in southwestern Pennsylvania and federal courts rejected two GOP lawsuits seeking to block a state court-drawn map of more competitive districts. For years, Pennsylvania has hosted one of the nation's biggest Republican congressional delegations. Now, what had been a 13-to-5 Republican advantage in Pennsylvania's 18-member delegation could get wiped out.