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Posted: Feb 17, 2013 3:31 AM

Updated: Feb 17, 2013 3:31 AM


Here are the top stories at this hour from The Associated Press. At the Nerve Center, news producer Jerome Minerva can be reached at 800-845-8450 (ext. 1600). Times EST.


VATICAN-POPE Will be updated when pontiff speaks within the hour.

ECUADOR-ELECTION Polls open 7 a.m., close at 5 p.m.; first official results expected two hours after polls close.

RI NIGHTCLUB FIRE Will be updated from service at 1 p.m.

LOST PURPLE HEART Will be updated; timing uncertain.



WASHINGTON President Barack Obama's chief domestic policy adviser keeps a framed letter from the late Democratic senator and immigration advocate Ted Kennedy in her West Wing office. Kennedy wrote the letter in 2007 after the collapse of bipartisan efforts to overhaul the nation's fractured immigration system.



QUITO, Ecuador Rafael Correa, a dynamic but polemical economist whose leftist government leads Latin America in social spending, is expected to easily win a second re-election as president of the Andean nation.


VATICAN CITY Crowds are gathering in St. Peter's Square for Pope Benedict XVI's first Sunday window blessing since his retirement announcement, and the second-to-last before he leaves the papacy.


KABUL, Afghanistan Afghan President Hamid Karzai issues a decree that orders the prosecution of Afghan security forces involved in torturing prisoners and requires all future interrogations be videotaped.


BAGHDAD A series of car bombs explodes within minutes of each other in and around Baghdad, killing at least 28 people and wounding dozens in overwhelmingly Shiite areas.


QUETTA, Pakistan Angry residents demand government protection from an onslaught of attacks against Shiite Muslims, a day after 81 people were killed in a massive bombing that a local official says was a sign that security agencies were too scared to do their jobs.



WEST WARWICK, R.I. Survivors and family members of the 100 people killed in a Rhode Island nightclub fire are observing the 10th anniversary of the blaze, which broke out when pyrotechnics for the rock band Great White ignited flammable packing foam that had been installed inside the club as soundproofing.


LOS ANGELES The daughter of an Army officer who died in 1945 will receive her father's Purple Heart, along with a Silver Star she never knew he'd won and a half-dozen other medals.

Sports Coverage: NBA All-Star game, NHL, college basketball, golf, tennis and winter sports.

Guest lineup for the Sunday TV news shows:


ABC's "This Week." Topic: The budget; gun control; immigration; and other issues. White House chief of staff Denis McDonough; Reps. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Joaquin Castro, D-Texas.


NBC's "Meet the Press." Topics: The budget; gun control; and other issues. McDonough; Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.; Mark Kelly, husband of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.


CBS' "Face the Nation." Topics: The budget; guns; politics; and changes in the Catholic church. McDonough; former Gov. Haley Barbour, R-Miss.; Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, N.J.; Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington, D.C.


CNN's "State of the Union." Topics: The budget; guns; and politics. Sens. Jack Reed, D-R.I., Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and John Barrasso, R-Wyo.; Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich.


"Fox News Sunday." Topics: The Chuck Hagel nomination; politics; and other topics. Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

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