AP Top News at 6:30 p.m. EDT

Tuscaloosa residents gather in a parking lot where food, water, and supplies are being distributed to those in need in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Saturday, April 30, 2011. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
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Tuscaloosa residents gather in a parking lot where food, water, and supplies are being distributed to those in need in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Saturday, April 30, 2011.

Whether it's refilling blood-pressure medicine or patrolling neighborhoods in a grocery-filled pickup truck, tornado victims in splintered Southern towns say volunteers are ensuring they're well-fed and warm at night. At least a few, though, say they need more from the government: Help getting into their homes and cleaning up endless debris. Across the twister-ravaged South, students and church groups aggressively tended to those who needed it most, clearing away wreckage and handing out food and water. Wednesday's tornadoes marked the second-deadliest day of twisters in U.S. history, leaving 341 people dead across seven states — including 249 in Alabama. Thousands were hurt, and hundreds of homes and businesses have vanished into rubble.

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The spring fighting season in Afghanistan geared up this weekend with a war of words. The Taliban announced they will begin their spring offensive Sunday, pledging to attack military bases, convoys and Afghan officials, including members of the peace council working to reconcile with top insurgent leaders. Saturday's declaration came a day after a new Pentagon report claimed the militants were experiencing low morale after suffering heavy losses on the battlefield.

ROME (AP) — Thousands of young people flooded an ancient Roman field Saturday for an all-night prayer vigil honoring Pope John Paul II on the eve of his beatification, remembering his teachings, travels and his own suffering. Pilgrims waving flags from Poland, Spain Germany and Brazil filled the Circus Maximus, which twinkled with the light of thousands of candles as choirs from John Paul's native Poland, the Philippines and Italy sang. They listened as a French nun who suffered from Parkinson's recounted how she was cured after praying to John Paul, who also battled the same disease.

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — With back-to-back events featuring multiple presidential hopefuls, it's been something of an instant-replay kind of weekend for New Hampshire Republicans. Barely 12 hours after five possible candidates spoke Friday at a dinner in Manchester, three of them showed up less than 10 miles away for a second gathering Saturday morning. Though Rep. Michele Bachmann started from scratch with her speech, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Sen. Rick Santorum largely stuck to the highlights they delivered the previous night, when they were joined by former Gov. Mitt Romney and businessman Herman Cain.

NEW YORK (AP) — One year after a militant from Connecticut spread panic by driving a bomb-laden SUV into the heart of Times Square, New Yorkers, tourists and even the street vendor who alerted police to the smoking vehicle still descend on "The Crossroads of the World" as if it never happened. But behind the scenes, the New York Police Department and other law enforcement agencies still watch for and worry about the next terror plot against the city, something they say is certain to come. Experts say that while al-Qaida remains a threat, the admitted would-be bomber in the Times Square case represented a modern breed of homegrown terrorist — one with perhaps less formal training and fewer resources than the Sept. 11 attackers, but with equal audacity and a willingness to stage smaller strikes that still have the power to paralyze a city.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's decision to use unmanned Predator drones in Libya widened what had become very limited U.S. participation in the air war, but the aircraft credited with taking out terrorist leaders in western Pakistan probably won't prove decisive against Moammar Gadhafi's forces. Sending just two remotely piloted Predators, each with two Hellfire missiles designed to pierce armor, over Libya 24 hours a day is far from a game-changing addition to an air campaign that features an array of high-flying French, British and other European jets bombing Libyan ground targets and enforcing a no-fly zone.

NEW YORK (AP) — Fashion firms want a piece of the fairy tale. Seconds after Kate Middleton emerged from her car outside Westminster Abbey in a ball gown with lace sleeves, designers around the country, glued to their TV sets, were sketching her look, setting in motion a mad rush for mass-produced versions that are expected to be in stores as early as late June.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is shifting from consoler to comic for his appearance before a mix of politicians, celebrities and journalists at Washington's premier black-tie dinner. Obama was to attend the White House Correspondents' Association annual dinner Saturday night, one day after traveling to Alabama to meet with residents affected by the deadliest tornado outbreak in 40 years and view what the president said was the worst devastation he's ever seen.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Lindsay Lohan wants to enter a no contest plea to end a criminal case filed over a $2,500 necklace reported stolen, a source close to the actress said Saturday. The source, who is familiar with Lohan's criminal case but was not authorized to comment publicly, said the actress wants to put the case behind her so she can focus on her career.

NEW YORK (AP) — From lockout to injunction to limbo and back to lockout — with a draft thrown in. Not even Super Bowl week gets that wild. Backed by an appeals court ruling, owners shut their doors once more, with players across the league trying to figure out where they stand — again.