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AP Top News at 6:42 a.m. EDT

Another American hostage at risk by Islamic State
WASHINGTON (AP) - In a horrifying act of revenge for U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq, militants with the Islamic State extremist group have beheaded American journalist James Foley - and are threatening to kill another hostage, U.S. officials say. The White House must now weigh the risks of adopting an aggressive policy to destroy the Islamic State against resisting any action that could result in the death of another American.


Volunteers a buffer between police, protesters
FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) - The tall black man walked up and down West Florissant Avenue in Ferguson, Missouri, working a bullhorn, imploring protesters to behave themselves. "All right, y'all doing good!" Malik Zulu Shabazz told one group of young men. "Just keep it peaceful. Keep it peaceful, black man!"


10 Things to Know for Today
Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today: 1. U.S. HAS NO GOOD OPTION TO PROTECT SECOND JOURNALIST HOSTAGE


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Latest Ferguson protests are smaller, more subdued
FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) - Police and protesters in Ferguson were finally able to share the streets again at night, putting aside for at least a few hours some of the hostility that had filled those hours with tear gas and smoke. The St. Louis suburb still had plenty of lively protest Tuesday over the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown. And tensions rose briefly when someone hurled a bottle at officers.


Liberian security forces seal slum to halt Ebola
MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) - Security forces deployed Wednesday to enforce a quarantine around a slum in the Liberian capital, stepping up the government's fight to stop the spread of Ebola and unnerving residents. Liberia has the highest death toll of the four West African countries affected by the dreaded disease, and its number of cases is rising the fastest. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf ordered the quarantine and imposed a nighttime curfew that begins Wednesday, saying that authorities have not been able to curtail the spread of Ebola in the face of defiance of their recommendations. She also ordered entertain


Israel, Gaza militants trade fire after talks fail
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - Palestinian militants launched dozens of rockets and Israel responded with airstrikes on Wednesday after Egyptian efforts to mediate a lasting truce in the monthlong Gaza war collapsed in a hail of fire a day earlier. One of the Israeli airstrikes appeared to have targeted the home of Mohammed Deif, the Islamic militant group's elusive military chief, who has escaped numerous Israeli assassination attempts in the past. It was not immediately clear whether he was there at the time of the attack.


Chinese, Russian media turn criticisms back on US
BEIJING (AP) - Chinese and Russian state media have seized on the U.S. police shooting of an unarmed black 18-year-old and ensuing protests to fire back at Washington's criticisms of their own governments, portraying the United States as a land of inequality and brutal police tactics. The violence in the St. Louis, Missouri, suburb of Ferguson comes amid tensions between the U.S. and Russia over Ukraine, as well as friction between Washington and Beijing over what China sees as a campaign to thwart its rise as a global power.


Global cruise lines set sail for China
HONG KONG (AP) - Royal Caribbean's newest ship has attractions not usually seen on cruise liners, including bumper cars, a skydiving simulator and a glass observation capsule on a mechanical arm that lifts its passengers high into the air. What's also a surprise is the vessel's intended home port: Shanghai.


Pakistan lawmakers meet amid mass protests
ISLAMABAD (AP) - Pakistani lawmakers met Wednesday as tens of thousands of protesters thronged outside the assembly calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif over alleged voting fraud. Sharif and other lawmakers were able to enter the building through a back exit connected to the premier's office after the protesters late Tuesday had torn down barricades and entered the so-called Red Zone housing Parliament and other key government buildings.


Ukraine's rebel capital seeks ersatz normality
DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) - It has been weeks since Donetsk last had a traffic jam. The regular rumble on the edge of this besieged city in eastern Ukraine is a constant reminder of the government's effort to shell armed pro-Russian separatists out of their stronghold. Rebels give as good as they get, blindly lobbing shells back at an unseen foe.