AP Top News at 7:42 p.m. EDT

Video purports to show beheading of US journalist
BEIRUT (AP) - Islamic State extremists released a video Tuesday purportedly showing the beheading of a second American journalist, Steven Sotloff, and warning President Barack Obama that as long as U.S. airstrikes against the militant group continue, "our knife will continue to strike the necks of your people." The footage - depicting what the U.S. called a sickening act of brutality - was posted two weeks after the release of video showing the killing of James Foley and just days after Sotloff's mother pleaded for his life.


Ukrainian troops routed as Russia talks tough
NOVOKATERYNIVKA, Ukraine (AP) - The ferocity of the attack on the fleeing Ukrainian troops was clear, days after the ambush by Russian-backed separatist forces. More than 30 military vehicles lay in charred piles Tuesday. Villagers said dozens were killed, and some remained unburied. One soldier was blown out of his armored vehicle - apparently by a shell - his body left dangling from power lines high above.


Obama to Europe: NATO to oppose Russian aggression
WASHINGTON (AP) - Confronted by a Kremlin-backed military offensive in Ukraine, President Barack Obama and Western allies will approve plans this week to position at least 4,000 troops and military equipment in Eastern Europe, bolstering NATO's security commitments to nervous member states near the Russian border. Ahead of a high-stakes NATO summit that begins Thursday, Obama will also make a symbolic show of solidarity with Eastern Europe when he visits Estonia for meetings with Baltic leaders. He was due to arrive in the Estonian capital of Tallinn Wednesday morning.


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US strike targets leader of Somali extremist group
MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) - U.S. airstrikes in Somalia may have killed the leader of the Islamic extremist group al-Shabab, with a militant commander saying Tuesday that he was in a car that was struck and that six people died. The leader, Ahmed Abdi Godane, has no heir apparent. If he has been killed, it would be a "significant blow" to al-Shabab's organization and abilities, said U.S. Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, who confirmed the strikes targeting Godane.


30 teens escape from Nashville detention center
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Thirty teens "overwhelmed" their minders at a juvenile detention center by simultaneously breaking out of four dormitories and then crawling under a weak spot in a chain-link fence. By Tuesday evening, seven were still on the run. Police caught up with some walking along roads or coming out of the woods. Some turned themselves in, including one at the guard shack Tuesday evening. And some were swiftly returned to the detention center by their own families for their own good.


It's no longer safe to recline your airplane seat
NEW YORK (AP) - Squeezed into tighter and tighter spaces, airline passengers appear to be rebelling, taking their frustrations out on other fliers. Three U.S. flights made unscheduled landings in the past eight days after passengers got into fights over the ability to recline their seats. Disputes over a tiny bit of personal space might seem petty, but for passengers whose knees are already banging into tray tables, every inch counts.


Christie to Mexico on trade mission, 2016 politics
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is heading to Mexico on Wednesday, officially on a trade mission for his state. But the trip also serves as schooling for Christie, a potential 2016 presidential candidate with a lot of swagger but little foreign policy experience. So with his state exporting $2 billion worth of goods to Mexico, and tens of thousands of New Jersey jobs relying on the relationship, Christie becomes the latest potential presidential contender to cross the border on official business - and in pursuit of international expertise and credibility.


Lawyer says family of girl with Uzi is devastated
PHOENIX (AP) - An attorney for the parents of a 9-year-old girl who accidentally killed an Arizona shooting range instructor with an Uzi said Tuesday the family is devastated by the tragedy that occurred on a brief excursion during a vacation. The statement came as investigators released police reports and 911 recordings involving the Aug. 25 shooting of instructor Charles Vacca at the Last Stop range in White Hills, Arizona, about 60 miles south of Las Vegas.


Following his own rules, Monfils into US Open QFs
NEW YORK (AP) - Gael Monfils follows his own rules. The guy does things on a tennis court no one else has - or can. Just search his name on YouTube and watch any of many video clips showcasing his speed and agility; start with the parallel-to-the-ground, a-few-feet-in-the-air dive at this year's French Open.


Celebrities' nude shots removed from some websites
LOS ANGELES (AP) - As federal investigators worked Tuesday to determine who stole and posted nude photos of several female celebrities online, the images continued to be removed from various sites. Copyright complaints apparently prompted the removal of the image from sharing site Imgur.com and rendered links on the social networking site Reddit inoperable in what experts call an online version of "whack-a-mole" that will never fully scrub the intimate photos of Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence and other stars from the Internet.

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