Iraq routed IS from Ramadi at a high cost: A city destroyed RAMADI, Iraq (AP) - This is what victory looks like in the Iraqi city of Ramadi: In the once thriving Haji Ziad Square, not a single structure still stands. Turning in every direction yields a picture of devastation. A building that housed a pool hall and ice cream shops - reduced to rubble. A row of money changers and motorcycle repair garages - obliterated, a giant bomb crater in its place. The square's Haji Ziad Restaurant, beloved for years by Ramadi residents for its grilled meats - flattened. The restaurant was so popular its owner built a larger, fancier branch across the street three years ago.
Patching relationships, Trump pivots toward big fundraising NEW YORK (AP) - Donald Trump is taking his first steps toward raising the massive amounts of money needed for a national presidential race, aiming to broaden his primary insurgency into a full-fledged general election campaign and unite the fractured Republican Party behind him. Trump is reaching out to party heavyweights, hoping to repair his sometimes-strained relationships with the Republican National Committee and big GOP donors whom he bashed repeatedly during the primaries. On Thursday, his campaign named a finance chairman, Steven Mnuchin, who is chairman and chief executive officer of Dune Capital management LLC, a private investment firm, and previously worked at the New York bank Goldman Sachs.
Cruz's strong 2016 run may enhance his conservative clout AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - In finishing the Republican presidential race well ahead of Donald Trump's other rivals, Ted Cruz is likely to be a leading GOP voice for the foreseeable future. Less clear is whether Cruz harnesses that clout to boost Trump's White House bid - after all the bad blood between them - or simply solidifies his place as a champion of conservative causes, Senate troublemaker and star of Texas politics. "There's no question" Cruz remains No. 1 in Texas despite falling to Trump nationally, says political consultant Matt Mackowiak, who's based in the state. "There's no bigger draw, there's no one whose endorsement means more, there's no one who has a larger organization," Mackowiak said.
Watch Top News Video
Activists: At least 28 dead in strike on Syria refugee camp DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) - An airstrike hit a crowded refugee camp in Syria on Thursday close to the border with Turkey, killing at least 28 people, according to Syrian pro-opposition activists. Images posted on social media said to be of the aftermath of the strike showed at least a dozen tents burned to the ground and bloodied women and children being loaded onto a pickup truck. The camp in Sarmada, in rebel-held territory the northwestern Idlib province, is home to between 1,500 and 2,000 internally displaced people who fled the fighting from the surrounding Aleppo and Hama provinces over the past year, according to activist Mohammad al-Shafie in the town of Atareb, about 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) from the camp.
FDA will require e-cigarettes and contents to be reviewed WASHINGTON (AP) - The federal government on Thursday announced sweeping new rules for electronic cigarettes that will for the first time require the devices and their ingredients to be reviewed, a mandate that could offer some protection for consumers and upend a multibillion dollar industry that has gone largely unregulated. Before brands are allowed to stay in the market, regulators would have to check the design, contents and flavor of the fast-growing devices, which have found a foothold with teenagers. "Millions of kids are being introduced to nicotine every year, a new generation hooked on a highly addictive chemical" Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said.
Survivors found 6 days after Kenyan building collapse NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) - Rescuers found four survivors Thursday in the rubble of an apartment building that collapsed six days ago amid heavy rains in the Kenyan capital, raising hopes that more people might still be alive in a disaster that has left dozens dead and missing. The first to be rescued was a pregnant woman, although her husband said that amid the joy of finding her alive, doctors also reported that their baby had not survived. In addition, one of those found alive later died en route to the hospital, officials said. Soldiers, firefighters and volunteers have been working around the clock since the April 29 collapse of the seven-story building in a desperate search effort, and their spirits were lifted Tuesday when a nearly 6-month-old girl - dehydrated but relatively unscathed - was found in a wash basin.
Wildfire in Alberta now 85,000 hectares in size FORT MCMURRAY, Alberta (AP) - A massive wildfire raging in the Canadian province of Alberta grew to 85,000 hectares (210,035 acres) in size and officials would like to move south about 25,000 evacuees who had previously fled north. More than 80,000 people have emptied Fort McMurray in the heart of Canada's oil sands. The Alberta government said Thursday that more than 1,100 firefighters, 145 helicopters, 138 pieces of heavy equipment and 22 air tankers were fighting a total of 49 wildfires, with seven considered out of control. Chad Morrison with AB Wildfire, manager of wildfire prevention, said the blaze grew rapidly, fueled by gusting winds, and he expected the fire to continue to grow Thursday because of dry conditions but it will be away from the community.
Israeli general touches raw nerve with Holocaust comments JERUSALEM (AP) - In a reflection of the deep divisions plaguing Israel, a top general set off a controversy Thursday after appearing to liken the atmosphere in Israel to that of Nazi-era Germany during a speech marking the country's Holocaust memorial day. The comments, coming on one of the country's most sensitive and sacred days, enraged Israeli nationalists. The episode also underscored an increasingly evident rift between hard-liners in the government and the country's security chiefs - who tend to be more pragmatic than many politicians on its troubled relations with the Palestinians. In a speech Wednesday night, Maj. Gen. Yair Golan, the military's deputy chief of staff, said the Holocaust - in which the Nazis murdered 6 million Jews - should prompt Israelis to "think deeply" about their society.
Pall of sex abuse investigations hangs over alumni weekends PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Between cocktails, campus tours and squash games, alumni visiting St. George's School for their annual reunion weekend will find something different this year: discussions about what has unfolded at the elite boarding school since December, when leaders acknowledged dozens of students were sexually abused in the past. St. George's is the most extreme example of abuse scandals that have bubbled up recently at New England boarding schools, which are handling reunion weekends this month with different approaches. Many St. George's alumni have struggled with whether to attend the reunion, which runs Friday through Sunday. They are upset by what happened to them or fellow alums, and by how the school handled it when told of abuse.
Bitcoin's self-proclaimed founder backtracks LOS ANGELES (AP) - The man who claimed to be the mysterious founder of bitcoin appears to be stepping back into the shadows, leaving numerous questions in his wake. Three days after Australian entrepreneur Craig Wright came forward as "Satoshi Nakamoto," the unknown creator of the digital currency bitcoin, he has backtracked in a dramatic fashion. He wrote in a blog post that he does not "have the courage" to publish additional proof, as he promised Wednesday, that he is the elusive creator of the Internet currency. Wright's initial claims drew widespread skepticism. He said on Wednesday that he would provide verifiable documentation and take additional steps to prove his identity.