AP Top News at 10:30 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.


Hamas: Military chief not present at Gaza strike
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - A Hamas spokesman says the group's elusive military chief was not present during an Israeli strike on a Gaza Strip house that killed his wife and son. Sami Abu Zuhri says Mohammed Deif "wasn't even in the location when they bombed it." Abu Zuhri was speaking to Hamas' TV station Al-Aqsa on Wednesday.


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.


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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!"


Senate control could rest with well-funded women
WASHINGTON (AP) - Control of the Senate could lie in the fortunes of female candidates and the deep-pocketed donors, like former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who are sending piles of cash their way. So far this election cycle, donors have handed over $46 million to a collection of political committees and candidates linked to Emily's List, which backs female contenders who support abortion rights. The Emily's List network of committees raised more than most other outside groups, including the GOP-backed American Crossroads and the anti-tax Club for Growth.


Iraqis in besieged town appeal to army for help
BAGHDAD (AP) - Members of a minority Iraqi Shiite community whose town has been besieged by Sunni militants appealed to Iraq's military and the international community to intervene to end the siege, a lawmaker said Wednesday as the U.N. started a massive aid push to help Iraqis uprooted by the extremists. Also Wednesday, scattered attacks killed at least 11 people in and near Baghdad. The city has not been spared the almost daily violence even as the country grapples with the onslaught by the Islamic State group and their militant Sunni allies.


Fighting in eastern Ukraine kills 43 in 24 hours
KIEV, Ukraine (AP) - Government troops fought to gain control of the rebel-held city of Donetsk and a key highway in eastern Ukraine on Wednesday - battles that left 34 residents and nine troops dead in just 24 hours, authorities said. The Ukrainian troops are trying to encircle Donetsk, the largest city still in rebel hands, and also drive the rebels out of the city of Luhansk. Several neighborhoods in Donetsk have been hit with artillery fire in the last few days and fighting on the outskirts has become more intense.


Liberian security forces seal slum to halt Ebola
MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) - Security forces blocked off a seaside slum in Liberia's capital Wednesday, stepping up the government's fight to stop the spread of Ebola, unnerving residents and reportedly sparking a protest. In central Monrovia there were few cars or people about as nervous residents stayed inside after President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf ordered West Point sealed off and imposed a nighttime curfew, saying that authorities have not been able to curtail the spread of Ebola in the face of defiance of their recommendations.


Floods lead to dramatic rescues in Phoenix area
PHOENIX (AP) - Workers at a farm saw hundreds of cactuses sweep away in a flood. Drivers on Arizona's main north-south freeway watched in shock as muddy waters submerged the road. Rescuers across the state rushed to save people trapped in cars and homes. The Phoenix area was battered by torrential rain storms Tuesday that caused severe flooding across the desert region. The National Weather Service said some areas received more rain Tuesday than they had all last summer.


111-year-old from Japan recognized as oldest man
TOKYO (AP) - A 111-year-old retired Japanese educator who enjoys poetry has been recognized as the world's oldest living man. Sakari Momoi received a certificate from Guinness World Records on Wednesday. He succeeds Alexander Imich of New York, who died in June at the age of 111 years, 164 days.