AP Top News at 5:17 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.


32 teens escape from Nashville detention center
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Thirty-two teens "overwhelmed" their minders and escaped from a juvenile detention center by crawling under a weak spot in a fence, a state government spokesman said. Hours later Tuesday, eight were still on the run. Police caught up with some walking along roads or coming out of the woods. Some turned themselves in. And some were swiftly delivered back to the detention center by their own families, concerned about what other trouble they might face on the outside.


Top South America hackers rattle Peru's Cabinet
LIMA, Peru (AP) - The Peruvian hackers have broken into military, police, and other sensitive government networks in Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Venezuela, defacing websites and extracting sensitive data to strut their programming prowess and make political points. Now the team calling itself LulzSecPeru has created a national political uproar.


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.


APNewsBreak: Girl said Uzi was too much for her
PHOENIX (AP) - A 9-year-old girl who accidentally killed an instructor with an Uzi at an Arizona shooting range said immediately after the shooting that she felt the gun was too much for her and had hurt her shoulder, according to police reports released Tuesday. Her family members were focused on the girl because they thought she was injured by the gun's recoil and didn't immediately realize instructor Charles Vacca had been shot until one of his colleagues ran over to him.


Apple acknowledges some celebrity info compromised
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Apple is acknowledging that computer hackers broke into the accounts of several celebrities to steal personal photos that have been posted online, a security breakdown that the iPhone maker blamed on the intruders' ability to figure out passwords and bypass other safeguards. The preliminary conclusions emerged Tuesday after Apple's engineers spent more than 40 hours investigating a high-tech break-in that has exposed weaknesses in online security at a time more people are storing photos and other sensitive information on other computers hosed in massive data centers.