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AP Top News at 12:56 p.m. EDT

IS buried thousands in 72 mass graves, AP finds
HARDAN, Iraq (AP) - Surrounded by smoke and flames, the sound of gunshots echoing around him, the young man crouched in the creek for hours, listening to the men in his family die. On the other side of the mountain, another survivor peered through binoculars as the handcuffed men of neighboring villages were shot and then buried by a waiting bulldozer. For six days he watched as the extremists filled one grave after another with his friends and relatives. Between them, the two scenes of horror on Sinjar mountain contain six burial sites and the bodies of more than 100 people, just a small fraction of the mass graves Islamic State extremists have scattered across Iraq and Syria.


Suicidal Germanwings pilot had struggled in US flight school
WASHINGTON (AP) - The German pilot who deliberately flew his airliner into a mountainside last year had struggled with learning to fly and had failed a key test of his skills during training in the U.S., according FBI interviews with his flight instructors. Andreas Lubitz was promoted anyway. But his training difficulties were one more "red flag" that should have caused Lufthansa and the airline's Arizona flight school to take a closer look and discover his history of depression, asserted attorneys representing families of crash victims. Lubitz was a co-pilot for Germanwings, a regional airline owned by Lufthansa, when he locked Flight 9524's captain out of the cockpit and set the plane on a collision course with a mountain in the French Alps last year.


Trump's deportation waffle highlights campaign weaknesses
SEATTLE (AP) - Donald Trump and his aides used to say that voters didn't care about the nitty-gritty of policy details. But now those details are tripping up his campaign. For more than a week now, as he's tried to shine the spotlight on his rival, Trump has appeared to wrestle with one of his signature proposals: A pledge to expel everyone living in the U.S. illegally with the help of a "deportation force." At a Fox News town hall taping last week, in the face of pressing questions, the GOP nominee proceeded to poll the audience at length on the fate of an estimated 11 million people.


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IS destruction of Iraqi base could hinder Mosul operation
QAYARA AIR BASE, Iraq (AP) - The air base that Iraqi forces hope to use as a staging area to take Mosul back from the Islamic State group was almost completely destroyed by the retreating militants, raising new doubts over whether the long-awaited operation will begin this year. Iraqi forces seized the Qayara air base south of Mosul in July, in what U.S. and Iraqi officials said was a major step toward the eventual liberation of the country's second largest city, which fell to IS in 2014. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi called on Mosul residents "to get ready for the liberation of their areas."


EU orders Apple to pay up to 13B euros in back taxes
BRUSSELS (AP) - Apple will have to pay up to 13 billion euros ($14.5 billion) plus interest in back taxes to Ireland after the European Union found Tuesday that the U.S. technology giant had paid next to no tax across the bloc's 28 countries for over 11 years. The ruling is a dramatic escalation by the EU executive Commission in its battle to have multinationals pay their fair share in the region, where popular outrage over alleged corporate tax dodging is common after years of financial crisis and austerity budgets. The EU says that many multinationals - including Starbucks, Fiat and Amazon - struck deals with EU countries to pay unusually low tax in exchange for basing their EU operations there.


As refugee children die, Nigeria probes theft of food aid
MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) - Children who escaped Boko Haram's Islamic insurgency now are dying of starvation in refugee camps in northeastern Nigeria's largest city as the government investigates the theft of food aid by officials. Refugees have staged near-daily protests over the past week. In one, women blocked the main highway linking Maiduguri, the Borno state capital, to Kano city for five hours, shouting that their children are starving and they have no drinking water as temperatures soar above 40 degrees (104 Fahrenheit). Between 10 and 25 percent of children in a 110-bed feeding center are dying, said Doctors without Borders spokeswoman Shaista Aziz.


Intoxicated in the air: drunk pilots make news but are rare
NEW YORK (AP) - Every few months, a pilot somewhere in the world is stopped before a jet takes off because of suspicion of drunkenness. It makes headlines and gives nervous travelers another reason to avoid flying. Despite their notoriety, such cases are extremely rare. Each day, there are 90,000 flights around the world, carrying more than 8 million people. And the overwhelming majority of pilots in those cockpits are sober. Pilots take being fit to fly seriously and act accordingly," says former US Airways pilot John M. Cox, now CEO of the consulting firm Safety Operating Systems. "Pilots know they are one of the most carefully monitored professions and therefore, are very conservative." There are occasional lapses.


Agriculture closes offices in 5 states after threats
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Agriculture Department said Tuesday it had closed offices in five states after receiving anonymous threats that it considered serious. USDA spokesman Matthew Herrick said in a statement that the department had received "several anonymous messages" late Monday that raised concerns about the safety of USDA personnel and facilities. He said six offices were closed Tuesday morning until further notice. Herrick said the department is working with the FBI and federal and local law enforcement to determine whether the threats are credible. In an email to employees, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said USDA is closing the offices "due to the serious nature of these threats." He did not characterize the threats or say how they were received, but asked employees to be aware of their surroundings and report any suspicious activity.


Good boy! Dogs know what you're saying, study suggests
BERLIN (AP) - Scientists have found evidence to support what many dog owners have long believed: Man's best friend really does understand some of what we're saying. Researchers in Hungary scanned the brains of dogs as they were listening to their trainer speaking to determine which parts of the brain they were using. They found that dogs processed words with the left hemisphere and used the right hemisphere to process pitch - just like people. What's more, the dogs only registered that they were being praised if the words and pitch were positive. Meaningless words spoken in an encouraging voice, or meaningful words in a neutral tone, didn't have the same effect.


Lochte mum on Rio return, plugs 'Dancing with the Stars' gig
NEW YORK (AP) - Ryan Lochte isn't saying whether he'll return to Brazil to face a charge of filing a false police report over a gas station encounter during the Olympics. Lochte tells ABC's "Good Morning America" his legal team is dealing with the situation, adding "we're just trying to get this over with." Despite his current woes, Lochte was named Tuesday as one of the contestants on the upcoming edition of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars." Lochte admits he lied about having a gun held to his head at a Rio de Janeiro gas station, where he and three other American swimmers had stopped to use a restroom.

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