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AP Top News at 5:54 p.m. EDT

Trump rebukes racism claims as Clinton warns of radicalism
MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) - Donald Trump confronted head-on allegations that he is racist on Thursday, defending his hard-line approach to immigration while trying to make the case to minority voters that Democrats have abandoned them. His general election opponent, Hillary Clinton, meanwhile hammered the point that Trump unleashed the "radical fringe" within the Republican Party, including anti-Semites and white supremacists, dubbing the billionaire businessman's campaign as one that will "make America hate again." The ping-pong accusations come as the two candidates vie for minorities and any undecided voters with less than three months until Election Day. Weeks before the first early voting, Trump faces the urgent task of revamping his image to win over those skeptical of his candidacy.


Suddenly it's Trump sounding soft on illegal immigration
WASHINGTON (AP) - Donald Trump defeated 16 rivals in the Republican primaries by being the most anti-immigrant of them all, promising to build a giant wall on the border and deport millions. He labeled opponents like Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio as weak and amnesty-loving, and his extreme rhetoric pushed the entire debate over immigration to the right. But suddenly, Trump is sounding like some of the people he defeated. In an appearance on Fox News Channel's "Hannity" show Wednesday, Trump talked about how tough it is to break up families for deportation, suggesting that maybe upstanding people who've been in this country for years should be allowed to stay if they pay back taxes and insisting, just as Bush and Rubio were repeatedly forced to do, that such actions would not amount to "amnesty."


The Latest: Kaine says Trump can't be trusted on immigration
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Latest on the U.S. presidential race (all times EDT): 5:30 p.m. Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine says GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump's shifting positions on immigration can't be trusted. Speaking during a Thursday afternoon taping of CBS's "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," Kaine attacked Trump for wavering on whether immigrants here illegally must be deported. "I don't buy it," Kaine said, before saying in Spanish that Trump is always fighting against the Latino community. Trump has previously promised to deport the estimated 11 million people living in the United States illegally. In recent days, he's suggested he might be open to allowing them to stay.


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Aftershocks rattle Italian quake zone; toll rises to 250
PESCARA DEL TRONO, Italy (AP) - As the search for survivors ground on, Premier Matteo Renzi pledged new money and measures Thursday to rebuild quake-devastated central Italy amid mounting soul-searching over why the seismic-prone country has continually failed to ensure its buildings can withstand such catastrophes. A day after the deadly quake killed 250 people, a 4.3 magnitude aftershock sent up plumes of thick gray dust in the hard-hit town of Amatrice. The aftershock crumbled already cracked buildings, rattled residents and closed already clogged roads. It was only one of the more than 470 temblors that have followed Wednesday's pre-dawn quake.


Nun in iconic Italy quake photo texted friends 'adieu'
ASCOLI PICENO, Italy (AP) - She became the face of Italy's earthquake: Sister Marjana Lleshi, blood staining her veil as she texted her family and friends in her native Albania that she was alive. In an interview Thursday at the mother house of her religious order, the 35-year-old nun recounted how she thought she would die when her convent walls collapsed. She texted her friends asking that they pray for her soul, only to be rescued by a man she has called her "angel." Now safe, Lleshi says she wants nothing more than to go to next week's Rome canonization of Mother Teresa, the ethnic Albanian nun "who gave hope to those who didn't have any." Lleshi was sleeping in the Don Minozzi convent beside the Church of the Most Holy Crucifix in Amatrice when the quake struck at 3:36 a.m.


Turkey sends more tanks to Syria, insists on Kurdish retreat
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) - Turkey sent more tanks into northern Syria on Thursday and gave Syrian Kurdish forces a week to scale back their presence near the Turkish border, a day after it launched a U.S.-backed cross-border incursion to establish a frontier zone free of the Islamic State group and Kurdish rebels. Skirmishes broke out between Turkish-backed Syrian rebels and the U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters, raising the potential for an all-out confrontation between the two American allies that would also jeopardize the fight against the Islamic State group in the volatile area. Turkey's incursion Wednesday to capture the town of Jarablus was a dramatic escalation of Turkey's role in Syria's war and adds yet another powerhouse force on the ground in an already complicated conflict.


US warship fires warning shots at Iranian boats
WASHINGTON (AP) - A U.S. Navy ship fired three warning shots in the direction of an Iranian boat that was approaching another American ship head-on in the North Arabian Gulf on Wednesday, U.S. officials said, in an escalation of encounters in the region this week. According to U.S. Navy Cmdr. Bill Urban, the Iranian boat came within 200 yards of the USS Tempest and ignored several bridge-to-bridge radio calls and warning flares. It finally turned away after the USS Squall, which was with the USS Tempest, fired three warning shots from its .50-caliber gun, said Urban, a spokesman for the Navy's 5th Fleet.


Mylan boosts EpiPen patient programs, doesn't budge on price
The maker of EpiPens offered patients more help to pay for its costly emergency allergy shots but didn't budge Thursday on the $608 price. The announcement from Mylan N.V. triggered a new round of condemnation from politicians and consumer groups, who accuse the company of price-gouging on a potentially life-saving treatment. Critics stressed that insurers, employers and taxpayers will still foot most of the cost for EpiPens. Over time, that drives up insurance premiums and the country's burgeoning health care tab. "Everybody suffers, except the Mylan investors," said Sabrina Corlette of Georgetown University's Health Policy Institute. This week, Mylan joined other drugmakers such as Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc.


World's first self-driving taxis debut in Singapore
SINGAPORE (AP) - The world's first self-driving taxis are picking up passengers in Singapore. Select members of the public began hailing free rides Thursday through their smartphones in taxis operated by nuTonomy, an autonomous vehicle software startup. While multiple companies, including Google and Volvo, have been testing self-driving cars on public roads for several years, nuTonomy says it is the first to offer rides to the public. It beat ride-hailing service Uber, which plans to offer rides in autonomous cars in Pittsburgh, by a few weeks. The service is starting small - six cars now, growing to a dozen by the end of the year.


AP PHOTOS: The National Park Service celebrates 100 years
The U.S. National Park Service is celebrating 100 years of managing some of the nation's most well-known parks, monuments and historic places. The agency's reach stretches coast to coast, from Acadia on the Atlantic to the Channel Islands in the Pacific. There's the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C., and the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania. As the national parks system attracts greater numbers of visitors each year, the agency is facing key challenges ahead. One is a backlog of repairs that total nearly $12 billion. The other is reaching out to minority communities, who studies show don't go to the parks, and getting them to visit - and care about preserving - America's parks.