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AP Top News at 3:38 p.m. EDT

Families of Russian troops in Ukraine want answers
MOSCOW (AP) - The last time Valeria Sokolova saw her husband, the 25-year-old paratrooper told her that he and his fellow soldiers were heading for military exercises in southern Russia, near the Ukrainian border. "He was vague in a way that was very unusual, and it was hard for all of them to say goodbye," Sokolova told The Associated Press, recounting their conversation from earlier this month.


At heart of Syria fears, extremists returning home
WASHINGTON (AP) - The case of Mehdi Nemmouche haunts U.S. intelligence officials. Nemmouche is a Frenchman who authorities say spent 11 months fighting with the Islamic State group in Syria before returning to Europe to act out his rage. On May 24, prosecutors say, he methodically shot four people at the Jewish Museum in central Brussels. Three died instantly, one afterward. Nemmouche was arrested later, apparently by chance.


UN says Syria refugees top 3 million mark
GENEVA (AP) - The civil war in Syria has forced 3 million people out of the country, including more than a million people who fled in the past year, creating a crisis that the U.N. refugee agency said requires the biggest operation in its 64-year history. The tragic milestone means that about one of every eight Syrians has fled across the borders, and 6.5 million others have been displaced within Syria since the conflict began in March 2011, the Geneva-based agency said. More than half of all those uprooted are children, it said.


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Ebola arrives in Senegal as outbreak accelerates
DAKAR, Senegal (AP) - A man infected with Ebola traveled to Senegal, bringing to the country the first confirmed case of the dreaded disease that has hit four other West African nations and killed more than 1,500 people, the Ministry of Health said Friday. The infected person, a university student from Guinea, sought treatment at a hospital in Senegal's capital, Dakar, on Tuesday but gave no indication he might have Ebola, Health Minister Awa Marie Coll Seck told reporters. The next day, an epidemiological surveillance team in Guinea alerted Senegalese authorities that they had lost track of a person who had had contact with sick people. The team said that the person disappeared three weeks ago and may have come to Senegal.


Mexico operations thwart child, family migrants
CHAHUITES, Mexico (AP) - Mexico's largest crackdown in decades on illegal migration has decreased the flow of Central Americans trying to reach the United States, and has dramatically cut the number of child migrants and families, according to officials and eyewitness accounts along the perilous route. Convoys of Mexican federal police and immigration service employees in southern Mexico have begun scouring the tracks of the infamous freight train known as "La Bestia," or The Beast, that has long carried crowds of migrants on its lumbering route north. They have also set up moving roadblocks, checking the documents of passengers on interstate buses.


Russian-backed rebels aim to push west along coast
NOVOAZOVSK, Ukraine (AP) - Their tanks bearing the flag of their would-be state, Russian-backed separatists held control Friday over this coastal town on the new front in the Ukraine conflict and announced their intention to keep pushing west toward a major port city. None of the half-dozen tanks seen by Associated Press reporters in the town of about 12,000 people bore Russian markings, but the packaging on their field rations said they were issued by the Russian army.


Iraqi town holds out against militant onslaught
BAGHDAD (AP) - As Islamic militants rampage across northern Iraq, seizing vast swaths of territory and driving hundreds of thousands of people from their homes, the Shiite Turkmens living in the hardscrabble town of Amirli have decided to stay and fight. The wheat and barley farmers have taken up arms, dug trenches and posted gunmen on the rooftops - and, against all odds, they have kept the Islamic State extremist group out of their town of 15,000 people. But residents say they are running low on food and water despite Iraqi army airlifts, and after more than six weeks under siege they don't know how much longer they can hold out.


Cameron promises tough action to fight militants
LONDON (AP) - Prime Minister David Cameron pledged Friday to plug gaps in Britain's armory to combat terror, describing the extremist threat posed by the Islamic State group as being more dangerous than even that of al-Qaida. Cameron's remarks came just moments after authorities raised Britain's terror threat level to severe, the second-highest level. The decision was related to developments in Iraq and Syria, but there was no information to suggest an attack was imminent.


Daughter: Joan Rivers is in 'serious condition
NEW YORK (AP) - Joan Rivers remained in serious condition in a New York City hospital Friday, one day after going into cardiac arrest at a doctor's office. Melissa Rivers said in a statement Friday that her mother was "receiving the best treatment and care possible." She also thanked Rivers' fans and friends for their support.


Ebola in mind, US colleges screen some students
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - College students from West Africa may be subject to extra health checks when they arrive to study in the United States as administrators try to insulate campuses from the worst Ebola outbreak in history. With the virus continuing to kill in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, the expected arrival of thousands of students from those countries has U.S. authorities on alert but cautioning against alarm.