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AP Top News at 6:08 p.m. EDT

40 bodies from jet solemnly returned to Dutch soil
EINDHOVEN, Netherlands (AP) - Victims of the Malaysian jetliner shot down over Ukraine returned at last Wednesday to Dutch soil in 40 wooden coffins, solemnly and gently carried to 40 identical hearses, flags at half-staff flapping in the wind. The carefully choreographed, nearly silent ceremony contrasted sharply with the boom of shells and shattered glass in eastern Ukraine as pro-Russian rebels fought to hang onto territory and shot down two Ukrainian fighter jets. The bold new attack showed the separatists are not shying away from shooting at the skies despite international outrage and grief at the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.


UN says civilians make up most of Gaza deaths
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - Shopkeepers say they were sitting outside their shuttered businesses Wednesday, catching a break from being cooped up during wartime, when an Israeli missile struck a nearby mosque, killing a truck driver and wounding 45 people. One of those wounded by shrapnel said from his hospital gurney that the strike came without warning.


US pushes for truce as Gaza battle rages
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - The United States announced signs of progress in cease-fire talks Wednesday, but prospects for a quick end to the fighting were dim as Palestinian families fled fierce battles in southern Gaza and the death toll rose to more than 700 Palestinians and 34 Israelis. Underscoring the challenges facing international negotiators shuttling around the Middle East in a high-profile bid to end the bloodshed, the leader of Hamas insisted the Islamic militants would not relent until their main demand of lifting an Egyptian-Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip is met.


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Porch shooter's lawyer says he feared for his life
DETROIT (AP) - A suburban Detroit man who killed an unarmed woman on his porch was rocked out of sleep by a series of "boom, boom, boom" pounding sounds outside his home, causing him to grab a shotgun, open the front door and fire, a defense lawyer told jurors during opening statements Wednesday. Theodore Wafer is on trial and claiming self-defense in the death last year of Renisha McBride, 19, in Dearborn Heights. But prosecutors have charged the 55-year-old with second-degree murder, saying there was no reason to use deadly force instead of calling police.


Honduran families deported back to a bleak future
TOCOA, Honduras (AP) - Elsa Ramirez already had lost two brothers to violence in this remote Caribbean region when co-workers handling clandestine cocaine flights from South America murdered her husband four months ago. Then the killers came looking for her.


Plane crashes while landing in Taiwan, killing 47
TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) - A plane attempting to land in stormy weather crashed on a small Taiwanese island late Wednesday, killing 47 people and wrecking houses and cars on the ground. The ATR-72 operated by Taiwan's TransAsia Airways was carrying 58 passengers and crew when it crashed on Penghu in the Taiwan Strait between Taiwan and China, authorities said. The plane was arriving from the city of Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan.


Calls for troops at border echo previous pushes
McALLEN, Texas (AP) - When Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced the deployment of up to 1,000 armed National Guard troops to the Mexican border he was speaking to voters in Iowa as much as Texas. The one-time and possible future presidential candidate is in the waning months of his third and final term as governor. His visits to Iowa, including the weekend before his National Guard announcement, suggest he is considering another run for the Republican presidential nomination.


Nunn and Perdue shift to fall battle of outsiders
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) - New Republican nominee David Perdue and Democratic opponent Michelle Nunn used the first day of the general election campaign to retool the "outsider" arguments they've used to reach this point in a race that will help determine who controls the Senate for the final years of the Obama administration. Their first targets: each other's private sector experience.


APNewsBreak: Medicaid enrollees strain Oregon
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Low-income Oregon residents were supposed to be big winners after the state expanded Medicaid under the federal health care overhaul and created a new system to improve the care they received. But an Associated Press review shows that an unexpected rush of enrollees has strained the capacity of the revamped network that was endorsed as a potential national model, locking out some patients, forcing others to wait months for medical appointments and prompting a spike in emergency room visits, which state officials had been actively seeking to avoid.


Nazi war suspect, 89, dies as extradition OK'd
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - An 89-year-old Nazi war crimes suspect died in custody hours before a U.S. ruling Wednesday that he should be extradited to Germany to face trial. Johann Breyer died Tuesday night at a Philadelphia hospital, where he had been transferred Saturday after a month in jail, his lawyer and the U.S. Marshals Service said. His death was disclosed Wednesday just as U.S. Magistrate Timothy Rice approved the extradition request, which would still have needed final U.S. government review.