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AP Top News at 6:14 p.m. EDT

US official: More airstrikes in Iraq
WASHINGTON (AP) - American fighter jets and drones continued to pound Islamic State militants in Iraq on Wednesday, and military planners weighed the possibility of sending a small number of additional U.S. troops to Baghdad, U.S. officials said, even as the insurgents threatened to kill a second American captive in retribution for any continued attacks. The airstrikes came in the hours after militants released a gruesome video Tuesday showing U.S. journalist James Foley being beheaded and underscored President Barack Obama's vow Wednesday afternoon to continue attacks against the group despite its threats.


Beheading spurs news attacks on Islamic militants
WASHINGTON (AP) - The United States launched a new barrage of airstrikes against Islamic State extremists Wednesday and weighed sending more troops to Iraq as President Barack Obama vowed to be relentless in pursuit of the terrorist group that beheaded an American journalist and is holding other U.S. citizens hostage. In brief but forceful remarks, Obama said the U.S. would "do what we must to protect our people," but stopped short of promising to follow the Islamic State into its safe haven in Syria, where officials said Wednesday that James Foley was killed. However, when pressed, the State Department refused to rule out future U.S. military operations in Syria, where Obama has long resisted intervening in a three-year civil war.


Social media pushes back at militant propaganda
BEIRUT (AP) - The extremists of the Islamic State group have turned their social media into a theater of horror, broadcasting a stomach-turning stream of battles, bombings and beheadings to a global audience. The strategy is aimed at terrorizing opponents at home and winning recruits abroad. But there are increasing signs of pushback - both from companies swiftly censoring objectionable content and users determined not to let it go viral.


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Holder arrives in Ferguson after police shooting
CLAYTON, Mo. (AP) - U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder arrived in Ferguson Wednesday to meet with federal investigators and reassure residents of the suburban St. Louis community torn by several nights of racial unrest since the fatal shooting of a black 18-year-old by a white police officer. While walking through Drake's Place Restaurant in Ferguson, Holder told diners concerned about the recent clashes in the street, "we can make it better."


Airstrike kills wife and child of Hamas figure
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - Hamas' shadowy military chief escaped an apparent Israeli assassination attempt that killed his wife and infant son, the militant group said Wednesday as Israel's prime minister warned that the bombardment of Gaza will continue until rocket fire out of the Palestinian territory stops. The airstrike on a home where Mohammed Deif's family members were staying - and the tough talk from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - came after the collapse of cease-fire talks in Cairo on Tuesday.


Obama weighs broader move on legal immigration
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama is considering key changes in the nation's immigration system requested by tech, industry and powerful interest groups, in a move that could blunt Republicans' election-year criticism of the president's go-it-alone approach to immigration. Administration officials and advocates said the steps would go beyond the expected relief from deportations for some immigrants in the U.S. illegally that Obama signaled he'd adopt after immigration efforts in Congress collapsed. Following a bevy of recent White House meetings, top officials have compiled specific recommendations from business groups and other advocates whose support could undercut GOP claims that Obama is exceeding his authority to help people who have already violated immigration laws.


AP NewsBreak: Navy kicks out 34 for nuke cheating
WASHINGTON (AP) - At least 34 sailors are being kicked out of the Navy for their roles in a cheating ring that operated undetected for at least seven years at a nuclear power training site, and 10 others are under criminal investigation, the admiral in charge of the Navy's nuclear reactors program told The Associated Press. The number of accused and the duration of cheating are greater than was known when the Navy announced in February that it had discovered cheating on qualification exams by an estimated 20 to 30 sailors seeking to be certified as instructors at the nuclear training unit at Charleston, South Carolina. Students there are trained in nuclear reactor operations to prepare for service on any of the Navy's 83 nuclear-powered submarines and aircraft carriers.


APNewsBreak: BofA reaches $17B settlement with US
WASHINGTON (AP) - Bank of America has reached a record $17 billion settlement to resolve an investigation into its role in the sale of mortgage-backed securities before the 2008 financial crisis, officials directly familiar with the matter said Wednesday. One of the officials, who spoke with The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the announcement isn't scheduled until Thursday at the earliest, said the bank will pay $10 billion in cash and provide consumer relief valued at $7 billion.


Ukrainian govt troops take over much of Luhansk
DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) - After days of street battles and weeks of shelling, Ukrainian troops made a significant push Wednesday into rebel-held territory, claiming control over a large part of the separatist stronghold of Luhansk and nearly encircling Donetsk, the largest rebel-held city. The advance of the Ukrainian army against pro-Russian separatists comes as the civilian death toll is mounting from sustained artillery strikes and rebel cities are slipping into a humanitarian disaster. At least 52 deaths were reported Wednesday, along with 64 wounded - and due to the dangers of the war zone in eastern Ukraine, no deaths were reported from Luhansk, meaning the actual toll could be even higher.


Liberian slums barricaded as Ebola sets new record
MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) - Riot police and soldiers acting on their president's orders used scrap wood and barbed wire to seal off 50,000 people inside their Liberian slum Wednesday, trying to contain the Ebola outbreak that has killed 1,350 people and counting across West Africa. Hundreds of slum residents clashed with the gunmen, furious at being blamed and isolated by a government that has failed to quickly collect dead bodies from the streets. One 15-year-old boy was injured trying to cross the barbed wire as security forces fired into the air to disperse the crowd.

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