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AP Top News at 6:57 p.m. EDT

Donald Trump encouraged Russia on Wednesday to find and make public missing emails deleted by his presidential opponent, Hillary Clinton, setting off an instant debate over hacking and his urging of a foreign government to meddle in American politics
WASHINGTON (AP) - Donald Trump encouraged Russia on Wednesday to find and make public missing emails deleted by his presidential opponent, Hillary Clinton, setting off an instant debate over hacking and his urging of a foreign government to meddle in American politics. Shortly after Trump's extraordinary remarks, his Republican running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, took a different tack and warned of "serious consequences" if Russia interfered in the election. Democrats - and some Republicans - quickly condemned the remarks by the Republican presidential standard-bearer. They came as the Democrats met on the third day of their national convention in Philadelphia, where Clinton will accept the presidential nomination Thursday night to face Republican Trump in November.


Political fates entwined, President Barack Obama is imploring voters Wednesday to elect Hillary Clinton to the White House, appealing to the women, minorities and young people who powered his rise and are now crucial to hers
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Their political fates now entwined, President Barack Obama is imploring voters to elect Hillary Clinton to the White House, appealing to the women, minorities and young people who powered his rise and are now crucial to hers. In addition to party loyalty, a big motivation for Obama's robust support is deep concern that Republican Donald Trump can win in November and unravel the president's eight years in office. In excerpts released Wednesday ahead of his speech to the Democratic convention, Obama acknowledged the economic and security anxieties that have helped fuel Trump's rise, but he argued they don't define the country.


Movie director James Cameron is calling Donald Trump "a madman," and "incredibly reckless, incredibly dangerous" when it comes to global warming
Movie director James Cameron is calling Donald Trump "a madman," and "incredibly reckless, incredibly dangerous" when it comes to global warming. The director of "Titanic" and "Avatar" has made a short film - airing Wednesday night at the Democratic convention - about how climate change is harming the United States. The film shows wildfires, heat waves and the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy - and then segues to Trump calling man-made global warming a hoax. Cameron tells reporters that attacking Trump on his rejection of mainstream climate change science is a winning strategy for Democrats. He calls Trump's positions "incredibly reckless, incredibly dangerous" and later refers to Trump as "a madman saying we're going to tear up" the landmark climate change agreement negotiated in Paris.


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The Democratic National Convention has been a deliberate tribute to the party's diversity, but also highlights Democrats' continued struggle with white men
ATLANTA (AP) - The Democratic National Convention lineup of speakers has highlighted an increasingly diverse country that could soon elect the first female president to succeed its first black chief executive. Yet the stream of women, African-Americans, Latinos, gay Americans - from U.S. senators and celebrities to activists and, on Thursday, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton herself - also serves as a reminder of Democrats' struggles to connect with most heterosexual white men. "It's just sad," says Dave "Mudcat" Saunders, a Democratic strategist turned Donald Trump supporter who says his party "has abandoned" culturally conservative white men like himself. Even Vice President Joe Biden offered a noteworthy, if more muted assessment Wednesday.


For some protesters outside the Democratic convention this week, the demonstrations in Philadelphia are the latest in a lifetime of political activism
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - For some of the protesters outside the Democratic convention this week, the demonstrations in Philadelphia are the latest in a lifetime of political activism. For others, they're a first. The demonstrators have come from near and far, some driven by specific issues, some inspired by a candidate. Here are some of their stories. PAPIER-MACHE SEATMATE Sue Kirby needed a second seat on the bus from Boston for her traveling and protesting companion: a larger-than-life Bernie Sanders doll with a papier-mache head and foam body. Kirby, 65, built the doll about a year ago for Sanders rallies near home in Salem, Massachusetts.


Adel Kermiche nursed his obsession with jihad in this quiet French town alongside the Seine River, and his twice-thwarted attempt to join IS extremists in Syria ended with an attack on an elderly priest celebrating Mass in its sturdy stone church
SAINT-ETIENNE-DU-ROUVRAY, France (AP) - Adel Kermiche nursed his obsession with jihad in this quiet French town alongside the Seine River, and his twice-thwarted attempt to join Islamic State extremists in Syria ended with an attack on an elderly priest celebrating Mass in its sturdy stone church. New details emerged Wednesday about the 19-year-old, one of two assailants who took five hostages Tuesday at the church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, slitting the throat of the 85-year-old priest, the Rev. Jacques Hamel, before being shot to death by police. The attack was claimed by the Islamic State group, which released a video Wednesday allegedly showing Kermiche and his accomplice clasping hands and pledging allegiance to the group.


More than a year after Freddie Gray died, the effort to hold six officers criminally responsible for his death in a police van collapsed when the city abruptly dropped all charges
BALTIMORE (AP) - More than a year after a black man suffered a broken neck in a police van, the effort to hold six officers criminally responsible for his death collapsed Wednesday when the city dropped all charges in the case that tore Baltimore apart and exposed deep fissures between the police, prosecutors and the people. A day before another trial was to begin, prosecutors dismissed charges against three remaining officers, blaming police for a biased investigation that failed to produce a single conviction in the death of Freddie Gray. Gray, 25, was fatally injured in April 2015 while he was handcuffed and shackled but left otherwise unrestrained in the back of the van.


A prominent Black Lives Matter activist says dismissal of charges against three Baltimore police officers awaiting trial in the death of a black man fatally injured in custody is a reminder that the law allows police to act without consequences
A prominent Black Lives Matter activist says dismissal of charges against three Baltimore police officers awaiting trial in the death of a black man fatally injured in custody is a reminder that the law allows police to act without consequences. DeRay Mckesson says the dismissal also is a reminder that laws and policies must change to hold police accountable. Mckesson says he thinks it's important that Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby brought charges against six officers in the death of Freddie Gray, knowing that the system heavily favors the police and not justice. He says it's important to continue to focus on changing the system.


Turkey's state run news agency says close to 1,700 officers have been formally discharged from the military following the country's failed coup
ISTANBUL (AP) - Turkey was riding high in 2010, casting its brand of Islamic piety, Western-style democracy and economic growth as a regional model amid popular upheavals in the Mideast and North Africa. Six years later, it is mired in tension with neighbors and allies, dominated by a president seeking to increase his constitutional powers and now enmeshed in a purge of large sectors of society after an uprising by renegade military officers. The changes that led to this turn in Turkey's fortunes include internal rifts - the collapse of a Kurdish peace process and the alleged erosion of democratic rights under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are among them - as well as the war in Syria and other regional chaos in which Turkey has taken sides.


A judge has dismissed a manslaughter charge against a Florida deputy in the 2013 fatal shooting of a 33-year-old black man carrying what turned out to be an air rifle
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) - A judge on Wednesday dismissed a manslaughter charge against a Florida deputy who claimed self-defense in the 2013 fatal shooting of a 33-year-old black man carrying what turned out to be an air rifle. Circuit Judge Michael Usan ruled in favor of suspended Deputy Peter Peraza of the Broward Sheriff's Office under Florida's "Stand Your Ground" self-defense law that eliminates a requirement to retreat - for civilians and law enforcement officers, the judge said - when facing a dire threat. The now-dismissed manslaughter charge carries a potential 30-year prison sentence. Prosecutors immediately said the decision will be appealed.

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