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AP Top News at 5:06 p.m. EDT

Internet video purports to show beheading of US reporter Steven Sotloff by Islamic State group
BEIRUT (AP) - Islamic State extremists released a video Tuesday purportedly showing the beheading of a second American journalist, Steven Sotloff, and warning President Barack Obama that as long as U.S. airstrikes against the militant group continue, "our knife will continue to strike the necks of your people." The footage - depicting what the U.S. called a sickening act of brutality - was posted two weeks after the release of video showing the killing of James Foley and just days after Sotloff's mother pleaded for his life.


Aftermath of fierce battle shows rout of Ukrainian troops as Russia's Putin talks tough
NOVOKATERYNIVKA, Ukraine (AP) - The ferocity of the attack on the fleeing Ukrainian troops was clear, days after the ambush by Russian-backed separatist forces. More than 30 military vehicles lay in charred piles Tuesday. Villagers said dozens were killed, and some remained unburied. One soldier was blown out of his armored vehicle - apparently by a shell - his body left dangling from power lines high above.


NATO seeks to ward off more Russian aggression; Obama flies to Estonia to reassure Baltics
WASHINGTON (AP) - Confronted by a Kremlin-backed military offensive in Ukraine, President Barack Obama and Western allies will approve plans this week to position at least 4,000 troops and military equipment in Eastern Europe, bolstering NATO's security commitments to nervous member states near the Russian border. Ahead of a high-stakes NATO summit that begins Thursday, Obama will also make a symbolic show of solidarity with Eastern Europe when he visits Estonia for meetings with Baltic leaders. He was due to arrive in the Estonian capital of Tallinn Wednesday morning.


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US airstrikes may have killed leader of Somali extremist group al-Shabab; 6 militants dead
MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) - U.S. airstrikes in Somalia may have killed the leader of the Islamic extremist group al-Shabab, with a militant commander saying Tuesday that he was in a car that was struck and that six people died. The leader, Ahmed Abdi Godane, has no heir apparent. If he has been killed, it would be a "significant blow" to al-Shabab's organization and abilities, said U.S. Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, who confirmed the strikes targeting Godane.


Breakout at Nashville juvenile detention center: 32 teens slip under fence; 8 still at large
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Thirty-two teens "overwhelmed" their minders and escaped from a juvenile detention center by crawling under a weak spot in a fence, a state government spokesman said. Hours later Tuesday, eight were still on the run. Police caught up with some walking along roads or coming out of the woods. Some turned themselves in. And some were swiftly delivered back to the detention center by their own families, concerned about what other trouble they might face on the outside.


Anger at 30,000 feet: Airline passengers on cramped jets are fighting one another for legroom
NEW YORK (AP) - Squeezed into tighter and tighter spaces, airline passengers appear to be rebelling, taking their frustrations out on other fliers. Three U.S. flights made unscheduled landings in the past eight days after passengers got into fights over the ability to recline their seats. Disputes over a tiny bit of personal space might seem petty, but for passengers whose knees are already banging into tray tables, every inch counts.


Christie heads to Mexico for a trade mission _ and for foreign policy experience ahead of 2016
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is heading to Mexico on Wednesday, officially on a trade mission for his state. But the trip also serves as schooling for Christie, a potential 2016 presidential candidate with a lot of swagger but little foreign policy experience. So with his state exporting $2 billion worth of goods to Mexico, and tens of thousands of New Jersey jobs relying on the relationship, Christie becomes the latest potential presidential contender to cross the border on official business - and in pursuit of international expertise and credibility.


APNewsBreak: Girl who accidentally shot instructor with Uzi said gun was too much for her
PHOENIX (AP) - A 9-year-old girl who accidentally killed an instructor with an Uzi at an Arizona shooting range said immediately after the shooting that she felt the gun was too much for her and had hurt her shoulder, according to police reports released Tuesday. Her family members were focused on the girl because they thought she was injured by the gun's recoil and didn't immediately realize instructor Charles Vacca had been shot until one of his colleagues ran over to him.


Apple says some celebrity accounts compromised, but no general breach of its systems
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Apple is acknowledging that computer hackers broke into the accounts of several celebrities to steal personal photos that have been posted online, a security breakdown that the iPhone maker blamed on the intruders' ability to figure out passwords and bypass other safeguards. The preliminary conclusions emerged Tuesday after Apple's engineers spent more than 40 hours investigating a high-tech break-in that has exposed weaknesses in online security at a time more people are storing photos and other sensitive information on other computers hosed in massive data centers.


Los Angeles jury convicts man of 3 serial murders from 1980s; other killings suspected
LOS ANGELES (AP) - A Los Angeles jury has convicted a career criminal in the serial killings of three women in the 1980s. The jury on Tuesday found 74-year-old Samuel Little guilty of three counts of murder.

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