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AP Top News at 1:50 p.m. EDT

Malaysia jet victims' bodies arrive in Netherlands
EINDHOVEN, Netherlands (AP) - Two planes carrying 40 coffins bearing victims of the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 landed Wednesday in the southern city of Eindhoven, and pro-Russian rebels shot down two fighter jets in Ukraine's restive east as fighting flared in the region. Six days after the Boeing 777 was shot down over the battlefields of eastern Ukraine, the first bodies finally arrived in the Netherlands, the country that bore the heaviest toll in a crash that killed all 298 passengers and crew.


A kiss, a prayer: The last hours of MH17's victims
In a bedroom in a townhouse near Amsterdam, Miguel Panduwinata reached out for his mother. "Mama, may I hug you?" Samira Calehr wrapped her arms around her 11-year-old son, who'd been oddly agitated for days, peppering her with questions about death, about his soul, about God. The next morning, she would drop Miguel and his big brother Shaka at the airport so they could catch Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, the first leg of their journey to Bali to visit their grandmother.


US pushes for truce as Gaza battle rages
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - Israeli troops battled Hamas militants on Wednesday near a southern Gaza Strip town as the top U.S. diplomat reported progress in efforts to end fighting that has so far killed more than 680 Palestinians and 34 Israelis. But neither side appeared to be backing down, after Palestinian rocket fire led several international airlines to cancel flights to Tel Aviv and Israeli troops clashed with Hamas near the Gaza town of Khan Younis in heavy fighting that forced dozens of families to flee.


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House GOP: Send National Guard, speed removals
WASHINGTON (AP) - House Republicans want to slash President Barack Obama's emergency spending request for the border, speed young migrants back home to Central America, and send in the National Guard. The proposals Wednesday morning amounted to a rebuke of Obama's proposed solution to the crisis on the Southern Border. They put the House on a collision course with the Democratic-run Senate, and increased the likelihood that congressional efforts to address the crisis on the Southern Border, where unaccompanied kids and teens have been showing up by the tens of thousands, will end in stalemate.


Head of troubled CDC anthrax lab has resigned
NEW YORK (AP) - The head of the government lab that potentially exposed workers to live anthrax has resigned, an agency spokesman said Wednesday. Michael Farrell was head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lab since 2009. He submitted his resignation Tuesday, the spokesman said.


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 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.


Plane crashes in Taiwan, 47 trapped, feared dead
TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) - A plane landing in stormy weather crashed outside an airport on a small Taiwanese island late Wednesday, and the transport minister said 47 people were trapped and feared dead. Another 11 people were injured when the ATR-72 operated by Taiwan's TransAsia Airways crashed on Penghu, an island in the Taiwan Strait between Taiwan and China, Transport Minister Yeh Kuang-shih was quoted as saying by the government's Central News Agency. The plane was arriving from Kaohsiung, a city in southern Taiwan.


Death sentence given in AP photographer's killing
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - A Kabul court announced Wednesday that the Afghan police officer charged with killing Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus and wounding veteran AP correspondent Kathy Gannon has been convicted and sentenced to death. It was the first court hearing in the case and, under Afghan law, the verdict and sentence are subject to several stages of review.


Agents get subsidized 'Obamacare' using fake IDs
WASHINGTON (AP) - Undercover investigators using fake identities were able to secure taxpayer-subsidized health insurance under President Barack Obama's health care law, congressional investigators said Wednesday. The weak link seemed to be call centers that handled applications for frazzled consumers unable to get through online.


Seniors share homes for cost saving, companionship
NEW YORK (AP) - It's not exactly "The Golden Girls," but for Marcia Rosenfeld, it'll do. Rosenfeld is among thousands of aging Americans taking part in home-sharing programs around the country that allow seniors to stay in their homes and save money while getting some much-needed companionship.

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