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AP Top News at 8:34 a.m. EDT

Another American hostage at risk by Islamic State
WASHINGTON (AP) - In a horrifying act of revenge for U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq, militants with the Islamic State extremist group have beheaded American journalist James Foley - and are threatening to kill another hostage, U.S. officials say. The White House must now weigh the risks of adopting an aggressive policy to destroy the Islamic State against resisting any action that could result in the death of another American.


Latest Ferguson protests are smaller, more subdued
FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) - Police and protesters in Ferguson were finally able to share the streets again at night, putting aside for at least a few hours some of the hostility that had filled those hours with tear gas and smoke. The St. Louis suburb still had plenty of lively protest Tuesday over the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown. And tensions rose briefly when someone hurled a bottle at officers.


Volunteers a buffer between police, protesters
FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) - The tall black man walked up and down West Florissant Avenue in Ferguson, Missouri, working a bullhorn, imploring protesters to behave themselves. "All right, y'all doing good!" Malik Zulu Shabazz told one group of young men. "Just keep it peaceful. Keep it peaceful, black man!"


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Israel, Gaza militants trade fire after talks fail
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - Palestinian militants launched dozens of rockets and Israel responded with airstrikes on Wednesday after Egyptian efforts to mediate a lasting truce in the monthlong Gaza war collapsed in a hail of fire a day earlier. One of the Israeli airstrikes appeared to have targeted the home of Mohammed Deif, the Islamic militant group's elusive military chief, who has escaped numerous Israeli assassination attempts in the past. It was not immediately clear whether he was there at the time of the attack.


Embattled Sen. Begich's secret weapon: Alaska
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Begich wants Alaskans to know he is one of them and an independent voice against President Barack Obama. So he's opening campaign offices in far-flung places like a coin-operated laundry in Dillingham, a hamlet of 2,000 people. He's allowed himself to be videotaped strutting his stuff at the Athabascan Fiddlers' dance in Fairbanks. And as anyone with a television knows, he rode a snowmobile in subzero temperatures in the Arctic, speaking into a camera about fighting the Obama administration to help secure offshore drilling permits.


Fighting in eastern Ukraine kills 43 in 24 hours
KIEV, Ukraine (AP) - Government troops fought to gain control of the rebel-held city of Donetsk and a key highway in eastern Ukraine on Wednesday - battles that left 34 residents and nine troops dead in just 24 hours, authorities said. The Ukrainian troops are trying to encircle Donetsk, the largest city still in rebel hands, and also drive the rebels out of the city of Luhansk. Several neighborhoods in Donetsk have been hit with artillery fire in the last few days and fighting on the outskirts has become more intense.


Liberian security forces seal slum to halt Ebola
MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) - Security forces blocked off a seaside slum in Liberia's capital Wednesday, stepping up the government's fight to stop the spread of Ebola, unnerving residents and reportedly sparking a protest. In central Monrovia there were few cars or people about as nervous residents stayed inside after President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf ordered West Point sealed off and imposed a nighttime curfew, saying that authorities have not been able to curtail the spread of Ebola in the face of defiance of their recommendations.


36 dead, 7 missing in Hiroshima landslide
TOKYO (AP) - Rain-sodden slopes collapsed in torrents of mud, rock and debris Wednesday in the outskirts of Hiroshima, killing at least 36 people and leaving seven missing, police said. Public broadcaster NHK showed rescue workers suspended by ropes from police helicopters pulling victims from the rubble. Others gingerly climbed into windows as they searched for survivors in crushed homes.


111-year-old from Japan recognized as oldest man
TOKYO (AP) - A 111-year-old retired Japanese educator who enjoys poetry has been recognized as the world's oldest living man. Sakari Momoi received a certificate from Guinness World Records on Wednesday. He succeeds Alexander Imich of New York, who died in June at the age of 111 years, 164 days.


AP PHOTOS: Peruvian nurse cares for 175 sick cats
LIMA, Peru (AP) - At her job, Maria Torero cares for sick human beings. At home, she lavishes love on slowly dying cats - 175 of them at last count. The 45-year-old nurse has turned her two-story, eight-room apartment into a hospice for cats with feline leukemia, scattering it with scores of feeding dishes and at least two dozen boxes litter boxes.

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