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AP Top U.S. News At 7:39 p.m. EDT

Onstage at last: Memorable moments of National Spelling Bee
OXON HILL, Md. (AP) -- An impressive field of 283 young spellers was narrowed to 49 semifinalists during Wednesday's preliminary rounds of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The remaining spellers will compete on Thursday for more than $37,000 in cash and prizes....

Nebraska abolishes death penalty in landmark override vote
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- Nebraska abolished the death penalty on Wednesday over the governor's objections in a move pushed through the Legislature with unusual backing from conservatives who oppose capital punishment for religious, financial or practical reasons....

Homeowners clean up in Texas; death toll climbs to 19
HOUSTON (AP) -- Homeowners dragged soggy carpet to the curb and mopped up coffee-colored muck Wednesday after a barrage of storms and floods in Texas and Oklahoma left at least 19 people dead and a dozen others missing....

Latest on flooding: Officials urging evacuations
6 p.m. CDT...

Colorado theater shooting victims relive terror in courtroom
CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) -- From the witness stand, Christina Blache could finally do what she had most wanted and most feared: She looked for the first time at the man who shot her, who killed her friend, who ravaged so many lives....

Theater gunman's writings alternate between ramblings, plans
CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) -- Colorado theater shooting gunman James Holmes' notebook full of scrawled writings and stick-figure drawings was made public Wednesday, a day after it was introduced as evidence in his trial....

Hurricane predictions breeze in: Feds expect light season
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- With six to 11 named storms predicted, this year's hurricane season may be slower than average - but officials say that's no reason for Atlantic and Gulf coast residents to rest easy....

AP sources: IRS believes identity thieves from Russia
WASHINGTON (AP) -- IRS investigators believe the identity thieves who stole the personal tax information of more than 100,000 taxpayers from an IRS website are part of a sophisticated criminal operation based in Russia, two officials told the Associated Press....

APNewsBreak: Records contradict claim in St. Louis baby case
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Missouri adoption records contradict a St. Louis woman's claim that her baby was stolen at Homer G. Phillips Hospital in 1965 after she was told the newborn had died....

Slow start, gradual improvement for US Internet gambling
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) -- Gambling industry participants and analysts agree that Internet betting is off to a slow start in the U.S....

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AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
US Video
Interactives
A year after the Gulf oil spill, problems remain
Local governments spent BP money with abandon
Civil War celebrations stir controversy
States' attempts to resist health care reform
A look at extremist attacks on the U.S. government
Gun law changes across the U.S.
A look inside the Statue of Liberty
A look around the Statue of Liberty
A look at Guantanamo's history
Up to the Minute
Judge considers best option for girl charged in stabbing

Nebraska abolishes death penalty in landmark override vote

Onstage at last: Memorable moments of National Spelling Bee

Insurer to pay $300,000 in Michigan scared-to-death dispute

Hostage situation ends peacefully when suspect surrenders

6 Baltimore officers charged in death seek to move trial

Tours on USS Arizona Memorial suspended after ship hits dock

Beyond craft brews: Just like foodies, beer geeks go local

Man acquitted of animal cruelty for blowing pot smoke

Latest on flooding: Officials urging evacuations