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Colombia, FARC rebels announce accord to end 5-decade war
HAVANA (AP) - Colombia's government and biggest rebel group are announcing a deal for ending their country's half-century guerrilla war, one of the world's longest-running armed conflicts. The government's accord with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia must still be ratified by voters in a plebiscite in order to take effect. But the announcement in Havana of a deal after four years of talks opens the possibility for Colombians to put behind them political bloodshed that has claimed more than 220,000 lives and driven more than 5 million people from their homes. The accord commits Colombia's government to carrying out aggressive land reform, overhauling its anti-narcotics strategy and greatly expanding the state into traditionally neglected areas of the country.


Italy earthquake kills at least 159, reduces towns to rubble
AMATRICE, Italy (AP) - Rescue crews using bulldozers and their bare hands raced to dig out survivors from a strong earthquake that reduced three central Italian towns to rubble Wednesday. The death toll stood at 159, but the number of dead and missing was uncertain given the thousands of vacationers in the area for summer's final days. Residents wakened before dawn by the temblor emerged from their crumbled homes to find what they described as apocalyptic scenes "like Dante's Inferno," with entire blocks of buildings turned into piles of sand and rock, thick dust choking the air and a putrid smell of gas.


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Turkey makes first major foray into Syria with assault on IS
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) - Turkey on Wednesday launched its first major ground assault into Syria since the country's civil war began, sending in tanks and special forces backed by U.S. airstrikes to help Syrian rebels retake a border town from Islamic State militants. The surprise incursion to capture the town of Jarablus was a dramatic escalation of Turkey's role in Syria's war. But its objective went beyond fighting extremists. Turkey is also aiming to contain expansion by Syria's Kurds, who are also backed by the United States and have used the fight against IS and the chaos of the civil war to seize nearly the entire stretch of the border with Turkey in northern Syria.


Volatile mix in Syria war puts new strain on US strategy
WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. military picture in Syria is getting more chaotic and complicated by the day, putting new strains on the Obama administration's strategy of partnering with a hodgepodge of local fighters against the Islamic State group without getting pulled deeper into Syria's civil war or rupturing relations with Turkey. Developments in recent weeks illustrate the fine balance the U.S. is trying to strike. For example, the Pentagon may get drawn into cooperating with Russian forces in Syria even though it believes Moscow's military intervention has only undermined the U.S. goal of defeating IS. And just last week the U.S.


Before debates, Clinton aims to keep Trump expectations high
WASHINGTON (AP) - By virtue of her long political resume, Hillary Clinton will enter her highly anticipated fall debates with Donald Trump facing the same kind of heightened expectations that often saddle an incumbent president. Trump, as the political newcomer, will be more of a wild card with a lower bar to clear. A month before the first faceoff, Clinton allies are working to prevent that dynamic from turning into an advantage for the Republican nominee. Boosting debate expectations for her opponent requires a tricky balancing act for Clinton. At the same time she is encouraging Americans to take seriously Trump's controversial policy proposals, including a temporary ban on Muslim immigration and building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, she's painting him as unprepared and temperamentally unfit for the presidency.


Bill Clinton defends embattled family foundation
ATLANTA (AP) - Former President Bill Clinton said Wednesday that he's proud of people who have donated to the Clinton Foundation and the work the organization has done, as he waded into a dispute that Republicans are hoping will damage his wife's presidential campaign. "We're trying to do good things," Bill Clinton said. "If there's something wrong with creating jobs and saving lives, I don't know what it is. The people who gave the money knew exactly what they were doing. I have nothing to say about it except that I'm really proud. I'm proud of what they've done." He also defended Hillary Clinton's contact with donors to the foundation while serving as secretary of state, saying foundation donors like Bangladeshi economist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus have no trouble reaching officials around the world.


North Korean submarine missile launch shows improved ability
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - A ballistic missile fired from a North Korean submarine on Wednesday flew about 500 kilometers (310 miles), the longest distance achieved by the North for such a weapon, Seoul officials said, putting all of South Korea, and possibly parts of Japan, within its striking distance. North Korea already has a variety of land-based missiles that can hit South Korea and Japan, including U.S. military bases in those countries. But its development of reliable submarine-launched missiles would add weapons that are harder to detect before liftoff. South Korea's military condemned the launch as an "armed protest" by North Korea against the start of annual South Korean-U.S.


Soldier who killed 5 Dallas officers showed PTSD symptoms
The Army reservist who shot and killed five Dallas police officers last month showed symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder after returning home from Afghanistan in 2014 and sought treatment for anxiety, depression and hallucinations, according to newly released documents from the Veterans Health Administration. Micah Johnson told doctors he experienced nightmares after witnessing fellow soldiers getting blown in half and said he heard voices and mortars exploding, according to the documents obtained by The Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act. "I try to block those out, but it is kinda hard to forget," Johnson told his care provider, according to the documents.


Burned firefighter feels normal again after face transplant
NEW YORK (AP) - A Mississippi firefighter who received the world's most extensive face transplant after a burning building collapsed on him said Wednesday that he feels like "a normal guy" for the first time in 15 years. Patrick Hardison, 42, said he can now eat, see, hear and breathe normally, thanks to last year's surgery. He has a full head of hair and hits the gym twice a week. "Before the transplant, every day I had to wake up and get myself motivated to face the world," Hardison told reporters at NYU Langone Medical Center. "Now I don't worry about people pointing and staring or kids running away crying.