More from AP: Top stories | Florida | U.S. | Politics | World | Business | Technology | Sports | Entertainment | Offbeat


AP Top News at 4:03 p.m. EST

Shooting survivors issue call for action at Florida Capitol
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Thousands of chanting students, including survivors of the Florida school shooting, rallied at the state Capitol on Wednesday, demanding changes to gun laws and threatening to remove Republicans who refuse to address new gun-control measures. A week after the massacre that killed 17 people, the students took their message into the gun-friendly halls of power in Tallahassee. The impassioned crowd burst into chants of "Vote them out." Florida lawmakers have rebuffed gun restrictions since the GOP took control of both the governor's office and the Legislature in 1999. The students received a warm reception, but politicians did not offer specific answers.


Billy Graham preached simple message, reached millions
The Rev. Billy Graham was anxious about his 1954 appearance at the London School of Economics. The school was left-leaning and openly dismissive of religion, and Graham was insecure - he had no advanced theology degree. After he was introduced, something happened that could have derailed the already nervous evangelist. A student leapt into the room through a window and started scratching himself like an ape, clearly mocking the fundamentalist rejection of evolution. The preacher didn't miss a beat. He laughed and joked, "He reminds me of my ancestors," then paused and added, "Of course, all my ancestors came from Britain." The crowd roared, then listened respectfully to his speech.


Trump says more must be done to protect children
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump was to hear in person Wednesday from students at the Florida high school that was struck by last week's shooting as he tries to show he is serious about tackling gun violence. The White House said students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were expected for a "listening session," along with representatives of survivors from shootings at Connecticut's Sandy Hook Elementary School and Colorado's Columbine High School. The goal is an "open discussion on how we can keep our students safe." Students are advocating for more restrictions on guns, and Trump wants to show that he has been moved by the Florida shooting and is willing to listen to proposals.


Watch Top News Video




Hospitals overwhelmed by bombing blitz of Damascus suburbs
BEIRUT (AP) - Doctors in Syria's rebel-controlled suburbs of Damascus said Wednesday they were unable to keep up with the staggering number of casualties, amid a ferocious bombing campaign by government forces that has targeted hospitals, apartment blocks and other civilian sites, killing and wounding hundreds of people in recent days. The bombardment has forced many among the nearly 400,000 residents to sleep in basements and makeshift shelters, and has overwhelmed rescue workers who have spent days digging out survivors from the wreckage of bombed out buildings. Dr. Waleed Awata described a desperate, chaotic scene at the small hospital where he works as an anesthesiologist in the town of Zamalka, one of a cluster of settlements that make up the Damascus suburbs known as eastern Ghouta.


Much-touted MS-13 sweep keeps even most basic details secret
NEW YORK (AP) - It was a tally so impressive that President Donald Trump touted it at his State of the Union address: Since May, agents cracking down on the violent gangs terrorizing the working-class suburbs of Long Island had swept up 428 gang suspects, including 220 members of the notorious MS-13. But the sweep called "Operation Matador" has also been shrouded in secrecy. Federal and state authorities have declined repeated requests from The Associated Press for even basic information made public in most law enforcement operations, such as the names of those arrested and the crimes they are accused of committing.


APNewsBreak: Iowa congressman failed to disclose new company
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A congressman from Iowa violated House ethics rules by failing to disclose his role in a company that he formed, a mysterious outfit that features his top federal staffer in a false testimonial promoting its services, an Associated Press review shows. Rep. Rod Blum was one of two directors of the Tin Moon Corp. when the internet marketing company was incorporated in May 2016, as the Republican was serving his first term, a business filing shows. Among other services, Tin Moon promises to help companies cited for federal food and drug safety violations bury their Food and Drug Administration warning letters below positive internet search results.


State witness turning point in Netanyahu corruption case
JERUSALEM (AP) - Now that one of Benjamin Netanyahu's closest confidants has turned state witness, according to Israeli media reports Wednesday, it may mark a turning point for the beleaguered prime minister facing a slew of corruption allegations that could topple him from power. The testimony by Shlomo Filber, a long-time Netanyahu aide, is the latest in a dizzying series of developments and scandals that have engulfed the prime minister, his family and his inner circle. Police would not confirm whether Filber would testify against Netanyahu, but all the major Israeli media outlets said a deal to do so had been reached.


AP Exclusive: Migrant recounts his deportation from Israel
KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) - Inside the immigration office in Tel Aviv, Yohannes Tesfagabr considered his options. He could not dare return to his native Eritrea, a country he risked his life to flee in 2010. He also hoped to avoid the fate of compatriots who languished in a notorious desert jail for illegally staying in Israel. So in an emotional confrontation with immigration officials one day last November, the 29-year-old sous chef accepted what Israeli authorities were offering: $3,500 in cash and a one-way ticket to Uganda or Rwanda. Two weeks later he was on a flight to Uganda, together with five other Eritrean migrants he did not know.


Crews used boats to help residents amid Midwest flooding
ELKHART, Ind. (AP) - Crews used boats to help residents evacuate their homes in northern Indiana after rainstorms sweeping across the Midwest on Wednesday combined with melting snow to flood rivers, roads and other low-lying areas in several states. The storm system started pushing heavy rain, snow and ice into the region this week. The weather has already been blamed for hundreds of car crashes and several fatalities, including a crash that killed four people along a slippery interstate in Nebraska. About 19 people had been evacuated from homes in Elkhart, where emergency crews used boats and an armored vehicle to respond, Mayor Tim Neese said early Wednesday.


Amid a flood of plastic, big companies try to clean up image
LONDON (AP) - Once a month, accountant Michael Byrne pulls on his rubber boots and makes his way to a spot on the banks of the River Thames. He carefully marks out a one-square meter (11-square foot) patch and, with gloved hands, catalogues each bit of plastic he finds, meticulously reporting the data to the environmental group Thames21. On Aug. 20, for example, he and other volunteers found an average of 31 food wrappers, the sticks from 29 cotton swabs, 12 bottle tops and about 100 pieces of small chewed up plastic in each patch. "We are the data gatherers" who provide evidence of the plastic that's clogging the world's rivers and oceans, he said.