AP WIRE: NEWS

AP Top News at 2:21 p.m. EDT

Israeli PM speaks of `prolonged' campaign in Gaza
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that Israel must be ready for a "prolonged" military operation in the Gaza Strip and will "act aggressively and responsibly" until the mission is completed. Israel launched the operation against Gaza's Hamas rulers three weeks ago, initially from the air and then on the ground. Israel has said it wants to decimate Hamas' ability to fire rockets at Israel and to destroy a network of Hamas military tunnels under the Gaza-Israel border.


US fuming over Israeli criticism of Kerry
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Obama administration pushed back Monday at a torrent of Israeli criticism aimed at Secretary of State John Kerry's latest bid to secure a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, with U.S. officials saying Kerry had in no way abandoned key Israeli needs. "Israel has no better friend, no stronger defender than John Kerry," said Tony Blinken, President Barack Obama's deputy national security. He said the criticism of Kerry was based on "people leaking things that are either misinformed, or attempting to misinform."


Police team turns back from Ukraine crash site
SHAKHTARSK, Ukraine (AP) - Heavy fighting raged Monday around the Malaysia Airlines debris field, once again preventing an international police team charged with securing the site from even getting there. Government troops have stepped up their push to win back territory from pro-Russian separatists in fighting that the United Nations said Monday has killed more than 1,100 people in four months.


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UN rights chief: Flight 17 possible war crime
GENEVA (AP) - The downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 may be a war crime, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said Monday. Pillay, the U.N.'s top human rights official, called for a thorough investigation into the violation of international law that occurred when the flight was shot down with a surface-to-air missile over a part of eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists on July 17, killing all 298 people on board.


Not in my backyard: US sending dirty coal abroad
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) - As the Obama administration weans the U.S. off dirty fuels blamed for global warming, energy companies have been sending more of America's unwanted energy leftovers to other parts of the world where they could create even more pollution. This fossil fuel trade threatens to undermine President Barack Obama's strategy for reducing the gases blamed for climate change and reveals a little-discussed side effect of countries acting alone on a global problem. The contribution of this exported pollution to global warming is not something the administration wants to measure, or even talk about.


AP PHOTOS: Coal-exporting town fights rising seas
NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - Norfolk is trapped between the causes and consequences of global warming. The region exports more coal - and the heat-trapping pollution that comes with it - than any place in the U.S. At the same time, Norfolk is already experiencing one of the fastest rates of sea level rise in the country.


Deal to improve veterans' health care costs $17B
WASHINGTON (AP) - A bipartisan deal to improve veterans' health care would authorize at least $17 billion to fix the health program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records covering up delays, the bill's chief supporters said Monday. The agreement includes $10 billion in emergency spending to make it easier for veterans who can't get prompt appointments with Veterans Affairs doctors to obtain outside care; $5 billion to hire doctors, nurses and other medical staff; and about $1.5 billion to lease 27 new clinics across the country, the chairmen of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs committees said.


New fears about Ebola spread after plane scare
DAKAR, Senegal (AP) - No one knows for sure just how many people Patrick Sawyer came into contact with the day he boarded a plane in Liberia, had a layover in Togo and then arrived in Nigeria where authorities say he died days later from Ebola, one of the world's deadliest diseases. Now health workers are scrambling to trace those who may have been exposed to Sawyer at three international airports in West Africa, from flight attendants to fellow passengers. Health experts say it's unlikely he could have infected others with the virus that can cause victims to bleed from their eyes, mouth and ears.


Muslims mark end of Ramadan with Eid celebrations
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) - Millions of Muslims across the world celebrated the first day of the Eid al-Fitr holiday Monday, which marks the end of the monthlong fast of Ramadan. The three-day-long Eid al-Fitr holiday is a time to celebrate the completion of Ramadan, a month devoted to worship and repentance during which observing Muslims abstain from food and water from sunrise to sunset every day.


A double-header of biopics for Chadwick Boseman
NEW YORK (AP) - A year after playing Jackie Robinson in "42," Chadwick Boseman was back in biopic spring training. To become James Brown for the film "Get on Up," Boseman needed to rely on an entirely different skill set. But the preparation necessary to transform into a tireless performer like Brown - "the hardest working man in show business," after all - was oddly reminiscent of working out on the baseball diamond.

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