AP Top News at 9:31 a.m. EDT

Italy earthquake kills dozens, reduces towns to rubble
AMATRICE, Italy (AP) - A strong earthquake in central Italy reduced three towns to rubble as people slept early Wednesday, with reports that as many as 50 people were killed and hundreds injured as rescue crews raced to dig out survivors. The toll was likely to rise as crews reached homes in more remote hamlets where the scenes were apocalyptic "like Dante's Inferno," according to one witness. "The town isn't here anymore," said Sergio Pirozzi, the mayor of Amatrice. "I believe the toll will rise." The magnitude 6 quake struck at 3:36 a.m. (0136 GMT) and was felt across a broad swath of central Italy, including Rome, where residents felt a long swaying followed by aftershocks.


Turkey in cross-border operation to free IS-held Syrian town
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) - After a pre-dawn barrage of heavy artillery and airstrikes, Turkey sent tanks and special forces into Syria on Wednesday to help clear a border town of Islamic State militants, marking the NATO member's most significant military involvement so far in the Syria conflict. Hundreds of Syrian opposition fighters were also part of the cross-border incursion to oust the militants from Jarablus, which was reported by both Turkish state media and Syrian opposition activists. Hours after the start of the operation, Turkey's state-run news agency and a Syrian opposition media activist said the rebels captured Kaklijeh - an IS-held village near Jarablus - with the support of Turkish armored units.


10 Things to Know for Today
Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today: 1. MAGNITUDE 6 QUAKE KILLS AT LEAST 37 IN CENTRAL ITALY The hardest-hit towns are Amatrice and Accumoli, some 80 kilometers (50 miles) northeast of Rome. The toll is expected to rise as crews reach homes in more remote hamlets. 2. TURKEY SAYS OPERATION LAUNCHED TO FREE IS-HELD SYRIAN TOWN As many as 20 tanks reportedly cross into Syria in a bid to liberate Jarablus, following the Turkish foreign minister's pledge of "every kind" of support for operations against the extremist group along a 100-kilometer (62-mile) stretch of Syria's frontier.


Watch Top News Video




Blacks question Trump outreach delivered to white audiences
AKRON, Ohio (AP) - Black Republicans cheer Donald Trump for a newfound outreach to African-Americans, but say the GOP presidential nominee must take his message beyond arenas filled with white supporters and venture into the inner cities. Many rank-and-file black voters, meanwhile, dismiss the overtures as another racially charged pitch from a campaign aimed exclusively at whites, from Trump's emphasis on "law and order" to his withering critiques of President Barack Obama, the nation's first black chief executive. It was Trump in 2011 who fiercely challenged Obama's U.S. birth. "Any minority who would vote for him is crazy, ought to have their head examined," said Ike Jenkins, an 81-year-old retired business owner in the predominantly black suburb of East Cleveland.


Horrified by Trump, Democrats getting nostalgic about Romney
WASHINGTON (AP) - When President Barack Obama ran for re-election, Democrats made no secret of their disdain for Mitt Romney. That was all before Donald Trump. Horrified by the prospect of Trump in the White House, Obama and his party have changed their tune about Romney. As they denounce Trump as "unhinged" and unfit, they're getting nostalgic about the 2012 Republican nominee they now describe as principled, competent and honorable. It's a sharp reversal from four years ago. Back then, Democrats spent hundreds of millions of dollars portraying the former Massachusetts governor as a callous, unpatriotic, pet-abusing caricature of the uber-rich.


Raped and tortured by IS, Yazidi women recover in Germany
VILLINGEN-SCHWENNINGEN, Germany (AP) - The Yazidi girl had been in the safety of a refugee camp in Iraq for two weeks when she imagined she heard the voices of Islamic State fighters outside her tent. Petrified by the thought of again facing rape and abuse at their hands, 17-year-old Yasmin vowed to make herself undesirable. So she doused herself in gasoline and lit a match. The flames burned her hair and face, peeling away her nose, lips and ears. That was her state when German doctor Jan Ilhan Kizilhan found her in a refugee camp in northern Iraq last year - physically disfigured and mentally so scarred that she had falsely thought her former captors were coming for her.


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.


Powerful earthquake shakes central Myanmar
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) - A powerful earthquake measuring magnitude 6.8 shook central Myanmar on Wednesday, damaging scores of ancient Buddhist pagodas in the former capital of Bagan, a major tourist attraction, officials said. The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was centered about 25 kilometers (15 miles) west of Chauk, an area west of Bagan. It was located fairly far below the Earth's surface at a depth of about 84 kilometers (52 miles), it said. Deep earthquakes generally cause less surface damage. However, at least 65 centuries-old brick pagodas in Bagan were damaged, the Ministry of Religious and Cultural Affairs said in a statement.


World's largest aircraft damaged on 2nd test flight
LONDON (AP) - The developer of the world's largest aircraft says the blimp-shaped airship "sustained damage" after it made a bumpy landing on its second test flight in eastern England. Hybrid Air Vehicles says it is trying to figure out what caused the rough landing of the 302-foot (92-meter) Airlander 10 during its flight Wednesday in Bedfordshire, north of London. In a statement on Facebook it said all "crew are safe and well and there are no injuries." A hybrid of blimp, helicopter and airplane, the Airlander is able to stay aloft for days at a time. It is designed to use less fuel than a plane, but carry heavier loads than conventional airships.


Recordings of tiger sounds aim to help save wild population
MILWAUKEE (AP) - Tigers use a grunt-like snort called chuffing as a greeting, short roars for intimidation and long roars to find mates. Researchers are now trying to use those and other sounds tigers make to help protect and boost their population in the wild. The effort, called The Prusten Project, is the idea of Courtney Dunn, who currently works at the Dallas World Aquarium as a senior mammal keeper and has a master's degree in biology. Prusten is another word for chuffing. "What we have discovered with our research is that tiger voices can be used like a fingerprint for individuals, like a vocal fingerprint as unique as you and I," Dunn said.