Associated Press

AP Top News at 10:05 a.m. EDT

Italy investigates quake buildings, checking for code fraud
AMATRICE, Italy (AP) - Bulldozers with huge claws pulled down dangerously overhanging ledges Sunday in Italy's quake-devastated town of Amatrice as investigators worked to figure out if negligence or fraud in building codes had added to the quake's high death toll. The quake that struck before dawn Wednesday killed 290 people and injured hundreds as it flattened three medieval towns in central Italy. Giuseppe Saieva, the prosecutor in the regional capital of Rieti, said the high human death toll "cannot only be considered the work of fate." Investigations are focusing on a number of structures, including an elementary school in Amatrice that crumbled despite being renovated in 2012 to resist earthquakes at a cost of 700,000 euros ($785,000).


Can Clinton save health overhaul from its mounting problems?
WASHINGTON (AP) - With the hourglass running out for his administration, President Barack Obama's health care law is struggling in many parts of the country. Double-digit premium increases and exits by big-name insurers have caused some to wonder whether "Obamacare" will go down as a failed experiment. If Democrat Hillary Clinton wins the White House, expect her to mount a rescue effort. But how much Clinton could do depends on finding willing partners in Congress and among Republican governors, a real political challenge. "There are turbulent waters," said Kathleen Sebelius, Obama's first secretary of Health and Human Services. "But do I see this as a death knell?


German economy minister says EU-US trade talks have failed
BERLIN (AP) - Free trade talks between the European Union and the United States have failed, Germany's economy minister said Sunday, citing a lack of progress on any of the major sections of the long-running negotiations. Both Washington and Brussels have pushed for a deal by the end of the year, despite strong misgivings among some EU member states over the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP. Sigmar Gabriel, who is also Germany's Vice Chancellor, compared the TTIP negotiations unfavorably with a free trade deal forged between the 28-nation EU and Canada, which he said was fairer for both sides.


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Lawyer's at center of race, gun debate on 2 Charleston cases
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - Andy Savage keeps in his law office a sealed plastic bag with the blood-splattered clothes that Felicia Sanders wore sheltering her granddaughter from a fusillade of bullets that killed nine black parishioners at Charleston's Emanuel AME Church. Down the hall, his colleagues met recently with another client, Michael Slager, the white former North Charleston police officer charged in the death of a black motorist in a shooting captured on an explosive cellphone video. Many would say Savage is on conflicting sides in these high-profile cases. On one hand, he represents the three survivors and families of five black parishioners who died in the church shooting, and is suing the federal government over the sale of a gun to a white man in the case; on the other, he's defending a white officer charged with murder after a black motorist was shot eight times in the back.


Friends, colleagues to remember slain Mississippi nuns
DURANT, Miss. (AP) - Friends and colleagues who knew two nuns killed in their Mississippi home are gathering Sunday to remember them, as authorities continue to investigate the harrowing crime that shocked people in the small communities where the women committed their lives to helping the poor. Rodney Earl Sanders, 46, of Kosciusko, Mississippi, has been arrested and charged in the deaths of Sister Margaret Held and Sister Paula Merrill. The county sheriff said Sanders confessed to the killings although many people are struggling to comprehend why anyone would want to take the two women's lives. A wake is scheduled to be held Sunday at the St.


Europe's refugee crisis simmers despite efforts to solve it
BERLIN (AP) - Faced with more than 1 million migrants flooding across the Mediterranean last year, European nations tightened border controls, set up naval patrols to stop smugglers, negotiated an agreement with Turkey to limit the numbers crossing, shut the Balkan route used by hundreds of thousands, and tried to speed up deportations of rejected asylum-seekers. Yet many issues still remain. European nations continue to squabble about whether, and how, to share the newcomers between them and the issues that drove refugees to Europe in the first place - such as Syria's unrelenting war - are unresolved. Overall, 2,901 people have died or disappeared crossing the Mediterranean in the first six months of 2016, most along the dangerous central route to Italy - a 37 percent increase over last year's first half, according to the International Organization for Migration.


Trump warns of regulations, taxes harming family farmers
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Donald Trump said rival Hillary Clinton will push regulations and high taxes that will hurt family farmers as he campaigned in Iowa, an agricultural state that remains a presidential election battleground. Trump warned a crowd in Iowa on Saturday that Clinton "wants to shut down family farms" and implement anti-agriculture policies. His comments came in a speech to the annual "Roast and Ride" fundraiser for Republican Sen. Joni Ernst. Trump skipped the 42-mile motorcycle ride that preceded the event. Joining the presidential nominee on stage were top Iowa Republicans - among them Ernst, Gov. Terry Branstad, Sen.


Syrian rebels advance on Kurds as Turkish strikes kill 35
BEIRUT (AP) - Turkey-backed Syrian rebels seized a number of villages and towns from Kurdish-led forces in northern Syria on Sunday amid Turkish airstrikes and shelling that killed at least 35 people, mostly civilians, according to rebels and a monitoring group. Turkey sent tanks across the border to help Syrian rebels drive the Islamic State group out of the frontier town of Jarablus last week in a dramatic escalation of its involvement in the Syrian civil war. The operation, labeled Euphrates Shield, is also aimed at pushing back U.S.-allied Kurdish forces. The fighting pits a NATO ally against a U.S.-backed proxy that is the most effective ground force battling IS in Syria.


Nevada becomes one of Trump's big hopes for swing state win
LAS VEGAS (AP) - Russ Wheeler bears the financial scars of Nevada's lost decade, and he hopes Donald Trump can heal them. He worked for a Las Vegas roofing company when the real estate bust crushed the state's economy. He took two pay cuts before getting laid off. He had to commute into the California desert to find work after that. Wheeler considers himself one of the lucky ones. He was able to build up enough savings to retire, but even now his wife had her teaching hours reduced at a community college, dramatically reducing their household's income. "It'll be better with Trump because he'll bring the jobs back," Wheeler, 66, said as he stopped by a Republican Party office to scoop up some "Make America Great Again" yard signs and bumper stickers.


In North Korea, a hardboiled (and fictional) cop keeps watch
NEW YORK (AP) - The hero, a police inspector, prowls a city known more for its political malevolence than its street crime. If you read the local newspapers, you could think it's a city with almost no crime at all. There have been no murders reported there for years, no bank robberies, no muggings, no rapes. The city is Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, which has long hidden so many realities beneath layers of propaganda and isolation. The hero is Inspector O, a policeman who knows those realities. And so, in many ways, does the policeman's creator, the bearded man in the crowded Manhattan restaurant who calls himself James Church.