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AP Top News at 8:06 p.m. EDT

Clinton's pledge: Steady hand at 'moment of reckoning'
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Confronting a "moment of reckoning," Hillary Clinton is casting herself as a unifier for divided times and a tested, steady hand to lead in a volatile world. "We are clear-eyed about what our country is up against," she said in excerpts released ahead of her speech Thursday accepting the Democratic presidential nomination. "But we are not afraid. We will rise to the challenge, just as we always have." Clinton's national convention address follows three nights of Democratic stars, including a past and present president, asserting she is ready for the White House. Thursday night she was making that case for herself on the convention's final night.


Minority Dem delegates frustrated with 'Bernie or Bust'
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - As most Democrats rally around Hillary Clinton, the lingering "Bernie or Bust" movement is stirring frustration at the party's convention among delegates of color, who say they're upset at the refusal of the Vermont senator's most fervent backers to fall in line. "I am so exhausted by it," said Danielle Adams, a black Clinton delegate from North Carolina. "I think there are undercurrents of privilege that concern me." Adams is among those who say the "Never Hillary" crowd, a group that is largely younger and white, isn't considering the struggles black Americans still face every day. And, they argue, how the nation's ethnic and racial minorities may be affected by a Donald Trump presidency.


Police and protesters credited with restraint at convention
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Bernie Sanders' devoted followers were careful to pick up after themselves and wore hats embroidered with a dove to remind everyone to remain peaceful. And the police, instead of hauling demonstrators off to jail, issued them $50 tickets for disorderly conduct and released them with a complimentary bottle of water. As the Democratic National Convention drew toward a close Thursday afternoon, Philadelphia police reported making a four-day total of only 11 arrests, and officers and protesters alike were credited with showing restraint and courtesy. The rallies and marches that some feared would result in violence and mass disruptions instead brought a festival-like atmosphere at times to City Hall and Broad Street.


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Trump has a record of siding with Putin on key issues
MOSCOW (AP) - Donald Trump has refused to condemn Russia's military takeover of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, saying if elected he would consider recognizing it as Russian territory, in the latest of a series of statements that have raised eyebrows about the Republican candidate's intentions toward the Kremlin. "We'll be looking at that. Yeah, we'll be looking," Trump told reporters on Wednesday. Accepting Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea would be a radical departure from U.S. policy. The United States and the European Union worked together to punish Russia by imposing economic sanctions and have shown no willingness to lift them. Even Belarus, Russia's closest ally and neighbor, did not recognize the annexation.


Experts confront multiple explanations for surge of killings
NEW YORK (AP) - The relentless series of mass killings across the globe poses a challenge for experts trying to analyze them without lapsing into faulty generalizations. Terms like contagion and copycat killing apply in some cases, not in others, they say, and in certain instances perpetrators' terrorist ideology intersects with psychological instability. Some of the attacks, such as the coordinated assault on multiple targets in Paris last November, were elaborately planned operations by Islamic State adherents. However, they may have contributed to some of the other attacks by troubled individuals with no established ties to the militant group. J. Reid Meloy, a San Diego-based forensic psychologist who has served as a consultant to the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Program, said some of the attackers appear to have identified with Islamic State as an outlet for their own seething emotions.


Wounded officers struggle with news of Hinckley's release
WASHINGTON (AP) - John Hinckley Jr. shot four people outside a Washington hotel on March 30, 1981, but two of his victims understandably got most of the attention: President Ronald Reagan and his press secretary, James Brady. Two other men - Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy and District of Columbia police officer Thomas Delahanty - each took a bullet to protect the president. Thirty-five years later, they've lived to see Hinckley freed. On Thursday, both were still coming to terms with the news that Hinckley, now 61, will soon be released from a Washington psychiatric hospital to live full-time with his 90-year-old mother in Williamsburg, Virginia.


The Latest: Clinton says she offers 'steady leadership'
Hillary Clinton says Americans are facing a stark choice in the presidential election - between her "steady leadership" on national security and what she says Donald Trump's offering. That's according to excerpts of Clinton's nomination acceptance speech that her campaign has released ahead of her Thursday night address at the Democrat convention. Clinton is set to tell Americans that she understands their worries about turmoil in the world. She's says violent attacks in Iraq, France, Belgium and Florida have caused much unease and anxiety - and people are "looking for reassurance - looking for steady leadership." She says she offers just that.


Syria Nusra Front leader claims to cut ties with al-Qaida
BEIRUT (AP) - The leader of Syria's Nusra Front said in recording aired Thursday that his group is changing its name, claiming it will have no more ties with al-Qaida in an attempt to undermine a potential U.S. and Russian air campaign against its fighters. The announcement is the first time that an entire branch of al-Qaida has said it is leaving the terror network. But the move took place with the endorsement of al-Qaida's central leadership, and its ideology remains the same, raising questions whether the change really goes beyond the new name, the Levant Conquest Front. The United States, which considers Nusra a terrorist organization, immediately expressed its skepticism.


Man convicted in Chandra Levy's death won't be retried
Prosecutors announced Thursday that they will not retry a man convicted of killing Washington intern Chandra Levy, saying they can no longer prove their case in the 15-year-old slaying that thrust former congressman Gary Condit into the national spotlight. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia issued a statement saying it has moved to dismiss the case charging Ingmar Guandique with Levy's 2001 killing. According to the statement, prosecutors concluded they can no longer prove the murder case against Guandique beyond a reasonable doubt, "based on recent unforeseen developments that were investigated over the past week." The statement does not elaborate, and Bill Miller, a spokesman for the U.S.


Elephant sedative emerges as new threat in overdose battle
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A drug used to sedate elephants and other large animals, 100 times as potent as the fentanyl already escalating the country's heroin troubles, is suspected in spates of overdoses in several states, where authorities say they've found it mixed with or passed off as heroin. The appearance of carfentanil, one of the most potent opioids known to investigators, adds another twist to the fight against painkillers in a country already awash in heroin and fentanyl cases. Each time authorities start to get a handle on one type of drug, another seems to pop up, said Joseph Pinjuh, chief of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force and narcotics unit for the U.S.