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AP Top News at 12:29 p.m. EDT

Clinton's big night: Now is time to make her case
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Three days of testimonials have led to this: Now, it's time for Hillary Clinton to make her own case. The former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state will step out of the shadows of presidents past and present on Thursday for her chance to persuade Americans that she is the best choice to helm a nation looking for a new era of leadership. President Barack Obama anointed her the inheritor of his legacy Wednesday night at the Democratic National Convention. Delivering a passionate case for his onetime rival, Obama declared Clinton not only can defeat the "deeply pessimistic vision" of Republican Donald Trump but also realize the "promise of this great nation." "She's been there for us, even if we haven't always noticed," he said.


Chelsea Clinton will testify to her mother's credentials
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - After days of endorsements from celebrities, elected leaders and passionate supporters, Hillary Clinton will be introduced Thursday night by the woman who knows her simply as mom. Chelsea Clinton will open for her mother at the Democratic National Convention as Clinton accepts a place in history as the first female presidential nominee for a major party. Chelsea Clinton's appearance comes after her father, ex-President Bill Clinton, gave a deeply personal address about his wife Tuesday night. It's part of a campaign effort to show the softer side of the former first lady, senator and secretary of state. And it's hardly a new role for 36-year-old Chelsea, who works for the Clinton Foundation and recently gave birth to her second child.


Trump: Comments about Russia, Clinton emails were sarcastic
WASHINGTON (AP) - Donald Trump says he was using sarcasm when he prodded Russia to unearth Hillary Clinton's missing emails. But Democrats aren't likely to let the Republican presidential nominee's extraordinary comments simply fade away. "Of course I'm being sarcastic," Trump said Thursday on Fox News' "Fox and Friends," a day after his remarks at a news conference ignited fierce debate over hacking and his urging of a global adversary to meddle in American politics. Trump's invitation to Russia to find and reveal emails by his rival for the White House came on the third day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.


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N. Korea: US has crossed red line, relations on war footing
PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) - North Korea's top diplomat for U.S. affairs told The Associated Press on Thursday that Washington "crossed the red line" and effectively declared war by putting leader Kim Jong Un on its list of sanctioned individuals, and said a vicious showdown could erupt if the U.S. and South Korea hold annual war games as planned next month. Han Song Ryol, director-general of the U.S. affairs department at the North's Foreign Ministry, said in an interview that recent U.S. actions have put the situation on the Korean Peninsula on a war footing. The United States and South Korea regularly conduct joint military exercises south of the Demilitarized Zone, and Pyongyang typically responds to them with tough talk and threats of retaliation.


Merkel: Germany 'will manage' challenge after attacks
BERLIN (AP) - Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged Thursday to do "everything humanly possible" to keep Germany safe following a string of attacks - including two carried out by asylum-seekers and claimed by the Islamic State group that she said mocked the country that took in the assailants. The attacks brought Merkel fresh criticism for her decision last year to welcome refugees. More than 1 million asylum-seekers were registered in Germany in 2015, although the influx has since slowed dramatically. Merkel said at a news conference that Germany will "stick to our principles" and give shelter to those who deserve it. "We will manage this," she said, repeating a mantra she coined last August.


French ID 2nd church attacker; police had warning about him
PARIS (AP) - French officials on Thursday identified the second man who attacked a Normandy church during morning Mass, saying he's a 19-year-old from eastern France who was spotted last month in Turkey as he supposedly headed to Syria - but who returned to France instead. The prosecutor's office identified him as Abdel-Malik Nabil Petitjean following DNA tests on his corpse. A security official confirmed that he was the unidentified man pictured on a photo distributed to French police on July 22 with a warning that he could be planning an attack. Four days later, Petitjean and another 19-year-old local man, Adel Kermiche, stormed the church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray during Mass on Tuesday.


Turkey creates 'Traitors' Cemetery' for dead coup plotters
ISTANBUL (AP) - Tucked in the back corner of a construction site for a new dog shelter in eastern Istanbul lies a freshly dug, unmarked grave - the first in the new "Traitors' Cemetery," created specifically to hold the bodies of coup plotters who died in the July 15 abortive putsch. In the week following the attempted coup in Turkey, which killed about 290 people, the municipality announced it intended to set up a cemetery specifically for those involved - people that officials have branded as traitors undeserving of a proper burial. About 24 coup plotters are believed to have been killed that night.


He's a skydiver working with a net _ but no parachute
SIMI VALLEY, Calif. (AP) - He's made 18,000 parachute jumps, helped train some of the world's most elite skydivers, done some of the stunts for "Ironman 3." But the plunge Luke Aikins knows he'll be remembered for is the one he's making without a parachute. Or a wingsuit. Or anything, really, other than the clothes he'll be wearing when he jumps out of an airplane at 25,000 feet this weekend, attempting to become the first person to land safely on the ground in a net. The Fox network will broadcast the two-minute jump live at 8 p.m. EDT (5 p.m. PDT) Saturday as part of an hour-long TV special called "Heaven Sent." And, no, you don't have to tell Aikins it sounds crazy.


Reid: 'Absolute fraud' Grayson should drop Fla. Senate bid
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Top Democrats are pressuring Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson to drop his bid for U.S. Senate in Florida following reports he physically abused his ex-wife. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday that Grayson is an "absolute fraud," adding: "Now having whacked his ex-wife around a few times ... I don't know who supports him other than himself." Reid has tangled in the past with Grayson, an unpredictable liberal firebrand who is defying Democratic leaders' wishes by challenging their favored candidate, moderate Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy, in the Aug. 30 Florida primary. Reid's comments to reporters in Philadelphia for the Democratic convention followed a similar statement a day earlier from the No.


MTV launches MTV Classic channel focusing on 1990s nostalgia
NEW YORK (AP) - MTV is rebranding VH1 Classic as MTV Classic and says the channel plans to serve up heaps of nostalgia for fans of "Beavis and Butt-head," ''Daria," ''Total Request Live," and other MTV staples. MTV says the channel will have "a special focus on the 1990s and early 2000s." In addition to full-season marathons of "The Real World," ''Road Rules" and "Laguna Beach," MTV says the channel will feature prime-time programming blocks that include episodes of "Cribs," ''Jackass," ''Punk'd" and others. "MTV Unplugged" episodes that MTV says haven't been aired in years also will be rerun. MTV Classic will debut on Aug.