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The Associated Press
AP Top News at 6:28 a.m. EDT

Italy probes to see if criminal negligence raised quake toll
AMATRICE, Italy (AP) - Bulldozers with huge claws and other heavy equipment rolled through Italy's quake-devastated town of Amatrice on Sunday, pulling down dangerously overhanging ledges and clearing rubble as investigators tried to figure out if negligence in enforcing building codes added to the quake's high death toll. Investigations will focus on a number of structures, including an elementary school in Amatrice that crumbled when the quake hit Wednesday. The school was renovated in 2012 to resist earthquakes at a cost of 700,000 euros ($785,000). Questions also surround a bell tower in Accumoli that collapsed, killing a family of four sleeping in a neighboring house, including a baby of 8 months and a 7-year-old boy.


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.


Turkish bombing kills at least 20 in northern Syria
BEIRUT (AP) - A Syria monitoring group and a spokesman for a Kurdish-led force say Turkish airstrikes and shelling have killed as many as 20 civilians in northern Syria. Turkey sent tanks across the border to help Syrian rebels drive the Islamic State group out of the border town of Jarablus last week in an operation that is also aimed at pushing back U.S.-allied Kurdish forces. A Turkish soldier was killed by a Kurdish rocket attack late Saturday. Shervan Darwish, a spokesman for the U.S.-backed and Kurdish-led Syria Democratic Forces, says the airstrikes and shelling started overnight and continued Sunday along the front line, killing civilians in a village south of Jarablus.


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.


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.


Kurdish-led Syria forces face off with Turkish-backed rebels
BEIRUT (AP) - Backed by Turkish tanks and reports of airstrikes, Turkey-allied Syrian rebels clashed with Kurdish-led forces in northeastern Syria in a new escalation that further complicates the already protracted Syrian conflict. Turkey's military didn't specify what the airstrikes hit, saying only that "terror groups" were targeted south of the village of Jarablus, where the clashes later ensued. A Kurdish-affiliated group said their forces were the target and called the attack an "unprecedented and dangerous escalation." If confirmed, it would be the first Turkish airstrikes against Kurdish allied forces on Syrian soil. Late Saturday night, Turkey's official news agency reported that one Turkish solider had been killed and three wounded by what it said was a Kurdish rocket attack in Jarablus, near where the fighting has raged.


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.


Scams & waste loom as charity millions donated after Orlando
The more than 430 fundraisers posted on the GoFundMe website after the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando have exposed weaknesses inherent in these popular do-it-yourself charity campaigns: waste, questionable intentions and little oversight. The fundraisers - an average of more than four for each of the 49 killed and 53 wounded - include travelers asking for cash, a practitioner of ancient healing, a personal safety instructor who sells quick loaders for assault rifles, and even convicted identity impostors. "There was a deluge," said Holly Salmons, president of the Better Business Bureau for Central Florida. "It was almost impossible for us or anyone else to be able to vet." The crowdfunding sites operate outside traditional charitable circles and often beyond the reach of government regulation.


College football Down Under attracts 61,000 fans at Sydney
SYDNEY (AP) - The beer ran out in some sections of the Olympic stadium, but most of the 61,247 spectators at Saturday's U.S. college football opener in Sydney between California and Hawaii appeared to be enjoying their American "gridiron" experience. The favored Pac 12 conference's California Golden Bears from Berkeley across the bay from San Francisco were 51-31 winners. It was a midday start so that the game could be televised back to the U.S. in prime time on Friday night, and was played under sunny skies and with light winds. Tailgate parties weren't a big part of the day - there aren't a lot of ground-level parking lots close to the 83,500-seat stadium - but fans feasted on two-foot-long hotdogs and copious amounts of French fries and nachos.