AP Top Political News At 12:53 p.m. EDT

Facts about US racial unrest
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri, was roiled by racial unrest after 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was black, was shot and killed by Darren Wilson, a white police officer, on Aug. 9. The street clashes there mirrored past, larger-scale riots in multiple U.S. cities, most of them triggered by perceived racial injustice, or an incident involving police, in already tense communities....

Pentagon condemns Russian movements into Ukraine
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Pentagon on Friday condemned the movement of a Russian convoy into eastern Ukraine, calling it a violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and demanding that it be withdrawn....

Obama faces tough options in Iraq and Syria
WASHINGTON (AP) -- At the heart of President Barack Obama's quandary over the Islamic State militants is their haven in Syria....

Pentagon cites 'dangerous' Chinese jet intercept
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Pentagon on Friday accused a Chinese fighter jet of conducting a "dangerous intercept" of a U.S. Navy aircraft off the coast of China in international airspace....

Dempsey hits Islamic militant 'end-of-days' vision
WASHINGTON (AP) -- America's top-ranked military officer says the surging Islamic State group has an "apocalyptic, end-of-days strategic vision" in the Middle East and cannot be defeated unless the United States and a coalition of partners confront it head-on in Syria....

NKorea launch pad expansion 'nearing completion'
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Construction to upgrade North Korea's main rocket launch pad should be complete by this fall, allowing Pyongyang to conduct a launch by year's end if it decides to do so, a U.S. research institute said Thursday....

Obama's vacations in line with US average
CHILMARK, Mass. (AP) -- President Barack Obama is criticized whenever he goes on vacation but travel industry data show he's taken about as much vacation this year as most Americans do....

Democrats reframe debate on health care
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama's unpopular health care law is losing some of its political punch as vulnerable Democrats see it as less of an election-year minus and Republicans increasingly talk about fixing it instead of repealing....

Slaying of American reopens debate on ransoms
WASHINGTON (AP) -- By rejecting demands for a nine-digit payment to save kidnapped American journalist James Foley, the United States upheld a policy choice that some European and Arab governments have long found too wrenching to make themselves: ruling out ransom to rescue any citizen held captive by militant organizations, in hopes the tough stand will make Americans safer from kidnapping and attacks by extremists....

Foley's death isn't changing views in Congress
WASHINGTON (AP) -- For all its horror, the beheading of an American journalist in Syria appears unlikely to change lawmakers' minds about military intervention against Islamic State extremists. It's equally unclear whether the Obama administration will be asking them to back a new U.S. approach....

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Facts about US racial unrest

Pentagon condemns Russian movements into Ukraine

Pentagon cites 'dangerous' Chinese jet intercept

Democrats reframe debate on health care

Obama faces tough options in Iraq and Syria

Biden voices support for Georgia's NATO wishes

At Jackson Hole, central bankers eye varying goals

Dempsey hits Islamic militant 'end-of-days' vision


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