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Updated: Thu, 14 Aug 2014 01:15:13 EST


UPDATE: Police use tear gas on Ferguson protesters

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — Tear gas is in the air again in Ferguson, Missouri, where racial tensions have simmered since Saturday's fatal shooting of an unarmed black teen by a white police officer.

Heavily-armed officers responded with tear gas and smoke bombs after objects were thrown during an evening face-off.

Two reporters say they were handled roughly and arrested while at a McDonalds not far from the scene of Saturday's shooting. They were released without charges.


UPDATE: Hagel: Far fewer Iraqi refugees now on Sinjar Mt.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says it's less likely that a major operation will be needed to rescue Iraqis from atop a mountain where they fled to avoid Sunni extremists.

A military team flown to Sinjar Mountain reported back that there are several thousand refugees, not the tens of thousands reported last week.

Some of them were apparently able to escape because of U.S. airstrikes against the group Islamic State.


US drone attacks, destroys armed truck in Iraq

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. military officials say a drone aircraft attacked and destroyed an armed truck operated by Islamic militants west of the village of Sinjar in northern Iraq.

The U.S. Central Command said in a brief statement that the attack happened at midday Wednesday, Washington time.

It said the truck that was targeted was located in the vicinity of a checkpoint operated by fighters of the Islamic State.

The attack was the latest in a string of airstrikes designed to ease the pressure on Iraqi civilians stranded on Sinjar Mountain.


UPDATE: Seoul: N. Korea fires projectiles as pope visits

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Officials in South Korea say North Korea launched three short-range projectiles less than an hour before Pope Francis arrived in Seoul.

It's the first papal visit in 25 years to South Korea.

Francis plans to reach out to the North during his five-day trip in a Mass for peace and reconciliation on the war-divided Korean Peninsula.


UPDATE: Egypt: Israel, Hamas to extend temporary truce

CAIRO (AP) — Another temporary cease-fire is in effect between Israel and Hamas.

It started at midnight local time, but not before five militant rockets were fired and Israel responded by striking targets in Gaza.

Egypt's foreign minister is leading indirect talks and says the sides have agreed to a five-day extension.

The time will be used in an effort to negotiate a longer-term truce.


NEW: US jury set hear terror finance case against bank

NEW YORK (AP) — A U.S. jury is being asked to decide whether a large Middle Eastern bank should be held liable in terror attacks that killed Americans.

Opening statements are set for Thursday in federal court in Brooklyn in the case against Arab Bank.

The trial stems from a lawsuit filed by victims of terror attacks in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank during a Palestinian uprising from 2001 to 2004. They have accused the bank of setting up accounts that it knew were being used to funnel death benefits to families of suicide bombers.

Lawyers for the bank have denied that it was aware it was doing business with terrorists when it processed electronic transfers.


VA referrals to private doctors up 25 percent

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald says the agency is significantly increasing its referrals of veterans to private doctors following a scandal over long patient waits and falsified appointment records at many VA hospitals and clinics.

Speaking Wednesday at the American Veterans national convention, McDonald also said his department was working to shorten the time it takes to hire more VA doctors, nurses and clerks.

McDonald told the AMVETS that the VA has made more than 830,000 referrals in the past two months for veterans to see private doctors — a 25 percent increase over the same period a year ago. He said the increase in referrals has resulted in veterans getting a million more appointments with private doctors.

McDonald took over as VA secretary two weeks ago.


Mississippi seeks new ruling on abortion law

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi is asking a federal appeals court to uphold a state law requiring abortion clinic doctors to obtain privileges to admit patients to local hospitals.

In late July, a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the 2012 law is unconstitutional because it would close Mississippi's only abortion clinic.

Attorney General Jim Hood filed papers Wednesday asking the full court to reverse the panel's ruling and allow Mississippi to enforce the law.

It was not immediately clear when the full court would consider the request.

Physicians at the abortion clinic, Jackson Women's Health Organization, applied for admitting privileges but clinic owner Diane Derzis says they did not receive responses from Jackson-area hospitals.

Supporters say the law would protect patients, but opponents say it's designed to restrict access to abortion.


UPDATE: Brown sends $7.5 billion water plan to ballot

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a $7.5 billion bipartisan water plan, acting swiftly after it was passed by both houses of the Legislature to place it on California's November ballot.

As he signed the measure Wednesday night, Brown said he probably had never seen Democrats and Republicans so united in his lifetime. AB1471 passed 37-0 in the Senate and 77-2 in the Assembly.

He hailed the legislation as a win for the future and said it was about "Californians coming together."

The governor and lawmakers were driven to action by the state's historic drought, which has forced farmers to fallow their fields and cities to implement fines and rationing.

The measure replaces an existing water bond that was approved by a previous Legislature but was widely considered too costly to gain voter approval.


Colorado Powerball winner claims $90M prize

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) — A tow truck driver from a small western Colorado city claimed his $90 million Powerball jackpot and told reporters he has been waking up and feeling like his win wasn't real.

The Denver Post reported Wednesday that the winner, who identified himself only as Claude G. at a news conference, said he woke up Sunday as his wife screamed in joy.

The drawing was Saturday night. The prize is the largest Powerball jackpot ever won in Colorado.

Previous Colorado lottery winners also have only identified themselves by their first name and an initial.

Claude G. says he is from Rifle, where he bought his ticket. The city along Interstate 70 has struggled to recover from the recession and a drop in natural gas drilling.

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