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Officials: Special forces attempted rescue of hostages in Syria this summer

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama sent special operations troops to Syria this summer on a secret mission to rescue American hostages, including journalist James Foley, held by Islamic State extremists, but they did not find them, officials say.

Bank agrees to huge settlement in mortgage-backed securities case

WASHINGTON — The government has reached a $16.65 billion settlement with Bank of America over its role in the sale of mortgage-backed securities in the run-up to the financial crisis, the Justice Department announced Thursday.

American journalist killed in Syria aware of risks

ROCHESTER, N.H. — Journalist James Foley had worked in a number of conflict zones in the Middle East, but the danger didn’t stop him from doing the job he loved.

Latest Ferguson protests are smaller, more subdued

FERGUSON, Mo. — Police and protesters in Ferguson were finally able to share the streets again at night, putting aside for at least a few hours some of the hostility that had filled those hours with tear gas and smoke.

African elephants’ plight worsens as poaching soars

NAIROBI, Kenya — Poachers killed an estimated 100,000 elephants across Africa between 2010 and 2012, a huge spike in the continent’s death rate of the world’s largest land mammals because of an increased demand for ivory in China and other Asian nations, a new study published Monday found.

Hospitals reassess charity care

As more Americans gain insurance under the federal health law, hospitals are rethinking their charity programs, with some scaling back help for those who could have signed up for coverage but didn’t.

Ebola health workers battle death, heat, rumors

Doctors and nurses fighting Ebola in West Africa are working 14-hour days, seven days a week, wearing head-to-toe gear in the heat of muddy clinics. Agonizing death is the norm. The hellish conditions aren’t the only problem: Health workers struggle to convince patients they’re trying to help them, not hurt them.

Liberia: Ebola fears rise as clinic is looted

MONROVIA, Liberia — Liberian officials fear Ebola could soon spread through the capital’s largest slum after residents raided a quarantine center for suspected patients and took items including bloody sheets and mattresses.

Cost of school supplies on the rise

YAKIMA — Pens, pencils and crayons aplenty. The latest notebook computers at discounted prices. An alarming amount of hand sanitizers and hand wipes flying off shelves.

Shrinking revenue spurs gas tax alternatives

Since the federal gas tax was last increased to 18.4 cents per gallon in 1993, inflation has eroded its value by 40 percent.

WASHINGTON — It was the potholes that convinced real estate broker Lester Friedman that there had to be a better way to pay for road construction and repairs.

Texas Gov. Perry calls his indictment an abuse of power

AUSTIN, Texas — Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry vowed Saturday to fight a criminal indictment.

Missouri governor declares emergency, sets curfew in Ferguson

FERGUSON, Mo. — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency and imposed a curfew Saturday in a St. Louis suburb where police and protesters have clashed in the week since a black teenager was shot to death by a white police officer.

Islamists execute scores of Yazidi men for refusing to convert to Islam in Iraq

IRBIL, Iraq (AP) — Islamic extremists shot scores of Yazidi men to death in Iraq, lining them up in small groups and opening fire with assault rifles before abducting their wives and children, according to an eyewitness, government officials and people who live in the area.

Wilder memoir to give gritty view of prairie life

PIERRE, S.D — Laura Ingalls Wilder’s autobiography will show devoted “Little House on the Prairie” fans a more realistic, grittier view of frontier living.

Chicano muralist Emigdio Vasquez dies at 75

LOS ANGELES — Emigdio Vasquez, a renowned Chicano muralist and painter in Southern California’s Orange County whose pieces captured the reality and grittiness of everyday life, has died. He was 75.