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Forensic experts gather material to ID victims

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Forensic teams fanned out across the Netherlands on Saturday to collect material including DNA samples that will help positively identify the remains of victims killed in the downing of the Malaysia Airlines plane over Ukraine.

Russia bans Congressman, 12 other Americans

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia has placed a U.S. lawmaker and 12 other people connected with the Guantanamo Bay detention camp and the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq on its list of those banned from entering the country.

Israeli troops battle Hamas, uncover Gaza tunnels

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israeli troops uncovered more than a dozen cross-border tunnels and battled Gaza militants on the second day of an open-ended ground operation Saturday, as the Palestinian death toll climbed past 330 and diplomats scrambled to revive cease-fire efforts.

Ukraine crisis shows divisions in old Soviet bloc

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland's foreign minister had sharp words on the downing of the Malaysia Airlines jumbo jet in Ukraine — blaming the crash on Russia-backed "bandits." But throughout most of central and eastern Europe, leaders withheld judgment, expressing shock but refusing to say more until more facts are in.

Kony's rebels change tactics to evade hunt

OBO, Central African Republic (AP) — Knives, ropes, tarpaulins, AK-47s, and gun lubricant. These are some of the items handed over to the Ugandan army by three fighters who defected last month from Joseph Kony's rebels, the Lord's Resistance Army, in Central African Republic.

Wildfires bring destruction to central Washington

A wind-driven, lightning-caused wildfire racing through rural north-central Washington destroyed about 100 homes Thursday and Friday, leaving behind solitary brick chimneys and burned-out automobiles as it blackened hundreds of square miles in the scenic Methow Valley northeast of Seattle.

Israel troops battle Hamas, uncover Gaza tunnels

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israel pounded Hamas rocket launchers, uncovered more than a dozen cross-border tunnels and engaged in gunbattles with Palestinian militants Saturday on the second day of its open-ended ground operation in Gaza, as the Palestinian death toll there topped 300.

Airlines symbolize nations' hopes or reflect shame

NEW YORK (AP) — The jetliner is much more than a machine used to get from one spot to another. It often carries deep symbolism, especially when flying for a national airline.

Damage from Washington wildfires 'hard to believe'

PATEROS, Wash. (AP) — Residents strolled through the smoldering rubble of their neighborhoods, some wearing surgical masks to protect their lungs from the smoke and ash lingering in the air of the riverside community they call "Paterodise."

Gaza official: Palestinian death toll tops 300

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israeli troops battled Hamas militants in Gaza on the second day of a ground operation Saturday, as the Palestinian death toll from the 12-day offensive topped 300, a Gaza health official said.

Unlike 1st, Malaysia's 2nd disaster brings closure

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Less than five months ago, they had rushed to Kuala Lumpur International Airport — anxious relatives with a hope in their hearts, however faint, that a missing jumbo jet with their loved ones had not crashed, and would eventually be found.

AIDS conference spared worst with MH17 toll at 6

A global AIDS summit was in shock Saturday at the loss of colleagues in the Malaysia Airlines disaster over Ukraine, but spirits were lifted when the number who died was put at six, far fewer than feared. Reports on Friday said as many as 100 passengers on the plane were en route to the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne when it went down in a rebel-held part of the country on Thursday, killing all 298 on board. "The number that we have confirmed through our contacts with authorities in Australia, in Malaysia, and Dutch authorities as well is six people. Those killed include prominent Dutchman Joep Lange, a pioneer of cheap anti-retrovirals for the poor who had been involved in HIV research and treatment since 1983.

Teen's death puts focus on caffeine powder dangers

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The sudden death of a healthy high school senior has ramped up attention on unregulated caffeine powder, leading federal health authorities to warn consumers to stay away from the substance.

Investigators struggle to reach MH17 crash site in Ukraine

Investigators faced massive hurdles Saturday as they sought access to the grisly crash site of a Malaysian plane in eastern Ukraine, with the area controlled by armed rebels blamed for downing the jet with a missile. Despite a hail of calls from around the globe for a swift probe into the crash, initial efforts by international monitors to gain full access to the site have been impeded by pro-Russian separatists locked in fighting with Ukraine forces. While the rebels, who Kiev and the US believe fired a sophisticated surface-to-air missile at the jet, have vowed to protect the scene, they have ruled out a ceasefire and rocket-fire still rings out in the distance. Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans, whose nation was stunned by the loss of nearly 200 citizens in the crash, arrived in Kiev Friday with a team of 15 forensic experts.

Feds approve oil exploration off US Eastern Coast

ST. AUGUSTINE BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The Obama administration has sided with energy developers over environmentalists, approving the use of underwater blasts of sound to pinpoint oil and gas deposits in federal Atlantic Ocean waters.

Owner of raided Mexico child shelter was admired

ZAMORA, Mexico (AP) — For more than six decades, poor parents struggling to support their children or raise troubled youths sent them to a group home in western Mexico run by a woman who gained a reputation as a secular saint.

Family of 8 killed in Gaza, as top U.N. leader heads to region

Fresh Israeli air strikes killed 10 people in Gaza on Saturday, hiking the death toll above 300 as UN chief Ban Ki-moon headed to the region to bolster truce efforts. The new peace push came as Israel's campaign against the besieged Palestinian territory entered day 12 in the bloodiest conflict for several years, and the Jewish state stood poised to intensify a ground operation inside the Strip. US President Barack Obama has supported Israel's right to defend itself against Gaza rocket fire, but urged it to work harder to avoid innocent deaths in an operation with a high civilian toll, including many women and children In the face of Israel's land, sea and air offensive, Islamist movement Hamas, which is the main power in Gaza, has remained defiant as Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas travelled to Egypt and Turkey for truce talks.

Rory McIlroy builds a 4-shot lead at British Open

HOYLAKE, England (AP) — Rory McIlroy only saw birdies at Royal Liverpool, mostly on his scorecard, and even one pheasant that trotted across the eighth green as he was lining up a putt. That was but a minor interruption in his command performance Friday in the British Open.

'Funnel of fire' destroys homes in Washington

PATEROS, Wash. (AP) — A fire racing through rural north-central Washington destroyed about 100 homes, leaving behind smoldering rubble, solitary brick chimneys and burned-out automobiles as it blackened hundreds of square miles in the scenic Methow Valley.