The world at 9:15 p.m. All times EDT.
At the Nerve Center, news producers Rob Jagodzinski and Mike Stewart can be reached at 800-845-8450 (ext. 1600). For photos, Chelsea Matiash (ext. 1900). For graphics and interactives, ext. 7636. Expanded AP content can be obtained from http://www.apexchange.com. For access to AP Exchange and other technical issues, contact customersupport(at)ap.org or call 877-836-9477.
A selection of top photos can be found at: http://bit.ly/APTopPhotos
NEW & DEVELOPING
— NKOREA-MILITARY CHIEF — NKorea says powerful army chief and key adviser to leader relieved of posts because of illness. AP photos.
— DRUG WAR-MEXICO — Mexico's president says homicides down 15 percent to 20 percent in first half of 2012.
— COMIC-CON-FRINGE — 'Fringe' cast bids tearful goodbye to Comic-Con as series heads into final season.
DAMASCUS, Syria — Syria's 17-month-long bloodshed crosses a significant symbolic landmark as the international Red Cross says it considers the conflict a civil war, a status with implications for potential war crimes prosecutions. The statement comes as the U.N. tries to uncover what happened in a village were dozens were reported killed in a regime assault. By Albert Aji and Frank Jordans.
AP photos, interactive.
— SYRIA-GLANCE — A look at the progression in international views on Syria's conflict.
OBAMA-ASSETS AND LIABILITIES
WASHINGTON — Four months from Election Day, President Barack Obama has an edge in support among women, African-Americans, Hispanics and young people, groups that could swing him the race in November. He retains the power of incumbency and people generally like him. But there are indications that Obama's supporters aren't as enthusiastic about him as they once were, and the Democrat no longer is in a fundraising league of his own. By Julie Pace.
ROMNEY-ASSETS AND LIABILITIES
WASHINGTON — As the White House challenger, Mitt Romney can seize on the attention that accompanies the selection of a running mate. When the London Olympics get under way, he can use that spotlight to play up his leadership of the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City. His candidacy also is benefiting from the fundraising power of outside GOP-aligned political groups. The weak economic recovery offers the chance for Romney to make inroads among unhappy voters. Not all is rosy, however. Health care is the last thing Romney wants to talk about. As he appeals to independents, he has to fend off charges that by moving to the middle, he's changing core positions for political purposes. By Kasie Hunt.
PENN STATE-ABUSE-CAMPUS CRIME
For more than 20 years, colleges have been required to publicly share details of campus crimes and report serious offenses to the federal government. The law was created after a grisly dorm rape and murder of a student less than 200 miles from Penn State, but despite the proximity of that crime, top officials in State College paid little attention to the Clery Act requirements, according to a new investigation. Campus safety experts say such problems spread far beyond Penn State, even though the U.S. Department of Education has stepped up enforcement. By Alan Scher Zagier.
FONTANA, Calif. — In foreclosure-battered San Bernardino County, local government officials desperate for change are weighing a controversial but inventive way to fix troubled mortgages: seize and rewrite them on more favorable terms to home owners. The plan has drawn the ire of investors and real estate agents who say it will worsen an already dire situation. By Amy Taxin and Christina Rexrode.
CAIRO — The head of Egypt's military takes a tough line on the Muslim Brotherhood, warning that he won't let the group dominate the country, only hours after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton urged him to work with Egypt's elected Islamist leaders. Clinton's visit underscores the difficulty Washington faces in trying to wield its influence amid the country's stormy post-Hosni Mubarak power struggles. By Hamza Hendawi and Bradley Klapper.
AP photos, interactive.
SPACE WORKERS-AFTER SHUTTLE
TITUSVILLE, Fla. — Some former space shuttle workers have moved to Afghanistan to work as contractors, and others have headed to South Carolina to build airplanes. Others found work in the area for less pay, and beneath their skill sets, but the positions allowed them to stay along Florida's Space Coast. Others are still looking for jobs. A year after NASA ended the three-decade-old space shuttle program, thousands of former space shuttle workers are struggling to find jobs or working in positions with less opportunity than the ones they had when shuttles blasted off from nearby launch pads. By Mike Schneider.
AP photos by John Raoux.
PAY TV DISPUTES
LOS ANGELES — Channel blackouts such as the one that resulted from the recent spat between Viacom and DirecTV have become far more common over the past three years. Consumers can thank the changing dynamics of the entertainment industry. As media companies have steadily become more profitable, cable and satellite provides have seen their numbers stagnate. The resulting squeeze has left consumers in the crossfire. By Ryan Nakashima.
MORE ON POLITICS
WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — Millions of uninsured people may have to wait until after Election Day to find out if and how they can get coverage through President Barack Obama's health care law. More than two weeks after the Supreme Court gave the green light to Obama's signature legislative achievement, many governors from both parties said they haven't decided how their states will proceed on two parts under their control: an expansion of Medicaid, expected to extend coverage to roughly 15 million low-income people, and new insurance exchanges, projected to help an additional 15 million or so purchase private insurance. By Josh Lederman.
WOLFEBORO, N.H. — Mitt Romney's campaign says President Barack Obama is willing to say anything to win a second term and should say he's sorry for attacks on the Republican's career at a private equity firm. "No, we will not apologize," the president says, adding that if Romney wants credit for his business leadership, he also needs to take responsibility. "Stop the whining," the Obama team says. By Philip Elliott.
AP photos, interactive.
— OBAMA — President says Washington 'feels as broken as it did four years ago,' when he took office.
BATON ROUGE, La. — These days, Bobby Jindal's rough national debut seems long forgotten. The youthful governor is routinely receiving widespread praise in GOP circles across the nation. He's being cast as a policy wonk with strong conservative credentials who appeals to the Christian right and can claim a long list of accomplishments in Louisiana like leading the state through a series of disasters, including the Gulf Coast oil spill. By Melinda DeSlatte.
JERUSALEM — The Israeli government has quietly agreed to grant subsidies to build more than 500 new homes in the West Bank, backtracking from a promise to deny these incentives to the settlements, the AP has learned. The planned construction, at a time when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to shore up support among settlers, has enraged the Palestinians and could cloud this week's visit by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. By Amy Teibel.
BAMAKO, Mali — Al-Qaida-linked radical Islamists in northern Mali have enlisted new fighters from a tribal militia to strengthen their grip on the region, according to a witness and the group, amid growing international concern that the country could become a lawless launch pad for terrorist activities. By Baba Ahmed.
A SAINT FOR SOUTH AFRICA
NWELI, South Africa — In this poor corner of South Africa, Benedict Daswa was revered for his good deeds, honesty and compassion. The Catholic schoolteacher was also a fierce foe of the witchcraft widely practiced here, and his fate was sealed by a bolt of lightning and a lynch mob. When the lightning bolt struck the village and Daswa resisted the elders' call for hiring an exorcist, he was chased into a pub and beaten to death. Twenty-two years later, his memory is still so revered that he has been nominated as South Africa's first saint. The Vatican is studying the application. By Donna Bryson.
AP photos by Denis Farrell.
— JAPAN-FLOODS — Floods in southern Japan kill at least 25; hundreds of thousands evacuated. AP photos from Kyodo News.
— MONTANO MEMORIAL — Tears, laughter mark memorial celebration for AP intern whose body was found last month in an elevator shaft in Mexico City.
BILLINGS — Asbestos-plagued Libby, Mont. has reached a significant milestone in its decade-long cleanup as the federal government completes the makeover of a former vermiculite processing plant into a town park. Weddings, a summer concert and other events already are planned for a site where residents were once exposed to lethal levels of asbestos dust from a W.R. Grace vermiculite mine. But with an estimated 400 people dead, a cleanup price tag topping $447 million and the fate of at least 600 homes undetermined, federal health officials still have no end-date for their efforts and have not settled on a safe level of asbestos exposure. By Matthew Brown.
BUSINESS SCHOOLS-PUBLIC RELATIONS
HARTFORD, Conn. — Corporate fraud, the Gulf oil spill, shoddy products and even the recession and weak recovery have battered capitalism's reputation. In response, the Public Relations Society of America has launched a pilot project at five MBA programs to teach future executives how to handle crises and preserve corporate reputations. As the public relations industry grows, the group is also pushing for such courses to become part of the standard curriculum at business schools. By Stephen Singer.
NEW YORK — A year after the criminal case accusing Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexually assaulting a hotel maid started to crumble, it's getting renewed scrutiny in her lawsuit over the encounter. Legally, the ongoing lawsuit and the now-dismissed criminal charges are separate realms. But both sides have recently invoked the criminal case as they seek to strengthen their stances in the civil case. The housekeeper's lawyers are trying to get a swath of information about the criminal investigation, reflecting their contention that prosecutors rashly cut a legitimate case loose. Meanwhile, Strauss-Kahn's attorneys are underscoring that prosecutors decided Diallo couldn't be trusted, and he's countersuing her for launching what he calls baseless charges. By Jennifer Peltz.
SAN FRANCISCO — Scientists studying the carcass of a 47-foot fin whale that washed up on a beach in the Point Reyes National Seashore last month found the creature's spine and ribs severed, likely from the propeller of one of the huge cargo ships that sail those waters. There have been many victims of such accidents in recent years as the number of blue, fin and humpback whales has surged along the California coast, lured close to shore by plentiful krill, the shrimp-like organisms they eat. Now, after a two-year study spurred by the uptick in accidents, federal maritime officials have finalized a plan to protect whales in and around San Francisco Bay, The Associated Press has learned. It includes rerouting shipping traffic and establishing better ways to track whale locations. By Jason Dearen.
SANTA MONICA, Calif. — For decades the two-story-tall mass of chain link that sits blocks from the Pacific Ocean has evoked everything from awe-struck gasps of admiration to head-scratching moments of confusion. Shaped like a giant atomic mushroom cloud, "Unchained Mass" has been alternately described as a brilliant work of art and a rusting pile of junk. Whatever it is, one thing is certain: After years of erosion by the ocean's salt air, "Unchained Mass" is not in danger of exploding but of falling down. With repairs estimated to cost $300,000, city officials say the work by the late Paul Conrad, a Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist, is a work of art that Santa Monica can no longer afford. Critics, who say Conrad was a great cartoonist but not much of a sculptor, want it hauled off to the junkyard of history, while peace activists and art aficionados are rallying fiercely to raise money to save it. By John Rogers.
AP photos by Jae C. Hong.
WICHITA, Kan. — Walter Beech was one of America's greatest aviation pioneers, a former World War I flyer who later toured the country as a barnstorming exhibition pilot. That experience spawned aircraft design ideas, inspiration that came to fruition in 1932 when he and his wife founded Beech Aircraft Co. Today, the airplane maker that traces its roots to that iconic Kansas company is fighting for survival in bankruptcy court and betting its future on a sale to a Chinese industrialist. By Roxana Hegeman.
NEW YORK — Celeste Holm, a versatile, bright-eyed blonde who soared to Broadway fame in "Oklahoma!" and won an Oscar in "Gentleman's Agreement" but whose last years were filled with financial difficulty and estrangement from her sons, has died. She was 95. By Mark Kennedy.
— COMIC-CON-BREAKING BAD — 'Breaking Bad' fifth season debuts at Comic-Con premiere with stars Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul.
— COMIC-CON-HALO 4 — 'Halo 4' developers announce extra content for the sci-fi shooter at Comic-Con.
LONDON — Luggage. The very word sends airline passengers into apoplectic fits. How much more so for Olympic athletes, who are sending sailboats, horses, bikes, canoes, rowing sculls, vaulting poles and other bulky items to an island nation to pursue their lifelong dreams? Monday is crunch time for Olympic athletes arriving at London's Heathrow Airport. By Sheila Norman-Culp.
READY OR NOT?
LONDON — With the Olympics less than two weeks away, there's a mad dash to the finish line and it has nothing to do with sprinters. Hundreds of construction workers are toiling inside Olympic Park, laying cables, installing seats, applying the last layers of sparkle. In short, there's plenty to do. By Steve Wilson.
LONDON — Britain's stretched border service is letting terror suspects slip into the country, a newspaper reports, citing two Border Agency officials as saying several suspects had been waved through controls at Heathrow Airport since the beginning of the month. By Raphael Satter.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Najwan El Zawawi didn't have the Olympics in mind when she arrived to set up a weightlifting program in the United Arab Emirates four years ago. Her goal was just to enlist a few recruits, no small task considering no Gulf nation had established a women's team. By Michael Casey.
— IOC-KUWAIT — Kuwait athletes may compete under own flag at Olympics.
— BOX OFFICE — While Batman awaits, 'Ice Age: Continental Drift' tops box office with $46 million opening.
— FRANCE-MADONNA-FAR RIGHT — French far-right party to sue Madonna for video showing its leader with swastika.
— BRITAIN-SPRINGSTEEN SILENCED — Rock stars Springsteen, McCartney silenced after defying curfew at London's Hyde Park.
— SPACE STATION — Russian Soyuz rocket starts mission to space station with 3-person international crew onboard.
— EMIRATES PIPELINE — Russian Soyuz rocket starts mission to space station with 3-person international crew onboard.
— WEED DATING — Speed dating on the farm: 'Weed dating' allows singles to meet while getting their hands dirty.
— KNICKS-KIDD ARRESTED — NY Knicks' Jason Kidd arrested on drunken-driving charge; police say he crashed into pole.