In the last turn of a tumultuous primary season, former New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly Ayotte narrowly won her state's Republican Senate primary, to the relief of party officials in Washington who were struggling to adjust to the demise of their preferred candidate in another big race in Delaware. Seven weeks before Election Day, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday that "turnout and enthusiasm are off the charts" across the nation and would benefit a resurgent GOP on Nov. 2.
JERUSALEM (AP) — Underscoring Mideast perils, Palestinian militants and Israeli forces attacked each other with mortar shells and fighter strikes Wednesday, even as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton sat down with the two sides' leaders in an effort to forge a peace deal in delicate face-to-face talks. Clinton said the agreement was "both necessary and possible" to heal generations of division in the region. But shortly before she began the talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, militants launched mortar shells into Israel and Israeli jets bombed targets in Gaza.
SAN BRUNO, Calif. (AP) — Federal investigators are examining whether Pacific Gas & Electric workers followed proper emergency procedures after a gas transmission line exploded into an inferno that killed at least four people and destroyed nearly 40 homes in a San Francisco suburb. National Transportation Safety Board vice chairman Christopher Hart said that constructing a timeline of how PG&E crews reacted would be important to determining why it took the utility nearly two hours to turn off the gas that fueled last week's devastating blaze.
CAIRO (AP) — Al-Qaida's No. 2 leader on Wednesday made a thinly veiled call on Pakistanis to rise up against their government over what he said was the "failure" of authorities there to provide relief to flood victims. In a video posted on militant websites, Ayman al-Zawahri also accused the Islamabad government of corruption, saying Pakistani officials were only interested in lining their pockets and not concerned about the fate of the country or its people.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The California attorney general's office sued eight former and current Bell city officials on Wednesday, accusing them of fraud, conspiracy and wasting taxpayers money by approving huge salary increases for themselves. The suit demands city officials, including former City Manager Robert Rizzo and three current council members, return hundreds of thousands of dollars from the bloated salaries.
CHILTON, Wis. (AP) — A prominent Wisconsin district attorney sent repeated text messages trying to spark an affair with a domestic abuse victim while he was prosecuting her ex-boyfriend, a police report shows. The 26-year-old woman complained last year to police after receiving 30 texts from Calumet County District Attorney Kenneth Kratz in three days, according to the report obtained by The Associated Press.
KENNER, La. (AP) — The U.S. government's point man on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill said Wednesday that BP's blown-out well is expected to be permanently sealed and declared dead by Sunday, nearly five months after a rig explosion set off the disaster. National Incident Commander Thad Allen told reporters gathered at a seafood distributor in Kenner, La., that a relief well is expected to intersect with the blown-out well within 24 hours. He said mud and cement will then be pumped in, which is expected to seal the blown-out well within four days.
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Authorities in 13 states thought they were acting to curb a public health threat when they outlawed a form of synthetic marijuana known as K2, a concoction of dried herbs sprayed with chemicals. But before the laws took effect, many stores that did a brisk business in fake pot had already gotten around the bans by making slight changes to K2's chemical formula, creating knockoffs with names such as "K3," ''Heaven Scent" and "Syn."
OREGON CITY, Ore. (AP) — It was an unusual call for Oregon firefighters: A 1,500-pound camel, named Moses, needed to be rescued. The call came in Tuesday night in Clackamas County after the Oregon City owners of the camel called firefighters to say that Moses had fallen into a sinkhole 6 to 8 feet deep and was possibly injured. The owners — who have several camels and run a children's ministry — had tried to get the camel out themselves but failed. Firefighters had to carefully shovel mud for several hours to free the animal. The rescuers were concerned Moses would break his legs if he'd try to free himself while still partially buried.
LONDON (AP) — A woman from a village in southwestern England says that a severe migraine attack left her speaking with what sounds like a French accent - a striking example of a rare syndrome that neuroscientists say can leave lifelong locals sounding like they come from thousands of miles away. Kay Russell appeared on the BBC earlier this week, speaking in a hesitant, husky voice, drawing out her vowels with an accent which sounded roughly French, or occasionally Eastern European. The broadcaster also showed a video of Russell before the change, in which she speaks to the camera in chirpy southern English accent.