Get a roundup of the day's top news in the nation and world.
Haunting image of Syrian boy rescued from Aleppo rubble
BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian opposition activists have released haunting footage showing a young boy rescued from the rubble in the aftermath of a devastating airstrike in Aleppo.
The image of the stunned and weary looking boy, sitting in an orange chair inside an ambulance covered in dust and with blood on his face, encapsulates the horrors inflicted on the war-ravaged northern city and is being widely shared on social media.
A doctor in Aleppo on Thursday identified the boy as 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh. Osama Abu al-Ezz confirmed he was brought to the hospital known as "M10" Wednesday night following an airstrike on the rebel-held neighborhood of Qaterji with head wounds, but no brain injury, and was later discharged.
Rescue workers and journalists arrived at Qaterji shortly after the strike and began pulling victims from the rubble.
"We were passing them from one balcony to the other," said photojournalist Mahmoud Raslan, who took the iconic photo. He said he had passed along three lifeless bodies before receiving the wounded boy.
Weary GOP hopeful Trump staff shake-up triggers new momentum
WASHINGTON (AP) — Weary Republican leaders are accepting Donald Trump's latest staff shake-up, hopeful that a new leadership team can reverse the New York businessman's struggles even as some worry it's too little too late.
The Republican National Committee has already conceded it may divert resources away from the presidential contest favor of vulnerable Senate and House candidates if Trump's standing does not improve in the coming weeks. RNC chief strategist Sean Spicer called Trump's staffing changes the "healthy growth of the campaign at a senior level at a key point."
Spicer also urged caution as Trump's new team contemplates whether the fiery populism and freewheeling style that won him the Republican nomination will give him a better shot at the White House than uniting his party and rallying moderate voters.
"I think people want him to be authentic," Spicer said. "They appreciate he's not a scripted politician, but there's a recognition that words do matter."
Trump on Wednesday announced a staff overhaul at his campaign's highest levels, the second shake-up in the past two months. The Republican nominee tapped Stephen Bannon — a combative conservative media executive with no presidential campaign experience — to serve as CEO of his White House bid.
WHY IT MATTERS: Income inequality
WASHINGTON (AP) — THE ISSUE: The rich keep getting richer while more Americans are getting left behind financially.
Income inequality has surged near levels last seen before the Great Depression. The average income for the top 1 percent of households climbed 7.7 percent last year to $1.36 million, according to tax data tracked by Emmanuel Saez, an economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley. That privileged sliver of the population saw pay climb at almost twice the rate of income growth for the other 99 percent, whose pay averaged a humble $48,768.
But why care how much the wealthy are making? What counts the most to any family is how much that family is bringing in. And that goes to the heart of the income-inequality debate: Most Americans still have yet to recover from the Great Recession, even though that downturn ended seven years ago. The average income for the 99 percent is still lower than it was back in 1998 after adjusting for inflation.
Meanwhile, incomes for the executives, bankers, hedge fund managers, entertainers and doctors who make up the top 1 percent have steadily improved. These one-percenters account for roughly 22 percent of all personal income, more than double the post-World War II era level of roughly 10 percent. One reason the income disparity is troubling for the nation is that it's thinning out the ranks of the middle class.
California wildfire brings destruction and uncertainty
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP) — A ferocious wildfire had swallowed up many homes as it spread across 40 square miles of mountain and desert east of Los Angeles. Exactly how many, however, and to whom they belonged, remained uncertain.
Firefighters were faced with the difficult task of tallying that damage while still battling the huge, unruly blaze.
That left evacuees in a cruel limbo, forced to spend another night wondering whether anything they owned was still intact.
They included Shawn Brady, who had been told by a neighbor that flames had raged down their street. But he was waiting for official word.
"What I've been told is that flames are currently ripping through my house," said Brady, a dockworker who lives on the outskirts of the evacuated town of Wrightwood with his mother, sister and a dog.
2 Lochte teammates in robbery probe pulled off plane
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Two American Olympic swimmers were taken off their flight from Brazil to the U.S. by local authorities amid an investigation into a reported robbery targeting 12-time medalist Ryan Lochte and his teammates.
A lawyer for the two athletes said Thursday they will not be allowed to leave Brazil until they provide testimony to investigators, who are still searching answers about how the swimmers were robbed Sunday morning.
Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz left the Rio de Janeiro airport early Thursday after being taken off the plane Wednesday. They departed for an unspecified location in Brazil and had yet to testify, said attorney Sergio Viegas. The swimmers did not speak to reporters as they left the airport and were shuttled away in a black car waiting outside.
The action comes amid increasing tension between Brazilian authorities and the American swimmers over the ever-changing account of the robbery. Police say they have found little evidence so far to support their claims, and that the swimmers were unable to provide key details in interviews.
Lochte has said he was with Conger, Bentz and Jimmy Feigen when they were robbed at gunpoint in a taxi by men with a police badge as they returned to the athletes village from a party, several hours after the final Olympic swimming events were held.
Diplomat's defection poses major PR problem for Pyongyang
TOKYO (AP) — The defection of a North Korean senior diplomat in London poses a major problem for Pyongyang on a number of fronts — not least of which is how to publicly respond.
As of Thursday, Pyongyang hadn't made a public statement about the defection. But when — or if — it does, its response will likely be ferocious and accusatory.
Seoul's Unification Ministry announced Wednesday that Thae Yong Ho, minister at the North Korean Embassy in London, has arrived in South Korea with his family and is under the protection of the South Korean government. Thae was the second-highest official in North Korea's embassy and is the most senior North Korean diplomat to defect to the South.
Seoul, which doesn't always divulge defections, was quick to seize on this one as evidence of growing dissent within the North's ruling elite.
Its Unification Ministry claimed Thae defected because of his disgust with the Kim Jong Un regime and worries about the future of his children. A spokesman for the ministry further said that the defection is a sign of weakening unity within the North's ruling class.
2 car bombs in eastern Turkey kill 6, wound close to 220
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Two car bombings targeted police stations in Turkey, killing at least six people and wounding at least 219 others, officials said Thursday.
A car bombing attack on a police station in the eastern province of Van late Wednesday killed a police officer and two civilians. At least 73 other people — 53 civilians and 20 police officers — were wounded, officials said.
Authorities blamed that attack on the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, which has launched a campaign of car bombings targeting police stations or roadside bomb attacks on police vehicles. Last week, PKK commander Cemil Bayik threatened increased attacks against police in Turkish cities.
Hours later, another car bombing hit police headquarters in the eastern Turkish city of Elazig early Thursday, killing at least three police office officers and wounding 146 other people, Gov. Murat Zorluoglu said. At least 14 of them were in serious condition.
Mahmut Varol, the deputy mayor for Elazig, told Haber Turk television that the explosion occurred on the grounds of the police headquarters and caused cars parked nearby to catch fire.
Louisiana flooding victims now struggling with where to live
DENHAM SPRINGS, La. (AP) — Keisha Taylor, a 37-year-old mother of four, has spent three nights in two different shelters since her family fled the flooding at their Baton Rouge apartment complex. And she doesn't know how many more nights they will be sleeping on cots inside the downtown arena where hundreds sought shelter.
Taylor probably could stay with relatives in White Castle, a town about 30 miles west of Louisiana's capital city, but three of her kids are enrolled in Baton Rouge schools that could reopen next week.
"This is where I live. I need to be home," she said.
Taylor is one of thousands of people across southern Louisiana displaced by catastrophic flooding and now struggling with where to live.
With an estimated 40,000 homes damaged by deadly flooding, Louisiana could be looking at its biggest housing crunch since the miserable, bumbling aftermath of Hurricane Katrina a decade ago.
Lava from Hawaii volcano cascades into sea in vivid display
VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK, Hawaii (AP) — For the first time in three years, lava from a volcano on Hawaii's Big Island has crept down miles of mountainside and is dripping into the Pacific Ocean — where it's creating new land and a stunning show for visitors.
Thousands of people from around the world have swarmed Volcanoes National Park by land, sea and air to view the lava. They're also hearing and smelling it.
The billowy, bright-orange lava crackles and hisses, and reeks of sulfur and scorched earth, as it oozes across the rugged landscape and eventually off steep, seaside cliffs. When the hot rocks hit the water, they expel plumes of steam and gas — and sometimes explode, sending chunks of searing debris flying through the air.
The 2,000-degree molten rock is from Kilauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes. Its Puu Oo vent began erupting in the 1980s and periodically pushes enough lava seaward that people can access it.
Reaching the flow requires a boat, a helicopter or strong legs — the hike to the entry point, where the lava meets the sea, is 10 miles roundtrip on a gravel road surrounded by miles of treacherous, hard lava rock.