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U.S. mother pleads to Islamic State leader for her son's release

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BOSTON - The mother of an American journalist held captive by militant group Islamic State released a video on Wednesday appealing directly to the group's leader for his release.

Police presence drawing down in Ferguson, Missouri

ST. LOUIS - Authorities on Wednesday disbanded what had been a command center in Ferguson, Missouri, for law enforcement responding to sometimes violent protests over the killing of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer.

World, 4:35pm EDT

Gay marriage advocates ask top U.S. court to strike down state bans

WASHINGTON - In a bold legal move, gay marriage advocates are urging the U.S. Supreme Court in three pending cases to decide once and for all whether states can ban same-sex unions.

Subjects, Gay Marriage 3:31pm EDT

Survivor, two bodies found after Philadelphia robbery, abduction

PHILADELPHIA - A man suffering stab wounds who said he was thrown into Philadelphia's Schuylkill River early on Wednesday after a robbery and kidnapping was found by police, who also recovered two bound and submerged bodies.

4:21pm EDT

Texas man acquitted of shooting driver who hit, killed sons

ANGLETON Texas - A Texas jury on Wednesday found a father not guilty of shooting dead a suspected drunk driver who hit and killed his two sons while they pushed a truck down a country road late at night.

4:51pm EDT

Tennessee lawyer Barrett dies, a civil rights champion

NASHVILLE Tenn. - George Barrett, a lawyer who waged a nearly four-decade battle for desegregation of Tennessee's colleges and universities and represented student civil rights activists, has died at 86, a law firm partner said on Wednesday.

3:55pm EDT

Dupont fined $1.275 million in West Virginia toxic pollution case

- DuPont will pay a fine of $1.275 million and spend an estimated $2.3 million more to settle claims by U.S. officials that the global chemical conglomerate failed to prevent toxic releases of hazardous substances in West Virginia that killed at least one man, environmental regulators said on Wednesday.

Environment, 4:30pm EDT

Iraqi victims tried to flee Blackwater, U.S. says as case goes to jury

WASHINGTON - Four former security guards for Blackwater Worldwide "took something that didn't belong to them, the lives of 14 human beings," in September 2007 when they fired on civilians in a Baghdad traffic circle, a U.S. prosecutor told jurors on Wednesday.

World, 2:24pm EDT

American released by Syrian militants thanks Qatar, U.S. officials

CAMBRIDGE Mass. - A U.S. writer freed this week after being held captive for two years by Syrian insurgents on Wednesday thanked those who had worked for his release and said he was emotionally overwhelmed by his welcome home.

World, Syria, 1:32pm EDT

Mexican family files suit accusing U.S. agents in border death

- Relatives of a Mexican man they said was shot dead by U.S. agents on the Mexican side of the border in 2012 filed a lawsuit on Wednesday seeking $40 million damages from the United States for what the family claims was an excessive and illegal use of force.

4:09pm EDT

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