AP Top News at 4:03 p.m. EDT

Top general in Afghanistan: US strike on hospital a mistake
WASHINGTON (AP) - The deadly American attack on a hospital in northern Afghanistan occurred despite "rigorous" U.S. military procedures designed to avoid such mistakes, the top commander of U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan said Tuesday. Gen. John F. Campbell also told a Senate committee that he thinks President Barack Obama should revise the current plan to reduce the U.S. force in Afghanistan at the end of 2016. The plan calls for cutting the force from 9,800 to about 1,000 embassy-based security. Campbell said he had provided his superiors with several options because conditions in Afghanistan have changed significantly since Obama approved that troop-cut plan in 2014.

South Carolina sees sun, but flooding ordeal far from over
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The Carolinas saw sunshine Tuesday after days of inundation, but it could take weeks to recover from being pummeled by a historic rainstorm that caused widespread flooding and 17 deaths. Tuesday was the first completely dry day in Columbia since Sept. 24, but officials warned that new evacuations could be ordered as the huge mass of water flows toward the sea, threatening dams and displacing residents along the way. "God smiled on South Carolina because the sun is out. That is a good sign, but ... we still have to be cautious," Gov. Nikki Haley said Tuesday after taking an aerial tour.

Search for answers begins in sinking of US cargo ship
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - On board the 790-foot El Faro when it set out on its doomed voyage into the path of Hurricane Joaquin were five Polish workers whose job was to prepare the engine room for a retrofitting. Could that work have caused the loss of power that led to the U.S. container ship's sinking? The vessel's owners say they don't believe so, but the question - along with the captain's decision to plot a course near the storm - will almost certainly be part of an investigation launched Tuesday by the National Transportation Safety Board into the disaster near the Bahamas that may have claimed 33 lives.

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Approaching debate, Clinton and Sanders showing differences
WASHINGTON (AP) - Hillary Rodham Clinton is beginning to draw contrasts with her chief Democratic rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, as they approach their first presidential primary debate next week. Following the mass shooting in Oregon, Clinton quickly laid out her plan to address gun violence, an issue where Sanders has been at odds with some Democrats and fellow liberals. In New Hampshire, Clinton points out distinctions in their respective college affordability plans. And before Democratic audiences, she speaks of her deep ties to the White House and party - a contrast, though she doesn't mention it, with Sanders. He's the longest-serving independent in Congress, and one who considers himself a democratic socialist.

After weeks of unrest, Palestinian leader appeals for calm
JERUSALEM (AP) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called Tuesday for calm after several weeks of heightened unrest with Israel, saying his people had no interest in any further "escalation" and urging renewed dialogue. The comments marked the Palestinian leader's strongest attempt yet to restore calm after the worst outbreak of fighting in months, and came as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to take even tougher measures to quell the violence. The clashes erupted three weeks ago at the start of the Jewish new year and have turned more violent in recent days. Four Israelis were killed last week in shooting and stabbing attacks in Jerusalem and the West Bank, while Israeli forces have killed four Palestinians, including a 13-year-old boy, amid violent protests.

VW, with limited DC lobbying footprint, braces for Congress
WASHINGTON (AP) - When Volkswagen's top American executive heads to Capitol Hill this week, he probably won't be able to count on longtime allies among the lawmakers investigating the company's emissions cheating scandal. The world's No. 1 automaker has a modest political footprint in Washington, and that will put Volkswagen Group of America President and CEO Michael Horn at a disadvantage Thursday when he appears before the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. It will be Horn's first time testifying before Congress. The panel's chairman, Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., said lawmakers will investigate Volkswagen's admission that it installed "defeat-devices" in some diesel vehicles that emitted far more exhaust pollution than was legal.

European data sharing pact with US ruled invalid
LUXEMBOURG (AP) - Facebook and thousands of other companies could find it vastly more complicated to do business in Europe after a court ruled that personal data sent to U.S. servers is potentially unsafe from government spying. Some 4,500 companies have long been able to store users' personal data - everything from status updates and photos to personal information like bank details and home addresses - where they see fit, often in the U.S. That could change after Europe's top court on Tuesday declared invalid a 15-year-old pact allowing the unfettered transfer of personal data outside the European Union's 28 countries.

US government deports fewest immigrants in nearly a decade
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Obama administration deported fewer immigrants over the past 12 months than at any time since 2006, according to internal figures obtained by The Associated Press as Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton called Obama's deportation policies too harsh. Deportations of criminal immigrants have fallen to the lowest levels since President Barack Obama took office in 2009, despite his pledge to focus on finding and deporting criminals living in the country illegally. The share of criminal immigrants deported in relation to overall immigrants deported rose slightly, from 56 percent to 59 percent. The overall total of 231,000 deportations generally does not include Mexicans who were caught at the border and quickly returned home by the U.S.

New auto safety technologies leave some drivers bewildered
WASHINGTON (AP) - Many Americans buying new cars these days are baffled by a torrent of new safety technology. Some features will automatically turn a car back into its lane if it begins to drift, or hit the brakes if sensors detect that it's about to rear-end someone else. There are lane-change and blind-spot monitors, drowsiness alerts and cars that can park themselves. Technologies once limited to high-end models like adaptive cruise control, tire-pressure indicators and rear-view cameras have become more common. The features hold tremendous potential to reduce deaths and injuries by eliminating collisions or mitigating their severity, safety advocates say.

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