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Quake rocks central Italy...Battle for Syrian border town...North Korea missile launch

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ROME (AP) — An early-morning earthquake that has shaken central Italy has caused damage and blackouts. The hardest-hit towns reported are Amatrice, Accumoli and Norcia. The mayor of Amatrice says residents are buried under the debris of collapsed buildings and that "the town isn't here anymore." A family of four is believed to be trapped in one structure. The mayor has made a plea for heavy equipment to clear rubble from streets and to rescue the injured.

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — An offensive against Islamic State extremists in a Syrian border town has been launched by Turkish forces backed by U.S.- coalition air strikes. A state-run news agency -- Anadolu -- says Turkish artillery is being used on targets in the town of Jarablus. It's not clear if any Turkish or Turkish-backed Syrian opposition forces have crossed the border.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (shin-zoh ah-bay) says North Korea's latest ballistic missile firing is "impermissible and outrageous" and threatens the stability of the region. South Korean defense officials say a missile fired from a submarine amounts to an "armed protest" by the North against the start of annual South Korean-U.S. military drills that North Korea calls an invasion rehearsal. The missile reached Japan's air defense identification zone in the Sea of Japan.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) —After months of saying that he would deport the 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally, Donald Trump is now suggesting that he's open to "softening" his position. That's what he said at a town hall taping in Austin, Texas, with Fox News. Trump says he's not looking to hurt people and that he wants to have "some great people in the country.

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — A Tulsa, Oklahoma, man has been charged with first-degree murder and committing a hate crime in the killing of his Lebanese neighbor. Prosecutors say the killing was a culmination of Stanley Majors' violent feud with the family that spanned several years and included a regular barrage of racial insults and personal confrontations. A local coalition of advocacy, civil rights, community and faith-based groups says hate crimes targeting Arabs, Muslims and those perceived to be either have skyrocketed in the last year.

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