The world at 3 a.m. Times EDT.
At the Nerve Center, news producers Amir Bibawy and Vincent K. Willis can be reached at 800-845-8450 (ext. 1600). For photos, Mike Musielski (ext. 1900). For graphics and interactives, Dien Magno, ext. 7636. Expanded AP Content can be obtained from http://www.apexchange.com . For access to AP Exchange and other technical issues, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 877-836-9477.
— EMMY NOMINATIONS — Nominations announced at 8:40 a.m.
— DELL'S FUTURE — Shareholders meeting starts at 9 a.m.
— WHITEY BULGER — Trial resumes at 9 a.m.
— NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND — House convenes at 10 a.m.; time of debate uncertain.
— FILIBUSTER FIGHT, STUDENT LOANS — Senate convenes at 10 a.m.; time of votes uncertain.
— OBAMA-HEALTH CARE — President speaks on health care law at 11:25 a.m.
— UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS: The Labor Department reports on the number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits last week, 8:30 a.m.
— BERNANKE — Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke testifies on the economy to the Senate Banking Committee. Hearing starts at 10 a.m.
— MORTGAGE RATES: Freddie Mac reports on mortgage rates for this week, 10 a.m.
WASHINGTON — More than a decade after he helped pass unprecedented racial profiling legislation in Illinois, President Barack Obama efforts as a young state lawmaker offer some of the clearest clues as to how America's first black president feels about an issue that's polarizing a nation roiled by the shooting death of black teenager Trayvon Martin. By Josh Lederman.
WASHINGTON — Senators are ready to offer students a better deal on their loans this fall, but future classes could see higher interest rates. The Senate could vote as early as Thursday on a deal that restores lower interest rates, including 3.85 percent for undergraduates. The rates would climb as the economy improves and it becomes more expensive for the government to borrow money. By Philip Elliott.
JOHANNESBURG — With giant portraits and colorful posters, artists and graphic designers celebrate Nelson Mandela's 95th birthday. John Adams and Paul Blomkamp created two of the largest paintings of the anti-apartheid leader, and the artists say their size reflects the scale of his contributions and his exceptional energy. By Wandoo Makurdi.
— SOUTH AFRICA-MANDELA — South Africans and people around the world mark Nelson Mandela's 95th birthday by doing community service. AP photos, AP video.
— AP PHOTO — ABC102 — A visitor observes posters at the opening of an international art exhibition of 95 posters from around the world celebrating Mandela's 95th birthday.
NEW YORK — Much of the nation will continue to swelter for days as the largest heat wave of the summer buckled highways and caused street vendors to turn off their grills. Cooler temperatures were creeping in Thursday but the dangerously high temperatures were to continue in the Northeast and Midwest until the weekend. By David B. Caruso.
AP photos, AP video.
— HEAT WAVE-PHOTO GALLERY.
ROUND ROCK, Texas — Dell shareholders are voting Thursday on founder Michael Dell's $24.4 billion plan to take the slumping computer maker private in hopes of engineering a turnaround away from Wall Street's glare. In a sign that the vote could be close, a board committee sent a letter to shareholders opposing a rival plan from activist investor Carl Icahn. The company's decision to go private is a reflection of the tough times facing the personal computer industry as people spend their money instead on smartphones and tablets. By David Koenig.
LOS ANGELES — Groundbreaking Internet series and movie actors could be the headliners in the Emmy Awards contest. Two Netflix shows, "House of Cards" and "Arrested Development," may become the first online programs to compete for major series and acting bids. And a number of big-screen stars are expected to claim Emmy nominations Thursday morning, including Michael Douglas and Matt Damon for the Liberace biopic "Behind the Candelabra." By Television Writer Lynn Elber.
AP photos, AP video, interactive.
WASHINGTON AND POLITICS
VOTING RIGHTS-POLITICAL PARTNERS
WASHINGTON — Though political and temperamental opposites, Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner and Democratic Rep. John Lewis have paired up for decades on one of the nation's most painful issues— racial politics — and won overwhelming bipartisan passage when they have sought to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act. The odds of successfully persuading their colleagues to rewrite the law once again aren't clear. By Laurie Kellman.
WASHINGTON — Politicians and economists are straining to get a clearer view of what the economy will look like a year from now, when midterm political campaigns are heating up. Republicans see the glass as half empty; Democrats view it as half full. And the economists aren't sure. By Tom Raum.
SAN FRANCISCO-AIRLINER CRASH-PILOTS
WASHINGTON — Airline pilots spend nearly all their time monitoring automated cockpit systems rather than "hand-flying" planes, but their brains aren't wired to continually pay close attention to instruments that rarely fail or show discrepancies, industry and government experts say. As a result, pilots may see but not register signs of trouble, a problem that is showing up repeatedly in accidents and may have been a factor in the recent crash landing of a South Korean airliner in San Francisco. By Joan Lowy.
KIROV, Russia — A Russian judge found opposition leader Alexei Navalny guilty of theft, a ruling that could send the charismatic anti-corruption blogger and Moscow mayoral candidate to prison for up to six years. By Nataliya Vasilyeva.
TOKYO — A widely-anticipated win for Japan's ruling coalition in upper house elections Sunday would be sweet redemption for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who lost the upper house in 2007 during an earlier stint as prime minister, and make it easier for him to push his economic revival plan. But a decisive victory could also embolden him on another front: the nationalistic agenda he had to abandon his first time in office. By Malcolm Foster and Mari Yamaguchi.
TUSCOLA, Ill. — Fertilizer plants are being proposed across the nation, driven by booming demand for corn and newly abundant supplies of natural gas, a major component in fertilizer production. The plants promise jobs and many of them would go in small, rural towns where economic development isn't easy. Though the wave of potential expansion comes with concerns especially after the deadly plant explosion in West, Texas, in April, local officials say they're prepared to handle those risks. By David Mercer and Ramit Plushnick-Masti.
SAN FRANCISCO — The University of California's governing board is scheduled to vote on the selection of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano as the system's first female president, but the choice is being criticized by students upset about federal immigration policy and professors concerned about her lack of experience in academia. By Paul Elias.
BOSTON — James "Whitey" Bulger and Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi were partners in crime, gangsters who together led a criminal organization that ruled Boston's underworld for more than two decades. On Thursday, they will come face to face in a Boston courtroom. By Denise Lavoie.
NEW YORK — WIth his half-shaved head, jeans and tattoos, Pastor Carl Lentz doesn't look like the typical religious leader. But with its concert-like atmosphere and appeal to a younger demgraphic, his congregation, Hillsong NYC, is one of the fastest-growing evangelical churches in the city. By Bonnie Ghosh.
AP photos, AP video.
FILM-WHEN TO RELEASE
NEW YORK — Scheduling the release of a summer movie isn't exactly a science. It clearly isn't an art, either. It's more akin to a contact sport: Seize the advantageous position, sustain as little damage as possible, and score. All of which makes this weekend's opening of both "Red 2" and "R.I.P.D" a little like sacking your own quarterback. Both films are action-thrillers. Both are about over-age law enforcers (in "R.I.P.D." some are so old they're dead). And both make a virtue of their, shall we say, mature stars. By John Anderson.
ALSO GETTING ATTENTION
— COMIC-CON-PREVIEW NIGHT — Costumed fans line up in San Diego to be among first to get into Comic-Con on preview night. AP photos.
— ROLLING STONE-BOSTON MARATHON BOMBING — Boston Marathon bombing suspect's Rolling Stone cover prompts anger, questions over photo.
— OBAMA-HEALTH CARE: Eager to counter Republicans intent on repealing his health care law, President Barack Obama will argue in a speech that it's working for millions.
— NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH-JURORS Sequestered jurors went bowling, had pedicures on $33,000 taxpayer bill
— CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES — Authorities issued evacuation orders Wednesday evening for hundreds of homes as a wildfire approaches in the mountains southwest of Palm Springs.
— MISSING CHILD — Louisiana police: Suspect in stabbing of 6-year-old girl left in trash confesses
— NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND: The House is ready to make the final tweaks to its Republican-led rewrite of the sweeping No Child Left Behind education law that governs every school in the country with federal funding.