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Associated Press
Erica Cross stands on a friend's porch surrounded by floodwater Tuesday, April 26, 2011, in Poplar Bluff, Mo. Powerful storms that swept through the nation's midsection have pushed river levels to dangerous heights and are threatening to flood several towns in Missouri. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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A powerful storm system that spawned a deadly tornado in Arkansas caused rivers to swell Tuesday across the Midwest, straining levees that protect thousands of homes and forcing panicked residents of one town to flee for higher ground. Six inches of rain fell Monday alone in the southeastern Missouri community of Poplar Bluff, bringing the four-day total to 15 inches. The deluge caused the Black River to pour over a levee in 30 places and to break through in one spot, and about 1,000 homes were evacuated.

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — Moammar Gadhafi has suffered military setbacks in recent days in western Libya, a sign that his grip may be slipping in the very region he needs to cling to power. His loyalists were driven out of the center of the city of Misrata, a key rebel stronghold in Gadhafi-controlled territory. A NATO airstrike turned parts of his Tripoli headquarters into smoldering rubble. And rebel fighters seized a border crossing, breaking open a supply line to besieged rebel towns in a remote western mountain area.

WASHINGTON (AP) — For the first time, American women have passed men in gaining advanced college degrees as well as bachelor's degrees, part of a trend that is helping redefine who goes off to work and who stays home with the kids. Census figures released Tuesday highlight the latest education milestone for women, who began to exceed men in college enrollment in the early 1980s. The findings come amid record shares of women in the workplace and a steady decline in stay-at-home mothers.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — The astronaut husband of wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords arrived at NASA's launch site Tuesday for this week's flight of space shuttle Endeavour, and said his wife would be following him "pretty soon" — in plenty of time for liftoff. Endeavour is set to blast off Friday afternoon on its final voyage. It will be the next-to-last space shuttle mission.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The American economy is now strong enough to withstand Middle East turmoil and the Japanese nuclear crisis. Only a big rise in the price of oil could stop it now. Those are the findings of an Associated Press survey of leading economists, who are increasingly confident in a recovery that is nearly two years old. They expect the economy to grow faster every quarter this year.

BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) — Not too long ago, Lonny Fried's achievement would have dropped jaws. TV and newspaper reporters would have showed up at her door. She would have been fussed over and given a big party. But turning 100 isn't such a big deal anymore.

NEW YORK (AP) — Katie Couric confirmed that she is indeed leaving the ratings-basement "CBS Evening News," less than five years after she became the first woman to lead a network TV evening newscast by herself. Couric, 54, told People magazine for a story published on its website Tuesday that she hasn't decided what she's doing next, but that she is "looking at a format that will allow me to engage in more multi-dimensional storytelling."

NEW YORK (AP) — Aflac is betting a sales manager from Minnesota has the voice to drive the name "Aflac" into the recesses of your brain and keep it there. Daniel McKeague, 36, a father of three from Hugo, Minn., beat out 12,500 other contestants to replace actor Gilbert Gottfried and become the new voice of the reinsurance company's duck mascot.

NEW YORK (AP) — It wasn't long after the release of "Poetry Man," the breezy, jazzy love song that would make Phoebe Snow a star, that the singer experienced another event that would dramatically alter her life. In 1975, she gave birth to a daughter, Valerie Rose, who was found to be severely brain-damaged. Her husband split from her soon after the baby was born. And, at a time when many disabled children were sent to institutions, Snow decided to keep her daughter at home and care for the child herself.

Many Division I schools are distorting the number of students participating in sports so they can comply with Title IX, The New York Times reported Tuesday. Among the tactics is to pad rosters of women's teams with unqualified players or even men. The newspaper found schools counted athletes who no longer wanted to compete or never played for that team, listing male practice players as women and trimming the rosters of men's teams.

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