What to know now:
1. Quake toll rises: The death toll in from Wednesday's earthquake in Amatrice, Italy, has climbed to 247. The 6.2 quake took out entire blocks of buildings in the town, trapping hundreds. The search for survivors continued Thursday morning.
2. University attack: Twelve people were killed Wednesday in an attack on the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack on the school that was established in 2006. The school is modeled after the U.S. college system. The school has an enrollment of around 1,700.
3. Hospitals not charging: Officials at two Orlando-area hospitals where victims of the Pulse nightclub terror attack were treated say they will not charge survivors for any out-of-pocket expenses for their care. "The Pulse shooting was a horrendous tragedy for the victims, their families and our entire community," Orlando Health President and CEO David Strong said in a statement. "During this very trying time, many organizations, individuals and charities have reached out to Orlando Health to show their support. This is simply our way of paying that kindness forward."
4. Solo suspension: Hope Solo, the U.S. women's soccer goalkeeper, is facing a six-month suspension for remarks she made after her team lost in the Olympics. After the Americans lost their quarterfinal match to Sweden, Solo let go a rant in which she called the Swedes a "bunch of cowards" because they focused on defense in their game plan. Sweden beat the U.S. 4-3 on penalty kicks. Solo's comments were "unacceptable and do not meet the standard of conduct we require from our National Team players.," U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati said of the suspension.
5. National Park birthday: Today the United States National Park Service is celebrating its 100th birthday. A 1916 law that protects the parks was passed to oversee "the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations."
And one more
The American Girl doll company has released its newest "BeForever" doll. The doll, named Melody Ellison, is a 9-year-old Detroit girl who wants to be a singer. The company also released three books about Melody, whose character lives during the civil rights struggles of the 1960s.
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Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com