Update on the latest news, sports, business and entertainment

OBAMA-AFGHANISTAN-TALIBAN

White House says former Taliban leader Mullah Omar is dead

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says U.S. intelligence agencies have determined that former Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar is dead, and says his demise "represents a chance for yet more progress on the path to a stable, secure Afghanistan."

Taliban officials on Thursday confirmed that Mullah Omar died more than two years ago and appointed his successor, Mullah Akhtar Mansoor. But Mullah Omar's son has rejected the choice, suggesting division within the Afghan Taliban.

Afghanistan's government hopes a fractured Taliban movement will be easier to divide and conquer. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has made peace talks with the Taliban a priority.

The White House on Friday urged the Taliban "to heed President Ghani's call for reconciliation and make genuine peace with the Afghan government."

DEM 2016-CLINTON-CUBA

Clinton urges end to Cuba embargo

MIAMI (AP) — On the issue of Cuba, Hillary Rodham Clinton is drawing a sharp distinction with two Republican rivals from Florida.

Speaking in Miami, Clinton called on Congress to end the trade embargo that the U.S. has imposed on Cuba since 1962. She accused Republican presidential candidates of approaching Cuba and Latin America as if the Cold War hadn't ended.

She didn't mention names, but Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush have been among the most vocal critics of President Barack Obama's decision to establish diplomatic relations with Cuba.

Clinton says an open economic relationship would do more to bring "dignity and democracy" to Cuba than would continuing the hardline isolationism that lasted through five decades of Republican and Democratic administrations, including her husband's two terms.

Bush responds that it's "insulting" to many people in Miami for Clinton to travel there and -- as he put it "endorse a retreat in the struggle for democracy in Cuba."

Rubio -- in a statement before Clinton's speech -- said she and President Barack Obama need to learn that "appeasement only emboldens dictators and repressive governments."

US-KERRY-ASIA

Kerry to push Malaysia on human trafficking during visit

WASHINGTON (AP) — A senior State Department official says top diplomat John Kerry will push Malaysia to redouble efforts against human trafficking on an upcoming visit for regional security talks.

Kerry's visit, starting Wednesday, comes a week after the department faced a storm of protest for lifting Malaysia off its trafficking blacklist. U.S. lawmakers and human rights activists say the decision was intended to smooth the way for a trade agreement among 12 Pacific rim nations, including Malaysia.

The official maintains there's been progress in Malaysia's performance but that it needs to do much more. The official was briefing reporters on condition of anonymity under ground rules set by the department.

Kerry is traveling to Malaysia for security talks with Asian nations, after stops in the Mideast. He'll also visit Singapore and Vietnam.

US-WOMAN-DEAD-IN-JAIL-TROOPER

Trooper in Sandra Bland arrest had been disciplined

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Texas trooper who arrested a black Chicago-area area woman after a confrontation that began with a traffic stop had been cautioned about "unprofessional conduct" in a 2014 incident while he was still a probationary trooper.

The disciplinary entry regarding Trooper Brian Encinia of the Texas Department of Public Safety was contained in Encinia's personnel file. The department released the file Friday in response to Freedom on Information requests.

Encinia arrested Sandra Bland on July 10. She was found dead in a jail cell in Hempstead on July 13. Officials say she used a plastic bag to hang herself.

Encinia's performance evaluation for September and October 2014 referred to him receiving "a written counseling for unprofessional conduct ... occurring while at a school in Austin." The circumstances weren't specified.

TROPICAL-WEATHER

UPDATE: Guillermo racing in Pacific, remains far from Hawaii

MIAMI (AP) — Hurricane Guillermo continues to race west-northwest but remains far away from Hawaii deep in the Pacific.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami says Guillermo is about 1,335 miles (2,150 kilometers) east-southeast of Hilo, Hawaii. The Category 2 hurricane had maximum sustained winds near 105 mph (165 kph).

The center says Guillermo hasn't strengthened over several hours but some strengthening is possible in the coming day before the storm is expected to begin weakening on Sunday.

It is moving west-northwest at 20 mph (31 kph).

Current forecast models show Guillermo will move near the Hawaiian islands sometime next week, though it is expected to weaken to a tropical storm by then.

JAPAN-WWII-HIROHITO SPEECH

NEW: Original sound of Japan emperor's war-end speech released

TOKYO (AP) — The original recording of Japan's Emperor Hirohito's war-ending speech has come back to life in digital form.

Hirohito's four-and-half-minute "jewel voice" was broadcast on Aug. 15, 1945, announcing Japan's surrender.

The voice on the radio 70 years ago was muffled and nearly inaudible due to poor sound quality. This version may be clearer, but Japanese today would still have trouble understanding the arcane language used by the emperor.

The original sound was released Saturday by the Imperial Household Agency in digital format, ahead of the 70th anniversary of the speech and the war's end.

The emperor's voice sounds slightly higher and more intense than the familiar recording that was heard on TV and elsewhere as a replica of the 1945 broadcast.

LT-MEXICO-PET-STORE-BAN

NEW: Mexico pet chain stops selling endangered, invasive species

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico's largest pet store chain has agreed to stop selling 47 species of birds and other animals native to Mexico, 18 of which are considered at risk or in danger of extinction.

The Maskota store chain also has agreed with the government to stop selling 154 non-native species, 138 of which are considered invasive if released into the environment.

The environmental protection office of the federal Attorney General's Office said Friday that the agreement goes into effect Saturday.

The measure appears to be unrelated to a scandal in June that erupted when video surfaced showing two employees of a Maskota store slapping Chihuahua dogs repeatedly to "welcome" them to the store.

HARPER HOSPITALIZED

Actress Valerie Harper out of hospital, resting with family

OGUNQUIT, Maine (AP) — Officials at a Maine playhouse say Valerie Harper is resting with her family after falling ill before a performance.

A statement released Friday by the Ogunquit (oh-GUHNG'-kwit) Playhouse says the 75-year-old actress, who has battled cancer, is at an undisclosed location and is looking forward to getting back on stage.

She was hospitalized Wednesday before an evening performance of "Nice Work If You Can Get It." York General Hospital says she was released Thursday.

The playhouse dispelled reports that Harper is or ever was in a coma.

Harper has had numerous roles on Broadway, in movies and on TV. She's well known as Rhoda Morgenstern on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show."

In the Ogunquit performance, Harper portrays Millicent Winter. Sally Struthers, who plays Duchess Estonia Dulworth, said in a statement: "Valerie is feeling better."

OBIT-RODDY PIPER

WWE Hall of Famer Roddy Piper dies at 61

"Rowdy" Roddy Piper, who trash talked his way to the main event of the first WrestleMania and later found movie stardom, has died. He was 61.

The WWE says Piper died Friday. It had no additional details.

Piper, born Roderick Toombs, was the second WWE Hall of Famer to die this summer following the June death of Dusty Rhodes. Piper's death also comes days after Hulk Hogan, his biggest rival for decades, was fired by the WWE. Hogan had used racial slurs in a conversation captured on a sex tape.

Piper and Hogan battled for years and headlined some of the biggest matches during the 1980s. Hogan and Mr. T defeated Piper and Paul Orndorff on March 31, 1985, at the first WrestleMania at Madison Square Garden.

JAPAN-WWII-HIROHITO SPEECH

Original sound of Japan emperor's war-end speech released

TOKYO (AP) — The original recording of Japan's Emperor Hirohito's war-ending speech has come back to life in digital form.

Hirohito's four-and-half-minute "jewel voice" was broadcast on Aug. 15, 1945, announcing Japan's surrender.

The voice on the radio 70 years ago was muffled and nearly inaudible due to poor sound quality. This version may be clearer, but Japanese today would still have trouble understanding the arcane language used by the emperor.

The original sound was released Saturday by the Imperial Household Agency in digital format, ahead of the 70th anniversary of the speech and the war's end.

The emperor's voice sounds slightly higher and more intense than the familiar recording that was heard on TV and elsewhere as a replica of the 1945 broadcast.