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Washington's Top News -- Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wednesday - 8/27/2014, 3:45am  ET

Here's a look at some of the day's top stories from WTOP:

American woman abducted by extremists in Syria

U.S. officials say the same extremist group that killed American journalist James Foley is holding an American woman hostage.

A family representative says the 26-year-old woman was doing humanitarian aid work in Syria when she was abducted by the group Islamic State. She's not being identified out of fear for her safety.

Meanwhile, U.S. officials say an American man has been killed while fighting for extremists in Syria, mostly likely for the Islamic State. The man is identified as Douglas McAuthur McCain.

Crist wins Florida Democratic primary for governor

Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is continuing his political comeback, only this time, he's a Democrat, not a Republican.

Democratic voters in today's primary have selected Crist as their nominee to challenge Republican Gov. Rick Scott. Crist easily defeated former state Sen. Nan Rich.

Gaza cease-fire holds as sides weigh gains

An open-ended cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip seems to be holding.

The cease-fire went into effect Tuesday night local time. Israeli media are reporting that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had deliberately not put the cease-fire issue to a vote in his security Cabinet because of opposition from ministers who wanted to continue the fighting.

Authorities: Los Angeles-area man is serial killer

Authorities in Los Angeles believe that a man in custody randomly shot seven people over five days, killing four of them.

Right now, 34-year-old Alexander Hernandez is charged with one count of capital murder, two counts of attempted murder and animal cruelty, for allegedly shooting two dogs.

Mother of newborn baby found in trash arrested

A newborn baby is in extremely critical condition after her 24-year-old mother left her in a neighbor's trash can.

The child was heard by a woman in suburban Salt Lake City who thought she heard a kitten meowing. The mother is being questioned. Police and health officials say the child could have been dropped off at a hospital without consequences.

Could we be looking at a Nats-Orioles World Series?

The Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles are cruising at the top of their respective divisions, and sports editor Noah Frank says the numbers show they'll both almost certainly make the playoffs. But will they make it through the playoffs and turn the World Series into a Battle of the Beltways? Don't bet the rent money, Frank says. On WTOP's Sports page, he goes deep into the statistics and shows that while anything can happen in baseball, especially the playoffs, each team has some serious hills to climb to get through the postseason.

Working the waffle iron in weird but tasty ways

When you compare the size and weight of your waffle iron with how (in)frequently you use it, it's probably the least-efficient tool in your kitchen. But one writer decided to see what his iron could really do. The result was a popular blog on his culinary adventures and a book with 53 recipes explaining how to cook everything from French toast to meatballs to quesadillas and more.

On WTOP's Living page, Rachel Nania talks with Daniel Shumski and finds out why the waffle iron gets a bad rap and how there's no reason to use it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Filet mignon? You better believe it.

Reading tablets: How good are they? Do you need one?

Regular e-readers are great, but they can't do anything but display books. Lately companies have released several reading-centric tablets that do more than a regular Kindle or Nook. But are they really worth it? On WTOP's Tech page, an expert breaks down the offerings and explains whether they're worth it.

Power tools and manicures: A different kind of ladies night

A happy hour at a hardware store? A happy hour for women at a hardware store? It's pretty rare, but a Petworth shop held just such an event recently, drawing women to bike clinics, power-tool tutorials, manicures and massages. Reaching out to women doesn't mean dumbing something down, one attendee said, and the woman who owns the store couldn't agree more. Read all about serious empowerment on WTOP's Tech page.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter and WTOP on Facebook.

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