National editor's pick of the top news stories in the nation and world at this hour:

Officers storm Alabama bunker and rescue child; kidnapper is dead.

Officers on Monday stormed the bunker in Midland City, Ala., where a 65-year-old man has held a 5-year-old boy hostage for a week, rescuing the child and leaving the kidnapper dead, authorities said. As the hostage crisis entered its seventh day, the FBI decided that negotiations were deteriorating, said Steve Richardson of the FBI office in Mobile. He said the kidnapper, Jimmy Lee Dykes, was observed holding a gun, and at 3:12 p.m. local time law-enforcement officers, believing "the child was in imminent danger, entered the bunker and rescued the child." He said the child "appears physically unharmed and is being treated at a local hospital." He said the kidnapper is "deceased" but did not say how he died. At a brief news conference Monday afternoon in Midland City, police took no questions.

Skeleton found in England identified as King Richard III

My kingdom for a hearse! King Richard III, reviled as a murderous tyrant by the House of Tudor and Shakespeare alike, may be due for a makeover after his skeleton was found under a parking lot in Leicester, England. Richard died at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 and his remains have been missing ever since, but researchers said Monday that DNA tests matched a battle-scarred skeleton to a known descendant of the ill-fated king. And, say Richard's fans, the discovery could rewrite the history books to help restore his tarred reputation. Richard ruled England from 1483 to 1485, during the Wars of the Roses, but he was defeated and killed by the army of Henry Tudor, who went on to become King Henry VII. Tudor historians made Richard out to be a villainous monster -- as did William Shakespeare, who portrayed him as a hunchbacked usurper. But Philippa Gregory of the Richard III Society says the smear job is unfair. "Now, here today ... it is Richard who has finally been able to reveal himself," she said. "A wind of change is blowing, one that will seek out the truth about the real Richard III." The skeleton, located by historical sleuths with the help of ground-penetrating radar, is that of a man who appears to have died in battle and was buried without coffin or shroud like a hated enemy.

Obama takes gun-control campaign to Minneapolis

A San Bernardino firefighter looks at the scene Monday where at least eight people were killed and dozens injured when a bus carrying a group from Tijuana
A San Bernardino firefighter looks at the scene Monday where at least eight people were killed and dozens injured when a bus carrying a group from Tijuana overturned on its way back from Big Bear Lake on Highway 38 north of Yucaipa. (Gene Blevins/Reuters)

Obama took his campaign for an assault weapons ban, ammunition limits and universal background checks to Minneapolis on Monday, saying, "We don't have to agree on everything to agree it's time to do something." Obama said there is bipartisan support for expanded background checks, but he seemed to acknowledge that the same is not true of the assault weapons ban, saying only that it deserves a vote in Congress. Obama opened his visit with a round-table discussion at a Minneapolis Police Department center with police officers and community leaders, and he gave his speech flanked by uniformed officers. "Changing the status quo is never easy," Obama said. "This will be no exception. The only way we can reduce gun violence in this county is if it the American people decide it's important, if you decide it's important -- parents and teachers, police officers and pastors, hunters and sportsmen, Americans of every background stand up and say, 'This time, it's got to be different.'"

Girl shot in head by Taliban speaks out on video

The 15-year-old Pakistani girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban for her advocacy of girls' education appeared on a video Monday saying she intended to keep up the same campaign that nearly got her killed. Speaking with perfect clarity, though the left side of her face was rigid, Malala Yousufzai said: "I want to serve. I want to serve the people. I want every girl, every child, to be educated. For that reason, we have organized the Malala Fund." Malala was shot by Taliban militants who stopped her bus on Oct. 9 and singled her out, saying it was because she promoted girls' education and "Western thinking." The shooting sparked outrage in Pakistan and made the girl an international hero, nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and shortlisted for Time's 2012 "Person of the Year." "Today you can see that I am alive," she says on the video, which was released by a public relations firm. "I can speak, I can see you, I can see everyone. ... Because all people -- men, women, children -- all of them have prayed for me. And because of all these prayers God has given me this new life, a second life."

Tour bus crash survivor says it plunged downhill for minutes

A survivor of a Southern California tour bus crash that killed at least eight people said Monday that the vehicle careened downhill for five terrifying minutes before it smashed into other vehicles. Gerardo Barrientos says the brakes failed and the driver called out for someone to call 911 but there was no cell reception Sunday on the remote Highway 38 as the tour bus returned to Tijuana from a Big Bear Lake snow trip. A total of 43 people in three vehicles were involved in the crash, and authorities said 15 people suffered major injuries and seven others lesser injuries. Barrientos says there were bodies strewn everywhere and people screaming for help. He was uninjured but his girlfriend suffered bruises and a hairline vertebra fracture, and another friend suffered a broken neck.

McCain gets flak for comparing Ahmadinejad to space monkey

After Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he wanted to be the first human sent to space by Iran, Sen. John McCain put on his comedian hat and sent out a tweet saying, "So Ahmadinejad wants to be first Iranian in space -- wasn't he just there last week?" The tweet linked to a news story about Iran's launch of a monkey into space. That prompted Republican Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, who is clearly NOT a member of the House Humor Committee, to criticize the tweet as racist -- as if McCain were targeting the hate-mongering, Holocaust-denying, Israel-despising Iranian leader for the color of his skin rather than the blackness of his heart. McCain said in a follow-up tweet, "lighten up folks, can't everyone take a joke." Amash, an Arab-American who apparently can't, replied, "Maybe you should wisen up & not make racist jokes." Puh-leeze. If McCain should apologize to anyone, it's the monkey.

The Wire, a summary of top national and world news stories from the Associated Press and other wire services, moves weekdays. Contact Karl Kahler at 408-920-5023; follow him at twitter.com/karl_kahler.