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US fine-tunes sanctions on Russia over Ukraine

The Obama administration moved Thursday to update and fine-tune sanctions on Russia, pro-Russian companies and people over the conflict in Ukraine.

UN adopts resolution to combat illegal wildlife trafficking

The U.N. General Assembly unanimously adopted its first-ever resolution aimed at combatting illicit trafficking in wildlife on Thursday as its sponsors expressed outrage at the killing of a beloved protected lion in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabweans baffled by foreign concern for killed lion

While the death of a protected lion in Zimbabwe has caused outrage in the United States — much of it centered on the Minnesota dentist who killed the animal — most in Zimbabwe expressed a degree of bafflement over the concern.

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Afghan Taliban confirm Mullah Omar’s death, choose successor

The Taliban confirmed the death of longtime leader Mullah Mohammad Omar and appointed his successor Thursday, as a new round of peace talks was indefinitely postponed amid concerns over how committed the new leadership is to ending the militant group’s 14-year insurgency.

US stocks eke out tiny gains

Stocks ended the day mostly flat on Thursday, recovering from broad losses earlier in the day. Investors continue to focus on corporate earnings, and Thursday’s batch brought mostly disappointing results from Procter & Gamble, Facebook and others.

US economy posts solid 2.3 percent growth rate in Q2

The U.S. economy posted a solid rebound in the April-June quarter after a harsh winter, led by a surge in consumer spending and a recovery in foreign trade that bode well for the rest of the year.

Hercules recalling 90,000 SUV tires

An Ohio company is recalling about 90,000 SUV tires because the tread can separate, causing a loss of air and increasing the risk of a crash.

University removes ‘bias-free language guide’ from website

The University of New Hampshire has removed from its website a “bias-free language guide” that warned against using the word “American” because it fails to recognize South America.

Facebook ready to test giant drone for Internet service

Facebook says it will begin test flights later this year for a solar-powered drone with a wingspan as big as a Boeing 737, in the next stage of its campaign to deliver Internet connectivity to remote parts of the world.

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Judge: Sale of convent to Katy Perry's competitor appears to be invalid

A judge said Thursday he believes a group of elderly nuns improperly sold their hilltop convent to a businesswoman but delayed any efforts by church officials to finalize a competing sale to pop singer Katy Perry.

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US court says drug-sniffing dog fails the smell test

Lex the police dog from central Illinois is far from top dog in drug-sniffing skills.

University president offended by bias-free language guide

The president of the University of New Hampshire said Wednesday he is troubled and offended by many parts of a “bias-free language guide” posted on the school’s website, particularly a suggestion using the word “American” is problematic because it fails to recognize South America.

Advocates seek Vatican inquiry of Newark, NJ, archbishop

Priests, nuns and canon lawyers who advocate for molestation victims urged Pope Francis on Wednesday to use the new Vatican tribunal he formed on negligent bishops to investigate the archbishop of Newark, New Jersey, who has long been accused of sheltering abusive priests.

House votes to provide money for highways, transit

The House voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to shore up federal highway aid and veterans’ health care before heading out of town for its August recess, leaving unresolved an array of sticky issues that are sure to complicate an autumn agenda already groaning under the weight of indecision.

Family shot after offering help to stranded driver

A man who was stopped along a road on Montana’s Crow Indian Reservation gunned down a family who tried to help him Wednesday, killing the couple and wounding their daughter, a relative said.

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Will the Internet listen to your private conversations?

Like a lot of teenagers, Aanya Nigam reflexively shares her whereabouts, activities and thoughts on Twitter, Instagram and other social networks without a qualm.

Boy accused of strangling child had past troubles

An 11-year-old boy accused of strangling a 4-year-old boy had a history of disturbing behavior, including choking another child until the child turned blue in the face and carrying around dead farm animals, according to sheriff’s deputies.

Panicked 911 caller: Dispatcher had no reason to hang up

A 911 caller said Wednesday she was panicked about a friend being shot but stayed as calm as possible before a New Mexico dispatcher told her to “deal with it yourself” and hung up as she sought aid.

Teens’ 6 days adrift verge on limits for survival at sea

Crews pushed the limits of an ever-expanding search zone Wednesday for two teens missing at sea and potentially nearing the boundaries of human survival.

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Probe into California tree fall begins; kids seriously hurt

An investigation began Wednesday into why a 75-year-old, 75-foot-tall pine tree fell on a group of kids from a summer camp at a Southern California children’s museum, leaving a young boy and girl hospitalized with serious injuries, officials said.